RELIGION

Judge hears arguments in case of protesters occupying closed church for nearly 11 years

A Massachusetts appeals judge is weighing whether to end a nearly 11-year standoff between parishioners illegally occupying a Catholic church and the Archdiocese of Boston.

Judge Judd Carhart heard arguments Wednesday morning from the archdiocese and the protest group, the Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini.

The protesters want to remain in the church in Scituate, south of Boston, while they appeal a lower court ruling that ordered them to vacate earlier this month.

In a brief hearing packed with their supporters, the group argued that the lower court judge made "several" and "consistent" legal errors in reaching his decision.

The archdiocese opposed the request, asserting their rights as property owners and the cost of maintaining the building since it's been illegally occupied since 2004.

Carhart did not immediately rule.