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Boston says show me the money.

BOSTON -- The Vatican has ruled that the Archdiocese of Boston cannot claim the assets of the 62 parishes it closed in a massive reorganization. Canon law dictates that the parishes' pastors must voluntarily sign over the assets to the archdiocese.

"When all is said and done, I feel confident that what we've set out to do will be achieved, regardless of what canons we have to invoke," Archbishop Sean O'Malley told The Boston Globe.

The archdiocese says its goal is to distribute the funds to parishes most in need of financial help. But critics say that laypeople, who have supported their parishes over the years, have a right to be part of the decision-making.

"We believe the process was seriously flawed, and the laity has a right to provide greater input into closure decisions and how the assets of closed parishes are to be used," said Ray Joyce, executive director of the Boston-based Voice of the Faithful. VOTF encourages parishes slated for closure to file a formal appeal to the Vatican in order to protect their rights and assets. The Vatican ruling applies only to eight parishes, all of which formally appealed their closings.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts lawmakers are considering legislation that would require the archdiocese and all other religious organizations in the state to open their financial records--including a list of all real estate holdings--to the public.
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Title Annotation:NEWS: signs of the times
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXVA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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