Vienna plans massive reduction in parishes

October 22, 2012

Austria’s Vienna Archdiocese will press ahead with a major reorganization that will including liquidating 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.

“Our emphasis isn’t just on reorganizing the Church, but on reinvigorating the missionary impulses of the entire Christian community,” said Michael Pruller, archdiocesan spokesman.

Pruller said falling numbers of clergy and laity had necessitated the changes.

Smaller affiliated communities within the parishes will be run by lay volunteers authorized to conduct the Liturgy of the Word.

Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schonborn said the reorganization would help pool resources, reduce administration and “leave more time for evangelization.”