Boston, Mass., Mar 7, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The Archdiocese of Boston may close as many as 75 of its 357 parishes in order to cope with a $4-million deficit and recent demographic shifts, reported Bloomberg March 6.
The recommendations to close certain churches as well as schools were made by a panel of pastors and lay Catholics. The final list will be approved by Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley and will be made public in May. If all 75 churches close, it would be the largest church closure in a U.S. diocese.
The announcement follows an $85-million settlement that the archdiocese reached in the fall with victims of sexual abuse by diocesan priests. The archdiocese has already borrowed $135 million in the last year to avoid bankruptcy. In addition, Cardinal Bernard Law's former residence has been put up for sale, and the cathedral and the seminary are being used as collateral on bridge loans to pay for part of the settlement.
But part of the deficit also comes from trying to keep underused parishes and schools open.