It’s a spreading trend. Local towns are trying to foist tax bills on the Archdiocese of Boston for their closed churches. Apparently tax boards have given themselves the authority to determine when a house of worship is no longer covered under the First Amendment. My guess is if they push this and it ends up in the courts, the cities and towns will lose. The question is whether the archdiocese will cave quickly to get them off their backs or will stand and fight.
If they cave, you can bet the rest of the cities and towns where the 65 or so closed parishes are sitting will follow suit (less those properties that have already changed hands). If they stand and fight, it will drag out longer, but it may push the archdiocese to unload the properties even quicker. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the local government of a parish that’s still protesting sends a big tax bill to the archdiocese, like St. Frances parish in Scituate. My guess is that the patience of the archdiocese will run out quickly, the constables will show up to evict the trespassers, and the property will be sold off immediately.
Then we can tell the outraged protesters to go ask their local politicians about the sudden change.