Oregon Archbishop Resists Church Property Ruling

A Roman Catholic archbishop in Oregon says he will resist a federal bankruptcy court ruling that may subject church property to sale.

In late December, Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris held that Catholic diocesan property, including buildings and land of individual parishes, was not safe from creditors, the Associated Press reported.

The Archdiocese of Portland filed for bankruptcy in 2004 to pro­tect itself from lawsuits alleging liability for sexual abuse cases.

Perris ruled that by seeking bankruptcy, the archdiocese had agreed to abide by federal law. A similar ruling was recently issued by another federal bankruptcy judge in Spokane, Wash.

Portland Archbishop John Vlazny told a Catholic newspaper that he considers church buildings and land to be property of individual parishes and not part of the archdiocese and thus not a party to the bankruptcy.

Vlazny told the Catholic Sentinel that the archdiocese would follow church law on property ownership “no matter what obstacles confront it.”