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Vatican: Assets Belong To New Parish

In a March letter to USCCB president, Bishop William Skylstad, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos instructed that the financial assets of a newly closed parish must be transferred to the receiving parish, not to the diocese.  Hoyos, who is head of the Congregation of the Clergy, said it was “not uncommon” for U.S. dioceses to wrongly invoke canon 123, which allows a closed parish’s assets to go to the diocese, many of which are cash strapped because of the clergy sex abuse crisis. Hoyos wants the practice to stop: “Only with great difficulty can one say that a parish becomes extinct. A parish is extinguished by the law itself only if no Catholic community any longer exists in its territory, or if no pastoral activity has taken place for a hundred years.”  He noted that “In most cases ‘suppressions’ are in reality an ‘amalgamation’ or ‘merger’ and as such the goods and liabilities should go to the enlarged parish community and not to the diocese.” (Full text of Castrillon Hoyos letter)

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