NEW YORK, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The New York Archdiocese announced Friday it plans to close 10 Roman Catholic parishes and merge 11 others.
The reorganization has been in the works for more than five years, The New York Times reported. Cardinal Edward Egan reportedly planned to get into the difficult area almost immediately after he became archbishop in 2000, but postponed it because of the sex abuse scandal.
"This process, established by ... Cardinal Egan, was designed to identify the religious, spiritual and education needs of the Catholic faithful throughout the entire archdiocese, and determine how those needs could best be met," the archdiocese said in a statement.
The plan was less drastic and affected a smaller number of churches than many Catholics in the New York area had feared. One priest, who did not want his name used, told the Times Egan has not really addressed the problems that made the changes necessary -- including a decline in the number of priests and demographic changes that have left some churches with too few congregants and others with too many.
The archdiocese, headquartered at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, includes Staten Island, The Bronx and upstate areas as far north as the Catskill Mountains.