The Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful sees a clear victory for the lay voices in our Church in the Vatican’s reversal earlier this week of church closings in the Cleveland Diocese.
Many resolute Catholic lay people in the Cleveland area have been battling the closing of 50 area churches in 2009 and 2010. Thirteen of the churches filed appeals with the Vatican, and the Vatican’s decree this week, rare but not unprecedented, completely reversed Bishop Richard Lennon’s order to close those churches. The Vatican ruled that Lennon had “erred procedurally and substantively” in issuing the closing order, according to an attorney representing some of the closed churches.
“We see this as a clear cut victory for the rights of lay Catholics who feel that their voices should count when the hierarchy makes decisions about their parishes. Parish churches, although they may not legally belong to parishioners, are certainly their spiritual homes, shelters for their faith, and part of their Catholic identity for themselves and for generations of family, friends and brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Mark Mullaney, VOTF president.