Court said schools could be next to go bankrupt in RC church

Schools on property owned by the Archdiocese of St. John’s could potentially be part of the sale to pay for sexual abuse claims at the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

Until now, bankruptcy proceedings have laser-focused on churches, parish halls, priests’ residences and any land they sit on.

But today, for the first time, there was specific reference to all the schools that also occupy the church grounds.

None of the schools are included in the current list of properties for sale, which includes the entire basilica complex in St. John’s.

But it was clarified today that they possibly could, with reference to input from school district attorneys and the Minister of Education.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court approved the sale of two other church properties today: the parsonages at 38 The Boulevard in St. John’s and 20 Boland Street in Goulds.

It was noted that efforts are also underway to find new homes for priests displaced by the ongoing sale of properties.

The sale price and other details were sealed by the court, given commercial sensitivities.

The court also approved a 45-day extension – until April 20 – for the entire bankruptcy process.

Lawyers say that without it, a fire sale would ensue, bringing in less than the properties’ current value.

Meanwhile, in a statement to VOCM News, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said it would be inappropriate to comment while the case is before the Supreme Court.

However, officials confirmed that the ministry is aware of the court filings and has been in communication with all parties about it, adding that they will continue to monitor the proceedings as they progress.

Martha J. Finley