Here’s yet another op-ed in the Boston Globe criticizing the Archdiocese of Boston for closing parishes. Ironically, the photo used to illustrate the story is of the closing parish’s altar in 1949, in all its glory. That’s probably about when this inner-city parish was last full of families. That’s because this is Immaculate Conception Church in Boston’s South End, also known as the Jesuit Urban Center, which is a gay-magnet church and which was “wreck-ovated” not long ago in a disaster of modernism.
Unfortunately, the perspective in this column, like in too many other defenses of closing urban parishes, is not that of parish life and worship, but of cultural and architectural continuity.
With the imminent closing and sale of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the South End comes yet another stage in the slow and agonizing cultural suicide of the Catholic Church in Boston. Each church closing means an irreparable loss of history, continuity, and culture, whether it be the closing of a feisty and proud ethnic parish, like the South End’s Holy Trinity, the closing of beloved neighborhood churches, often of some architectural distinction, such as Blessed Sacrament in Jamaica Plain, or the closing of a rare and important center of high culture and dedicated urban ministry like the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
The whole column lists the artistic and architectural significance of the church, the fact that it used to be “fashionable and elegant” with guest preachers and famous musicians. We are told of the former rector who ensured that there were enough funds to maintain the church. It’s not until halfway through the column that we hear of any type of service provided by the parish in the past. There’s certainly nothing about worship and community life.
The secret to keep your parish from closing