Saturday, March 6, 2010

Non-Diocese Systematically Suing "Former" Parishes

In the geographical area of the one, true, and only Diocese of San Joaquin in the Anglican Communion, we have an anomaly. There is another group that also claims to be a "diocese" in the Anglican Communion, and specifically within the Episcopal Church (USA). Both ECUSA's Presiding Bishop and the President of its House of Deputies have connived together with the resigned former diocesan of Northern California, the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, to bring this result about. No General Convention of ECUSA, however, has ever gone through the steps required to admit this second "diocese" into union with it, and that is why I call it a non-Diocese. That is also why I say that there is only one true Diocese of San Joaquin -- which is now affiliated both with ACNA and with the Anglican Communion through the Province of the Southern Cone. (Once the Global South members of the Anglican Communion act to recognize ACNA, there will no longer be any need for the affiliation with the Southern Cone. And such recognition will occur soon, spurred on by the impending confirmation of yet one more same-sex partnered individual to the episcopate in ECUSA.)

Bishop Lamb, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, and President Anderson are all pretending as though ECUSA's former Diocese of San Joaquin never left it to realign with the Southern Cone and ACNA. However, they really have nothing to say about it, because the departure of that Diocese from ECUSA raised only questions of California corporate law. There was no Canon or Constitutional provision of ECUSA which placed any restriction on the power of the Diocese to amend its own Constitution, and no limit on that power within the Diocesan Constitution itself. The Diocesan Convention, in two annual meetings called pursuant to the Constitution, at which a quorum was present and the required supermajorities voted, adopted measures which made it no longer possible for that Diocese to be a member of ECUSA, since the language reciting that the Diocese "acceded" to ECUSA's Constitution was deleted.

Oh, to be sure, the dissenting minority reassembled a few months later, and in a "special convention" not properly called, on insufficient notice, and without a quorum present, went through the motions of "rescinding" the majority's votes, and proclaiming itself as a proper Diocese of ECUSA once again. But since those actions had zero validity under the procedures of the Diocesan Constitution, all they did was constitute the formation of a new California unincorporated association which took the pretend name "the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin." And that new group has yet to be formally admitted into union with General Convention -- nor could it be until General Convention adopts some changes to its current canons, for technical reasons which I will not go into here. The next General Convention will not meet until the summer of 2012, and I am perfectly content to predict that the requisite canonical changes will not be made even then, so it is safe to say that there will not be any real Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in existence any time soon.

Meanwhile, the non-Diocese of San Joaquin is running through the funds being given to it at a record rate of depletion. And despite severe budgetary cutbacks in its administration, office space, mission and programs, it is plunging full steam ahead with -- you guessed it -- more litigation expense, and more lawsuits (financed, as one can read in the link just given, by a line of credit from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society -- the corporate arm of the national Church). Such a rash act may be in the fine tradition of Admiral David Farragut, but one may still question whether it is in the best interests of those who ultimately must finance it.

This new program of legal mayhem began with the filing of this suit against the parish of St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock. St. Francis is a duly constituted member of the only true Diocese of San Joaquin, and wants nothing to do with the non-Diocese. But the non-Diocese wants to claim its property and assets -- its bank accounts, its prayer books and altar furnishings, and the building which it owns, and in which it worships.

How can this be? Well might you ask. For in the make-believe world of Bishop Lamb, the Presiding Bishop and President Anderson, St. Francis still "belongs" in some fashion to ECUSA -- in their eyes, it never left. And so they want to "embrace" it in their loving grasp, and to take all of its property and assets. Never mind that although there are some Episcopalian parishioners in Turlock, who are worshipping for the time being in other premises, they by themselves would not be enough to maintain and insure the property, and pay for a full-time rector. If the Anglican parishioners choose not to return to the fold and support their church, well, the Episcopal remnant will just run through the parish bank accounts until the property can be sold to someone else (but certainly not to the Anglicans, because they are in "competition", and the Presiding Bishop is dead-set against helping "competitors"), and then that money can be used to prop up the non-Diocese. What a wonderful and Christian-like plan!

