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Parish closings must follow canon-law requirements, Cardinal Burke says

May 12, 2014

Catholic bishops should close parishes only for clear and compelling reasons, Cardinal Raymond Burke has said.

Cardinal Burke—who heads the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatiacn’s top canonical court—said that bishops should adhere to the requirements of canon law, to ensure that any decisions on closing parishes are made properly. “When we don’t follow the requirements of the law, then people rightly claim that they’ve been aggrieved by this,” he said.

Cardinal Burke, who was in Baltimore to address the Canon Law Society of America, made his remarks in an interview with the archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Review.

The cardinal observed that a parish might have more than one church building, so that a church could remain in use even if the parish is suppressed. He said that bishops should carefully document the reasons for closing any church, to provide assurances that they are taking the appropriate steps.


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