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Springfield diocese responds to Vatican decision on church closings

February 17, 2011

The Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, has released a public statement responding to a Vatican decision that blocked the closing of three churches.

The diocesan statement noted that the Congregation for Clergy had upheld the decision to close 5 parishes, but had found that in 3 cases, “sufficiently grave reason was not provided to close each of these church buildings.” While the Vatican ruled that these churches should remain open, the diocese stressed, they will not be ordinary parish churches, and the bishop has the authority to determine how they should be used.

Bishop Timothy McDonnell is seeking clarification of the ruling, the diocese revealed, since the decision “seems to be undertaking a new application of church law.”

Earlier this week, members of the affected parishes announced the Vatican ruling, apparently catching diocesan officials unprepared. The February 17 statement from Springfield said:

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect for the congregation, has apologized to Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell for failing to present the decisions to the diocese before their public release.


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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Feb. 17, 2011 8:51 PM ET USA

    Since both the Bishop and the parishioners had interests in this case (unfortunately different interests), I think they should have been notified at the same time. I pray for Bishops and parishioners to be on the same page - our Lord's page - instead of jockeying for power..........

  • Posted by: stpetric - Feb. 17, 2011 6:46 PM ET USA

    Why is Rome micro-managing the affairs of a local diocese? Without even giving the bishop advance notice, it's hard to see how Rome isn't undercutting his authority.