And now, as I have reported, the non-Diocese has embarked on a program to sue all of the individually incorporated parishes in the Anglican Diocese, using the St. Francis complaint as a template. A second such lawsuit has now been filed against St. Michael's in Ridgecrest, and still others are in the works. Each of the lawsuits seeks a "declaration" from the court where it has been filed that the parish corporation's assets are held in trust for ECUSA and Bishop Lamb's group, and so cannot be controlled or used by the people who are the current vestry members and clergy. (The latter have been "deposed", don't you remember? So they cannot function in an Episcopal church, and must be made to hand their churches over to those who will "loyally guard and preserve the Parish Premises and Parish Assets for the mission of the Church, . . . adhere to the Church and Diocesan Canons and . . . protect and serve loyal Episcopalians in the Parish", to quote from paragraph 80 of the complaint.)

Other lawsuits against the remaining incorporated parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin are surely coming. And why are the suits against only those parishes which are separately incorporated? Because, as religious corporations under California law, they each hold title to their own property and bank accounts. The Diocese itself (through its corporation sole) holds title to the property of the remaining congregations and missions in the Diocese, and Bishop Lamb has already sued the Diocese for that property. But he cannot get control of the incorporated parishes' property by means of that lawsuit, and so must file all these new ones.

Bishop Lamb initially claimed that these lawsuits were not targeting any individuals, but then he was forced to withdraw that assertion when the Modesto Bee made a copy of the complaint filed against St. Francis available for downloading by anyone, and all could see that the complaint named, in addition to the parish corporation, the rector and the individuals on the vestry of St. Francis. This is a particularly nefarious attempt to force the defendants to waste money on the litigation brought by the non-Diocese and its non-diocesan Bishop. In California, each named defendant must pay an "appearance fee" to the court when he, she or it files a response to a complaint. That fee is currently $355 per person or entity. Thus, just to respond fully to the complaint against it, its rector and vestry -- eleven named defendants in all -- will cost the parish of St. Francis a cool $3,905 in court filing fees, to say nothing of the legal fees that will be incurred. Repeat this same expenditure for seven incorporated parishes, and the bill for all the defendants will come to something like $27,000+ before the lawsuits even get out of the starting gate!

Trying to force your opponents to put up nearly thirty thousand dollars as a litigation strategy, just so they can be in the game, stands in rather stark contrast, does it not, to this assertion for the benefit of the public made by the faithful remnant in Turlock:
St. Francis Episcopalians have always known and acknowledged that there were differences in individual members’ understanding and interpretation of the Bible, even while the Bible is recognized as the foundation of our Christian faith. As Episcopalians, we are bound together in many ways, but particularly by the words of the Nicene Creed and by our profound understanding of the meaning of the Sacraments.

We are a loving and inclusive Christian community and are deeply saddened by the unnecessary fracture of our Christian body.
Look, people, there is nothing nice, loving or friendly about litigation. Litigation -- especially against your fellow Christians -- is itself un-Christian, as St. Paul told us nearly two thousand years ago, when similar divisions threatened to wreck his newly established parishes.

