Incorporating the parishes

Incorporating the parishes

Seeing what is happening in Portland, Oregon, every American diocese organized as a corporation sole should be following the lead of the Diocese of Tucson and reorganizing the parishes as separate corporations.

The formal incorporation of all 74 parishes in the Diocese of Tucson is in process following the filing of signed articles of incorporation for each parish with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).

Attorney Gerry O’Meara, who serves as the statutory agent for parish incorporation and who is the Diocese of Tucson attorney, Father Al Schifano, diocesan Moderator of the Curia, and Kathy Rhinehart, executive assistant for corporate affairs, hand delivered the documents to the ACC’s Tucson office and watched as ACC staff member Nanette Brantly stamped each set of articles with the filing date of Nov. 15.

Each parish and school will be a separate corporation under the laws of the state of Arizona, and the officers of the corporations will be the pastor, the bishop, the moderator of the curia, a lay treasurer, and a lay secretary. The lay members will initially be appointed by the pastor, but after their initial terms expire they will be elected by the parish.

Assuming everyone acts according to certain self-interest, two of the five members will act according to the bishops’ wishes (the bishop and the moderator), two will act according to the parishioners’ wishes (the two lay members) and the pastor will do as he sees fit (being appointed by the bishop, but having a pastoral responsibility to the parish). Under canon law, the bishop still retains all his authority over the parish, but in civil law he will be slightly encumbered if he attempts to do something against the wishes of the parishioners.

A board of “yes men”?

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