November 20, 2005

Suffer the little children under 'canon law'

The Oregonian

Sunday, November 20, 2005
Desperate times require desperate measures, and if you think bankruptcy was the full measure of the Portland Archdiocese's desperation, I have a brief addendum.

Lawyers for the Archdiocese . . .

Wait. I best be more specific, as the Archdiocese has five different law firms involved in bankruptcy negotiations, five firms that generated $5.38 million in legal fees through October.

Archdiocese lawyers at Sussman Shank filed a brief last week, begging U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Elizabeth Perris to rule quickly on church assets.

At issue is whether $600 million or more in church property belongs not to the Archdiocese but to the individual parishes, thus placing it beyond the reach of the "creditors," the men and women who say they were repeatedly abused as children by Catholic priests.

Although that property is deeded in the name of the Portland Archbishop, a "corporation sole," lawyers contend the real estate is being held in trust for the parishes, a cozy arrangement under "canon law" that is guaranteed by the First Amendment and protected from the bankruptcy court.

Posted by kshaw at November 20, 2005 08:37 AM