Churches appear to be less indispensable to small communities than they themselves are inclined to think. The Dutch Catholic weekly Katholiek Nieuwsblad reached that conclusion after long-term research into the effects of church closure on village communities.
The research of the Dutch Catholic weekly shows, among other things, that the pace at which churches are disappearing from the countryside will only increase in the coming years. It often results in painful closures or mergers, but the local village communities also seem to recover surprisingly quickly.
The various social functions of the parishes are often taken over by local social organizations without much ado, according to Katholiek Nieuwsblad. What has also became clear is that very few parishioners decide to attend Mass in another church after theirs has been closed.