October 03, 2005

Report could shake church hierarchy

Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

From Scituate to Needham, from Gloucester to Salem, 62 parishes across the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston have been closed and sold to help raise the $85 million it owes to hundreds of victims of clergy sex abuse.

But in six other Boston parishes the lights have stayed on, in open defiance of Archbishop Sean O'Malley.

Angry at the prospect of seeing their parishes closed - and furious at the abuse and cover-ups that forced the closings - parishioners are camping out in their sanctuaries, holding prayer vigils, and even conducting lay-led services with Communion consecrated by sympathetic priests.

"What you are seeing is a profound rejection of the [archbishop's] right to call the shots," activist Ann Doyle of Reading, Mass., said last week.

Could it happen here?

A recent Philadelphia grand jury report, revealing that two previous archbishops had covered up the crimes of as many as 169 abuser priests, could damage the moral authority of local bishops, some observers say.

But others say the traditional conservatism of Philadelphia Catholics suggests that no revolution is likely here, despite an initial public uproar about the revelations.

Posted by kshaw at October 3, 2005 05:59 PM