Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Canon law could threaten Notre Dame move

It appears that Cardinal George Pell will need to overcome canon law obstacles before he puts in place his plan to make two Sydney Church properties available for use by Perth's Notre Dame University.

Cardinal Pell announced that Notre Dame University has been offered use of the St Benedict's, Broadway site as well as the Sacred Heart (Parish) Church, Darlinghurst site (pictured), for development as schools of law, nursing and medicine two weeks ago.

Today's Online Catholics carries an extended report quoting a canon law authority to claim that ownership of parish property resides with the parish priest, rather than the Archdiocese. The reports says that the two parish priests of the parishes in question have gone public in their resistance to Archdiocesan plans to take over parish property for the use of Notre Dame University.

Online Catholics quotes the opinion of Catholic University of America Canon Law Professor Monsignor Ronny Jenkins, who said archbishops do not own parish assets. He was speaking about a different context - that of Portland, Oregon, where the Archdiocese has opted for bankruptcy in order to pay sex abuse claims.

"What we have here is that conflicting notion of ownership," said Monsignor Jenkins. "The archbishop can close parishes but not to confiscate their assets. He doesn't own them.

"Furthermore, if a parish owns a 10-acre piece of land, the bishop can't order a priest to sell it and give him the money (under canon law)," Monsignor Jenkins said.

But Online Catholics points out that Cardinal Pell will not have a problem if he chooses to give priority to civil law over canon law. It says the owner of all Sydney diocesan parish properties is listed as "The Trustees of the Archdiocese of Sydney".

Canon Law may frustrate Notre Dame move (Online Catholics 11/8/04 - subscribers only)

The church and bankruptcy: an expert view A professor of canon law discusses a key legal issue of the situation the Archdiocese of Portland is facing ( 31/7/04)
Churches Weigh Going Bankrupt to Escape Suits ( 28/7/04)
Cardinal Pell visits Notre Dame (University of Notre Dame Australia 6/8/04)
Pell, Howard, buy a university (Online Catholics 4/8/04 - subscribers only)
Profile: The enigmatic Dr Peter Tannock (Online Catholics 4/8/04 - subscribers only)
Pell says Notre Dame Campus will address skills shortage (CathNews 9/8/04)
Notre Dame funds boost (Catholic Weekly 8/8/04)
ACU head reveals surprise at Notre Dame Uni Announcement (CathNews 4/8/04)
Paul Collins: Pell's conservatism adds fuel to the fire of Catholic disharmony (Sydney Morning Herald 3/8/04)
Profile: The Enigmatic Dr Peter Tannock (Online Catholics 4/8/04 - subscribers only
Notre Dame welcomes Federal support for Sydney campus (CathNews 2/8/04)
Notre Dame to spread east (The West Australian 31/7/04)
Hand-out to private university under fire (Sydney Morning Herald 2/8/04)
Turf war sours welcome at these holy gates (Sydney Morning Herald 2/8/04)
Nurses criticise private uni plan (The Sun-Herald 1/8/04)
Govt slammed over faculty closure (AAP/Seven News 1/8/04)
Howard details cash for new uni (AAP/Daily Telegraph 1/8/04)
Government to fund new private uni (Sydney Morning Herald 1/8/04)
New uni to tackle nurse shortage (Sunday Mail 1/8/04)
New city uni for medical students (The Sun-Herald 1/8/04)
Nursing boost in new uni package (Sunday Mail 1/8/04)
University of Notre Dame Australia
Who puts the 'R' in Catholic? Who puts the 'C' in Liberal Arts? 'We Do!' (ABC Religion Report 12/5/04)

11 Aug 2004