Q: I am hoping that you can resolve a debate we are having about the term “ecclesiastical property.”
Some Catholic friends and I were talking about how the US bishops tried to seize [the Catholic television station] EWTN from Mother Angelica [its foundress], and she told them, “I’ll blow it up first!” One friend said the bishops had the right to intervene, because it’s a Catholic entity and so legally that makes it ecclesiastical property.
I myself disagreed, however, because bishops don’t have the right to take over Catholic institutions that they didn’t create and don’t control. Otherwise, I think that bishops could seize profitable Catholic universities and hospitals and other institutions whenever they pleased…. Could you explain for us what “ecclesiastical property” is in canon law, and what power Catholic bishops have over it? –Elizabeth Continue reading
Q: I heard our bishop say that he was entitled to “a car, a house, and a secretary” upon retirement. He claimed that canon law provides for this.
Canon 402.2 states that a Conference of Bishops can specify the “suitable and decent support” a retired bishop can receive from his diocese. Where can one find the relevant complementary norm or norms from the US Bishop’s Conference touching on canon 402.2? I checked their website, but I found nothing concerning canon 402.2. —Frank Continue reading
Q: I belong to a very large parish… Up until a couple of years ago we had an excellent pastor who was not only well-liked by nearly everyone in the parish, but had many years of experience, and was instrumental in obtaining funding to grow the buildings in the parish.
A couple of years ago our bishop relocated the pastor to another parish. We now have a new pastor, who has only been a priest for a few years. It seems apparent he is in over his head.
My question is I understand that parochial vicars can be moved from parish to parish, but can the bishop require a pastor to do the same? Thank you. –Stuart Continue reading
Q: If a church was consecrated by the diocesan bishop in the name of a particular saint, can a different bishop later change its name?
I ask because my parish church was consecrated 150 years ago to the Mother of God. Now the current bishop of our diocese has been reducing the number of parishes because of a shortage of priests, and he has merged our parish with a smaller one nearby and announced that it’s now dedicated to a totally different saint.
We’re trying to figure out how he could do that, just by decreeing it, without reconsecrating the church to the new saint. Can you enlighten us? –Amber Continue reading
Q: I’m a priest of the diocese of X. Presently, I’m considering becoming a hermit according to canon 603. The process seems far more difficult than incardinating into another diocese or religious order…. Under what circumstances can the bishop refuse my request?
Being incardinated in the diocese, the bishop is responsible for my living; as a hermit, I should be responsible for my own. Is there a canonical process for releasing the diocese from responsibility for me while also remaining in said diocese as a hermit? –Father V. Continue reading