Some Dutch churches to skip Mass due to energy costs, priest shortage
Some Dutch churches to skip Mass due to energy costs, priest shortage

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FILE PHOTO: A deacon drinks a cup of coffee after blessing a dog in the Holy Heart church in Schiedam October 4, 2009. Catholic churches around the world hold ceremonies honouring animals on October 4 every year in commemoration of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen/File Photo reuters_tickers

September 1, 2022
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Rocketing energy bills and a shortage of priests have driven a Dutch Roman Catholic Diocese to cut down on religious services in some churches.

The southern Diocese of Roermond, which oversee roughly 290 churches in the province of Limburg, wrote to its parishes last week to encourage some to periodically skip Mass, spokesman Matheu Bemelmans said on Thursday.

"Finances cannot be a dominant factor, but we cannot ignore them either. If you only have a handful of people each donating a euro ($1), that's not enough to cover the heating bill," Bemelmans said.

Numbers of churchgoers and priests are on the decline in the Netherlands.

"Sometimes it's simply not possible to find a priest to give a service at every church, every weekend," Bemelmans said. "If there are churches with only a few visitors, we are saying: be practical and skip a week and ensure those people can follow Mass at another church."

The measure was expected to initially affect 10-15 churches, he said.

Most Dutch households and companies rely on gas for heating or business operations.

Prices soared 90% year on year in August, driving up inflation to more than 13%, tracking similar sharp increases throughout Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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