Archdiocese Moves Out of the City

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The Archdioceses of Boston is moving it's headquarters out of the city.

It announced yesterday it's selling land and buildings it owns in Brighton to Boston College for $65 million, and is moving to an office park in Braintree.

WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov has the story.TEXT OF STORY

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: At one time, the grand residence of the Cardinal and the sixty acre estate that made up the chancery symbolized the power and influence of the Catholic Church in Boston. Since the clergy sexual abuse scandal in 2002 , that power has waned. Now in a continuing attempt to balance it's books, the archdioceses is moving it's administrative headquarters out of Boston and into an office building in Braintree owned by a prominent Catholic donor.

Father Richard Erikson, administrator to Cardinal Sean O'Malley explains the move.


RICHARD ERIKSON: What's behind the move is hope for the future for the arch. The hope that a new site in Braintree with great faculties and access for all those that we serve will help us be more effective. It will help us get our own house in order so that we can better serve the archdiocese.

BRADY-MYEROV: The archdiocese has faced budget deficits for the past 6 years and its clergy pension fund is underfunded by between $80 to 100 million. Boston College which bought the Cardinal's residence and other buildings three years ago for almost a hundred million dollars said it's pleased it will have more room to expand. Jack Dunn is the spokesman for BC.

JACK DUNN: A, it helps us to meet our space needs in terms of administration and academic needs and I think it helps the archdiocese to improve their financial situation so it appears to be a win win for all in involved.

BRADY-MYEROV: BC plans to put administrative offices, a baseball field and dorms on the property. Boston's mayor objects to the headquarters leaving the city, but father Erikson says the move doesn't mean it is abandoning Catholics in Boston.

ERIKSON: What we're moving is our central administration outside city of Boston but we're not moving services outside city of Boston so its going to help us be better and more effective in serving Boston.

BRADY-MYEROV: Some praise the move, including the lay group Voice of the Faithful which as called for more financial accountability from the church. John Moynihan is the spokesman.

JOHN MOYNIHAN: we feel the arch seems to be in act of good stewardship. We feel it will benefit entire Boston catholic community. We feel it will provide needed finances to arch as well as strengthening Boston College.

BRADY-MYEROV: Peter Borre, a co-founder of the Council of Parishes, which is fighting the closure of churches says the sale and move to Braintree is a sign the archdiocese cannot get its financial house in order.

PETER BORRE: I see this as a temporary fix. Look they continue to sell off the family silver. First it was parishes now it's the headquarters. The hospital system is going, the schools are going to be downsized, somehow. There is some deeper issue within this arch which cannot be remedied and the pressure is financial.

BRADY-MYEROV: The sale must be approved by the Vatican. If all goes as planned the headquarters will move in July 2008, but St. John's Seminary will stay in Brighton. And Cardinal Sean O'Malley will remain in residence at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.

For WBUR I'm Monica Brady-Myerov

This program aired on May 25, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.