NEW YORK, May 12, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – The New York archdiocese is announcing its final round of church closings.
In a statement released Friday, the archdiocese announced that Cardinal Timothy Dolan
has decided that 31 parishes will merge, resulting in 14 new parishes (some mergers involve more than one parish). In 11 of these 14 newly formed parishes, two church buildings will be used, with one church designated as the parish church and the other site used for Masses and sacraments. There will be six churches where Masses and sacraments will no longer be celebrated on a regular basis.
These new mergers will take effect this August, and are in addition to the 112 parishes merged last fall. This will end this phase of the Making All Things New Campaign, which remains the largest parish restructuring campaign in the history of the New York archdiocese.
Although Cardinal Dolan is blaming the church closures on low Mass attendance and fewer vocations, some speculate financial concerns are primary here. Critics of the parish restructuring campaign have called it Making All Things Revenue, a way for the archdiocese to dig itself out of debt by selling off prime real estate. Although the archdiocese claims it has no plans to sell the properties anytime soon, past churches closed in New York have sold for millions, some demolished or converted into luxury apartment houses.
Financial reports for the past several years show the New York archdiocese consistently ends each year with a deficit in the millions of dollars:
Financial reports are not yet available for 2014.
New York took on an additional financial burden in recent years by kickstarting a top-down renovation of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the seat of the cardinal-archbishop. The construction is expected to cost around $175 million. Add this to an annual operating budget of approximately $200 million, and a picture emerges of an archdiocese desperate to raise revenue.