WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Former parishioners trying to prevent the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester from selling a closed church have been dealt a setback by the Vatican.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy last week denied an appeal by the Mount Carmel Preservation Society to stop the merger of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church with another parish.

The church was closed last year when the diocese determined needed repairs were too expensive.

The Vatican's decision opened the door for Bishop Robert McManus to deconsecrate Mount Carmel, clearing the way for its sale. It's expected to fetch millions of dollars.

The president of the parishioners' group said the latest developments have "angered and sickened" him.

A diocese spokesman says there is one more possible appeal to the Vatican.

___

Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com