Which parishes should close?
Is your parish on the list of churches that may close? If so, why do you think it should or shouldn't be closed?
Read the story: 60 churches will close in Boston archdiocese
Special report: Parish closings
What an interesting collection of responses. To those expressing their sadness, I feel for you. For those arguing that your parish should not have been the one to close -- what a joke you are. To be heartbroken is one thing. But to start comparing sacrement figures and property values or arguing the merits of your church etc., please. If it wasn't your church it would have been someone else's and you are essentially arguing to transfer your pain to a fellow catholic. Are you a better catholic than them? If so, does that mean anything -- Christ died for our sins and you are unwilling to give up your physical building and drive 10 minutes farther every sunday so that hopefully a "weaker" parish will be spared and hopefully be able to flourish and build upon its faith. I understand the pain at not being able to continue growing memories, but it is just a building. You can still pray with the same community in a new building and that community will grow. Or do you only like praying with catholics from your town? And to those who claim to now be leaving the church, I find that pathetic. Your faith was strong enough to endure the endless stream of scandals but yet in the end your faith in God lost out because of the loss of a building -- i don't believe that is what you committed to when you took confirmation. To be sure, the abuse scandal brought this about in a sudden and all-at-once manner. But this was coming for a long time and would have happened, if only more drawn out and delayed. The problem lies in the fact that people give less because the church is something many attend out of ritual or catholic guilt. it is less relevant to daily life to many because it is so firm on issues that they disagree with. less people attend church and they give less. the church can no longer staff the parishes with priests that speak coherant english because few natural born citizens are willing to devote their life and sexual future to a position that holds less respect and connection to the community than it did in the past and than it does today in other religions. The abuse scandal obviously did a tremendous amount of damage. makes you wonder when those who are supposed to enrich your life and protect you from damnation in the afterlife are condemning your children to damnation in there emotional here and now simply because they have a greater allegiance to pedophile co-workers than they do to those they committed to leading. But there are so many other issues that are going to continue to dwindle the parish -- soon to be married people don't want to spend a weekend getting marriage advice from a man who has neither had sex nor does he exist in a world remotely similar to the one they live in. women who endured all the scandals are repeatedly being insulted by cardinal law AND o'malley. abortion, birth control, homosexuals and the list goes on...The church is now relevant to heterosexual men who are unaccepting of homosexuals, don't believe in equality of women, don't believe in birth control or abortion under any circumstances and are willing to risk the emotional lives of their sons by bringing them to church. Fact is that the proportion of people that fit this mold is far less than it used to be and will continue to get smaller. until the church loosens up and focuses more on improving people's lives in a flexible manner and less on perfecting them to fit strict ideals the church will continue to die generation by generation. it used to be that catholics who disagreed would just pick what they liked a la carte. only problem today is that they are finding less and less in that lunch line that they want for lunch.
Although the spirituality isn't for me, a lot of these churches have served as a social cultural center for years. Now it's all ripped away. Why... because of monies needed to pay for past heinous crimes. So where's that arrogant Cardinal Law when even more common people are affected today? Probably spouting the company line in the Vatican or some nice retirement location.
I'd like to know if all those people who have either volunteered their time or donated to the parishes that are closing will get something in return when the properties are sold. I'm sure, with the real estate market as active as it is now, the land will be sold for a LOT more than what was paid originally. One again the church will have made a profit to send back to Vatican City. (hmmm, now there's a parish they might consider closing..... What's it cost to run that palace - I mean place?)
This is truly a tragedy for all in the Archdiosece of Boston. However, when I see Fr. Steve Josoma being such a vigilante, I am reminded of how he was chased out of St. Brendans. Fr. Steve verbally attacked and threatened a group of parishoners for whom he blamed for his demise. Telling one woman she would "rue the day". In fact, Fr. Steve Josoma performed a homosexual marriage in the church even though it was against the doctrine of the Catholic Church. That is the reason he was told to leave St. Brendan's and never come back. Fr. Ron Coyne was guilty by association. Fr. Josoma managed to alienate several parishoners and his friend, Fr. Bob Bowers wrote scathing letters to several parishoners in St. Brendans. So, please do not quote Fr. Josoma and Fr. Coyne, they went against the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
If changing demographics are the cause of reduced attendance, I could understand the need for some of the church closings. However, I think the root cause of reduced attendance is something else. What is most distressing, is the lack of church leadership here and in Rome to get to the root causes and provide leadership in turning the fall off in attendance around. The church needs to put in place a massive outreach program before it's too late.
