[Outside Church of the Nativity]
As previously reported, the Church of the Nativity on Second Avenue between East Second Street and East Third Street is on Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan's closure list as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York undergoes a massive reorganization. (Under the plan, the church would merge with Most Holy Redeemer on East Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.)
Meanwhile, some of the church's parishioners continue to do what they can to keep the church open. (They have created a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a YouTube channel.)
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that "at least 18 parishes are now seeking recourse with the Vatican to overturn or limit the scope of the imminent merger."
And the Church of the Nativity is among the parishes at various stages of the appeals process.
Last Tuesday, two parishioners visited the Archdiocese of New York to read Nativity's decree letter, the official document that states the reasons they want to close the church. According to the Keep Nativity Open Tumblr, the reasons given are a change in demographic and a decline in priests.
Per Keep Nativity Open:
We have been speaking with canon lawyers and according to canon law, a decline in parishioners and decline in priests are not valid reasons to close a church. We are seeking recourse with the Vatican.
The Archdiocese cannot sell our building within a two-year period
We are fighting the merger, and the closing of Nativity. If we do merge with Most Holy Redeemer, Nativity’s parishioners need to stay united because we might have a chance to keep the building from being sold in two years. (The Archdiocese can’t sell the building for another two years). If Nativity’s parishioners are separated and divided, the Archdiocese can easily sell our building. But if we are united, we may have a chance to save Nativity when that time comes.
As for a timeline on all this. Back to the Journal:
An appeals process can take years, according to canon lawyers and church advocates around the U.S. The process, they say, is a complicated, highly technical one, following a strict timeline and involving several benchmarks set by canon law, the regulations set by the Catholic Church.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Parishioners fight to save the Church of the Nativity on 2nd Avenue