So please, no matter how well-meant, let us refrain from public hand-wringing about the nasty things that litigation "forces" one to do. The truth is that the pew-sitters are pawns on a much larger battlefield, where the Episcopal forces are marshaled by a vengeful leadership that is hell-bent on making people who are brave enough to leave the Church pay, and pay plenty, for that privilege. There is absolutely nothing Christian-like about this litigation. If the only relief being sought were truly "declaratory relief", then suing just the parish corporation itself would have sufficed. But a glance at the complaint shows that it buries in its allegations a plethora of other claims sounding in tort against the individual defendants. Here, for example, is the very charitable and Christian-sounding paragraph 82 of the St. Francis complaint (italics added for emphasis):
The acts of the former members of the Parish were meant to steal, convert, and seize the Parish Assets and Parish Premises from the Church, Plaintiffs, and its faithful members.
Let us examine more closely the extraordinary assumptions that are behind this claim made by the charitable Christians of San Joaquin. The first thing to note is that the complaint alleges that the defendants are all former members of the parish of St. Francis. But those members have not gone anywhere: they took no vote as a congregation to leave. They simply elected to remain part of the Diocese to which they have always belonged. As a parish, they still have the same rector, the same vestry, and the same church they had before the Diocese voted to amend its Constitution.

How does one steal something by not taking it anywhere? How does one "convert" a church building by remaining true to the faith of that church's ancestors? Ah -- "the Dennis Canon," you say. "Remember, the Dennis Canon requires that the property always be used for the benefit of the Episcopal Church."

Look again: in the first place, the Diocese of San Joaquin, when it was admitted into union with General Convention in 1961, acceded only to the Constitution -- and not to the Canons -- of ECUSA. It's right in the St. Francis complaint (paragraph 52):
Article II of the Constitution of the new Diocese provided: "The Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin accedes to the Constitution of that branch of the Holy Catholic Church known as the Protestant Episcopal Chureh in the United States of America and recognizes the authority of the General Convention of the same."
And Article II of the non-Diocese of San Joaquin's Constitution still reads that way, as well. So the Diocese of San Joaquin did not automatically "accede" to the Dennis Canon when it was adopted in 1979. But it "recognized the authority of General Convention", you say. And just what is the "authority" of General Convention? Well, to pass canons such as the Dennis Canon, for example.

Look again: there is no express grant of authority in ECUSA's Constitution to General Convention to pass canons. The authority to do so is implicit in other language, but it is not express. And there is no language of supremacy, either -- no language that makes any canon passed by General Convention superior to canons passed by a Diocese, for example. (Earlier language which could perhaps have been so read was removed in the 1901 revisions to the Constitution.) That means, according to well-established principles of legislative authority, that where two bodies both have power to legislate, with neither's legislation being automatically superior to the other's, the legislation most recently enacted by one of the two bodies is what will have effect, in the eyes of the law. Now take a look at this provision, which was added to the Diocese's canons in October 2005:
No ownership or proprietary interest in any real or personal property in which title and/or ownership is held by the Diocese of San Joaquin, its churches, congregations, or institutions, shall be imputed to any party other than the Bishop as Corporation Sole (including a trust, express or implied) without the express written consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Diocese.
This provision overrode any trust imposed by the Dennis Canon, if any such trust was ever imposed. Being later in time than the Dennis Canon, and being duly adopted by the legislative body of the Diocese in accordance with its authority, it took precedence over any contrary language in the Dennis Canon. And it was thus the provision that was operable when the Diocese amended its Constitution so as to leave the Church in December 2007.

Moreover, here is another Canon of the Diocese that was in effect before the vote in December 2007, and which remains in effect today (Canon 20.01 [g], on p. 16):
All property of an incorporated Parish is irrevocably dedicated for religious (education, health and welfare) purposes, and upon dissolution of a Parish, all properties, investments and assets shall be conveyed only to the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin, a Corporation Sole, to be held in trust by it or to be disposed of at its discretion. No such Parish shall elect to dissolve or terminate or dispose of all or substantially all of its assets, or merge with or into any other corporation, or disaffiliate itself from the Episcopal Church, except with the prior written approval of the Ecclesiastical Authority as defined in Article III of the Constitution of the Diocese.
Notice two things about this Canon: it says that all parish property is irrevocably dedicated "for religious . . . purposes", and not for specifically Episcopalian religious purposes. So this provision, too, which even the non-Diocese retains in its canons today, would tend to undercut the language of the Dennis Canon. But even if it did not, the last sentence of this Canon is the kicker. For it says that a parish may disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church, with the consent of the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese. Before the final vote was taken on the amendments in December 2007, and before he had been inhibited or "deposed" as the duly constituted Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop John-David Schofield gave written permission to St. Francis and to the other incorporated parishes of the Diocese to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church (USA). Again, the granting of such permission was specifically authorized by diocesan canon, and such authority remains with the bishop today.

