Diocese Says Vatican Upholds Closure of St. Stan's
According to a release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican has upheld the decision to suppress and close the parishes of St. George and St. Patrick in Chicopee, and St. Stanislaus in Adams.
The vigilers, who recently passed the 1,000-day mark in their occupation of the closed church, had held out hope Rome would order the reopening of the church after finding it had been closed improperly. The diocese appealed that finding for clarification.
The statement received from diocese spokesman Mark Dupont, states "this is a definitive finding which supports the actions of the diocese thus removing any possibility for their restoration as parishes."
"In the same action, the Signatura did indicate that the diocese had not yet provided sufficient cause to reduce the churches in question to 'profane.'
"This secondary finding does not require that these church buildings be reopened, and clearly does not direct that they be restored as regular worship sites since the parishes they were assigned to no longer exist. This action simply means they cannot be actively used for any non-religious purpose. It allows for no use, or a wide range on other non-worship religious uses.
The finding of the Signatura will be carefully reviewed by diocesan canon lawyers and discussions will take place with each of the successor parishes and their legitimate consultative bodies as to their recommendations on proceeding.
The diocese intends to pursue this matter following the suggestions given by the Signatura and other options as provided in canon law.
"The concern of the diocese remains with regard to the resources needed to keep these and other facilities open. Even limited use might pose a tremendous financial strain on the successor parishes. Our future actions may include, using the clarification now provided by the Signatura, to restate through decree the need to reduce the status of these church buildings or alternative uses as permitted."
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