Researchers Identify Sunday ‘Mall Effect’

WASHINGTON POST, Sept. 14 — The National Bureau of Economic Research has found that when states strike down laws prohibiting shopping on Sunday, it leads to a decline in church attendance and an increase in immoral behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, reported the Post.

The research, conducted by Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Daniel Hungerman of the University of Notre Dame, found that before the shopping ban was lifted, about 37% of people in a state attended religious services at least weekly.

“After the laws are repealed it falls to 32%,” said Hungerman.

Their paper, “The Church vs. the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition,” also found that marijuana, cocaine and alcohol usage increased among churchgoers after the repeal.

Hungerman speculated that when businesses remain open on Sunday, it forces some religious young people to work or go shopping, and that that may increase their exposure to sinful behavior or weaken their resistance.

Archdiocese Cancels Program for Abusive Priests

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Sept. 18 — The Archdiocese of New York has canceled its plans to house priests who were accused of sexual abuse in a suburban retreat house after it drew complaints from neighbors, said The Times.

The plan, called the Shepherd’s Program, was first described in an Aug. 31 article in The Times. It involved housing priests who were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, but who could not be prosecuted. The program would require the priests to receive therapy and be monitored.

Mamaroneck, N.Y., town supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe voiced the fears of several residents to the archdiocese.

Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the archdiocese, said that it wasn’t clear what the archdiocese will now do with such priests. The one priest who had agreed to the program and moved to the retreat house has now moved into a medical facility.


New Ohio Catholic Radio Station Goes on the Air

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Sept. 10 — It took four years, but a committed group of volunteers has successfully started a Catholic radio station in western Ohio, reported the Associated Press.

Radio Maria (WHJM-FM) broadcasts to listeners in a 40-mile radius outside the village of Botkins, Ohio.

“There’s Christian radio everywhere, but not the Catholic perspective,” said Mary Pyper, coordinator. “What we wanted to do was to bring a different flavor.” The group had to overcome several hurdles. It found a frequency where few were available, started the station just days before their license expired and repaired their transmission tower after it was damaged by a lightning strike.

According to the Catholic Radio Association, there are approximately 130 Catholic radio stations broadcasting throughout the United States. Ten years ago there were only five.