Thus Bishop Lamb is hardly in a position to claim that Bishop Schofield acted beyond his authority in granting the parish of St. Francis that permission. The authority is right there in the diocesan canons -- and the authority, as I say, remains there today, as you can verify by downloading the non-Diocese's own version of its canons.

These lawsuits, therefore, are ill-framed, and could prove expensive to the non-Diocese, as well as to those whom they have named in their complaints. And in the end, what will be gained? The plaintiffs come into court saying that their canonical rights are established by church enactments which no secular court can judge or question. But if that is true, then what about the canon that allows the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese to grant permission to a parish to leave it? Why should that provision not be given effect as well in a court of law? And if it is given effect, then what remains of the claim that the defendants "stole" the parish property?

Thus while the pew-sitters in the non-diocese of San Joaquin may wring their hands and profess that they are acting only out of Christian love and with deep regret for the "unnecessary fracture" of their community, the actions being taken in their name belie their words. This is one more demonstration, even though another one is by no means needed, of the hypocrisy that lies at the heart of ECUSA's litigation strategy. When you are saying one thing in court but doing another thing on the ground, eventually you get tripped up, no matter how much prior court decisions may go in your favor. No court likes to be toyed with, because courts expect litigants to be straightforward and honest about their claims. And there is nothing straightforward about the claims currently being filed against the independent parishes of San Joaquin, their vestries, and their clergy.


  1. Do any of the judges who will these cases have enough sense to figure out what Mrs. Schori and former Bishop Lamb are up to?

  2. If we can get a clear ruling from the Fifth District Court of Appeal on the right of the Diocese to withdraw from ECUSA, then that should help with these cases as well, sactohye. Because if nothing in law prevented the Diocese from amending its Constitution, then it still is the same Diocese, regardless of what the Presiding Bishop and Bishop Lamb may claim, and its parishes broke no canon in leaving along with it.

    However, individual trial judges have little time on their hands to understand and to deal with complex religion cases, and that may be what Bishops Lamb and Jefferts Schori are seeking to exploit in this instance.

  3. What Mrs. Schori and former Bishop Lamb are up to is no less than out-and-out theft of property. Perhaps these judges can understand that.

  4. How many court losses will it take to get you and others to realize that in American courts justice means that those who remain loyal to the Episcopal Church get the property - and those who shift their loyalty away from the Episcopal Church go with our blessing, but not our property?

    John David Schofield did everything possible to besmirch the reputation of the Episcopal Church, violating his ordination and consecration vows - and then claims he is the real Episcopalian?

    Better use of everyone's assets would be for Schofield and his allies to seek funding and support from the foreign jurisdiction he is currently with, use that funding for the furtherance of the gospel he believes in -- and let the Episcopal Church which he has renounced, use the money that would have gone to win yet another lawsuit for the spread of the gospel?

  5. Fr. Woodward, I predict you will have to eat those words by July, if not sooner. ECUSA’s own string of losses began with South Carolina, and there will be more.

    The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield did ECUSA far more honor when he was in it than ECUSA did to itself by “deposing” him. The votes to depose both him and Bishop Cox fell way short of the canonically required majority of the whole number of bishops entitled to vote in the House of Bishops. Nothing you can say will excuse the fact that the current Presiding Bishop has brought more shame and dishonor upon ECUSA than anyone else, past or present, for her systematic trampling upon its Constitution and Canons. You continue to hold her in regard even as you falsely excoriate Bishop Schofield, and thereby evince your lack of qualifications to say anything about him.

