Any alteration to a parish requires preparation and adherence to Canon Law. This guide walks you step by step through each process and the corresponding Canonical requirements.
The following points outline the procedure to be followed when selling a property the value of which falls between the minimum and maximum amounts defined by the Episcopal Conference (value greater than $25,000 and less than $3,500,000 – as of November 2022).
Unless a church will remain in use as a place for Catholic divine worship to which the faithful have a continued rite of access (e.g. if it is to be sold to a different ritual Church sui iuris), it is to be relegated to profane use prior to alienation.
If it becomes necessary to alienate the edifice, various options, in decreasing order of preference are:
Prior to alienation all of the sacred goods of the church must be removed for use in other sacred edifices or to be stored in ecclesiastical custody. Altars can never be relegated to profane use; therefore, if they cannot be removed, they must be destroyed.
Relevant canons: 1291-1298, 50, 51, 127, 166
Once the Parish has determined that the contemplated sale fits into the overall facilities plan for the property, they should proceed as follows.
Altars do not lose their dedication or blessing when the church does. Altars can never be turned over to profane use for any reason.
It is well established ecclesiastical jurisprudence that to merely close a church with no intention to turn it over to profane use, is juridically equivalent to relegating it to profane use. Therefore, one cannot lawfully permanently close a church without first employing the provisions of canon 1222 §2.
Send the following documentation to the AoC Property Management Office:
If the councils have consented to the sale and permission has been granted by the Archbishop, notification of permission will be sent to the pastor.
After obtaining permission to sell, any proposed realtor contract must be sent to the Archdiocesan Finance Office for review and approval prior to contracting with the realtor. When a potential buyer is identified, the Director of Property Management will assist you in working with the Archdiocesan Real Estate Attorney, whom he will put you in contact with, to guide you through all the legal documentation.