Legal-Ease: Courts won’t decide internal church issues

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

The legal system has a very limited relationship when it comes to religious organizations, especially when it comes to their internal processes. For “connective” churches, courts will generally not decide disputes regarding local church government, order, discipline, membership or authority.

I was personally very disheartened last week. My personal spiritual advisor and friend, who is my parish priest, was told he would be relocated to another parish. In my religion, bishops and other clerical elders decide where local church leaders will be placed.

My personal hurt over losing daily access to the best priest I have ever known rapidly changed from sadness to anger and then to a feeling of needing to do “something.” As an attorney, my instinct was that some local church rule most certainly had been violated. Could that failure to follow a local church rule in some way be grounds to force the decider to re-think his decision?

Read Lee’s full article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Courts won’t decide internal church issues

Source:, Legal-Ease: Courts won’t decide internal church issues by Lee R. Schroeder, April 25, 2015

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