Parishioners shared their concerns about the future of the Catholic Church with Bishop Richard Malone Wednesday night along with three other Catholic panelists during a Q & A session.
The community talked about the problems facing the church and how to address them for years to come.
Before the panel started, Monsignor Robert Zapfel addressed the sex abuse allegations against dozens of priests.
“This is going to be an ongoing issue I think in the church in terms of addressing the hurts and the aches of the past,” said Msgr. Zapfel.
Zapfel says it’s time to move past the scandal and focus on the future of the Catholic church, but the church is also facing other issues.
Bishop Malone says there are not enough young people engaging in the Catholic church that once were.
“More and more people especially younger people are checking off none, ‘I have no religious affiliation at all,” said Malone.
Some parishioners wonder if more Catholic schools are needed.
“Im wondering what your perception is of the place of Catholic schools in the development and the future of the church,” asked one parishioner.
Another community member asked about the role of women in church and if they will ever be allowed into the priesthood.
“We need to do everything we can to have women in positions of leadership, in positions of authority and responsibility, but I don’t think personally, the ordination question will change,” said Malone.
Msgr. Zapfel says his vision for the future of the Catholic Church is hopefulness and putting the past behind.
“Tonight is less about looking back and more about looking towards the future,” said Zapfel.