Boston Cash Party, Day 3
Bernadine A. Clark, known to all as Bunny, lived across the street from her beloved Catholic parish her whole life, and when she died, she left that parish $2,500.
But by the time Clark died last Christmas Day, Our Lady of the Presentation Church in Brighton had been closed for four months, among the first of 62 parishes shuttered over the last year by Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley.
Now Clark's family is in a dispute with the archdiocese over what to do with her bequest. An archdiocesan attorney has asserted, in a letter to Clark's family's lawyer, that because the parish was closed the money now belongs to the archdiocese, like all assets of closed parishes....The Clark family contacted the Globe this week after reading about the archdiocese's acknowledgment that the Vatican has informed church officials that it believes the cash and real estate of parishes are held in trust for the benefit of parishioners and cannot simply be taken by the archdiocese when parishes close....
But the archdiocese's lawyer, Wilson D. Rogers Jr., sent a letter last week to the estate's lawyer, declaring that parishes do not have independent legal status and that ''Archbishop O'Malley, as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, is charged by church law with seeing that bequests to all parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston are handled in such a manner as to assure that the bequest of the deceased is fulfilled in all respects."
This is getting so messy -- brazen, even -- it's turning into a disaster. Just when you thought it was safe, right? But who's gonna clean it up?