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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.37 no.2 Pretoria sep. 2011


Control, secede, vested rights and ecclesiastical property



Mary-Anne Plaatjies Van Huffel

Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa




In this article I argue that the Church has a strategic responsibility for property and finance. Three modes of ecclesiastical property exist, for example movables, offerings and funded property. Parallel to the possession of property, although distinguishable from it, is the right of the Church to receive offerings from the faithful for its own maintenance. In this article I will reflect on the fact that the law in apartheid South Africa required different procedures for the Dutch Reformed Mission Church and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa regarding property and finances. Attention will be given to the principles in ecclesiastical law and common law with regard to ecclesiastical property. Secondly, attention will be given to who has the right to control ecclesiastical property, as well as to the quest of vested rights in the case of schism, unification and dissolution. Lastly, I propose that ecclesiastical property and financial matters require basic knowledge of ecclesiastical law and common law.



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