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22nd February 2020

The Netherlands: What Effect Does the Closure of a Church have on a Village?

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The search for a new owner for the church in Afferden was not an easy one. After a long period of waiting, the parish board eventually received a bid from a party that was interested in taking over the church: the Buddhist Dhammikaya movement from Thailand.

“That was a tricky one,” admitted Perlo. “Church guidelines do not allow non-believers to buy a church.” He is referring to the guidelines of the Dutch Catholic Church, stating that if a religious party wants to buy a church building, it must also be a member of the Council of Churches, a partnership of eighteen Christian Churches in the Netherlands.

After extensive deliberation, the parish board finally managed to convince the Diocese of Den Bosch to make an exception to the rule. The fact that it would remain a spiritual center, even though it would be a Buddhist center, was the determining factor, according to Perlo.

Source: Crux

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