BOSTON—Pope Benedict XVI has rejected an appeal from a group of Boston-area parishioners who asked him to reverse the seven-year-old decision to close their churches.
The pope's decision was relayed in a December letter to Peter Borre, head of the Council of Parishes, which sent the last-ditch appeal in October. In the letter, top Vatican diplomat Archbishop Fernando Filoni says the pope remembered Borre's group in prayer "in these difficult times."
Borre said he was heartened by the expression of sympathy, which he said might help as his group works to reopen the closed churches as Catholic places of worship, not full parishes.
Five of the closed churches remain occupied in protest.
Spokesman Terry Donilon said the churches would remain closed, and the archdiocese was still seeking a peaceful end to the vigils.