Judge orders embargo of Puerto Rico Catholic church accounts

A judge in Puerto Rico has ordered officials to embargo the accounts of the island's Catholic church to ensure the payment of $4.7 million in teacher pensions.

The judge said in his ruling Tuesday that teachers who are suing the Roman Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of San Juan are suffering irreparable damage amid an economic recession.

The ruling allows authorities to embargo any properties or money owned by the church, including bonds, cars and artwork.

Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez could not be immediately reached for comment.

In 2016, the archdiocese informed hundreds of current and former teachers that their pensions would be eliminated because payouts exceeded contributions. Gonzalez recently said the pension system was created as a "work of charity" and that teachers were not asked to contribute.