Chapter 11, Verse 1

Snarled in scandal, an archbishop declares his diocese bankrupt. Will other leaders follow?

The Vatican is a place where almost every fact has already logged weeks as rumor. But when Portland, Ore., Archbishop John Vlazny announced last week that he was taking his legally besieged archdiocese into Chapter 11 bankruptcy ("The pot of gold is pretty much empty," he contended), the Holy See was genuinely stunned. A senior Vatican official remained convinced Vlazny was bluffing until a wire-service story was read to him. Others confirm that two years ago, Bernard Cardinal Law was denied permission to do the same thing when he was Boston Archbishop. They suspect Vlazny asked no one's leave. "The official...

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