Catholic World News

Boston: ex-parishioners plan new round of appeals on church closings

July 18, 2011

Last week Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley announced that 6 closed parishes were to be “relegated to profane use,” allowing for their sale. Former parishioners at all 6 churches have now announced that they will appeal the cardinal’s order to the Vatican.

Although the Vatican has backed Cardinal O’Malley’s decision to close the parishes, the Council of Parishes, which has fought against that decision, draws hope from recent decisions in which the Vatican has ruled that even when parishes are suppressed, the churches should not be closed.

The Boston archdiocese, on the other hand, is looking forward to the sale of the parish properties. Seven years after the parishes were formally closed, a spokesman for the archdiocese says, “at some point, the vigils are going to have to end.”

The local media have been sympathetic to the protesters who have organized vigils in the closed parish buildings for several years. At one parish, a Boston Herald columnist reports, “There have been Masses every Sunday, with the Eucharist smuggled in by sympathetic priests.” That sentence is obviously inaccurate, the Eucharist is not “smuggled in” when Mass is celebrated. The protesters at the “vigil parishes” have held unauthorized Communion services. Some now say they are prepared to risk arrest, defying eviction, if necessary.

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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Jul. 19, 2011 10:14 AM ET USA

    lauriem5377, you're absolutely right. I think too many bishops are bureaucrats and administrators first and apostles/evangelizers second or even further down the list. In Boston (where I currently live), we've been plagued by poltician bishops who are too willing to trade fidelity to Church teaching in return for political and economic prosperity for the Irish especially (ie, Cardinal Cushing looking the other way at the Kennedys).

  • Posted by: Meryt2592 - Jul. 19, 2011 1:11 AM ET USA

    I realize that this looks like disobedience. But you have to see it from the standpoint of those loyal Catholics who built these churches, worshipped in them, supported and loved them fervently. Because of a failure of leadership, and of clerical malfeasance, these very devoted people are being victimized yet again. They would be staunch supporters of their church if they were permitted to be. It isn't fair, from their point of view. It's hard to argue with them about that.

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jul. 18, 2011 6:31 PM ET USA

    While I understand the need for fiscal responsibility, it seems the Church (clergy and laity) should be fervently evangilizing to fill these partially full churches, not wrenching them away from the faithful of the flock. Satan must love nothing more than the decommissioning of holy places. Pray that the Bishop and parishioners will find a way to keep these holy places open and functioning in worship of our Lord.