VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is drafting guidelines to help Catholic dioceses find appropriate ways to decommission unneeded churches so they don’t end up as discos, gymnasiums or gelato shops.
The Vatican’s culture ministry is teaming up with Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and the Italian bishops’ conference to host an international conference in November on managing the sale of churches and handling of their assets. The conference is entitled: “Doesn’t God Dwell Here Anymore?”
Culture Minister Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi told reporters on Tuesday that many dioceses in Europe, North America and Australia have more churches than they need or can maintain, thanks to an increasingly secularized society, fewer church-going Catholics and financial constraints.
The Vatican wants to ensure the buildings maintain some of the spiritual, cultural and social value they had as churches.
“If it’s used in an intelligent way,” such as for pastoral work or cultural or social meetings or even as a bookstore or library, the church could sign off on it, the cardinal said. “But making it a gelateria? It’d be difficult.”
UK prime minister fights to stop Cabinet exodus over Brexit
LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May has met with her Cabinet as she tries to restore government unity after the resignations of two top ministers over Brexit.
Tuesday’s meeting comes after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis quit, saying May’s plans for future relations with the European Union don’t live up to their idea of Brexit.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers say May’s plan for free trade and regulatory alignment with the bloc will stop Britain forging an independent economic course.
May’s government is split between “Brexiteers” and a group that wants to stay close to the EU, Britain’s biggest trading partner.
May replaced Johnson with loyal former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and gave Davis’ job to ambitious minister Dominic Raab in a bid to shore up her authority.