Vatican upholds decision to close Donora church

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The Vatican has denied an appeal by a Donora parish to reopen a church the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh closed in the borough in 2011.


Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik announced Monday he had received a letter from the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy upholding a decision to close St. Dominic Church following a merger of four parishes in the borough.


The Congregation for Clergy ruled the appeal by six members of Our Lady of the Valley Parish “does not have a canonical basis in law or in fact,” Zubik indicated in a news release.


He said the ruling paves the way for the diocese to sell the church at Thompson Avenue and Sixth Street, but “not for any purpose contrary to the doctrinal or moral teachings of the church.”


Jerry Magone of Donora, spokesman for the group that appealed to Rome, could not immediately be reached Monday.


Magone has said the group believed the diocese erred in stating the church built in 1905 by Slavic immigrants had no cultural or historical value and would be too costly to repair. He also said it was unfair to make people travel to the outskirts of Donora to attend Masses at St. Phillip Neri Church.


Zubik issued a decree July 1, 2011, closing the building following a majority decision by the Parish Pastoral Council to make the recommendation. He determined the closing would not “diminish the care of souls” in Donora, the news release indicates.


In a letter to Rome, Zubik said, he provided a detailed financial analysis showing the Donora parish could not support two church buildings.


He said the letter upholding his decision was dated Nov. 20.


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