Friday, September 2, 2016

Bishop Bruno -- the Hypocrite par excellence

This blog has on previous occasions taken to task the Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles for, as stated, speaking "with a forkèd tongue." Thus, those few Episcopalians who still bother to follow this blog written by a-no-longer-Episcopalian might be comforted to know that Bishop J. Jon Bruno continues in top form. And for this once, since the hypocrisy of Bishop Bruno on this occasion is so outlandish, I will forego my resolution to write no more about the apostate Episcopal Congregations of the United States of America, i.e., ECUSA -- yes, that rapidly disappearing group that has now endorsed collective blasphemy every time they celebrate a same-sex union.

As I previously reported, Bishop Bruno was the recipient of Title IV disciplinary charges filed against him by various Episcopalian members of St. James the Great, the choice parish in Newport Beach, California built upon donated property worth millions in today's real estate market. Prior to filing those charges, the same group had filed a civil action against Bishop Bruno in the Superior Court for Orange County. I discussed the background and the gravamen of the civil and canonical charges against +Bruno in this previous post.

Bishop Bruno rejected all efforts at mediation or conciliation under the Title IV disciplinary canons, and simply refused to recognize that he had violated any canons as to the remnant congregation of St. James the Great -- whom he eventually locked out of their church, and forced to hold open-air services in a nearby park. Meanwhile, his attempt to sell the property on which St. James was built met with a roadblock filed by the original donor of the property, who had imposed a condition that the property be used only for church, and not real estate development, purposes. (Unfortunately for the donor, California has a statute that eradicates any such limitation after a stated period of years, unless the donor files a renewal -- so the condition may turn out to be unenforceable, after all.)

Thus the fate of the civil proceedings is currently uncertain, although the original prospective buyer long ago withdrew its offer. The disciplinary proceedings under Title IV, however, are now headed (after time allowed for any discovery on both sides) for a hearing.

Comes now Bishop Bruno, he of the forkèd tongue, and for a response to the charges files a motion to dismiss the Title IV proceedings against him in their entirety. His reasons stated are twofold:

(1) The complainants violated the confidentiality provisions of Title IV by disclosing the substance of their charges, and of ECUSA's responses to them; and

(2) [Now get this] The complainants violated Canon IV.19.2 by resorting to a proceeding in the secular civil courts before filing their charges against +Bruno under Title IV.

Note that while +Bruno is technically correct that the earlier stages of the Title IV proceedings against him were confidential, the violation of that confidentiality by the Complainant (i.e., the members of St. James the Great) does not furnish canonical grounds for a dismissal of the charges. Under the Canon he cites (IV.13.9[a]), it is only misconduct "that the Hearing Panel deems to be disruptive, dilatory or otherwise contrary to the integrity of the proceedings" on the part of the Respondent (i.e., Bishop Bruno) or the Church Attorney that can provide grounds for the imposition of sanctions -- which, by the way, do not include the dismissal of all charges, as +Bruno requests.

And now that the proceedings have reached the Hearing stage, the Canons provide that all proceedings (except its private deliberations) "shall be open ... to persons from the public." (Canon IV.13.6.) So this blog is not violating any confidentiality of the proceedings by publishing Bishop Bruno's hypocrisy for all to see.

Hypocrisy? Why, certainly: as is typical of ECUSA's bishops in these matters, they ignore the language of the Canons, and proceed as though the Canons said what they want (for the moment, at least) them to say. (ECUSA's former Presiding Bishop made a career out of so misreading the Canons, and is mostly at fault for the current trampling of the Canons that has led to ECUSA's institutional blasphemy, and its disqualification to be considered any longer as a Christian church.)

Most notably, the other Canon cited by Bishop Bruno as grounds for dismissing the charges against him -- Canon IV.19.2 -- is so regularly ignored by ECUSA bishops in bringing civil lawsuits, that I have previously had occasion to write about their hypocrisy in ignoring it, in this post, for example -- where you may read just what it says.

Thus Bishop Bruno demonstrates a par for the course by invoking that Canon as grounds to dismiss the proceedings against him. For in doing so, he blithely and supremely ignores the fact that in suing the original congregation of St. James the Great for their property, and in eventually forcing them to go elsewhere, he himself violated that Canon. What is sauce for the goose ...

To state a tautology: hypocrisy, thy name is ECUSA -- or in this particular case, +Bruno.

17 comments:

  1. Actually, I think it might be better to call it something different. Deceitspeak?

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  2. I agree with you, MI -- I use the descriptor of "speaking with a forkèd tongue," but I think they come to the same thing: he says one thing, but does another, and then ignores what he said -- until he needs to use it once more for some imagined advantage. His words are constantly belied by his conduct, and vice versa.

