Switching dioceses, but it’s not a flood

Switching dioceses, but it’s not a flood

Parishioners at the first closed Boston parish have decided to “leave” the archdiocese. They live in Marlborough, which is on the border with the Diocese of Worcester, and so have decided to become members of that diocese. That’s fine. It’s still the Catholic Church. But the attitude is troublesome with people talking about being “exiled” from their church and community, and that it wasn’t about the buildings. If that’s so, then why is it so difficult to switch to another local parish in the archdiocese? They could all stay together then.

It’s also important to note that we’re talking about 80 families. In Protestant terms, that’s a normal-sized parish, but in Catholic terms, especially around here, that’s not even one Mass at a regular parish. Every Catholic is important, but let’s keep things in perspective: this isn’t exactly a rush for the exits by disgruntled Boston Catholics, despite the Boston Globe‘s coverage of it.

  • No, Dom, it’s not about the buildings. But they do make it easier for a parish to assemble. A “parish” is not a building, but a territory, at least by definition. If a “parish-in-exile” were to continue in a fashion similar to, say a Catholic fraternal society, with a meeting hall and such, it would maintain the nucleus of the community until such time as the powers-that-be come to their senses. Until then, such a group could form a corporation, buy up the property, and use it for said purpose.

    If only up to a point.

    It’s either that or convert it to high-priced condos.


  • But it wouldn’t be a parish. A parish, by definition, has a certain relationship with the bishop and the local Church, of a kind which a fraternal society does not have. So, by definition, a group of parishioners that form a separate corporation could be a pious association, but they have a deficient relationship with the Church.