The Amsterdam diocese is to close 60% of all its churches within 5 years
On September 10th, Bishop Jan Hendricks told parish leaders that 99 out of the 164 Catholic churches in the diocese—more than 60%—will have to be shut down over the next five years. Out of the remaining 65 churches, 37 will continue as ‘supporting churches’ for the next five to ten years, bringing the number of ‘central churches’ deemed fit for survival down to a total of 28, less than a fifth of churches in use today.
Vicar general Msgr. Bart Putter announced that the diocese did not decide on which churches to close down, but instead hoped that local communities would take over the task of designating their preferred ‘central churches.’
“The idea is to create 28 active places of evangelization. And we hope that the parish priests and parish boards can realize that,” said Putter. “The participation has declined sharply over many years. It’s not a recent development.”
Whereas church attendance among Catholics was around 80% in the 1950s, it has declined to approximately 3% of a total of 425,000 baptized Catholics today.