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Vatican decides in favor of Tacoma’s Holy Rosary Church

May 1, 2024, 1:30 AM | Updated: May 2, 2024, 6:26 am

tacoma holy rosary church...

A community group is taking their battle to save Tacoma's Holy Rosary Church to the Vatican. (Courtesy Save Tacoma's Landmark Church)

(Courtesy Save Tacoma's Landmark Church)

A decision from an administrative authority within the Vatican has reportedly found in favor of a community group working to save the Tacoma Holy Rosary Catholic Church from the wrecking ball.

Neighbors and longtime parishioners have been battling for five years to stop the church’s demolition and restore it so that the 1920 building can once again serve the community where it has stood for more than a century. In spring 2023, the group – known as Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church – formally appealed to the Vatican’s Dicastery of the Clergy seeking reversal of a decree issued by the Seattle Archdiocese.

More on the Tacoma Holy Rosary Church: Battle for Holy Rosary Church’s survival stretches from Tacoma to the Vatican

Jon Carp, a board member of Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church, got the news yesterday via the group’s attorney in Rome. Carp joined Seattle’s Morning News Wednesday with an update and a look ahead to the next steps.

“It’s very preliminary, but we received word from our Canon lawyer in Rome yesterday afternoon that our appeal had been accepted,” Carp said. “In Canonical law terms, ‘recourse’ had been granted and the ‘decree’ to demolish Holy Rosary had been rendered null and void.”

Additional details will be forthcoming from the Vatican, Carp said, and his group is hoping to move forward by working with the Seattle Archdiocese to secure Holy Rosary’s future as an asset for the community.

“We are hopeful that the Archdiocese will see this as we see it as an opportunity to step back and reassess the approach to Holy Rosary and to look for ways to preserve it,” Carp said. “You know, this is a great day for Tacoma. It’s a great day for Tacoma Catholics. It’s a great day for the whole city of Tacoma.

“We’re very hopeful that the Archdiocese is looking forward to finding ways to preserve this church,” Carp added.

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Reached late Tuesday, spokesperson Helen McClenahan told KIRO Newsradio in an email that the Seattle Archdiocese had not yet received any word on the Tacoma church.

“We have received no update on the Holy Rosary recourse with the Dicastery for the Clergy, which is the office at the Vatican that handles recourses,” McClenahan wrote, using Catholic Canon Law nomenclature to describe the process. “There isn’t a clear timeline when we work with the Dicastery.”

This is a developing story, check back for updates

You can hear Feliks every Wednesday and Friday morning on Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien, read more from him here, and subscribe to The Resident Historian Podcast here. If you have a story idea or a question about Northwest history, please email Feliks here.

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