Catholic parishes ‘could close or be amalgamated’
The Archdiocese of Glasgow is launching a consultation with its parishioners on how best to use resources amid changes in congregation numbers.
The move is driven by the city’s falling population and a shift in where Catholics live, with many moving from the East End to the south side of Glasgow.
The church said there was no “hit list” or target number of parishes that would close, but that closures or amalgamations were a possibility.
Ronnie Convery, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, said: “It is a consultation about rearranging our resources to match our buildings and priests to where people are.
“At the moment it’s largely based on a model from the 1950s and the emergence of new housing schemes all over the city.
These areas grew in the 50s, 60s and 70s but by the 80s they were beginning to depopulate, so we ended up with areas with churches but virtually no population, and the population has moved to another area of the city where it’s bursting at the seams.
“We’re saying where are our resources now and where do they need to be in the future?
“We want to get the whole Archdiocese thinking about how to reconfigure for the 21st century.”
The population of Glasgow has dropped from 1.1 million to 585,000 in the last 40 years, he said.
There are 200,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese area, which has 93 parishes and 200 priests.
The consultation will be launched on Sunday when parishioners will be handed the leaflet titled “This Affects You”, which asks people to think about their local parish and what would be the ideal set-up.
By next spring representatives from parishes will meet with priests to discuss people’s responses and just before Easter priests will give feedback to the Archbishop.
Mr Convery said: “I think people will be glad to be consulted. In the past people complained about decisions being made from on high without a chance to hear their side.
“I think people will be generally glad to be encouraged to feed back about their own experience of the church in their own area.”