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Boston archdiocese moves to sell churches; appeals, confrontations loom

Catholic World News - July 14, 2011

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has announced that six parish churches that were closed in 2004 will now be “relegated to profane use,” clearing the way for the sale of the properties.

In three of the churches designated by the cardinal for future sale, former parishioners have organized vigils and occupied the church buildings in a quest to prevent the parish closings. The cardinal’s decrees set the stage for a new confrontation, as the archdiocese moves to remove the protesters and offer the churches for sale.

Before the churches can be placed on the market, however, the archdiocese will have to weather a new round of canonical appeals. The Council of Parishes, a lay organization that has fought to keep the churches open, exhausted all appeals of Cardinal O’Malley’s decision to close the parishes. The group has already announced its intention to appeal the cardinal’s decision to remove the sacred character from the church buildings. Such appeals to the Vatican will, at a minimum, cause months of delay in the archdiocesan plans to sell the properties.

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