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Churches and Revoking Pension

Key point 2-04.1. Most courts have concluded that they are barred by the First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom and nonestablishment of religion from resolving challenges by dismissed clergy to the legal validity of their dismissals.

A federal bankruptcy court in Delaware ruled that it was barred by the "ministerial exception" from resolving a dismissed priest's claim that his diocese acted unlawfully in revoking his pension benefits based on his sexual abuse of minors. A Catholic diocese filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. The diocese had been named as a defendant in 131 child molestation claims involving several priests. The diocese entered into a settlement with the abuse victims in the bankruptcy proceedings. The settlement contained a provision stating that eight priests who had been dismissed by the diocese for abusing minors would be ineligible ...

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Posted:
  • June 29, 2015

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