Some Churches No Longer Sacred? The Lowell Connection

The MetroDesk of the Boston Globe has a Michael Paulson story about the next step planned by the Achdiocese of Boston in dealing with seven closed parishes. These parishes have lost a final appeal with the Vatican to have them reopened. Included in the seven – is the Lowell Parish of  St. Jeanne d’ Arc – which has not like some of the other church – been occupied by parishioners.  Consideration is now focused on the sale or other use of these parish properties but the first step would be a delcaration that they are no longer sacred and thus available for “profane use.” The Archdiocese will seek public input during this process. The parishes and their supporters continue their push back at the Vatican by protesting the “profane use” designation.

In a first step toward ending its long struggle over parish closings, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston today announced that it will solicit public comment on a plan to remove the sacred standing of seven closed churches, a change that under canon law would allow the buildings to be sold for other uses.

The churches, in East Boston, Everett, Lowell, Quincy, Revere, Scituate and Wellesley, have been in limbo for years, since the archdiocese ordered them closed and angry parishioners objected. Four of the parishes are occupied by protesters.

In response to appeals from parishioners, the Vatican has upheld the archdiocese’s decision to close the parishes. But the parishioners are now asking the Vatican to intervene to prevent the archdiocese from declaring the church buildings no longer sacred — a formal process the church calls “relegation to profane use.”

An Associated Press story noted this comment from Cardinal Sean O’Malley:

“I have asked that the former parishioners … be provided the opportunity to share their thoughts with me,” O’Malley wrote. This “consultation” begins Friday and ends March 18. Parishioners can give their views online or by mailing in a form.

Read the full Globe  article here and the AP story here.

Stay tuned as this continuing internecine dispute plays out a little bit longer. (My bolds)