Catholicism in the Western world is in decline. Churches and chapels are closing their doors one by one as less and less parishioners are coming to mass. These places were once hubs of activity around which communities and entire towns revolved. All important moments, from baptism to burial, were tied to religion and the local parish. The pastor was at once the most important and powerful man in every town. He knew everything about everybody. Now, pastors often have to serve multiple parishes, because there's just not enough of them anymore and there is no influx of young candidates.
Churches and chapels, that are still in use, are often in a very sorry state with cracks in the walls and vaulted ceilings on the verge of collapse. With so little people turning up there's no way of justifying the huge cost necessary for properly maintaining these buildings. There just isn't enough money to restore and conserve them.
These buildings were built for the very specific purpose of worship, which makes them hard to repurpose after their life as a religious edifice has come to an end. There are examples of churches being turned into libraries, theatres and even houses. But most stand empty for years before they finally collapse into themselves, get demolished or fall victim to arsonists. This ongoing series aims to document these buildings while they are in limbo between a house of worship and an unclear future.