Donald W. Wuerl, Bishop of Pittsburgh 1988-2006:
Wuerl closed 73 church buildings, which included 37 churches, and reduced 331 parishes by 117 through merging while bishop of Pittsburgh; he was managing the remaining 214 parishes when he left in June 2006. Wuerl’s plan, The Parish Reorganization and Revitalization Project, is now used as a model for other dioceses seeking parish suppression. 1)
Now, in 2016:
The number of active Catholics within the Pittsburgh diocese has declined rapidly in recent decades, from 914,000 in 1980 to 632,000 in 2015, diocesan figures show.
Since 2000, weekly Mass attendance has dropped by 40 percent — for almost 100,000 fewer regular churchgoers; K-8 Catholic school enrollment fell by 50 percent; and the number of active priests plummeted from 338 to 225.
By 2025, if trends hold, the diocese projects that just 112 active priests will remain. 2)
A new massive reorganization program is scheduled f0r 2018:
In designing the “On Mission” initiative, (Bishop) Zubik said he drew from elements of the Archdiocese of Boston’s long-term planning efforts. 3)
And I almost forgot the brilliant assessment of John Allen:
Finally, there’s Wuerl in Washington, who may actually be the most important “Francis man” in the States of all.
The Archbishop of Washington since 2006 and a cardinal since 2010, Wuerl has long been seen as one of the most effective behind-the-scenes figures among the American bishops, engendering wide respect for his intellect, his management skill, and his almost preternatural sense of calm.
At the two Synods of Bishops on the family in 2014 and 2015, Wuerl was the only American named by Pope Francis to the drafting committees for the summit’s final documents.
That was in part likely because Wuerl had dropped strong hints that he was open to a “pastoral” solution to the debate over Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, and has since emerged as one of the most forceful defenders in the States of the pontiff’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
(Thanks to the Liturgy Guy)