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Boston Archdiocese announces parish closures

Almost a fifth of parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston will close in a restructuring caused partly by declining church attendance and financial problems exacerbated by a clergy sex abuse crisis.

In what may be the biggest loss of parishes by an American Catholic diocese at one time, 70 of the archdiocese's 357 parishes will close by the end of the year. There will be five new parishes, making a net loss of 65.

"I wish there were some way that all of these wonderful houses of life and prayer could remain open and alive and full," Archbishop Sean O'Malley (pictured) said on Tuesday. "But there is not."

Catholic parishes are being closed around the country, as dioceses struggle with a shortage of priests, changing demographics and deteriorating church buildings.

The pain of the parish closures is especially sharp in Boston, coming on the heels of the long and harrowing sexual abuse scandal that forced Cardinal Bernard Law to resign in late 2002 and led to the removal of at least 25 priests amid hundreds of allegations of abuse.

Catholics to close one-fifth of Boston parishes (Sydney Morning Herald 27/5/04)

Archdiocese of Boston | Parish Reconfiguration
Boston Church Announces Parish Closures (The Guardian/Associated Press 26/5/04)
Boston Losing 65 of Its 357 Parishes (Zenit 25/5/04)
Archdiocese announces that 65 parishes, 60 churches will close (Associated Press/Boston Globe 25/5/04)
Archbishop O'Malley announces closing of 70 Boston parishes
Healthy church among those to be closed ( 26/5/04)
The Forum: Boston's parish closings: recognizing an unhappy reality (Catholic World News 26/5/04)
Boston archdiocese announces 60 parishes to close (Catholic World News 26/5/04)
10 parishes take hand in restructuring (Catholic New World)
Part II - The Plan of Reconfiguration (Boston Globe)

27 May 2004