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Illinois diocese reveals parish-closing plan after lawsuit settlement

August 29, 2011

The diocese of Belleville, Illinois has announced plans to close as many as 20 parishes of its 117 parishes in a consolidation move prompted by “very serious financial challenges.”

Bishop Edward Braxton disclosed the plans to consolidate parishes just more than 2 weeks after the diocese agreed to pay $6.3 million in damages in a sex-abuse lawsuit, dropping a series of legal appeals that had lasted 3 years and added $1.3 million in interest to the original court judgment. Diocesan officials insisted, however, that the parish-closing plan had been under consideration even before the final resolution of the lawsuit.


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  • Posted by: Kathie - Aug. 29, 2011 7:31 PM ET USA

    I live in the diocese and this has been in the works for some time. No doubt those that have not been supportive or our Bishop will be more that happy to accept that the closings are a result of the law suit. Sadly this diocese has more than it's share of progressive priests. Our Bishop has had his hands full. We are considered a missionary diocese. Many Catholics that live here do not practice the faith. Our churches are empty!