Boston archdiocese loses appeal on tax for closed parish property
December 20, 2011
A Massachusetts tax board has ruled that the Boston archdiocese must pay taxes to the town of Scituate on property owned by a parish that has been closed for several years.
The tax board rejected an appeal from the archdiocese that the property should be exempt from taxation because it is still used for religious purposes. The archdiocese had made that claim on the basis of a vigil organized at St. Frances Cabrini church by former parishioners protesting the decision to close the parish. Organizers of the vigil had denounced the archdiocese for introducing that argument, since archdiocesan officials have opposed their protests and repeatedly asked them to leave the parish property.
The ruling could have implications for other parishes that have been closed. Massachusetts law provides tax exemptions for properties that are owned by churches, provided that they are used for religious purposes. Town officials in Scituate argued successfully that the property of St. Frances Cabrini parish no longer qualified for exemption.
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