Saturday, August 13, 2005

Boston Cash Party, Day 3

From the Globe:

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?



Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Just down the road a piece from Presentation is the now-under-occupation parish of Saint James the Greater, on the very lucrative (real-estate wise) Route 9, a parish born in the post-WW II boom, to straddle and serve two towns Natick/Wellesley.

THAT parish is being occupied because, among other reasons, the land was given by a family to the Archdiocese for a church to be built there and named for their father, James.

Now closed, the Archdiocese (obviously) wants to sell this incredible piece of real estate.

Small hitch: family still around.

13/8/05 12:56  
Blogger pazdziernik said...

A gift is a gift or it's not a gift at all. The family that gives a
gift or whatever sort, from a chalice, set of albs, land or money and so forth certainly wants their gift to be used for the intended purpose. Once the gift is given it is no longer theirs. This is the nature of a gift.

Nearly all parishes were built by the local communities and given as gifts to the Local Church to build the kingdom of Christ. The Catholic Church is organized into dioceses. A diocese is a single local Church made up of different parishes. They are local parishes of the diocese. The local dioceses are not a federation of local churches. Protestant communities are organized into federations, mostly independent.

Canon Law provides for what happens to assets of mergers, supressions, and new parishes. All three types are included in the Archdiocese of Boston's reconfiguration plans. Rather than focus on assets, the parishioners and bloggers and others should focus on the lack of Faith which is the cause of the reconfiguration plan.

13/8/05 23:32  
Blogger vagans said...

I don't see that there's such a problem. From the Vatican pronouncement it sounds like the gift and other assets are held in trust for the parishioners as a matter of canon law. Massachusetts law could view that as a matter of the internal operation of the Church and say that for its purposes they belong to the diocese because the parish is not a separate entity.

14/8/05 07:03  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

One consistent factor of Catholicism across all ages and situations: it's about the money, folks; it's ALWAYS about the money!

15/8/05 14:17  

Post a Comment

<< Home