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Some sad news appeared in the Catholic News Agency with reports that St. Catherine’s Cathedral in Utrecht is expected to be closed and sold due to the decrease in attendance, and because the building has become too expensive to maintain.
The cathedral will probably be sold to the Museum Catharijne Convent, a former convent that was turned into a religious art gallery.
A petition has been opened online by a group of parishioners who believe that there is still a possibility for Catholic growth in the city.
The petition has so far received 1,655 signatures, and part of the petition reads:
“Closing the cathedral and thus removing the visibility of Catholicism in the inner city will prevent growth of the community in the future.”
St. Catherine’s was initially built as part of a Carmelite friary, between the 15th and 16th centuries.
It became the cathedral when the Utrecht archdiocese was re-established in 1853.
If St. Catherine’s is sold, the bishop’s cathedra could be moved to St. Augustine parish, or to a church in Apeldoorn, more than 40 miles east of Utrecht.
Peter Nessen, a renowned church historian says that it would be the first time a Dutch cathedra has had to be relocated because of insufficient funds and a low number of parishioners.
From a high point of 942,000 Catholics in 1980, the Utrecht archdiocese has fallen to 750,000 Catholics in 2014.
By 2017, the number of Catholics in the archdiocese had risen moderately, to nearly 754,000, so it is rather surprising that the petition numbers are so low.
Or is it a fact that people don’t really care anymore?
What do you think?