DECREE - Alienation Of The Former Saint Theresa Church
Alienation of the Former Saint Theresa Church,
Now Relegated to Profane but Not Sordid Use,
and Adjacent Church Property
Due to the continued deterioration of the former Saint Theresa Church, now relegated to profane but not sordid use, and a lack of the necessary funding to repair and maintain the former church edifice, consideration must be given as to whether sufficient just cause exists for alienation of the now-relegated Saint Theresa Church and adjacent Church property.
Whereas the pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, in whose territory the former Saint Theresa Church is situated, wrote to me out of concern for the fiscal stability of Good Shepherd Parish in order to request that the former Saint Theresa Church property be alienated;
Whereas the following reasons indicate that the now-relegated Saint Theresa Church and adjacent Church property, located at 600 Herndon Drive, Evansville, Indiana, within the boundaries of Good Shepherd Parish, may be alienated:
Whereas Saint Theresa Church was relegated to profane but not sordid use due to grave causes, effective 6 August 2018, which places significant financial expense on the parish for maintenance and repairs, giving rise to concern for the fiscal stability of Good Shepherd Parish;
Whereas the structure of the former Saint Theresa Church has deteriorated to the extent that major repairs are necessary; such expense imposes a considerable financial strain;
Whereas, due to the financial hardship for Good Shepherd Parish related to providing the funding for basic and ongoing maintenance and repairs of the former Saint Theresa Church property, the Diocese of Evansville has assumed that expense since 1 January 2017, demonstrating significant fiscal concern for Good Shepherd Parish;
Whereas divine worship and pastoral activity have been consolidated to Good Shepherd Church, following relegation of Saint Theresa Church to profane but not sordid use;
Whereas following the pastor’s consultation with the parishioners of Good Shepherd Parish, including the parish pastoral council and the parish finance council as well as former parishioners of the previously merged Saint Theresa Parish, no interest was expressed in maintaining use of the now-relegated Saint Theresa Church, particularly because the financial stability of Good Shepherd Parish is jeopardized;
Whereas other reasonable sources of funding for the maintenance of the former Saint Theresa Church have been considered but found inadequate; it is not prudent stewardship for the Diocese of Evansville to indefinitely provide funding for a former church building which is in such poor repair and is no longer available for divine worship.
Furthermore, charity and other assistance to be bestowed on the poor cannot be neglected in order to preserve a former sacred building.
Having carefully considered the law and the facts; and
Having heard the pastor of Good Shepherd Parish; and
Having consulted the Dean of the South Deanery; and
Having sought and obtained the written appraisals of experts who have provided the financial value of the property in accord with the norm of canon 1293 §1, 2°; and
Having examined and accepted the experts’ estimates of the value of the property, and having found that the estimated value of the property is between the minimum and maximum amounts established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the valid alienation of goods which constitute the stable patrimony of those public juridic persons subject to my episcopal authority, according to the norm of canon 1292 §1; and
Having consulted and obtained the consent of the Diocesan Finance Council in accord with the norm of canon 1292 §1; the Diocesan Finance Council voted unanimously in favor of the proposed alienation; and
Having consulted the members of the Council of Priests on 18 September 2018 in accord with the norm of canon 127 §1; the Council of Priests voted unanimously in favor of the proposed alienation; and
Having consulted and obtained the consent of the College of Consultors on 18 September 2018 in accord with the norm of canon 1292 §1; the College of Consultors voted unanimously in favor of the proposed alienation; and
Having ascertained by means of the original deeds and other documents as well as having heard from others that there are no major donors and/or their heirs who may have donated the former church edifice and/or the land; and
Having ensured that the alienation will be valid civilly; and
Having ensured that no harm shall come to the Church by the alienation of the property, inasmuch as the proposed alienation of the property has been given a certain amount of publicity, the proposed use is for Catholic charitable purposes, and the property may only be used for profane but not sordid purposes in accord with the norm of canon 1222 §2; and
Having ensured that there is no reasonable possibility of scandal or loss of the faithful which will result from the proposed alienation; and
Having ensured that its altar, sacred objects, and religious artifacts have been removed from the church; and
Having ensured that the good of souls will suffer no detriment thereby; that is, the spiritual and pastoral good of the former parishioners is now being provided by Good Shepherd Parish;
Therefore, in accord with canons 1291, 1292 §1, and 1293 §1, 1° and 2°, and §2 of the Code of Canon Law, and having judged that sufficient just cause is indeed present, I hereby decree the alienation of the former Saint Theresa Church property.
The care and upkeep of the former Saint Theresa Church, the property on which the former church sits and any improvements such as the rectory, parish office, and all other adjacent property are the financial responsibility of the Diocese of Evansville due to the significant financial burden experienced by Good Shepherd Parish.
The provisions of this decree shall be effective on 5 November 2018, all things to the contrary notwithstanding. This decree is to be communicated to all interested persons. These provisions may be appealed according to the norm of law, canon 1734 §§1 and 2.
Given at Evansville, Indiana
19 October 2018
Most Reverend Joseph M. Siegel, DD, STL
Bishop of Evansville