AmChurch - A bigger blip on Vatican radar
First the new Mass translations, now a warning that in America there are cases of incorrect distribution of a parish's assets when that parish has been "suppressed" by a diocese. Key paragraph, as Amy notes:
Thus the goods and liabilities should go with the amalgamated juridic person, and not to the diocese. This would also seem to be more consonant with the requirement that the wishes of the founders, benefactors and those who have acquired rights be safeguarded, In most cases "suppressions" are in reality a "unio extinctiva" or "amalgamation" or "merger" and as such the goods and obligations do not pass to the higher juridic person, but should pertain to the public juridic person which remains or emerges from the extinctive union. The goods and liabilities should go to the surviving public juridic person, that is the enlarged parish community.
This letter covers so many things its hard to know where to begin. First of all, it is a reminder to all that parishes are geographic. Thus, all this talk about suppression generally speaking means only that a particular parish community is being merged into another one, creating a larger parish, but not in any way "getting rid" of a parish. A parish is hard to get rid of outright - you either have to have no Catholics there in the first place (and thus , or you have to kill off all the Catholics there to do that.
Secondly, it brings to mind that these days, in the scandal suing frenzy, many dioceses are scrambling to find funding. And often, perhaps, they think they can find some easy cash payouts by getting rid of a few churches and the like. One problem - this letter reminds them that the assets of the parish "should" go to the newly formed merged parish, not to the diocese. I don't know much about the canon laws that this cites, I seem to recall that there may be instances where the structure of a church community is such that it would be possible for the assets to go to the diocese. But this letter would seem to make clear that there has been some "funny business" going on in AmChurch of late. And it's connected with the scandal. The media is going to love this one.