In the Netherlands a cardinal prepares his Catholics for the inevitable:
During Lent, Catholics in the Netherlands are getting accustomed to the vision of a future without churches. In this year’s Message for Lent, the President of the Episcopate of the Netherlands Willem Cardinal Eijk, announced that he will take on one of the most painful problems of the local Catholic community,i.e. the necessity to close the vast majority of churches in the country, in the near future. As a result of mistakes made by the local Church after the Council and the actual abandonment of evangelization, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of faithful in in recent decades.
In all fairness Cardinal Eijk may not mean exactly what he seems to be saying here, but one couldn't think of a more exact description of the problem, not just in the local Church, but the entire Church itself.
Card. Eijk stressed, that he never takes an initiative in this regard alone. For the “deconsecration” of a sanctuary, it is the parish council that writes a simple request stating that only a few faithful attend a church and therefore the parish does not have the necessary funds for its maintnance. The Utrecht ordinary stressed that the decision to deconsecrate is always taken with a heavy heart.
Card. Eijk therefore understands the bitterness of the faithful who find that their village or district will no longer have a church. He however cautions that this should not cultivate these sorts of negative feelings, because they can lead to permanent bitterness. It is important, however, to be open to God and to other Catholics, and with them deepen their faith through prayer, the Word of God and catechesis. Although church buildings might disappear, our faith and the will to be the Church does not disappear from our villages and districts – Cardinal Eijk writes in his message for Lent.
No the Faith won't disappear. They just won't need very many Churches to hold it.
One would imagine that someone must have had this result in mind back in the 1960's. Was everyone misguided hierarch behind it just in the grip of some fantasy?
Read more at The Stumbling Block