The result is that the Episcopal Church (USA)'s Machiavellian strategy of organizing a minority group that pretends to be the only diocese in the region after one of its former dioceses votes (by an overwhelming majority of laity and clergy) to realign with a more orthodox denomination has succeeded in California, much the same as it did in Pittsburgh. (But not -- Deo gratias -- in Illinois (Quincy), or [yet] in Fort Worth or in South Carolina [whose highest court has yet to issue its decision, ten months after the oral argument].) So the lawyers for 815 Second Avenue managed to hoodwink the highest judges in both Pennsylvania and California, but not everywhere.
In Pennsylvania, the appellate decisions were unpublished, so no lasting precedent was (thankfully) created. But in California, the Court of Appeal decided to publish its decision, so it will now stand forever in the California Reports as a monument to the inability of secular judges to figure out even the most rudimentary aspects of church canon law and corporations sole. (Haven't I always said on this blog that St. Paul already warned Christians of such ignorance centuries ago?) Unfortunately, when ECUSA sues
Sec. 2. No member of the Church, whether lay or ordained, may seek to have the Constitution and Canons of the Church interpreted by a secular court, or resort to a secular court to address a dispute arising under the Constitution and Canons, or for any purpose of delay, hindrance, review or otherwise affecting any proceeding under this Title.As this blog has repeatedly and exhaustively shown, however, ECUSA's leaders and parishioners just don't care about such things. All they appear to care about, given their litigation strategy, is money and property.
Just as I am done with ECUSA, so I am done with judges in California. In their collective inability to apply neutral principles to religious entities, and in order to allow 815 to lord it over local parishes and dioceses, they have made mincemeat of the Statute of Frauds, have misread a key statute to favor just the Church, have ruled that the trust imposed on all parish properties by the Dennis Canon can be lifted only by General Convention (and not by any single bishop), and now have let stand a decision that makes hash of the concept of a corporation sole -- and that rewards parties who resort to self-help by filing fraudulent papers with the Secretary of State rather than seek the aid of the courts in the first instance. They are so incompetent in these matters that it does no good whatsoever to write about their rulings anymore. Moreover, ECUSA is welcome to live and operate here under the skewed doctrines it has so brought into being -- along with its blasphemous rites of same-sex unions, its unwavering support for abortion, and all its other manifold apostasies.
There will be those, I well know, who will just say that the Curmudgeon is giving vent to sour grapes. They are just the ones, however, who have not followed the eight years of church litigation -- and the constant fight for right decision-making -- to which this blog has been dedicated, as an unflinching witness to the unvarnished truth. There is absolutely no sense of feeling a victim here; only regret that some very fine people who relied upon their attorneys to do their level best have been let down in the final analysis by their elected judges. May ECUSA, its bishops, clergy and laity get everything they deserve.
Homine sit turpitudo, Deo sit gloria.