Boston Priests to Consider Local Church Closures

( [email protected] ) Nov 24, 2003 11:28 AM EST

BOSTON – Catholic priests in the Boston diocese will gather on Dec. 6 to discuss diminishing funds, falling congregations and consequent closures of parishes.

"There's been speculation about parish closings and about the need to allocate resources, and certainly those things will be discussed," said Rev Christopher Coyne, spokesman for Boston’s Archbishop, Sean P. O’Malley.

According to Coyne, no announcement about particular parish closings would be made at the meeting because no decisions on the number of parishes or even which parishes to close had yet been made.

O’Malley’s predecessor, Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned last year, closed nearly 50 parishes in the region following the explosive clergy sex-scandals beginning in 1998. Though Law assured church leaders the era of closings has ended, the recession and the settlements for the sex abuse crises have caused financial problems for the church.

Since his inception, O’Malley has struggled to secure the diocese financially; individual parishes were not able to be subsidized by the central church because of continuing court and settlement costs, falling attendants and declining offering.