From a reader…
I pray that you will answer this query. Under canon law, is there any right of appeal regarding the closure of a diocesan Catholic elementary school, currently under the auspices of a particular parish. There are valid objections to this closure, and it is not simply emotional or irrational. If so, would the appeal be to the diocesan bishop or to the Congregation for Catholics Education, and what are acceptable objections? (The pastor in this case is not an advocate.) Thank you Father!
GUEST PRIEST RESPONSE: Fr. Tim Ferguson
Such an appeal is possible, but time is of the essence.
Canon 1734 establishes that an appeal against a singular administrative decree (which this closure would be) must be lodged within ten useful days of the notification of the decree. Useful days are generally understood to be business days, excluding weekends and holidays. So, about two weeks. The appeal should be submitted to whoever issued the decree closing the school – either the pastor, or more likely the bishop.
The process of appealing a decision can be difficult, and a happy outcome is far from guaranteed. I would strongly recommend getting the assistance of a good canonist to assist, and if there is no one immediately involved with the situation who could provide canonical assistance, the St. Joseph Foundation has done yeoman’s work for many years in providing canonical support to lay faithful in such situations.