A friend sent along this article from the National Catholic Reporter regarding church closings in other areas of the United States. Both the article and comments are interesting and raise several thought-provoking points. Here are a couple quotes from the article:
The document cites the late Pope John Paul II's emphasis on the importance of parishes in a speech to U.S. bishops during their ad limina visit in 2004. The pope said the parish is 'preeminent among all the other communities in his diocese for which the bishop has primary responsibility. … The diocese should always be understood as existing in and for its parishes."
"In the interview with NCR, Borre said the intent of the petitioners is to place renewed emphasis on the parish as that central community in the diocese. The document also seeks clarity in the financial responsibilities of both parishes and dioceses and a renewed recognition of the "principle of subsidiarity in diocesan governance." Subsidiarity is a principle central to Catholic teaching that holds that decisions that can be made at a local level should not be passed on to larger entities."