Seton Hall | Law - Center for Religiously Affiliated Non-Profit Corporations


Seton Hall Law Center for Religiously Affiliated Corporations exists to enhance the viability and prominence of faith-based charitable corporations, especially those affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and internationally.  The Center sponsors independent, scholarly and applied legal research on strategically important issues of law, public policy, and inter-corporate relationships.

Seton Center fulfills this mission through

  1. Working with an organization's staff and Boards of the related corporation to develop appropriate cooperative relationships through
    1. Phone Consultations;
    2. Consultation with the organization's legal, accounting and strategic planning staff; Development of customized policies integrating church law, civil law, accreditation standards of the Independent Sector and the Internal Revenue Service;
    3. Education for both related corporation's Boards and staff on the need to observe corporate formalities in governance and management.
  2. Providing conferences, board education programs, webinars, and invitational private colloquia. 
  3. Developing good governance practices for free-standing and related corporations.
  4. Providing management, directors and trustees of charitable organizations with timely, accessible legal information relevant to current and developing legal and public policy issues impacting upon the religious identity, licensure, accreditation and participation in government purchase of service contracts.
  5. Contributing to the quality of the corporation’s  participation in public policy debate by convening the best legal scholars, canonists, theologians, ethicists, executives and professional educators in health, education and social service disciplines, including accreditation and public policy experts to analyze strategic issues.
  6. Supporting scholarly research.
  7. Publishing Center White Papers on legal issues specifically relevant to religious affiliated corporations’ work in the public market place.
  8. Supporting and promoting research on the intersection of canon law and American law to aid in the development of :
    1. governance models for transitioning from religious control to lay control of corporations;
    2. canonical structures for new public juridic persons succeeding to canonical responsibility for a Catholic corporation; and
    3. joint ventures between Catholic corporations and other entities.


Conferences & Consultations

Center activities since its founding in November, 2006:

  1. Inaugural Conference, Catholic Charities and the Catholic Diocese: Autonomy and Relatedness
  2. Invitational presentations to boards and management concerning:
    1. The legal ramifications of compliance with the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
    2. Legal, ethical and canonical issues in fundamental reorganizations, including acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures (including those with non-religiously affiliated organizations).
  3. Board training for educational institutions which address the interrelationship among canon law, state law and accreditation standards.
  4. Board and Episcopal education on the interrelationship between diocesan authority and board governance under canon law and civil law for related corporations.
  5. Board education for educational institutions on the interrelationship among Middle States standards of governance, canon law, and Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation law.
  6. Individual phone consultations with diocesan staff on governance structures of related corporations and the development by the Members of Mission Guidelines for the Board addressing the implementation of the Catholic Identity in related corporations.
  7. Webinar for Catholic Charities USA on the governance section of CCUSA’s model Code of Ethics.


Private Colloquia

Private colloquia are available upon request and suitable arrangements.


Angela C. Carmella
Professor of Law
Seton Hall University School of Law
One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5210
Tel:  973-642-8843
Email: [email protected]

Presenters at Events

Presenters at Center Activities

Academicians from various disciplines and institutions are invited to participate in Seton Center  conferences, colloquia, or research projects. The following have participated in Center presentations:


Seton Hall Law School
 Sister Melanie DiPietro SISTER MELANIE DiPIETRO, S.C., J.D., J.C.D.,
Director, Seton Center for Religiously Affiliated Non-Profit Corporations
 Professor Kathleen Boozang KATHLEEN M. BOOZANG,Dean and Professor of Law
 Professor Angela Carmella ANGELA C. CARMELLA,John Courtney Murray Professor of Law
 Professor Timothy Glynn
TIMOTHY P.GLYNN,Senior Associate Dean and Andrea J. Catania Endowed Professor of Law
 Professor Stephen J. Lubben STEPHEN J. LUBBEN,Daniel J. Moore Professor of Law
 Professor Solangel Maldonado SOLANGEL MALDONADO,John Lynch Professor of Law
 Professor Charles Sullivan CHARLES A. SULLIVAN,Senior Associate Dean for Finance & Faculty and Professor of Law
  FR. ROBERT S. MEYER, Esq., S.T.L., J.C.L.,
Adjunct Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law
Professor Philip Peters PHILIP G. PETERS, JR.,
Ruth L. Hulston Professor of Law
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Professor Frank Pasquale FRANK PASQUALE,Loftus Professor of Law


Cathoic university of america
  Sister Ann Patrick Conrad
Asociate Professor & Forme Dean, National Catholic School of Social Service, Catholic University of America
seton hall university
 Monsignor Liddy MONSIGNOR RICHARD LIDDY,Director, Center for Catholic Studies and Bernard J. Lonergan Institute


Dr. Lisa Cahille  DR. LISA SOWLE CAHILLE, A.M., Ph. D.,
J. Donald Monan Professor, Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts
Director of Bioethics and Public Policy, National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
 Dr. Daniel Sulmasy
Former Professor and Director, Bioethics Institute, New York Medical College, Valhalla, N.Y.; Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics, University of Chicago; Sisters of Charity Chair in Ethics, St. Vincent's Hospital, NY, NY.
Former Senior Director of Ethics, Catholic Health Association, St. Louis, Missouri; Father Russell Smith Bioethics Consultations, Virginia.



