The task force, proposed by California Bishop William Swing, will consist of bishops, diocesan chancellors or other lawyers. It will draw on “legal, canonical, financial, real estate and mediation experts,” according to a press release.
Bishop Swing has not yet announced the committee’s makeup, but Virginia Bishop Peter Lee has proposed his own chancellor, Richmond attorney Russell Palmore, be invited.
As of yesterday, Mr. Palmore said he had not been formally approached but he was interested.
“I think the issues relating to church property are very important and significant,” he said.
Canon law mandates all property of an abandoned church reverts to the diocese unless that parish predates the organization of the diocese. This is the state of affairs in several East Coast dioceses — particularly Virginia and Washington — where churches were established by Colonial settlers decades before the dioceses were founded.