The Archdiocese of Vienna has said it will press ahead with a major reorganisation
that will include closing most of its parishes over 10 years, despite objections from some local Catholics.
The archdiocese’s 660 parishes will be merged over the next decade into around 150 larger parishes, each served by three to five priests and offering regular Masses.
Mr Prüller told the American Catholic News Service that falling numbers of clergy and laity had made the changes necessary. He said smaller affiliated communities within the parishes will be run by lay volunteers authorised to conduct the Liturgy of the Word.
“This is about a new cooperation between priests and laity from their common Christian vocation,” the cardinal told the news conference, which was reported by Austria’s Kathpress news agency.
“We have to free ourselves of the traditional image that the Church is present only where there’s a priest and stress the common priesthood of all baptised,” he said.
“It will be much more efficient and robust to have several priests working together, rather than priests left totally by themselves,” the spokesman said. “The local Christian communities will be counted on to take care of those needing help, such as the elderly, so that everyone can get to Mass.”
In other words, I think the plan is to have the priests at the 150 larger parishes confect the Eucharist, and then have that Eucharist distributed to local, affiliated communities lead by laypeople who can distribute the Eucharist to that local community.