Parishioners Evicted from Church

Defiant parishioners of Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, have been escorted by police from the church they occupied for 13 months.

Worcester diocesan Bishop Timothy Harrington, 74, had ordered the brick church closed last year because of structural safety concerns. But 45 churchgoers, many of them elderly, began around-the-clock occupation of Saint Joseph’s on May 25, 1992. They slept in sleeping bags on pews and on air mattresses on floors.

They also kept holding services, although Harrington never responded to weekly pleas to provide a priest to say Mass. Harrington had ordered the French Canadian church to merge with another one about a mile away, saying $700,000 in needed plaster and brick repairs at Saint Joseph’s would be too costly. Parishioners had raised more than $600,000 in pledges for repairs, but Harrington said he was “reluctant to impoverish the people of Saint Joseph with a debt I did not feel you could handle.”

The issue came to a head June 22 when a Superior Court judge agreed with Harrington and found the church members in contempt of court.

Anti-Gay Rights Measures Pass

Two cities and four counties in Oregon passed antihomosexual-rights initiatives in June. The measures—some approved by as much as a 3-to-1 margin—prohibit local governments from promoting homosexuality and bar laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination.

The measures were part of a new strategy by the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA), which failed last year to win statewide approval of a more strongly worded initiative, Proposition 9. “All the editorial pages are still against us—big time,” says Lon Mabon, the organization’s director.

The alliance is targeting ...

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