Breakaway Catholic church planned by closed parish not rare

BOSTON (AP) — A decision by parishioners who have occupied a closed Roman Catholic church near Boston since 2004 to start an independent church is not that unusual.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear a last-ditch appeal from parishioners of St. Frances X. Cabrini church in Scituate, south of Boston. The Archdiocese of Boston ordered the church closed nearly 12 years ago, but parishioners have held a continuous vigil there since then.

Parishioners have formed their own Catholic worship communities for years in cities around the country, including in Cleveland; Rochester, New York; and St. Louis.

Breakaway Catholic churches are nothing new. But the church hierarchy does not approve of them. Experts say priests who celebrate Mass at such churches risk punishment, including losing their authority to give sacraments.

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