    Nothing is forcing ECUSA to sue other Christians than its current Presiding Bishop -- no departing parishes or clergy were ever sued by Bishops Browning or Griswold. As she herself has admitted (to her everlasting shame), the only reason for the depositions and lawsuits is that “there’s a new sheriff in town.” Yes, there certainly is. A sheriff who cannot follow the law is no sheriff, however. To have a lawbreaker for a sheriff is the same as having a bandit for a bishop.

  6. Judges who will not take the time to properly understand a case have no business being judges. How can a judge adjudicate a case if he does not understand the issues?

  7. Unfortunately it's all too common, sactohye. Look at the decisions I've posted about in Pittsburgh, Fresno and Colorado. All examples of decisions issued by judges without a proper understanding of the issues.

    One trial judge I had once was very open about it. He told me: "Counsel, I just get paid to make decisions. The appellate court gets paid to make them right!"

  8. I would like for the Pro-TEC folks on here (or anywhere) to show proof by document that property is in the end, held in trust for TEC/815. I dare anyone to come up with a document specifically showing that, with a parish property address AND showing that in the end, it belongs to 815. You won't find anything because there's nothing out there with it on any document. But then, it has always been about property, not about theology, the Gospel, etc. TEC would rather see empty churches or have them sold to brothels than being used to spread and uphold Gods word.

  9. when to expect the false diocese of pittsburgh (tec) to launch its attack on the orthodox parishes and do you think they will use the same strategy?

    as a former litigator and now judge myself, I think most judges form an early gut justice sense of the case that shapes their rulings. some are more diligent and work through the issues to make a detailed decision on the law and facts wherever that leads.

    unfortunately, i think the orthodox have to face the reality that gut justice goes in favor of TEC because it appears to be a hierarcical church like rome. I agree that you make strong arguments for seeing the episcopal church as more of a confederation but I fear many judges (trial and appellate) won't work through the arguments to see the truth.

    also, gut justice (but not actual real estate/trust law) goes against the orthodox too in that the orthodox did not protest the dennis cannon and stayed in the club whose constitution contains the dennis cannon.

    I have known many lawyers who labor under the delusion that the technical fine points of the law will prevail over gut justice but it just aint so very often.

    sadly, I think the orthodox will lose more often than win except in traditional conservative states like texas, south carolina. virginia is very unique.
    orthodox will probably lose in california, pennsylvania and new york. the us supreme court wont touch this issue.

  10. Fr. Haley, I beg to differ regarding the stature of Presiding Bishop Katharine. She has brought honor to this church and to its mission and ministry at a time when Schofield, Duncan and the purveyors of the scurrilous "Choose This Day" have spewed hate. If you have not seen "Choose This Day," it is worth seeing as it is one of the low points in Western Christianity.

    You are wrong about the votes necessary to depose Schofield and Cox. Under the rules of the House of Bishop, when there is a dispute about the meaning of the rules of the House, the Parlimentarian is to rule -- and unless that ruling is successfully appealed, his ruling has the force of law. Look it up. None of your guys objected to the ruling. You can't argue that the rules of the House of Bishops and the Canons of the Episcopal Church have to be upheld - and when they are, argue that they are wrong.

  11. The only statement I've ever found defining the mission of the Church in either the BCP or the C&C is within the Catechism: "The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ." I hope at some point TEC would explain how these lawsuits help fulfill this mission, or at least explain what they perceive the mission to be, if not this. It seems to me that these lawsuit indicate utter failure to fulfill the mission of the church, and hardly honors it.

  12. Tom -

    A quick question for you.

    The Constitution of the Episcopal Church USA, Article 2, Section 3, specifically states:

    "Sec. 3. A Bishop shall confine the exercise of such office to the Diocese in which elected, unless requested to perform episcopal acts in another Diocese by the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof[.]"

    Since you claim that Schofield was properly deposed, then who became the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof?

