Church/Chapel closing ritual

Is there a Catholic ceremony/ritual/service for “decommissioning” a church (it will be torn down to build a newer church) before it is demolished?

never knew if there was

an interesting thing happened in a church i regularly attended in the Philippines. before it was just a neighborhood chapen, then when the diocese decided to turn it into a parish, it was comissioned into use. after about 5 or 6 years, it was deemed the old chapel was not enough. so what happened was they built a bigger church literally on top of the old smaller chapel. so Mass continued while the contruction was ongoing, you’ll see the structure of the new church over the smaller church. then when the walls and roof were done, the old church was torn down but then we were inside the bigger church now. so at one point it was a church within a church. it was a creative way to do the construction without closing the church down temporarily

i guess you’re asking about churches with bigger lots and a new church is made on the lot, and then when its done they just move into the new one and the old one is torn down and turned into a parking lot or something else.

No, according to Canon Law no special ceremony or ritual is required for the building:

Canon 1212 Sacred places lose their dedication or blessing if they have been in great measure destroyed, or if they have been permanently made over to secular usage, whether by decree of the competent Ordinary or simply in fact.”

Would that include churches stolen during the ‘‘reformation’’ in the British Isles and mainland Europe?

If you mean Abbeys or monasteries or the like whose attached churches or chapels were appropriated for secular use, say as residences for rich families, then yes.

In regards places like Westminster Abbey, that continued physically undemolished (unlike, say, St Pauls which was rebuilt after the Great Fire) and continued to be used purely for religious rather than secular purposes … you’d have to ask a Canon Lawyer :shrug:

I was referring more to churches. There are a few pre reformation churches within a short walk from my house, hence the interest they were built circa 12th century, and there is one with the bodies of several crusaders buried in the graveyard and, supposedly, a piece of the True Cross.

As I said, I don’t know about the status of the building.

In any case, there’s nothing preventing you visiting the graveyard or church regardless and praying at the tombs or with the relics (assuming you are permitted access to them).

A relic is a relic regardless of the status of the building it’s kept in, and can be venerated regardless of the location. Some are kept in museums or private homes rather than churches. Back in the Middle Ages some people would even WEAR relics in the form of lockets containing bits of saints or whatnot.

Would it not cause scandal for me to pray at the altar of an Anglican church?

Pope Benedict prayed in a mosque a few years back, not to mention attending an Orthodox liturgy, and I don’t recall a particular stink being caused by that. :shrug:

He’ll certainly pray with Anglicans and other non-Catholics when he visits the UK. And I should think he’ll pray in Westminster Abbey when he visits it too.

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