Radio Show

What Happens When a Church Closes?


Father John Maria Devaney joins Father Dave to help answer questions of faith on the Busted Halo Show, including this one from a radio listener: “[My family is] planning a trip to Pittsburgh. … In our planning, we found several former Catholic churches that have been converted into hotels, auditoriums, and restaurant/bars. Would it be morally wrong for our Catholic family to patronize these establishments? What happens to a church when it’s sold? Does it lose its sanctity?”

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Father John weighs in: “So churches are consecrated. That’s why you might see the little candles on the side. They’re called consecration candles. But you can deconsecrate a church … I’ve seen it [most commonly done] with monasteries in Europe that they’ve turned into high-end hotels now.”

Father Dave adds: “I think our response would have to be [that] you sort of have to trust the Church. If the diocese was forced, for whatever reason, to sell a church to be a hotel or a restaurant or a bar, let’s presume that the diocese and the bishop did their due diligence and made sure that it was properly deconsecrated [and] to properly prepare it for its future use. The Church won’t set people up for falling into sin… I think we’ve got to assume that yes, they were properly deconsecrated, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” (Original Air 05-01-17)