Current Applied Research Projects:

  1. Accountability and Transparency in Governance of Charitable Corporations:  Canon and Civil Law.
  2. Examination of the use of various legal instruments for the management and protection of assets among related corporations:  Charitable Trusts, Community Foundations, Supporting Foundations, etc.
  3. A desk manual for management and directors of charitable organizations addressing such issues as:
    1. the inter-relationship of state law, IRS and Independent Sector principles of good governance;
    2. fundraising among related corporations;
    3. board responsibilities;
    4. independence of appointed directors;
    5. Uniform Management of Institutions Act, Uniform Prudential Investment Act;
    6. transfer of governance control from religious entity to lay control—explanation of relationship between canon law and American law;
    7. explanation of public juridic persons created in canon law to succeed to the governance positions in corporations formerly held by religious institutes;
    8. development of joint ventures with other religious and non-religiously affiliated organizations;
    9. ramifications of developing alternate sources of revenue;
    10. role of state law in related corporations incorporated in different states;
    11. religious affiliation and access to government contracts.


Center Publications

Publications by Sister Melanie DiPietro:

  1. Duty of Obedience: A Medieval Explanation for Modern Nonprofit Governance Accountability, Duquesne Law Review,Vo1.46. No.1, (Fall 2007).
  2. SSM Health Care: The Integration of Catholic Social Thought Values In A Modern Health Care System, St. John's University School Of Law, Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, Vol. 46. No.2 (2006) (with Alison Sulentic).
  3. The Relevance of Canon Law In A Bankruptcy Proceeding, Seton Hall Legislative Journal Vo1.29, No. 2, (2005).
  4. An examination of the Universitas Rerum and the Universitas Personarum of New Public Juridic Persons Succeeding to the Healthcare Apostolates of Religious Institutes in the United States, J.C.D. diss. Pontifical University of St. Thomas, Rome, Italy, (June 2003).
  5. Joint Ventures in Church-Related Corporations: What Happens to "Church-Related"? Jubilee International and Ecumenical Canon Law Conference~ The Administration of Church Property, Co-Sponsors: The University of St. Thomas, Rome, Italy and Cardiff University, University of Wales, Cardiff and Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (February 4-5, 2000).
  6. The Interfacing of Canonical Principles and American Law in the Negotiation of Joint Ventures Between Church-Related and Non-Church-Related Corporations. Acts of the Colloquium: Public Ecclesiastical Juridic Person and Their Civilly Incorporated Apostolates in the Catholic Church in the U.S.A.: Canonical- Civil Aspects. published by Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome and Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1998.
  7. Impact of Canon Law on Health Care Delivery, Hospital Contracts Manual, Edited by Baker & Hostetler, publisher, Aspen Publishers, Inc., (1987)
  8. Integrated Delivery Network Manual, A desk manual for Directors of Catholic Charities for developing integrated delivery systems. Prepared for and published by Catholic Charities USA, Arlington, Virginia, (2000)
  9. Incorporated Apostolates, Chapter 22 of Church Finance Handbook, Canon Law Society of America, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (1999). Eds. Kevin E. McKenna, Lawrence A. DiNardo and Joseph W. Pokusa.
  10. Organizational Overview, in Who Do We Say We Are: Perspectives for Catholic Identity in Catholic Charities, published by Catholic Charities USA, Arlington, Virginia, 1997.
  11. The Search for Identity: Canonical Sponsorship of Catholic Healthcare, The Catholic Health Association of the United States, St. Louis, Missouri, 1993, (Co-author).
  12. Traveling Trust: Hidden Risks, Legal Bulletin, published by Office of Legal Services, Legal Resource Center for Religious, Silver Spring, Maryland, (November 1991)
  13. Changes in Governance of Catholic Colleges and Universities: Some Practical Observations, Current Issues in Catholic Higher Education Journal, Winter. Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, (1990-1991)
  14. Special Problems of Religious Institutions in Representing Tax-Exempt Organizations, continuing legal education materials, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, co-author, Robert B. Ramsey, Esq., (1990)
  15. Congregational Sponsorship: Practical Issues in a Community Dialogue. Catholic Health Association of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, (1985)
  16. Criteria for Union Membership: Are the Vows Relevant; Father Adam J. Maida, ed., Issues in Labor Management Dialogue: Church Perspectives. Catholic Health Association of St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, (1981)