Catholics Lament Churches Becoming Condos
Thursday, June 24, 2004
BOSTON — Boston Catholics grieving the loss of 65 diocesan churches are even more downhearted to learn that their former places of worship are being sold as luxury condominiums.
The Archdiocese of Boston last month announced it would sell off some of its churches in order to balance the budget.
Bernie McFarland and his father bought St. Peter and Paul's Church, one of the most venerable in Boston, to turn it into high-priced condos.
"We retained as much of the interior as we could to make a beautiful living space," said McFarland.
With the original plaster work, stained glass windows, arches, moldings and even the paint on the ceiling, these condos are selling for between $300,000 and $1 million.
Ray Flynn, once the mayor of Boston and later ambassador to the Vatican, is a devout Catholic, and said he's so stunned that his neighborhood church has a new identity, he forgets and crosses himself when he drives by.
"I'm sitting next to my wife and she says, 'Ray, you don't have to bless yourself. It's no longer a consecrated Catholic Church. It's luxury condominiums.' But it's hard for many of us to accept that," said Flynn.
"If I see a condominium up in place of this beautiful church, it would be a travesty," said another parishioner.
No one from the Archdiocese was available for an interview, but a spokesman told Fox News leaders hate to see a church being used for anything other than worship.
In New York, one church built in 1840 became a disco in the 1980s.
Others across the country have been torn down. Nevertheless, sale to a real-estate developer, even one who'll preserve religious relics, is little comfort for many Catholics.