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Bankruptcy

2011

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Who Owns The Local Church? A Pressing Issue For Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Catharine P. Wells Dec 2011

Who Owns The Local Church? A Pressing Issue For Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Catharine P. Wells

Catharine P. Wells

The recent bankruptcies of Catholic Dioceses are unprecedented. For the first time, Bankruptcy Courts must deal with the difficult question of who owns the parish church. In this paper, I will explore two possible sources of confusion about this question. The first is the non- commercial, charitable nature of the Church. The second is its organizational complexity. Resolving the confusion requires a familiarity with various different sources of law including charities law, bankruptcy law, trust law, and Canon Law. In this paper I address this issue by: 1. discussing why the equities and policies that govern charitable bankruptcies are different ...