a new saint in Boston

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 07, 2007

It's no secret that some Catholics in Boston are unhappy with rash of parish closings. But here's a new twist. In suburban Wellesley the Maffei family, which sold the land on which St. James parish is located, has joined in a lawsuit against the archdiocese, claiming that the terms of the sale are being violated.

The legal arguments are predictable but interesting; they come down to the question: Who owns the parish assets: the (arch)bishop or the faithful?

However, the really fascinating part of the WCVB news story is the account of what happened long after the land was sold:

Nearly 60 years later, when the pastor of St. James the Great Church -- named after James Maffei -- asked parishioners for donations to refurbish the church....

And all these years you were thinking that "St. James the Great" referred to the apostle, the son of Zebedee. I wonder whether Santiago de Compostela is named after Mr. Maffei, too.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 08, 2007 6:36 PM ET USA

    The wording of the news story is infelicitous, but it was not uncommon in the past for a church to be dedicated in honor of the principal donor's patron saint. And that is undoubtedly what happened in this case.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 08, 2007 1:19 PM ET USA

    Don't be too shocked. These are the people who proposed that Pres. Kennedy be elevated to sainthood.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 08, 2007 10:08 AM ET USA

    Polistra - you're joking, right? No coverage? The drive-by [anti-Catholic] media here has supported their sit-ins vigorously. And "pro-Catholic?" I think not. These people are disputing the legitimate right of their shepherd to make prudent plans for the whole of the flock, holding out for that which they determine to be best for their own [selfish] ends. Doesn't sound like they're in any way "universal" in their outlook.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 07, 2007 10:23 PM ET USA

    To me the really fascinating part of the story was that several churches have been occupied 24/7 by parishioners for more than two years, in a sort of adverse possession. We constantly hear about pro-Leninist sit-ins, but this pro-Catholic sit-in has received no coverage. Bless those folks, holding firm for the Church while their bishops are laying down in submission to the lawyers.

  • Posted by: SANTIAGO326 - Feb. 07, 2007 5:06 PM ET USA

    Ho ho! As a peregrina to Santiago de Compostela (twice) I assure you the the tomb of the Apostle is not the tomb of James Maffei! A bit of historical trivia: bishops used to send those guilty of a great and public sin on pilgrimage to Santiago. If they survived, guilt was said to have been expiated. Henry II offered to make the pilgrimage for the murder of Thomas a Becket--if trivia is correct. The bishop said a pilgrimage was an escape-- the king must face his people. And today?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 07, 2007 3:48 PM ET USA

    If in the transfer of property the terms for sale include the stipulation that the property be used solely for a church building, then the obligation to do that lies with the church officials. Of course, a clause reverting ownership or control to the original owner should aso be in the contract.

  • Posted by: Hammer of Heretics - Feb. 07, 2007 2:49 PM ET USA

    Is it possible that even the Boston news media could be that dumb? I checked the link, ladies and gentlemen, and yes, it is.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 07, 2007 10:36 AM ET USA

    Technically, if James Maffei sold the land on which the church was built, he was named years before the parish church. So it is named AFTER he was named, or after him.