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Friday, May 20, 2011

Catholic Church disappearing in Western Europe

Bisdom sluit veel kerken in Limburg - Binnenland - Algemeen - Nieuws - Stentor

Roermond - The Diocese of Roermond is to close before 2020 dozens, possibly even hundreds of churches and the present three hundred fifty parishes are to be brought together into federations, each with an average of six parishes.

This is the blueprint of the Diocese for the policy over the next ten years. A spokesman for the Diocese of Roermond Friday confirmed reports in the newspapers in Limburg. Churches will close, especially in urban areas.

The evaporation of the church of the people.
Since 1992, all 44 churches closed in Limburg. "We expect the number of closures will increase rapidly in pace," said the spokesman for the Diocese. The reorganization is the result of what he called "the evaporation of the church of the people".

The 8 percent of Catholics regularly attending Mass now falls in 2020 to only 4 percent. The number of priests will fall from around two hundred now to 120 in 2020, the Diocese of Roermond expects.

Federation Board
The current parish boards will be amalgamated in the future into a federation board, which has its own budget and will distribute it among the parishes. These federations decide what happens in their area, including whether and how churches close.

Village churches will be kept open if possible as they are central to the community and because no other churches are close as in urban areas.

In the late sixties of the last century, church attendance in Limburg reached a peak according to the spokesman. At that time, 80 to 90 percent of the faithful to Mass regularly. In the early seventies, their number dropped to 60 percent, and continued reducing dramatically to 8 percent now.

Fewer people can afford the cost of keeping open churches. "If there is no-one who can afford the costs, the conclusion is inevitable," the diocese said Thursday.
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