Boston Acknowledges Mistakes in 2004 Closings
In mid- November the Archdiocese of Boston published self-critical reports from a lay panel chosen by Cardinal Sean O’Malley. The panel reviewed the handling of $66 million garnered by the archdiocese since 2004 through the sale of closed church buildings and the seizure of the treasuries of some closed parishes. Until a year ago, the report said, the archdiocese was characterized by “a culture with excessive concern that outsiders not be permitted knowledge of church policies and business affairs.”
It also criticized financial policies that allowed funds from contested parish closings to go to nearby parishes, while the funds from uncontested closings were taken for use by archdiocesan central administration. Another report sharply criticized the archdiocese’s handling of the sale of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, in East Boston. A year ago, a photographer purchased the Church for $850,000, only to sell it three weeks later to an evangelical congregation for $2.65 million.
But the report also praised recent steps toward financial transparency, including “the most complete financial disclosure of any diocese in the United States.” The committee said it perceived a “new policy of openness” after O'Malley last year brought in the Rev. Richard P. Erikson to replace Bishop Richard Lennon as the archdiocese's vicar general, and banking executive James P. McDonough to replace David Smith as chancellor. The full report is available at: