Holding out to the bitter end

Holding out to the bitter end

Another week, another rose-colored look at people holding a sit-in at a closed parish by the Boston Globe. Two weeks ago, it was St. Frances Cabrini in Scituate, Mass., and this week it’s Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in East Boston. You will recall this parish as the one with the very elderly Italian parishioners who have accused the Archdiocese of Boston of “ethnic cleansing.” They were able to convince an Italian TV network to broadcast a satellite interview with them in an attempt to sway the Vatican in their favor. They also claimed that a statue of Our Lady in the church toppled over “miraculously” during the final Mass, purportedly as a sign that she wanted the parish to stay open. I spent some time last year and before that as well detailing why this was the logical parish to be closed as well as the irrational tactics used to keep it open. As usual, the article is full of half-truths:

But for more than two years, no priest has stood at the altar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel , one of 67 parishes shut down by the Archdiocese of Boston since 2004. Defiantly, stalwart parishioners at this 1905 Italian church—like those at nine other area parishes—refused to leave when officials came to lock the doors. They’ve faithfully guarded their building, they say, with little contact from church leaders.

Parishioners say they still want to meet with Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley. They want to strike a deal that will bring them a priest. But after a year of asking for a sit-down, a compromise looks unlikely.

This is a lie. In fact, on more than one occasion the archdiocese has sat down with them and offered them a compromise that would keep the church open, but not as an independent parish. In June 2005, they were told the church would stay open as a chapel of nearby Sacred Heart parish with weddings, funerals, baptisms, two weekday Masses, and one Saturday and two Sunday Masses. That’s a very generous offer, even more generous than the one they got in December 2004. But it still wasn’t good enough because the Sunday Mass times were not convenient for them: 7:30 am and 1 pm, instead of mid-morning.

Good priests, bad priests

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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