Focus on school properties in RC church bankruptcy court proceedings

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The bankruptcy proceedings of the Roman Catholic Church are moving from one phase to the next before the Supreme Court.

The church is selling its real estate to settle millions of abuse claims related to the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

So far, the legal wrangling has focused primarily on church-related properties in and around St. John’s.

Of the 25 plots of land put into liquidation, offers have been received on about 15, with a handful of those accepted by the trustee. Among these are the potential sale of St. Pius, St. Patrick’s, Mary Queen of Peace and St. Francis of Assisi in Outer Cove, as well as Holy Rosary in Paradise and St. Edward’s in Conception Bay South.

A successful offer was also made by the community of Saint-Bon to take over the block known as the Basilica. All sales must still be approved by the court.

But now comes the even trickier stage of metropolitan schools which are still owned by the church but run by the province. In the Supreme Court yesterday, lawyers for abuse victims said they would sue the school property and wanted more information about the land.

A hearing is set for July 18 on the request, which the English school district opposes as irrelevant.

They argue that by law, schools are untouchable as long as they are still used for public education.

A decision on the extent to which schools can be sold to help settle abuse complaints is not expected until November.

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