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Catholic League rips Boston referendum proposal

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The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has denounced a proposal by members of the Boston City Council to include a referendum question concerning the archdiocese’s handling of parish closings on the Nov. 8 citywide ballot.

Brighton Councilor Jerry P. McDermott, who is leading the effort, has said he believes that the archdiocese has let down parishioners and residents of the city in its handling church and school closings. The archdiocese has closed 62 parishes during the reconfiguration process over the past year, several of them in Boston.

The proposed ballot question would read: “Do you agree that, to date, the Archdiocese of Boston has failed to work effectively with Boston’s neighborhoods to mitigate the impacts of Catholic parish and school closings on neighborhood services; and that in the future the Archdiocese of Boston should be strongly urged to meet its institutional obligations to all of Boston’s citizens, to neighbors, and to the city’s agencies by cooperating before-the-fact, diligently and in good faith, for the difficult transitions?”

Catholic League president William Donohue blasted the proposal in a July 19 statement.

"The real purpose of this measure is to intimidate the Archdiocese of Boston by having an arm of the state whip the public into a frenzy about matters they have no constitutional business sticking their noses into," Donohue said.

“It not only smacks of total disrespect for the principle of separation of church and state, it smacks of bias: If the goal is public accountability of private organizations, why focus exclusively on the Catholic Church?” Donohue continued.

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