Quick, what images come to mind when you think of the Church in America during the 1980s? For me it’s crappy liturgy, Cardinal Bernardin, hemorrhaging parishes and dioceses, and those awful policy statements from the bishops conference. It’s hardly what one would call “vibrant.” Yet Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr is basing his new vision for “A Vibrant Church” in Cincinnati on a relic from that very decade. Has nothing of greater value been created in the intervening quarter-century?

+These ideas reflect an approach based on the “Ministerially Complete Fact Sheet” used in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in the mid-80’s, the Parish Project: The Vibrant Parish sponsored in 1983 by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and the National Pastoral Life Center (NPLC), as well as being in sync with the results of “The Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project” funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and published in The Changing Face of Church: Emerging Models of Parish Leadership, by Marti R. Jewell and David A. Ramey, 2010.

This vibrancy is part of +Schnurr’s new focus on “clustering,” a parish administration model that has been an unmitigated disaster for my home diocese of Rochester.