Tuesday, August 02, 2005

You are the Church... For Legal Purposes Only

CWNews may have posted this, but it's something so revolutionary in the legal realm that it deserves a good spreading.
A US bankruptcy court judge in Oregon has certified 389,000 Catholic parishioners as defendants in a case brought by the Archdiocese of Portland.

In an extremely rare legal maneuver, Judge Elizabeth Perris accepted the suggestion that all Catholics in the archdiocese should be included as defendants, in order to settle the key issue in the bankruptcy proceedings: whether the assets of the parishes in Portland belong to the archdiocese or to the individual parishes and parishioners.

Stories like this drive me batty, because it just shows the worst hypocritical tendencies of the bishops. When everything's hunky-dory, collections are up and the boys are all behaving themselves, they are the church and -- a la That Fabe, Chainsaw, et. al. -- they take all the credit for it, even stiffing the priests who do all the legwork.

And then a scandal hits. All of a sudden, Bishop alone isn't the church anymore -- conveniently enough, the church is everyone... who are now responsible to pick up the damage caused by the hubris of the few.

So Christian, right?

The archdiocese seemed to welcome the judgment making all its faithful defendants, because it means the court sees PDX as a "corporation aggregate" structure, therefore the parishes and other non-chancery properties can't be sold to pay for settlements. Some justice that is.

Look, if the people are going to be considered the church, it can't just be when the ship is sinking and the bosses need collateral cover. It has to be a consistent, substantive effort, else it's just another menu item in the cafeteria.



Blogger Duarte said...

The bishops are not solely the Church, neither are the laity. The Church is first and foremost, Mystery. This is the problem when analysis best suited for the political realm is meted out in the supernatural realm.

2/8/05 15:43  
Blogger Disgusted in DC said...

In some dioceses, the parishes are unincorporated divisions of the Archdiocesan corporation sole. Other dioceses are structured differently: the parishes have their own separate corporate existence and have their own set of trustees. How is Spokane structured? If the former, the diocese has a difficult, though hardly impossible argument. If the latter, then the diocese should clearly win.

2/8/05 17:19  
Blogger edgleason said...

patrick says 'difficult...but should win'?? Some bishops claimed in court papers that priests were 'independent contractors';others claimed that 'they did not own parishes'!! This is why they have to pay attorneys $500 an hour to bring that 'crap' to the courthouse..LA's Mahony is spending millions defending the the right to declare all chancery meetings with himself are under the seal of confession.. lost 3 to 0 in appeals court, will spend another million going to supreme court... should lose 9-0
Frisco eddie

3/8/05 13:39  
Blogger edgleason said...

Just read another 'bishop legal stance'in LA Times today..
A/B Levada's attorney argued that 'a woman should have used birth control to prevent a pregnancy by a seminarian'.. this would save the Portland diocese money ,,Attorney said this was idea of diocese's 'risk control department''
not listed in ANY diocesan directory in the USA..more $500 an hour advice..keep up the Archdiocesan Appeal pledges please!!
Frisco Eddie

3/8/05 14:01  

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