(SAN DIEGO, Feb. 22, 2023) —The Catholic Diocese of San Diego released a statement today regarding a lawsuit alleging that parish property really belongs to the diocese, and therefore should be used to satisfy any judgment in claims filed against the diocese.
The statement points out that under canon law, parish property has been kept separate from diocesan property since the diocese was created in 1936.
A copy of the statement is below.
“Since the founding of the Diocese of San Diego in 1936, under canon law the assets of each parish have been separate and independent from the Diocese.
“Over 10 years ago, long before Assembly Bill 218 was introduced, the Diocese began the process of formalizing in civil law the separate legal status of each parish and its assets. This included recording proper legal title for each parish to its own real estate.
“The Diocese has a profound obligation and moral duty to use its own assets to equitably compensate survivors. As Cardinal Robert McElroy said in his recent letter announcing that bankruptcy was under consideration:
“‘The sexual abuse of minors by priests and the way it was handled in the life of the Church constitute the greatest sin of our Church in the last century. We must and will continue to protect minors with even deeper vigor, provide healing resources to those who have been abused, and use our Diocesan assets to compensate those who were victimized. And we will never forget the harm that we have done.’”