Catholicism and Preservation

By Francesca Maisano

Faculty Mentor: Professor Michael Spencer

The preservation of historic structures is a controversial subject, as though people and organizations generally do not seek to demolish the historic built environment, they may not choose to preserve those structures and sites either. This paper focuses on one organization that owns much many historic structures and sites: the Catholic Church. Through the analysis and comparison of case studies, this paper seeks to investigate and shed light on the reasons, associated factors, and underlying trends behind the choices the Catholic Church in the United States makes when it comes to historic preservation. Within this research is a focus on the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, the Catholic diocese in Northern Virginia that includes Fredericksburg, to examine these reasons and trends at a local level and see how this particular diocese compares to the nation’s dioceses as a whole.