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Sell A Parish Save A Diocese

An article in today's Seattle Times asserts that Boston's closure of several parishes was not due so much to declining attendance and a shortage of priests, as it was an opportunity to sell off the property and generate some additional income to pay off abuse settlements.

The article notes:


O'Malley at first insisted that the church closings had nothing to do with the clerical sex-abuse scandal that began here almost three years ago. The Boston archdiocese agreed last year to pay $85 million to abuse victims, a record until last week's $100 million settlement in Orange County, Calif.

In announcing the church closings in May, O'Malley blamed declining attendance, decaying buildings and diminishing bank accounts in the targeted parishes. But authorities now concede that the parishes were closed because the church needed money.

"The commitment of the parishioners at St. Albert is obvious to all of us. We continue to seek ways to help them understand that the reasons for reconfiguration are related to the financial health of the diocese as a whole and not each individual parish," said Kelly Lynch, a spokeswoman for the archbishop.

O'Malley said the archdiocese does not plan to take civil or criminal action at this time.


Ouch! If you can't trust your own archdiocese to look out for the welfare of your parish, who can you trust?

Even more ominous, I can't help but wonder if such a move will lend creedance to the argument that individual parish property should be counted toward a(n) (arch)diocese'a total assets in bankruptcy proceedings. With Boston's behavior, it doesn't look good.

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Comments (1)

Niemann:

Ouch indeed. A dual blunder, alienating faithful parishioners who are (most likely) utterly unconnected to the offenders as well as providing future litigants a chain to shackle innocent parishes to any archdiocese that is circling the bowl.

I can’t comprehend how O’Malley can close parishes to raise money. How many unused school buildings, unused seminaries and closed church buildings are there littering Boston? If there is one thing that American bishops have ensured with two generations of maladministration, aloof shepherding, declining pedagogy and reprehensible catechetics, its that many schools, seminaries and churches are empty.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 6, 2004 1:01 PM.

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