The round-the-clock 11-year long vigil of protesters from Scituate, Massachusetts must come to an end.
The former parishioners of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Church situated in Scituate, Massachusetts started their day and night vigil in October 2004 when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston decided that the church be desecrated and closed.
Parishioners saw this as an act of defiance. They love their church on the Massachusetts seacoast and are willing to go great lengths to keep it part of their spiritual heritage.
Such great lengths that for the past eleven years, they have been performing Sunday mass weekly and protected the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church from being fully closed by the Archdiocese.
Their actions proved uncomfortable for the Roman Catholic Church who took the protesters to court. They had lost a previous appeal before a Vatican high court, but kept their ground nonetheless.
Now, after the Norfolk Superior Court hearings and a one-day trial, Judge Edward Leibensperger decided that the title of property for the church belongs to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and the parish protesters are in fact trespassing.
Therefore, they received the order to evacuate by May 29th or suffer legal consequences. Mary Elizabeth Carmody, an attorney representing the group stated that the protesters will appeal the decision of the Judge and are looking for a suspension of the order until a decision by the Massachusetts Appeals Court is issued.
They have solid grounds on which to base their appeal. Judge Leisbensperger seems to not have addressed all issue at hand, including that of church law, leading the former parishioners to question his order.
The group from Scituate is one of six Boston-area groups that took over their churches to prevent them from being closed. The closure ordered came in 2004 for all of them as the Archdiocese commented that attendance was falling, financial problems ensued and the churches were not sustainable any more and priests were nowhere to be found.
In response, parishioners believe that the real reasoning behind the closure is indeed tied to financial problems, but those inferred by clergy sex-abuse settlements.
The protesters stance is admirable. For eleven years, they have kept their spiritual establishment alive, despite it having been desecrated by the Roman Catholic Church.
Now, they wait and see how the law rolls out its arguments.
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