    The answer can be found in Article IV of that same Constitution:

    "If there be no Bishop or Bishop Coadjutor or Suffragan Bishop canonically authorized to act, the Standing Committee shall be the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese for all purposes declared
    by the General Convention."

    But what did Katharine do? She DE-RECOGNIZED the standing committee.

    So now comes the question: Who REQUESTED Katharine to do these things?

    If she is so honorable, as you suggest, simply show us who the "Ecclesiastical Authority" of the diocese was, after Schofield was "deposed", and the standing committee "de-recognized", that REQUESTED Katharine to come in and do the things she has done?

    Who REQUESTED Katharine to "de-recognize" the existing standing committee?

    Who REQUESTED Katharine to call a "special convention"?

    Inquiring minds are waiting for these answers.

    If the Presiding Bishop doesnt have to abide the constitution of her own church, then why does anyone else?

  13. janelle, thank you for that comment. I think you describe well the gut-level process of judgment that goes on, not just among judges, but with juries as well.

    That being said, if these cases are presented correctly in court, I think the image of local parishioners being forced to hand over all their property to a distant bureaucracy who has no plans other than to sell it for cash could have considerable "gut" appeal.

    You are also correct to expect that the strategy being launched in San Joaquin will also be seen in Pittsburgh. Judge James there has handed the faux diocese a blank check to all of the real diocese's property, and his reasoning -- such as it is -- applies to the independent parishes, as well: it is all property "belonging to" (actually, held in trust for) ECUSA.

    The reason, of course, that "the orthodox did not protest the dennis canon" is that no one ever heard of the Dennis Canon for the first 20+ years of its existence. The first time ever that the Church tried to apply it to a departing parish (All Saints Waccamaw, in S.C.), the parishioners filed suit to cancel it. And now, after ten years in court, they finally succeeded. Look for more helpful decisions to come out in the next four months from the appellate courts in Fort Worth and Fresno. ECUSA's "string of victories" won't look as impressive then.

  14. Fr Woodward, to follow on Joe's excellent question to you:

    Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has, if you called the tail a leg? When the audience said “five,” Lincoln corrected them, saying that the answer was four. “The fact that you call a tail a leg does not make it a leg.”

    So under your theory of "justice", if the Parliamentarian of the HoB makes a ruling that despite the express language of Canon IV.9.2 (only a bishop who has been first "inhibited" may be deposed), a resolution to depose a bishop may be voted on even though consent was never obtained to his inhibition, then that ruling overrides the language of the Canon just because the objection made to it was not upheld on appeal?

    Your formula for "justice" is nothing more than a formula for mob rule. It's pretty disgraceful when a church, so-called, descends to that level, but I agree with you (!!) -- that's just where ECUSA is.

  15. Plus Allan -

    If the parliamentarian can override the express language of a canon (which you and I both know are absolute boundaries to jurisdiction) then why do we even need a general convention?

    Since only the parliamentarian counts, lets bribe him to make all of the rulings our way!

    General Convention! We dont need no stinking General Convention!

  16. The rules of the House of Bishops regarding voting may seem clear to you and mean what you think they should mean, but others just as learned have disagreed with you and with good reasons (See Mark Harris, for one). The Parlimentarian consulted legal authorities and took the arguments you champion into account along with differing arguments. His ruling makes sense, even though it is not your argument. Do you prefer mob rule?

    The problem with the unlawful activities of John David Schofield as his cohort is that they (intentionally?) created a chaotic situation. He and others chose to ignore ordination vows and their fiduciary responsibility to the Episcopal Church. It would have been a dereliction of her own fiduciary responsibilities to allow the lawlessness to continue.

    As the kind of lawlessness of John David and other dissident bishops had created an awful mess, the church required, as they say, an adult in the room. It was that necessity and the recklessness of Schofield and others that made her actions necessary. Not to have acted would have caused even more havoc. Praise God the real diocese has a level-headed bishop now who is doing what is necessary to clean up the unnecessary mess left by his predecessor.

