Dozens of Boston Catholic churches closed

May 25, 2004 at 4:16 PM

BOSTON, May 25 (UPI) -- A total of 60 churches will be closed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, church officials announced Tuesday.

The 357-parish archdiocese undertook a massive reconfiguration because of a decline in the number of parishioners and their movement from cities to suburbs, a declining the number of priests and financial problems. The last point indicates a lag in the amount of money given the church, particularly since the reports of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Boston area.

Church officials said they were closing 70 parishes but creating five new ones. Sixty churches will be closed but no date for the closings has been determined.

"Over one-third of our parishes are operating in the red," Archbishop Sean O'Malley said in a release. "The deterioration of our parish buildings and churches and the aging clergy have forced us to make the hard decision that we have announced today."

O'Malley said 130 pastors are older than 70 and its buildings in the city of Boston alone need more than $100 million in repairs.

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