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Parishioners Refuse To Allow Scituate Church To Close

SCITUATE (CBS) - They refuse to leave. Despite a plea from Cardinal Sean O'Malley, members of St. Frances in Scituate vow they won't quit the round-the-clock vigil they've kept for nearly a decade.

"The people who should be in jail right now are the convicted pedophile priests, not the faithful of St. Frances Cabrini," says Maryellen Rogers. "So Cardinal Sean, Come and meet us in good faith. Have open and honest dialogue, and don't use an eight-and-a-half by 11 piece of paper to do your shepherding."

She's referring to a letter the Cardinal sent to the group after they lost an appeal to the Vatican's highest court last month. It urges members to accept the ruling, and leave the building the Church tried to close and sell in 2004 in the wake of the priest abuse scandal. The letter says, "A refusal to accept the judgment of the church in this matter would be contrary to the purpose for which you sought recourse."

The group held a meeting Sunday morning, saying they have one last prayer to "appeal the appeal." They say they have new information that shows inconsistencies in the financial records of the Boston Archdiocese.

"The Cardinal can't go around saying on the one hand, 'We're now in financially great shape,' but on the other hand, 'I'm going to keep closing churches.' Those two things don't go together under Cannon law," says advocate Peter Borre.

When leaders asked about 50 people in the pews if they wanted to keep fighting, the show of hands was unanimous.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Parishioners Refuse To Allow Scituate Church To Close
Some called Cardinal O'Malley's recent letter insulting.

"He's saying, 'Oh come on. Don't you understand the time is now? Leave now,'" says Mary Dean. "Why would he think we would do that?"

Archdiocese spokesperson Terry Donilon responded Sunday. "We continue to work towards a peaceful and prayerful resolution to the vigil."


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