July 06, 2016

August 01, 2015

Mystics & Prophets: Leadership Collaborative 2.0

Mystics & Prophets: Leadership Collaborative 2.0: We held our regular quarterly call for Sisters2.0 and as usual, it was a great call and great experience. We do these quarterly calls a...

July 07, 2015

Privacy in Religious Life

Privacy in Religious Life

Privacy is an important notion in modern society and in modern law. It may come as a surprise to learn that the right to privacy, enshrined in canon law, in modern human rights law and in many nations' Constitutions is of relatively recent vintage in the course of human history. Democracy and national Constitutions have only been around for a [...]

April 18, 2015

January 13, 2015

Apostolic Visitation Report - A Canonical Review

The Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Apostolic Women Religious in the USA began in 2008 with a stated purpose of looking into the quality of the life of religious women in the US. In December 2014, the Final Report was released, and individual reports were promised for some of the institutes concerned. Initially viewed with alarm and suspi [...]

December 11, 2014

November 08, 2014

Mystics & Prophets: Sisters 2.0

Mystics & Prophets: Sisters 2.0: Sisters 2.0 is a movement of the new generations of women religious. In this peer-led, self- organized space, we network for visioning and...

September 19, 2014


I am happy to announce the completion of my doctorate in Canon Law, for which I completed a dissertation entitled The Role of Law in the Life-Cycle of a Religious Institute. Beginning with an historical case study of my own community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the project explored the notion of the life-cycle of an organization, applying this concept to the historical case study to shed light on the dynamics of the evolution of a religious institute from foundation and growth, through change and adaptation, to decline, and even death. The study then moved to a theological analysis of the nature of a religious institute in the various stages of its life-cycle.

With this as a basis, the project critiqued the role that law plays in the course of the life-cycle of a religious institute. It reviewed particular points of canon law and civil law that come in to play in the various stages in the life-cycle of the institute, and it sought to provide guidance for those who find themselves in the states of foundation or decline in the United States in the early 21st century. Law in religious institutes establishes governance, organizes activities, guides relations within and without the institute in justice and charity, and orients and sustains the entire life of the institute, so that all together, the institute and its members may “follow Christ with greater freedom... under the action of the Holy Spirit.” (Perfectae Caritatis, 1)

I also wish to thank all the religious in the USA and beyond with whom I have worked over the past many years. As I assisted your institutes in working with a myriad of vexing legal issues, you shared your stories, your homes and your insights into the living of the religious life. This experience forms an integral part of the development of my thinking about law and religious life. I look forward to sharing the results of my research, both in writing, and in working with congregations as they face the challenges of our times.

If there is any way I can be of service to you or your community, please do not hesitate to contact me.

August 24, 2014

Community in Civil and Canon Law

Religious form community in that house, a community that is supportive of the commitment that they have made, particularly to a life of prayer, to gospel living, to ministry and to justice. Traditionally, the local house of religious has been seen as a witness to and support of the vows of poverty and chastity. Religious live simply and joyfully in mutual support. Read more....

July 02, 2014

New Form 1023EZ Released

The Internal Revenue Service just released the new Form 1023-EZ application form to reduce processing delays and help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status more easily.

The new Form 1023-EZ is available today on IRS.gov. The final version three pages long compared with the standard 26-page Form 1023. Most small organizations, defined as those with gross receipts of $50,000 or less and assets of $250,000 or less, will qualify to use the new streamlined form.

The IRS introduced the streamlined process to speed the approval process for smaller groups and free up resources to review applications from larger, more complex organizations while reducing the application backlog. Currently, the IRS has more than 60,000 501(c)(3) applications in its backlog, with many of them pending for more than nine months or more.

The IRS revised the 1023-EZ in response to widespread criticism from state regulators and those working with charitable groups. The revisions include reducing the filing threshold from $200,000 in gross receipts to $50,000 in gross receipts.

The IRS has stated that by reducing the the time required to process applications, they will be able to devote more resources to audits and examinations to ensure charities are actually doing the charitable work they were approved to do.

The new EZ form must be filed online. The instructions include an eligibility checklist that organizations must complete before filing the form.

The Form 1023-EZ must be filed using pay.gov, and a $400 user fee is due at the time the form is submitted. Further details on the new Form 1023-EZ application process can be found in Revenue Procedure 2014-40, posted today on IRS.gov.

Organizations eligible to use the Form 1023-EZ may still elect to use the traditional long-version Form 1023.  Eligible organizations that have already submitted the Form 1023 may submit the Form 1023-EZ to supersede the earlier application, but only if the Form 1023 has not already been assigned for review.  The IRS will treat such a Form 1023-EZ as a withdrawal of the earlier Form 1023, but there is no refund of the first user fee.  The filing date of the application will become the later Form 1023-EZ date, not the earlier Form 1023 date.  The 27-month rule is not extended for these purposes.  If the Form 1023 has already been assigned for review when a Form 1023-EZ arrives to supersede it, the IRS will reject the later application and refund the second user fee.