    So, Joe, the answer is to your question begins with citing the reality that the majority of the Standing Committee had openly defied its fiduciary duties to the diocese and to the Episcopal Church. Rather than initiating the kind of civil and criminal actions that are taken against such in other settings, she declared that they were no longer qualified for their former positions (you don't waste money by putting a group of foxes in charge of your chickens).

  17. Fr. Woodward, not atypically, you have your facts wrong. The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin had not "openly defied its fiduciary duties to the diocese and to the Episcopal Church" -- they had instead just weeks before fulfilled their duty as a Standing Committee in the Church by meeting and voting on a candidate elected to the episcopate.

    As for your contention that there are two equally valid readings of Canon IV.9, you likewise misread both Father Harris and the Canon. The latter admits of only one reading, because it says, in plain English:

    "The Presiding Bishop, with the consent of the three senior Bishops having jurisdiction in this Church, shall then inhibit the said Bishop until such time as the House of Bishops shall investigate the matter and act thereon. . . .

    Unless the inhibited Bishop, within two months, makes declaration by a Verified written statement to the Presiding Bishop, that the facts alleged in the certificate are false or utilizes the provisions of Canon IV.8 or Canon III.12.7, as applicable, the Bishop will be liable to Deposition."

    The Presiding Bishop did not even attempt to provide a second reading of these words. She declared instead that she would ignore them, because in her view the drafters of the Canon could not have intended to give the three senior bishops of the Church a veto over the House of Bishop's power to depose its own. But that is exactly what the Canon says -- there is no getting around it.

    Moreover, your entire argument collapses when you look at the facts, which are that the PB violated the Canons first and only afterward sought to have the Parliamentarian "rule" on the validity of her actions, as I showed in this post.

    Like it or not, Fr. Woodward, you and I both belong to a church that is currently presided over by a lawless bully, who is backed up by mob rule. The difference between us is that you see nothing wrong with that, because for you the end justifies the means, however despicable.

  18. Tom -

    Once again,

    "Sec. 3. A Bishop shall confine the exercise of such office to the Diocese in which elected, unless requested to perform episcopal acts in another Diocese by the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof[.]"

    What gives the Presiding Bishop the authority to go outside of the diocese of Nevada, where she was elected, and do anything?

  19. Joe, what you have had in San Joachin is a largely unprecedented case of "Going Rogue" by Bishop Schofield and his cohort, complicated by his attempt to alienate property to which he has no right.

    Rather than focus on that egregious behavior what you and others do is to excoriate the Episcopal Church and its agents as they attempt to nurture and protect what Schofield has not absconded with -- as is its fiduciary duty under the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and (because SJ cannot on its own withdraw from its accession clause) and the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of SJ. "Oh, what terrible people the PB and others are! We have robbed them blind and now they are trying to reclaim what they are bound by law to reclaim -- how terrible can you get??!"

    Fr. Haley, I believe your phrasing needs some editing, viz., "Like it or not, Fr. Haley, you and I both belong to a church that has been mistreated by John David Schofield, a lawless bully, who is backed up by mob rule. The difference between us is that you see nothing wrong with that, because for you the end justifies the means, however despicable."

  20. Fr. Woodward, I am exercising my authority as moderator of this site to notify you that further non-responses like the one I just allowed you will not be posted. After two attempts, you still have not answered Joe's simple question to you. You cannot bring yourself to admit that there is no language whatever in the Constitution and Canons giving the PB the authority to do what she did in San Joaquin (note spelling), and what language there is actually forbids her from doing it. She ignored that language, as do you, because for both of you, the end was more important than the means.

    You stand convicted out of your own mouth. Thanks, as always, for providing a demonstration here of why it is almost impossible to get anyone on the left to admit that they might -- just might -- be wrong.