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Leave the Church, Keep the Deed

In 2006, two long-serving Benedictine Sisters from Wisconsin renounced their vows and left their order. The Vatican concurred in releasing them.

Nothing surprising there - Religious leave their orders all the time. What is unique about this case is that the two women figured out how to take all of their former order’s assets with them. In October, a group of leaders from men’s and women’s religious orders will learn how to do the same.
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Anonymous said...

How is this anything less than theft, concealment, embezzelment or misappropriation of a bequeathed endowment? I would think that it should have been returned to their superior or the local bishop, rather than being allowed to basically been stolen by a group of heretics.

Who do they think they are Henriettas the VII and IX??

eulogos said...

I think that if the Church took them to court it could get the property back, basing its case on the precedents set by all the Episcopal church cases in which leaving congregations have had to forfeit their property.
The bishops need to pass a "Dennis canon" right now! saying that all such properties are held in trust for the Roman Catholic Church.
But even without this, just being a hierarchical church, they might prevail. The Episcopalians brought in all sorts of evidence to show how much like us they were in order to be recognized as a hierarchical church, in order to be awarded ownership of church buildings whose congregations had left TEC.
This kind of thing can cut both ways, both for and against Christian orthodoxy.
Susan Peterson

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but this was a deliberate, premediated, stripping of assets over time. These women knew what they were doing. At the very least the property should not be able to be sold and revert to the church at the "nuns" eventual deaths.

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

Can some canonist please explain how this would NOT be alientation of Church property?

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