January 30, 2006

Tucson parishes to separate financially

The Arizona Republic

Associated Press
Jan. 30, 2006 12:00 AM

TUCSON - All 74 parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson will be legally separated by the end of February as the church rebuilds from bankruptcy caused by a slew of priest sexual-abuse lawsuits.

Each parish will incorporate and take legal title to its property, transferring it from the diocese.

The legal separation doesn't mean they'll be run as standalone operations, however. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas will sit on each parish board, as will diocesan Moderator of the Curia Al Schifano and the pastor of each church. The five-person boards will be rounded out with two lay members. advertisement

Kicanas called the move a "new dawn" for the diocese.

But some parishioners already are expressing doubts about the arrangement, which they say leaves power with the diocese and isn't inclusive.

"I would have hoped ... for a more democratic church, and that's not what it has turned out to be," said Tucson Catholic Kenn Block, a retiree. "Ownership is on a local level but control is vested in three members with clerical collars. That also means each board is majority male."

Posted by kshaw at January 30, 2006 08:21 AM