High-profile parish closings are adding momentum to the campaign. In Boston, four of the seven congregations refusing to accept closure by Archbishop Sean O'Malley asked him for a priest for Easter Mass. He said yes to two, but turned down Friends of Star of the Sea Church in Quincy and Sacred Heart church in Natick. These two congregations then invited married priest members of CITI (Celibacy Is The Issue) to preside, citing canon law saying when celibate clergy are unavailable, married priests can be utilized. Perhaps because the Quincy Mass was planned in a Protestant church, O'Malley relented and sent his own priest to say Mass in a public school. But Sacred Heart's outdoor liturgy in a local park had the services of two CITI married priests.
In lengthy Boston Globe coverage, a spokesperson for a coalition of parishes resisting closure predicted that other congregations would now call upon married priests. CITI Ministries (www.rentapriest.com) is happy to oblige. Jesuit author and theologian William Clark said the Boston situation could move the idea of reactivating married priests from a fringe movement to center stage.