Pope urges charity when churches are sold, reused

The Progress-Index Weekend - - RELIGION - By Ni­cole Win­field,

ROME — The Vat­i­can and bish­ops from Europe and be­yond have de­vel­oped pro­posed guide­lines for the sale or re­use of Catholic churches to help en­sure that they re­tain their cul­tural her­itage and serve the good of the com­mu­nity, not com­merce.

With some churches be­ing turned into dis­cos, gela­te­rias or de­mol­ished out­right, the guide­lines sug­gest that if the church can­not be given to an­other Chris­tian com­mu­nity, it should be reused for cul­tural or so­ci­etal aims. Those would in­clude be­ing used as a mu­seum, a li­brary or con­fer­ence hall, a food bank for the poor or charity cen­ter.

The guide­lines were be­ing fi­nal­ized at a Vat­i­can-backed con­fer­ence Thurs­day that was in­ten­tion­ally provoca­tive in its ti­tle: “Doesn’t God dwell here any­more?” It was ev­i­dence that the Catholic hi­er­ar­chy is well aware that it has too many churches on its hands that it can no longer main­tain, par­tic­u­larly in Europe, where sec­u­lar trends have emp­tied pews.

In a mes­sage read out at the start of the con­fer­ence, Pope Fran­cis urged del­e­gates to re­mem­ber that churches and the re­li­gious art in­side them “are wit­ness to the faith of the com­mu­nity.”

Any de­ci­sion about their fu­ture uses should con­sider the needs of the poor and be taken “in di­a­logue” with the com­mu­nity, he said.

Fran­cis said the fact that churches to­day are no longer nec­es­sary “should be wel­comed in the church not with anx­i­ety, but as a sign of the times that in­vites us to re­flec­tion and re­quires us to adapt.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.