Arch­dio­cese sur­ren­ders deeds in abuse set­tle­ment

The Covington News - - Religion -

PORT­LAND, Ore. — The Ro­man Catholic Arch­dio­cese of Port­land is hand­ing over prop­erty deeds to its parishes in a move to make them legally in­de­pen­dent, part of a bank­ruptcy set­tle­ment the arch­dio­cese reached last year with vic­tims of sex abuse by priests.

Each parish will be re­or­ga­nized into a non­profit “mem­ber cor­po­ra­tion” with a five-per­son board of direc­tors.

The arch­dio­cese ar­gued in fed­eral bank­ruptcy court that church real es­tate be­longed to the parishes, not the arch­dio­cese. The re­or­ga­ni­za­tion will spell that out legally.

The vic­tims ar­gued the real es­tate could be sold to meet set­tle­ment claims against the arch­dio­cese.

Arch­bishop John Vlazny out­lined the plan in a let­ter to parish­ioners re­cently dis­trib­uted in churches.

“Most parish­ioners will not no­tice any dif­fer­ence in the life of the parish as a re­sult of the re­struc­tur­ing,” he wrote.

Parishes will re­ceive the le­gal ti­tles of their real prop­erty, in­clud­ing churches, schools and meet­ings halls by the end of the month.

Crit­ics, how­ever, claim the new struc­ture is meant to shield the prop­erty from fu­ture law­suits.

“Once again, the church at­tempts to de­ceive the rank and file into be­liev­ing they have some con­trol,” said Bill Crane, di­rec­tor of Ore­gon Sur­vivors Net­work of those Abused by Priests. “At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it’s the bishops and the hi­er­ar­chy who do.”

Mus­lim group re­quests in­quiry

ST. PAUL, Minn. — An Is­lamic ad­vo­cacy group has asked po­lice and the FBI to in­ves­ti­gate re­ported threats against a Twin Cities char­ter school at­tended by many Mus­lims.

The Coun­cil on Amer­i­canIs­lamic Re­la­tions made the re­quest af­ter the di­rec­tor of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in In­ver Grove Heights, a Twin Cities sub­urb, told po­lice that he and the school had re­ceived threat­en­ing and ha­rass­ing phone mes­sages and e-mails.

The school said the threats be­gan af­ter a news­pa­per colum­nist ques­tioned whether the pub­licly funded K-8 school pro­motes Is­lam.

Chris Schu­macher, a spokesman for the Min­nesota chap­ter of CAIR, called it “a sad re­flec­tion” of the level anti-Mus­lim feel­ing has reached in U.S. so­ci­ety that the col­umn has ap­par­ently re­sulted in “ha­tred di­rected at in­no­cent stu­dents.”

Iden­ti­fy­ing the threats as pos­si­ble hate crimes makes it clear that prej­u­dice could have prompted them, and “we wanted to bring that to light in case that wasn’t al­ready ob­vi­ous to peo­ple,” he said.

Po­lice said they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing. Spe­cial Agent Paul McCabe of the Min­neapo­lis FBI of­fice said agents will con­tact the school to get more de­tails. He said iden­ti­fy­ing the mes­sages as pos­si­ble hate crimes would put them un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Catholic arch­bishop bans lawyer

ST. LOUIS — A prom­i­nent Ro­man Catholic priest and canon lawyer, who says he has been help­ing those “harmed by the in­sti­tu­tional Catholic Church” since 1985 and coun­sel­ing an eth­nic Pol­ish church here, has been banned from work­ing in the St. Louis arch­dio­cese.

St. Louis Arch­bishop Ray­mond Burke is­sued a de­cree charg­ing the Rev. Thomas Doyle with two “canon­i­cal crimes” re­lated to his de­fense of two ex­com­mu­ni­cated board mem­bers of St. Stanis­laus Kostka Church.

The de­cree states Doyle, a Do­mini­can priest and canon lawyer based in Vir­ginia, did not re­ceive prior ap­proval from Burke to rep­re­sent the board mem­bers or im­me­di­ately re­spond to Burke’s sum­mons to ap­pear be­fore him.

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