Parishioners At Churches Slated For Sale Fight On

By WGBH News


Jul. 19, 2011

BOSTON — Members of six churches slated for sale by the Archdiocese of Boston are hoping the Vatican can help them keep their parishes open.

Last week, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley issued a decree that strips six closed church buildings of their religious classifications and paves the way for their sale to private developers. On Monday, all six of these churches sent letters to O’Malley notifying him that they intend to appeal his decision with the Vatican.
Suzanne Hurley is a member of the Council of Parishes and spokesperson for the parishioners at St. James the Great in Wellesley, Mass., which could be sold under O'Malley's decree. O'Malley has asked parishioners to accept the archdiocese' latest decision, but she says the individuals committed to certain churches need to make themselves heard.

“I think we still have a majority of parishioners who still believe that their role is to sit, pray, pay and obey,” she says. “I’m tired of feeling like I am not allowed to question them, that they’re the bully in the sand box, and if you don’t like it then you’re just supposed to move on. Parishioners need to stop doing that.”
Hurley contended the decision to to sell off her church shouldn't be up to the archdiocese alone. She says parishioners have built, paid for and sustained their own churches and that they shouldn’t be sold away to pay for the financial troubles of the diocese.

" If you want me to open my pocketbook then you need to open your ears, you need to open your mind, you need to open your heart and understand we are a part of it," Hurley said.
Earlier this year, the Vatican took the rare step of halting the closures of three Massachusetts churches.

The appeals process started this week could take two to three years to resolve.

This report was compiled by Luke Boelitz, using material from WGBH's The Emily Rooney Show, which is produced by Frannie Carr, Edgar Herwick and Jeff Keating.
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