Yes, BCI did see the headline and article in the Boston Globe today, “Unwilling to give up their vigil: Parishioners of 6 churches told to close will begin appeals today.” BCI is as frustrated with this whole ordeal as our readers are, but BCI feels triply frustrated–with the media, for sloppy reporting, with the protesters, for not accepting what has been a foregone conclusion for some time, and with the archdiocese for the mismanagement of the so-called “vigils.”
1. First, the media. The Globe reports, “Today, all six churches plan to send letters to O’Malley, kicking off an appeals process expected to last two to three years.” BCI is curious as to where in the world that time range comes from? Who exactly “expects” the appeals process to last that long? Is it Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes? The Council of Parishes is apparently so incredibly active as an organization that they simply have not even had a minute to update their website in six years, since May of 2005. They list sixteen parishes as “members,” but ones like Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton and St. Anselm in Sudbury came off the closure list years ago while others have long since closed. Does Borre’s “Council of Parishes” actually have bylaws, elect officers, meet as a council, take minutes, make collective decisions, etc., or is now really just a virtual organization that gives Borre a platform of credibility from which to speak and be quoted? (Seems to BCI that we may have more people actively involved with this blog than Borre has with his Council of Parishes, so we should create a “Council of BCI” for added credibility, but we digress…)
And never once has a reporter asked the people who are protesting the parish closures exactly what their involvement was with the former parish before it was suppressed. BCI hears from former parishioners all the time who have moved on to the welcoming parish that those protesting were virtually unknown in the previous parish community before they took up their protest. Why doesn’t someone from the media ask them what they did before in the parish–were they CCD instructors, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, choir members, members of the Knights of Columbus or Rosary Society or Ladies Sodality, involved in pro-life ministry or the St. Vincent De Paul society? Why doesn’t the archdiocese ask them, so they know whether the people they are negotiating with even have the standing to have a say in the matter?
I’m “JUST WONDERING” what are these groups waiting for? They made request after request to Rome and Rome has spoken…..N O! What part of N or O don’t they understand?
Reader, Carolyn, said just today:
“This morning’s news brings the stunning revelation that the people who have been periodically occupying a handful of closed churches (and based on the one near me, it is anything but 24/7) intend to stay and seek yet another appeal which they believe will take 2-3 years. These are people who in most cases didn’t darken the door of their parish church every Sunday but seem to live nearby enough to worry about the property value.”
If these people really want to participate in the full life of the Catholic Church–meaning receiving the sacraments, worshiping at a Catholic Mass (not a prayer service), and involvement in other ministries with a spiritual community, why would they not just drive a few minutes down the road to the welcoming parish and join that community instead of camping out in a closed church building for 6-7 years?
3. The archdiocese. We have described the problem of archdiocesan mismanagement of the protesting churches multiple times, including in “Vigil Vigilance”, “Free Snow Removal and Invisible Vigils” and other posts. Lest this be in any way unclear to readers, let us repeat the word: at the root of the problem is mismanagement.
In 2008, Terry Donilon was quoted in the Boston Globe saying: “These vigils have to end at some point. It’s an issue of fairness to the parishes that are open and struggling to serve people.”
Coincidentally, in 2011, two and a half years later, Terry Donilon was quoted in the Boston Globe today saying: “We’re not looking for a confrontation, but at some point, the vigils are going to have to end.”
Does anyone else notice the uncanny similarity between what Terry Donilon said today and what he said in 2008? As of that time, the archdiocese said they had spent $2.2 million on utilities, insurance, and other building costs at all churches that had been in vigil over the previous four years. Two and a half years have passed. Who knows what that cost is today. When is the archdiocese going to put their money where their mouths are and do something? Nobody knows. Even the biggest brains at 66 Brooks do not know either.
As BCI asked previously, why is it that the archdiocese does not just change the locks and padlock the doors of these facilities when they are empty to end the vigils and stop spending all this money on maintenance that could be used elsewhere? In the beginning, as we have said before, Cardinal Sean’s own instructions to the property management company were that if a building was found unoccupied it should have been locked, and the locksmith called to change the locks. Then Fr. Bryan Hehir, Ann Carter, the PR wizards at Rasky Baerlein said no, that would be a breach of trust, so even those found empty were left alone. That has gone on for seven years. In situations where a church is occupied, people could be permitted to leave, but no one would be allowed to enter. It is very simple.
But alas, nobody has the backbone at 66 Brooks Drive to do what should have been done 6-7 years ago. So, kids “raid the fridge” and sleep-over at the church building “in bedrooms that were once the vestry and the church’s confessional.” Elsewhere, BCI has heard about sleepovers with pizza set out on the altar like a buffet and quilting classes in the sanctuary. BCI is not sure if Peter Borre is still doing his drive-by deliveries of ciboria containing the Blessed Sacrament consecrated by a sympathetic priest or if Eucharist abuses are still tolerated today as they were in the past, when the Blessed Sacrament was sometimes present in the sanctuary during social gatherings.
When exactly will the archdiocese conclude that enough is enough with these vigils? Will they delay for several months longer and make this yet another item for the new Vicar General to take up in the fall?
What do you think?