Will Esser willesser at YAHOO.COM
Fri Apr 5 11:35:10 PST 2002


Actually, very few Catholic colleges and universities
are "property" of the Church.  Most are established as
separate corporate institutions with a mixed lay /
religious board of directors.  The one exception in
the U.S. might be the Catholic University of America
which has a more direct tie with the Vatican.

Therefore, lawsuits against the Church would not be
entitled to make property claims against Catholic
educational facilities (at least on the higher level -
local parochial schools are another matter).

Moreover, churches and church property such as St.
Patrick's are owned by the local diocese.  Although
there are religious organizational ties to the
Vatican, there are no overall financial ties (i.e.
there is no such thing as an audited financial for the
entire Roman Catholic Church).



--- paul finkelman <paul-finkelman at UTULSA.EDU> wrote:
> Is there a difference between the Catholic Church
> Hdqts. in Rome as an entity
> and the Vatican as a "state"?  I don't remember
> (never knew?) much about
> personal jurisdiction, but for this lawsuit is that
> needed?  The Church as a
> huge presence in the nation and the economy,  and
> lots of property (starting
> with Georgetown University, Notre Dame Univ., and
> St. Patrick's Cathedral).
> The Bishops and Cardinals are the representatives of
> the Church.  Can one get
> jurisdiction that way?
> --
> Paul Finkelman
> Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law
> University of Tulsa College of Law
> 3120 East 4th Place
> Tulsa, OK  74104-3189
> phone 918-631-3706
> Fax   918-631-2194
> e-mail:   paul-finkelman at
> "Vance R. Koven" wrote:
> > At 05:31 PM 4/4/02 -0600, David E. Guinn wrote:
> > >What I find very interesting is the suggestion
> that the suit against the
> > >Vatican will be defended on the grounds of
> sovereign immunity.  While I
> > >think I understand that rationale, does this mean
> that the Catholic Church
> > >in America ought to be treated as the agent of a
> foreign government?
> >
> > More like a wholly-owned subsidiary, I should
> think. Catholic bishops in
> > the US have the status of "corporation sole," a
> common-law construct that
> > insulates their liability from one another. Would
> the Bishop of Rome get
> > the same exemption from agency or respondeat
> superior?
> >
> > Sovereign immunity might well be a show-stopper,
> but the Vatican has other
> > strings on its bow: personal jurisdiction for one,
> "act of state" for
> > another (or does somebody want to argue that the
> Hickenlooper Amendment
> > governs?).
> >
> > Vance R. Koven
> > Boston, Massachusetts USA
> > vrkoven at

Will Esser  --- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
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