Sex abuse settlement may disrupt plans for new church

Another parish is feeling the pain of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s $121.5 million settlement in a bankruptcy case that stems from hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

Some congregants at San Isidro Catholic Parish in the village of Agua Fría had been told the parish would be receiving half the proceeds of a land sale to build a new church.

But now there are doubts the parish will retain the building funds amid the archdiocese’s efforts to settle its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Congregants fear the parish may lose about 23 acres of church property in a deal between the archdiocese and the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority without seeing a dime.

Representatives of the archdiocese did not return repeated messages seeking comment.

Minutes of a meeting last month between archdiocese officials and parish leaders state the Rev. John D. Cannon, now rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, had told congregants the parish was “getting half of the total money for the building of the new church” from the sale of the parcel, and the archdiocese would put the remaining funds toward the settlement.

The archdiocese has asked its 93 parishes to contribute a combined $12 million to help close the gap between what the archdiocese’s insurers will pay and the $75 million the archdiocese is responsible for covering.

The San Isidro property in question, between Rufina and Agua Fría streets, is adjacent to a parish center the congregation now uses for Mass a