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Retributions in Boston?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | May 26, 2004

One astute CWN reader has noticed that among the 60 Boston parishes scheduled for closing, 10 were run by pastors who signed a public call for Cardinal Law's resignation. The same observer says that the archdiocese will also be closing 20 "pink" rectories. (His comments, among others, appear in the "Sound Off" responses to the CWN news coverage.)

Spokesmen for the archdiocese insist that there was no effort to punish dissident priests by closing their parishes. And since the most outspoken dissidents were untouched by the closings, let's assume that's true.

Why, then, would a disproportionate number of dissident priests be heading marginal parishes? Could this be evidence that the archdiocese knew all along that these priests weren't exactly the best and the brightest, and had assigned them to smaller, inactive parishes, where they would do the least damage?

One petulant cleric had been quoted as threatening to "resign" from the priesthood if his parish was slated for closing-- which it was. If that's really what he thinks of the priesthood-- that it's an office from which someone can "resign"-- we won't miss him.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: BostonBlackey - May. 31, 2004 10:48 AM ET USA

    That certainly seeems true for St. Catherine of Sienna parish in Charlestown: 2nd highest sacramental index of the three parishes the only parish with a spanish language Mass refused permission to rent our the empty parish school refused permission to rent our the 75% empty rectory financially stable buildings in excellent condition (except for the school). The "dissident" pastor is a regular on Boston Catholic TV! Pay back really stinks.

  • Posted by: Stonewall - May. 26, 2004 6:04 PM ET USA

    Or perhaps the parishes became marginal because they were headed by dissident priests?