Judge Hears Debate on Scituate Church

By Laurel J. Sweet
Boston Herald
June 11, 2015

An attorney for Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley vowed to a state Appeals Court justice yesterday that the Archdiocese of Boston will not sell or tear down St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate while the legal battle to resurrect the parish rages on — if the judge agrees to evict the protesting parishioners now.

“It’s been 10?1?2 years. What is the harm to the archdiocese? Why wouldn’t you give the parishioners their day in court, so to speak?” Judge Judd J. Carhart asked O’Malley’s counsel William J. Dailey, while considering the parishioners’ request to stay the eviction order while their appeal of the eviction is pending.

Dailey replied, “I would suggest there’s absolutely no harm to the (parishioners) if they’re ordered to vacate the property with the understanding we’re not going to do anything with the property. ... We have no intent of selling the property or razing the property or doing anything while the appeal is pending.”

Dedham Superior Court Judge Edward P. Leibensperger one month ago gave the parishioners until last Friday to leave the church that’s been shuttered since 2004 while the Vatican’s Supreme Court decides whether to validate the archdiocese’s claims of financial hardship or reopen St. Frances. But he also stayed his order so the parishioners’ attorney Mary Elizabeth Carmody could argue for lifting it indefinitely while her appeal to have the eviction order overturned is pending.

Carhart took arguments by both sides under advisement.

The appeal of Leibensperger’s eviction order will advance either to a three-judge appellate panel or to the state’s highest court.

Carmody said afterward she will take her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Dailey, who called the parishioners “trespassers ... subject to arrest at any time,” told Carhart their refusal to budge is costing the archdiocese money.

“This is not a dispute about hierarchy issues. The dispute involves property rights,” Dailey said. “We’re maintaining the property right now. We have all of the liability associated with being a property manager. We have all the expenses.”








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