Before you seek to “save” anything, you need to first understand exactly what is being “closed.” To fully understand this, you are going to need to become familiar with some basic principles of “canon law,” which in layman’s terms can be described as the administrative code that governs the Roman Catholic Church. Canon law is the same throughout the whole world, i.e. the rules are the same in the United States as they are in all other countries. That means all of the information in this article related to saving a Catholic church is equally valid in all countries, though civil laws in some nations may make some of the solutions more or less applicable. While it is true that “the church is not a democracy,” it is not an institution that is without laws or regulations. A priest, bishop, or lay person cannot do or be told to do something merely because they are a priest, bishop or layperson. The Code of Canon Law, last updated in 1983, can be found in its entirety on the Vatican website, a link to that is here. We are going to be dealing with a very small number of concepts that relate to canon law, mainly, what is a “parish,” what is a “church,” and when can a “parish” or a “church” be closed.

     It is common in the United States (from where I am writing,) and I would guess many other nations for the terms “parish” and “church to be used interchangeably. In reality however, the terms “parish” and “church” have completely different meanings, and it is essential that you understand the definitions of each. If you are not 100% sure right now that you absolutely and completely understand the canonical definition of a “parish” and a “church,” do the following things, and then keep reading. First, click here, to understand the canonically proper definition of a “parish” (refer to canons 515 and 518,) and when you have done that, click here to understand the canonically proper definition of a Roman Catholic church (refer to canon 1214.) You should now be familiar with the differences between “parishes” and “churches.” The closure of a parish does not automatically mean that the church associated with it is also closing. If your parish is closing, but your church isn’t, you need to investigate what the plans for the future of the church are before you seek to “save” it. This is not to say that your church  is out of danger if it is only your parish that has been ordered to close, but the future plans for your church, as they stand when you are reading this, may contribute to determining what your best course of action will be. If it is the case that your “parish” and “church” are both being closed, then you are certainly dealing with a very serious situation. It is not impossible for a “church” to be closed while its parish is left open, but such situations are far less common than the reverse occurring, and they also probably result from factors specific to a particular case.