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    1. AH, Haven't his tactics for employing different ways to confound people been used by him and by many others involved in church property disputes allover the US?

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    2. Yes, MI, they have. And it's not just ECUSA's bishops -- see this glaring example of hypocrisy, for instance.

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  3. Gospel in not helped by gossip, brother.

    Now that you have left ECUSA, give it the benefit of your abstention from bitter criticism. It does't help the cause of Christ. Nor does it redound to the cause of your redmption!

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    1. Let's see, Father Ron ... you have been in ECUSA how long, exactly? And so you consider yourself qualified to commend everything it does, but others outside of ECUSA must cease their criticism of it? (BTW, which is it, exactly, that I have written -- "gossip" or "criticism"?)

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    2. Bishop Bruno of the ECUSA Diocese of Los Angeles is on the defense. AC writes to share the nature of his worthless defense, exposing these things for others to read. Would Fr Ron like to hide Bishop Bruno's legal tactics from the LIGHT of the TRUTH? Why yes, I daresay this is precisely the way it looks to this reader. In fact, it is precisely the changing of the rules for Bishops, Clergy, and Laypeople which caused ECUSA's own rifts.

      My family and I visited St. James-Newport Beach on more than one occasion while living in SoCal before its terrible demise. They were once a church community, and many of its original attendees are still faithful Christians despite the church's efforts to mislead and to destroy these folks.

      One can properly examine the facts, if one cares to take the necessary time to learn about them. Thanks once again to AC, for sharing the relevant conundrum.

      PS Thanks for sharing the older link; I think that I recalled it before. We've been following your thoughtful blog since '08.

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  4. To paraphrase Butch Cassidy, "Rules!? There ain't no rules in a church fight!"

    Any die-hard revisionist can transform the rules to mean what ever he wants them to mean. A room full of revisionists will agree to disagree on the meaning of the rules.

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    1. That's a big 30 - 12, good buddy (I'm in Texas so we have to triple the 10 - 4). Your cryptic observation should be put into the addenda of any new or resuscitated canons that remain ...."Any die-hard revisionist can.....etc."

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  5. As some of these liberal, heterodox bishops approach the end of their lives, I shudder to think of them having to give an account for what they have done and what they have promoted.

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    1. He could attribute it all to too much helmet-to-helmet contact back in the day.

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  6. Bruno is a bad bishop and shouldn't be one. I am fascinated to consider how ECUSA came to be so corrupt. When they ended up with John Spong as a bishop, things must have already been pretty bad in the leadership. I guess it just rotted out and has been disintegrating for several decades. It appears that all denominations are subject to this sort of entropy. The Bible is full of stories about priests and teachers going bad, even thousands of years ago; I suppose it is the lot of mankind to strive against this sort of thing until the end. It encourages me to think that this is nothing new. And knowing that many people have left ECUSA as it declined morally, gives me hope.

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    1. By coincidence, a discussion of good vs. bad bishop characteristics is explored insightfully in the context of present and recent historical ECUSA/Anglican bishops, in a post from Canon Phil Ashey: https://americananglican.org/current-news/expect-bishops/

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  7. Before Spong there was James Pike (d. 1969) and before Pike there was William Montgomery Brown (d. 1937) whose heresy trial by his fellow Episcopalian bishops in 1925 became a three-ring circus when he accused some of them of holding the same heterodoxies as he did, and for prosecuting him only because he had become a "Marxist Christian" and a member of the Communist Party. The trial took place in Manhattan and attracted daily ridiculing reports in the New York Times, which embarrassed the bishops so much that that the memory of it seemingly played a role in the decision of the House of bishops not to bring formal charges against Bishop Pike in 1967.

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  8. For those who would like to read more about the cases that Prof. Tighe cites, there is a post about the failure of ECUSA to deal with Bishop Pike here, and a short mention of the heresy trial of Bishop Brown (with a link to a fuller record) in this post.

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  9. As a fortunate member of a parish which remains orthodox (an isolated pocket of resistance in an increasingly apostate TEC), and a lawyer as well, i read all of Mr. Haley's pieces which are picked up by Kendall Harmon's site, and I am very thankful for them both. Mr. Haley, please continue the good work. I regret but certainly understand your decision to become ex-Episcopalian, and but for my fortunate circumstances I would traveled that road myself. Even so, I am weary of explaining, "I'm Episcopalian, but Christian."

    Is the South Carolina Supreme Court still silent? Having followed South Carolina for some years now, i would have thought that the decision to uphold the trial court would have been fairly obvious, even with the addition of two new justices. The failure of one of the new justices to recuse herself was in my view an Olympian shrug of contempt for judicial ethics.
    E. Weber, Sarasota

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