Netherlands: Utrecht’s cathedral may be sold because of poor attendance

St. Catherine’s Cathedral in Utrecht (Netherlands) is expected to be closed and sold due to an ongoing decrease in attendance, Catholic News Agency reports.

St. Catherine’s was initially built as part of a Carmelite friary, between the 15th and 16th centuries. It became the cathedral when the Utrecht archdiocese was re-established in 1853. If St. Catherine’s is sold, the bishop’s cathedra could be moved to St. Augustine parish, or to a church in Apeldoorn, more than 40 miles east of Utrecht.

Archbishop of Utrecht Wim Eijk said to Dutch News the closure is not down to ‘you or me’ but to the decline in churchgoers, which means they do not contribute financially.  Of the 200 churches in the diocese of Utrecht, only some 20 will remain in a couple of decades, the archbishop said last year.

The Netherlands has some 3.5 million Catholics but the number of churchgoers is declining by around 6% a year.  Only 158,000 Catholics said they went to church in 2017

Cover pic: St. Catharine’s Church in Utrecht (the Netherlands). Picture taken by Fruggo, September 2004