Nuns protest $14.5-M L.A. convent sale to Katy Perry, saying Vatican decree used in deal was mistranslated

The 22,000-square-foot mansion that once housed the nuns of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Los Angeles, California, as seen from Google Earth.(Google Earth)

"Teenage Dream" songstress Katy Perry still can't claim final victory after she apparently won the right to purchase the 22,000-square-foot mansion that once housed the nuns of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Los Angeles, California.

The L.A.-based nuns are protesting the action taken by local church officials, accusing them of misquoting the Vatican that allowed Perry to purchase the convent for $14.5 million, according to Fox News. On Monday, the lawyers for Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman presented new evidence for the state Superior Court judge to consider—a translation of a document that shows how the Vatican decree used to decide on the sale was misrepresented.

"In fact, and completely contrary to what [L.A. archdiocese] represented to the Court, the Decree, when properly translated from its original Latin into English, stated in no uncertain terms that the dispute" was still being decided in Rome, the motion states.

There are only five nuns remaining from their order, which used to number at 52, and none of them currently live on the property. The nuns, who are all aged 70 years and older, claim the right to sell it and have already struck a $15.5-million deal with local developer and restaurateur Dana Hollister.

But after Hollister moved to the property, the archdiocese nullified the sale. Just two weeks ago, L.A. Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick ruled that church officials, not the nuns, had the right to sell the property located at Waverly Place in the Los Feliz section.

Bowick's ruling relied heavily on a decree translation from the Vatican, which was provided by the archdiocese's legal team. The nuns' lawyers are now insisting that the Latin decree was misquoted, but the archdiocese's lawyer believes otherwise.

"The translation was a proper, verified translation," says attorney Mike Hennigan. "This motion appears to be an effort to delay the Court's finding that the Hollister transaction was invalid."

On the other hand, the nuns' lawyer Margaret Cone says that the archdiocese only wants to control the proceeds of the sale, adding that the nuns have a legal paper trail that leads to the Holy See.

"The sisters have been five steps ahead of everybody all along. They have been dealing with the Vatican on this issue since last June," Cone says. "Katy Perry and others will learn: you don't mess with these nuns."