Vatican: Parishes Can Be Closed for Good of Diocese
Appeals From Boston Parishioners Are Denied
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BOSTON, JULY 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican has confirmed that parishes can be closed for the overall good of a diocese or archdiocese, as in the case of nine parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Boston began in 2004 a process of reconfiguration, citing "declining numbers of clergy, changing Catholic demographics and significant financial pressures" as causes for closing some of its parishes.
Nevertheless, parishioners of some of the parishes appealed the decision, taking their case first to the Congregation for Clergy and then to the Apostolic Signatura.
The archdiocese announced in January 2006 that the Congregation for Clergy had denied the 10 appeals that were presented.
Last Thursday, the archdiocese reported that it has now received decrees from the Apostolic Signatura regarding the appeals of nine closed parishes.
Though the archdiocese has not yet published a translation of the Latin-language decrees, the statement said: "While our initial review of the decrees appears to confirm that the Apostolic Signatura has affirmed the earlier decision of the Congregation of the Clergy regarding these closed parishes we look forward to a formal review of the translated text."
The communiqué added that the archdiocese "continues to seek a peaceful and prayerful end to the vigils."
Some parishioners of five of the parishes in question have maintained a round-the-clock vigil since the closings were announced.
The archdiocese affirmed, "We welcome and encourage all who have appealed the parish closings to join us in our efforts to rebuild and heal our local Church."