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Why open churches?

Open church, closed church... issues

 

Churches are public places for both administrative and canon law. They are in the public domain and, as such, they should be open to all.  

A church is not only worthwhile because of its liturgical function. As important and necessary as it is, its function is much broader and responds to deep-seated needs. Assigned to Catholic worship, churches are not reserved for Catholics and even less for practicing Catholics. This is what happens when churches are closed. [...] 

The purpose of religious buildings cannot in any way be restricted to the sole celebration of the Eucharist. The mission of those in charge of this heritage is to open the churches and not to close them.

Why are churches closed? For fear of vandalism and theft. However, most of these thefts are carried out in closed churches. A closed church secures thieves more than the building. Churches are closed because they do not have the financial means, it is said, to install an effective and adapted protection system. Churches are also closed because the police ask for it.

What does it mean to close a church? 

This means that its meaning is reduced to that of a place that contains a heritage. Closing a church means giving priority to accessories, to the detriment of the essential. It means making the church a museum, a dead place.

In the name of the protection of a movable heritage, a whole spiritual heritage is left to die, which I consider to be more important, since the other one was only realized for him. This spiritual, intangible heritage is certainly worthwhile to dwell on and let it speak to all.


Raphaël COLLINET, Judicial Vicar at the diocese of Liège (Belgium)

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