The causes of the closing and the disposal of churches and places of worship, as well as the possible solutions to resolve this problem, will be at the heart of the international conference entitled “Transfer of Places of Worship and Integrated Management of Ecclesiastical Cultural Goods,” which will take place on November 29-30, 2018, at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, reported “Vatican News” in Italian on July 11.
The event, organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) and the Pontifical Gregorian University was presented on July 11 in the Dicastery’s premises in the Vatican. Intervening were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Monsignor Nunzio Galantino, CEI’s Secretary General and new President of Apsa, as well as Ottavio Bucarelli, Director of the Department in charge of the Church’s Cultural Heritage at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
The Conference will gather representatives of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe, of North America and of Oceania, to raise the issue of sales of churches and of their transformation into houses, stores, and well-being centers, in particular in Belgium and in Holland. There are also numerous cases in Italy. This issue will touch both the Catholic Church as well as the Protestant Church.
No statistics on the disposal of churches is available, as stated at the presentation of the congress. Monsignor Galantino stressed that in Italy, the number of churches belonging to parishes and dioceses is estimated at 65,000, without taking into account those entrusted to the State or to private individuals.
The Prelate doesn’t think that to make people pay for a ticket at the entrance of churches, is “a solution” to address the economic difficulties of these places of worship, because “there are many protests and also because the eventual revenues will hardly cover the expenses of cooperatives” that manage the service.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester