Issue Date: March 7, 2008
Vatican supports Boston area parish closing
BOSTON -- A Vatican ruling that backs Boston Cardinal Sean OMalleys closing of a Lowell, Mass., church doesnt bode well for other area parishioners appealing the archdioceses decisions to close their parishes.
The Vaticans top appeals court, called the Apostolic Signatura, has rejected an appeal from parishioners at St. Jeanne dArc parish that claimed OMalley had violated canon law by closing the church, The Boston Globe reported Feb. 26.
The ruling supported OMalleys decision to close the church, one of dozens of closures begun in 2004. Five of the parishes have been occupied by parishioners for at least 40 months.
The decision upheld the authority of the archbishop to close a parish for just reason even if -- as the petitioners argued in this case -- the parish itself has a large and active following. Several parishes have appeals pending at the Vatican, and five have filed civil suits against the archdiocese.
Opponents of the church closings said they were upset about a passage in the Vatican ruling where a canon law expert said OMalley had been given wide discretion to close churches in order to save the archdiocese from monetary ruin brought on by the churchs sex abuse crisis.
OMalley has said all along the church closures were brought on by dwindling parish enrollments, fewer priests to serve them and financial shortfalls.
-- NCR Staff
National Catholic Reporter, March 7, 2008
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