Saturday, March 22, 2008

Church has a constitutionally protected right
to shelter the homeless, city legal staff says

A city has no legal authority to impose demands on the Catholic Church over its operation of a homeless shelter, lawyers for Green Bay, Wisconsin, have concluded.

The city can't close the shelter or fine it for operating without permission, the lawyers said. The city can impose requirements concerning the safety of the shelter's guests.

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay opened the St. John's Homeless Shelter in November in defiance of city zoning requirements after the city failed to approve an alternative plan.

At the time, Deacon Tim Reilly told city officials that the diocese believed it had the right to operate the shelter because caring for the homeless is part of its religious mission, which would be protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Read the Green Bay Press-Gazette article here. And see previous post here.


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