Part of installation process includes corporation sole signing

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Right before his installation as the ninth archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18, Archbishop Cupich will sign a document declaring him the ninth Catholic Bishop of Chicago, corporation sole.

The declaration dates back to Feb. 24, 1845, when the State of Illinois issued a statute establishing the corporation sole to enable Chicago’s archbishop to conduct the civil administration of the archdiocese.

While the archdiocese is a church, not a corporation, it still needs to conduct business like purchasing and selling property, entering into contracts and hiring employees, said Maureen Murphy, the archdiocese’s general counsel.

“You need to create a civil, legal person to transact business,” she said. “Under civil law there is a corporation called the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, a corporation sole.”

Some dioceses are set up as corporations sole and others are set up differently. A corporation sole is a legal entity consisting of a single (“sole”) incorporated office, occupied by a single (“sole”) person.

The process to transfer the corporation sole from Cardinal George to Archbishop Cupich begins the evening of Nov. 17 when Cardinal George revokes the powers of attorney and “have authority that’s derived from the archbishop to sign contracts on behalf of the Catholic archbishop,” Murphy said.

The archdiocesan officials who hold powers of attorney are the vicar general, moderator of the curia, chancellor and director of finance. The executive director of Catholic Cemeteries and the president and CEO of Catholic Charities also hold limited powers of attorney.

“On Tuesday, the date of the installation, Archbishop Cupich will sign a declaration of office, which establishes him as the Catholic Bishop of Chicago. And then we will ask him to sign powers of attorney for that same group of people to conduct business under Archbishop Cupich,” Murphy said.

The law requires that the declaration of office be witnessed and signed by a Cook County Circuit Court judge.

Judge Thomas More Donnelly will do the honors on Nov. 18 in a brief and small gathering before the installation Mass.

“When Cardinal George was sworn in there was more of a ceremony but a ceremony itself is not required and we will not be doing that this time,” Murphy said.