High court rules in tax dispute involving Catholic shrine


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled in a property tax dispute involving a Roman Catholic shrine that attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year.

The Supreme Judicial Court said Wednesday that the Attleboro Board of Assessors should not have taxed the welcome center and a maintenance facility at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette. The shrine argued the buildings were covered by a religious exemption in the state constitution.

The justices, however, said the board properly assessed taxes on land the shrine leased for a wildlife sanctuary and a battered women’s home.

Known for its spectacular holiday lights display, the shrine is affiliated with the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, who believe the Virgin Mary appeared to two children in a French village in 1846.

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