In a memo issued on January 7th, the Archdiocese warned pastors to not support preservation efforts.
The nonconsensual designation of churches and other religious property as land mark or historic property, or as part of a historic district, is a serious problem for many religions. Without the consent of the religious community involved, these designations are an undue intrusion of Government into religious organizations, represent a threat to religious freedom and where historical designation does exist can result in a significant financial burden for the property owner. Many denominations, including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,desire exemption from these nonconsensual designation through legislative action or, if necessary, litigation from the courts.
In order to avoid any problems or misunderstandings in the pursuit of such remedies through the legislature or the courts, all Pastors, Directors and Administrators are requested not to become involved with or participate in the historic land marking of any buildings of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its parishes, either individually or as part of a district or accept offers of technical assistance and / or funding for such purpose, no matter how well-intentioned by offerees. Moreover, reports should promptly be made in writing to the Office of the Vicar for Administration whenever any attempted or proposed historic land marking and / or offer of technical help or funding become known.
Parish Vs. Archdiocese Vs. Public Good In Catholic Preservation Fight
By Thomas Rzeznik, Hidden City – January 22, 2016
Archdiocese vows to fight preservationists
By Inga Saffron, Philadelphia Inquirer – January 14, 2016
New AD Directive is a Call to Arms
By Patrick Hildebrandt, Philadelphia Church Project – January 11, 2016