When we found out that our church, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton was on the list to be closed we were shocked and saddened. This turned to anger when we found out that our daughter parish, St. Philip Neri was to stay open. Mary Immaculate has a long rich history of service to Newton Upper Falls. It is the only church on the south side of Newton. Mary Immaculate is the Mother church for Newton and Needham. It is a historic building and has the most beautiful stained glass windows. I found Bishop Sean's justification for the closings most troubling and although he stated that none of the funding will go to pay off the abuse settlements, I have to believe that it is indirectly. It is a sad day that will not strengthen the archdiocese but rather drive more people away from the church in droves.
If your Parish has been affected by the closure list, do not take it sitting down! A Parish is for the people who worship God for their own specific reasons. A community of people that come together for a common cause. You should not be punished for the acts of others that lead to this unfair situation. If you truly care about your church, you will not let the Archdiocese of Boston make these decisions. The Catholic Church is not just about worshiping a religion, it is a business! The Vatican should have stepped up to the plate with $$ in order to avoid this process. I am sure that there are certain Parishs that do not have enough funding from their members and these would have been closed at some point in the future. If you truly care about your closed Parish, as a community formulate a plan, and take back what belongs to the people of the community and your Parish. Make it happen!
The hierarchy in Boston had no regard for the Laity when it came down to covering up the sexual abuse of children and teens. Why should they have any regard for the Laity when it comes down to deciding whether or not to close a particular church? Afterall, the Church can claim in both cases that they had the Laity's best interests at heart, who in the eyes of the Church, are just ignorant children or "Pay, Pray and Obey Catholics," who need to have the priests, bishops and cardinal do their thinking for them. The Laity brought the Archdiocese of Boston to its knees when they refused to financially support any agenda until Cardinal Law was removed. The Laity may need to show the archdiocese that it has the financial power to dictate the terms of the archdiocese's existence and not visa-versa.
I think it is a sad day for the church. It is not just closing down parishes, it is relocating people. I know people in parishes that have closed and now they don't even go to church. Through all that has happened with everything within the chruch, we still went to mass. I will not give anything to the church, I will give to the weekly collection, but nothing more. I think it is time we break away from the Pope, and start a new American Church. I have always followed church doctrine, but now they have pushed the followers out of their homes. My grandparents built the church, and my parents continued and my family, they are taking away, my place. when I am down in the dumps, I go and seat and think and talk to god, now where do I go?
When I was a kid (um, 15 years ago), I remember reading about Leonard Nimoy's old Temple in the North End, where he got the idea for the "Live well and Prosper" sign from the inscription depicting the Cohanim (if I remember right). It made me look up the North End, which I'd vaguely heard about. I was so sad when I read the individual stories. Its a hard thing when a place sacred to a person, whether that is a home, church, or natural place, is lost. Though this is often a side effect of progress, for many of us here have made roots here, caring for parents and our communities, and a neighborhood parish is a place that sustains us and keeps up our strength. Over the past decade, I've encountered a lot of soul-sucking hate and lost family and friends, and I would be too beaten down to work as hard as I do if I didn't have the support of a great parish, 2 open-minded priest's who fight to bring the Church into the 21st century, and the and a community of people that embrace our diversity. I am Catholic, but our church is special. If it was closed, I'd be some combo of Baptist/Unitarian/Catholic, and it would take awhile to find a community to move to. I feel badly for others who have lost their anchors. As I was working to keep our parish open, I realized our gain would potentially be another's loss. As with the North End community, or anybody who has lost a place their spirit called home, I am truly sorry.