Jump directly to the content

Priest's Lawsuit Against Diocese

Court rules that it cannot resolve the case.

New Jersey
State:

• A New Jersey appeals court ruled that it had no authority to resolve a lawsuit brought by a priest against his diocese. A Catholic priest was arrested and charged with several sexual offenses involving a minor. Two days later, he was suspended from all priestly functions by his bishop. The priest later sued his bishop and diocese, claiming that the bishop had breached a promise to pay for all legal fees incurred in his defense. He sought $2.5 million in damages. A state appeals court ruled that it had no authority to resolve such a dispute. It acknowledged that "temporal matters of a church affecting civil, contract or property rights may be resolved in civil courts. Thus, secular courts may decide civil disputes between a religious body and its members or its clergy if those disputes involve purely secular issues and can be resolved without entanglement with matters of faith, discipline ...

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • March 2, 1992

Related ResourcesView All

50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
A review of State Laws and court decisions affecting church leaders
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.