The current edition of Time magazine has a great Q&A explanation of what's behind the bankruptcy of the Catholic archdiocese in Portland.
They also got a great quote from somewhere deep in the Vatican: "'Someone in Portland,' sniped a high-ranking [Vatican] official, 'got some bad legal advice.'"
The key issue? Whether or not the assets of the parishes can be considered assets of the archdiocese. Apparently that's a quarter-billion dollar question. Who knew Portland's local churches had so much in assets tucked away?