Departing Pastors Make Way for Corporate Board Shuffle
When I attended Mass this Sunday, the Pastor announced that he would be leaving as of August 1 and didn't know where he was going to be sent. He struggled to maintain his composure and the congregation was shocked. At the end of Mass, there was a long line down the center aisle as everyone in attendance waited to shake the Pastor's hand, much like waiting to pay respects at a wake,
I will address the emotional aspect of this later. Right now I want to call your attention to these facts:
- Parishes in the Archdiocese of New York are legal corporations under civil law
- Parishes are incorporated under New York State Religious Corporation Law
- The fate of a church is in the hands of the corporate trustees, who have to vote if the church is to assume any purpose other than a house of worship
- The board of trustees consists of the Cardinal, the Vicar General, the Pastor and 2 lay trustees appointed by the Pastor.
- The composition of the board is critical to the archdiocese maintaining control over parish assets
- Because the stakes are so high, the board that votes on the fate of a church is carefully chosen to assure that everyone votes the way the Cardinal wishes.