Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Archdiocese nixes appeals by five closed parishes

0 comments
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer
Travel Deals

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has denied the appeals of five Catholic parishes fighting to stay open.

That response leaves Catholics angered by parish mergers with one more option: Sending an appeal to Rome.

At least two parishes are planning to pursue that option, and have hired consultants and attorneys familiar with church law.

"We're prepared to do whatever it takes," said Ralph DiGuiseppe, a parishioner of the former St. Ann parish in Bristol Borough, Bucks County.

St. Ann, a church built by Italian immigrants, merged July 1 with St. Mark Parish in Bristol. It was one of 16 parishes that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed this month and merged into 13 other nearby parishes.

Parishioners at five of those parishes began the formal appeal process.

Letters denying all five appeals were mailed early last week, said Kenneth A. Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

"After review of those appeals, the archbishop did not see evidence that would warrant the initial decisions to be reversed," Gavin wrote in an email.

In addition to St. Ann, the appealing parishes were Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Bridgeport, St. John of the Cross in Roslyn, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Bensalem, and Notre Dame de Lourdes in Swarthmore.

Hearing this week that Chaput denied his parish's appeal was "disappointing, but expected," said Tom Donahue of the former Notre Dame de Lourdes parish. Notre Dame is also preparing an appeal to the Vatican, arguing that the Delaware County parish was a vibrant and financially stable community.

Once in Rome, the appeals still face tough odds. Since the Archdiocese of Philadelphia began reviewing and merging parishes in 2010, no decision has been overturned on appeal.

Catholic parishes across the country have closed in recent years, as the church faces changing demographics, troubled finances and a shortage of priests. Only a handful of appeals to Rome by U.S. parishes have been successful.

lmccrystal@phillynews.com

610-313-8116

@Lmccrystal

Inquirer Staff Writer
0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter