Monday, November 12, 2012

Bandit Bishop Running Outlaw Gang in South Carolina

KJS: She's head of the Church of England. If she can do it, why can't I?

Bandit Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, known far and wide in ECUSA for her lawlessness and contempt of the canons, has organized a new gang of outlaws in South Carolina. Together they are riding roughshod over the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, violating South Carolina law, and laying plans to steal the good name and corporate seal of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Or is that too plainspoken for some Episcopalians? Perhaps they would prefer an opening paragraph like this:

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), the Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, has again taken steps without any canonical authority that will ensure future litigation with the Diocese of South Carolina and its Bishop, the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence. The steps involve a refusal to recognize the authority of either Bishop Lawrence or in his stead the Standing Committee of the Diocese, the calling of an unauthorized and unconstitutional "Special Convention" for next March, the misappropriation of the diocesan name and corporate seal, and the recognition and full support of a wholly uncanonical and ad hoc "Steering Committee" to exercise unspecified and unstructured authority pending the gathering of the illegal "Special Convention."

I do not think it is any improvement, frankly, to try to put what is happening into politer terms. All it does is mask the crudeness of the power play that is taking place with ever-increasing rapidity and ruthlessness. Since 815 is being anything but polite, why should the description of what they are doing be polite?

You can read the distasteful details in this article by the Rev. George Conger at Anglican Ink, and you can read even more sordid background (together with some very pointed questions) in this excellent survey of the situation by the concerned folk at the Anglican Communion Institute.

Surely these latest maneuvers mark a new nadir for the Bandit Bishop and her hired guns. What is especially tragic is that the pastoral needs of those who wish to "remain Episcopal" are being subordinated to her future litigation agenda, while the latter has practically zero chance of success. For the first time in her outlaw career, I believe the Bandit Bishop and her gang will have met their match in South Carolina.

The Episcopal Church (USA) may still be politically powerful in some quarters, but not in South Carolina, especially following that State's Supreme Court decision in the All Saints Waccamaw case. It took ten years for the latter litigation to wend its way through the lower courts up to the Supreme Court, and no civil court in the State is going to want to pay attention to any of the Church's defeated arguments again.

The Dennis Canon is as dead as a doornail in South Carolina, and so are any thoughts of an implied trust on diocesan property based on other Church canons and past relations. Only an express trust will be recognized in South Carolina, and such a trust requires the Diocese's written consent to its imposition. No such consent exists, or has ever existed at any time in the past.

Moreover, the Diocese of South Carolina is organized as a corporation under South Carolina law. That fact guarantees its own independent, legal identity in the State's courts and before all of its executive and legislative bodies, officers and agencies. For the Bandit Bishop and her minions to try to appropriate that identity for their own nefarious purposes is fully akin to what would be called "identity theft" in any other context. 

Why in the world, then, would the "remain Episcopal" group, consisting of some twelve parishes in the Diocese, want to get off on such a wrong foot under South Carolina law? The answer is plain, no matter how much they may try to disavow it, and play the innocent: they are wholly subservient to their captain, and that captain is Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Chief Outlaw of the Episcopal Church (USA).

It is only with her recognition, aid and support that these others could go down such a lawless path of their own. Inspired by her example, they have impersonated the Diocesan office in two emails, misused the corporate seal, and pretended to be who they are not under South Carolina law. This is, of course, all pursuant to, and in order to further yet again, 815's Grand Strategy for dealing with dissident dioceses, as spelled out by 815 itself and discussed in this earlier post.

As the ACI article carefully explains, the Bandit Bishop's outlaw strategy in South Carolina is not just invented from day to day; it is self-contradictory, and will result in embarrassment in the courts. On the one hand, 815 is acting as though the Diocese has not left, but has only had all of its positions suddenly become vacant -- and it is going about the process of filling them with new people.

But on the other hand, the actions in South Carolina being taken by the Presiding Bishop are canonical only if there is no longer a Diocese there, but only patches of raw territory waiting to be organized as a new diocese. So which is it?

Hint: they don't know, and they are not going to say. They are improvising, as I say, and they will keep on improvising until they have run out of tunes to try. Meanwhile, the object is to cause maximum annoyance and expense to the legitimate Diocese. Under current South Carolina law, this cannot end well.

Within ECUSA, the attitude is mostly "she has to do this -- Bishop Lawrence has given her no choice." But what does that really say? Think about it for a moment.

Has Bishop Lawrence forced the Bandit Bishop to act like a bandit? Has he forced her to violate the Church's own canons, and to encourage others to violate South Carolina law? Is that what Episcopalians are all about? To gain a short-term end by the use of illegal means? Is that the example which Christ set for us to follow?

I scarcely recognize the Church that I am in any more. Its leadership is not Christian, as their repeated lawless actions demonstrate. And the pew-sitters, officers, deacons, priests and bishops who allow them to run amok with impunity are not just enablers, but run the risk of becoming, in the moral sense at least, abetters and unindicted co-conspirators for an unlawful enterprise. 

Trying to bring the Chief Outlaw to discipline before her own tribunals at this point would be too little, too late. The time to do that is long past -- it should have been right when she committed five violations of the same canon in putting the first notches in her belt. Just as it failed to discipline Bishops Pike and Spong before her, the Church is now showing its impotence, iniquity and increasing irrelevance by failing to call its current leader to account.

This is the season of stewardship, when all Christians are reminded of their duty to use wisely and well the resources with which God has favored them. It is not just folly anymore, but positively wicked, to continue to support such lawlessness from any level -- including that of the Anglican Communion. (Are you listening, ABCD Welby?)

So where should disgusted Episcopalians turn? First, to Holy Scripture -- Ephesians 6:10-20 would be a good place to start. Next, spread the word about what is happening. The story tells itself -- but it needs to be told.  Those in South Carolina and neighboring States should be writing letters to their local papers; those elsewhere can write letters of support to Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese. They need to hear that not all of the Episcopal Church has abandoned them!

Send letters wherever you think they might do some good. ECUSA does not operate in a vacuum; it pretends to be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion. Write the ABC and the new ABCD. ECUSA's corporate operations are under the jurisdiction of New York's Attorney General, who intervened once before, after the scandal of Ellen Cooke. Finally, ECUSA is a 501 (c) (3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code, and must stay within the limits specified for such organizations. Many of its member dioceses use its charitable exemption under an "umbrella" arrangement allowed by the IRS, but that can last only for so long as ECUSA uses its funds and assets for qualified charitable purposes. Without any meaningful oversight of its litigation expenses, it is difficult to see how the amounts it is deploying to punish departing dioceses and parishes could pass muster under applicable standards.

And while you are at it, please include in your prayers the Diocese of South Carolina and her faithful Bishop.


  1. Finally, the sweet voice of defiance is heard. May it spread quickly, filling this church now void of morality and Christ.

    With rosary in hand I pray daily for Bishop Lawrence, but the time has come to fill my other hand with a torch for my march toward the castle.

    There is a tide in the affairs of men.

  2. These people have published a website and continue to inappropriately use the seal of the Diocese. Shame on them and their steering committee. God bless Bishop Lawrence, the Standing Committee, the clergy and the laity of the diocese.

  3. Well done as usual, Curmudgeon. Actually this group keep talking about the Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina that is March8-9. That I believe is the convention that was mentioned last year.
    See, they must keep up the front that they are the *real* Diocese of SC and as such they plan on confusing people by mentioning the Annual Convention. They already have claimed to be the diocese that has existed since 1785. Their choice of a former bishop to quote is unfortunate as Bishop Guerry was shot by a clergyman!
    SC Blu Cat lady

  4. Thank you for your eloquent analysis of our situation in South Carolina. The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina is going about our mission of preaching the gospel week after week even while fending off these ridiculous attacks. We were here long before 815 was every considered!

  5. kiwianglo, normally derogatory and scatological comments such as yours would never see the light of day on this blog. But in this case, I shall make an exception. So that all may see the kind of mentality that infests those who would tear down Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese, I am publishing it below, in an annotated (for Americans) and only slightly bowdlerized form:

    "Intentional Schism is never painless. It has painful results. TEC cannot afford to have rogue 'bishops' running around like scalded chooks, spreading their ord--e all around."

    Your ilk is the problem, here, kiwianglo. What TEC can or cannot "afford" is wholly beside the point -- the DSC existed long before TEC, and indeed helped to bring what has become that monstrosity into being. What is at stake is no less than the body of Christ, and the wounds to it that +Schori is inflicting. The fact that you would try to defend her lawless acts as "necessary" and implicitly "Christian" speaks volumes about the worldview that is rotting Anglicanism from within.

  6. It sounds like some of what Schori and her minions are doing is illegal. Is there any chance any of them could be arrested and charged? That might dampen their enthusiasm for their activities.

    David Katzakian

  7. First of all, Mark Lawrence+ and the Diocese of South Carolina are in my prayers.

    Second, we've been reading (and in some cases experiencing) these stories for some time. How Jeffert-Schori hasn't had the crew of 60 Minutes camped out on her lawn and the IRS knocking on her 815 office door has always amazed me...even with a left-leaning media. Could this finally be her 'Bridge Too Far'?

    Third, I understand that in the neighboring Diocese of Upper South Carolina conservative ECUSA congregations are blocked from hiring orthodox priests. 'Procedure' and stuff is always cited, but we know the real reason...I've read a few SF stories. Amazing how these liberal people act when they are the minority, etc.

  8. Would that the Queen express her authority, however distant, and come with her new-found sceptre as depicted in the lead picture.
    All kidding aside, people reading this blog, as they might, tuning in from South Carolina, need to take Faith that hundreds and thousands of people are watchihng and in support of their position.
    The words of our Reverenced Leader are well accented by his acolytes and collaborators. This overstepping might be enough to make more and more old Don Quijotes clank out in their rusty armour, with 1928 books in hand, and begin looking for Windmills being confiscated by the Bandit Bishop...(a we make no mistake, her actions...their actions...are the purest form of theft and covetousness.
    Heck, if HRH can protect the faith with a Browning machine gun, I can at least wipe down this rusty old lance, and oil the blunderbuss.

    My wife went to mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe...commemoratives celebrating the death of her father a few months ago. She goes to take her mother and accompany her. The "socially concious" priest has started sounding a bit "righty" after watching Obama's performance and the elections results. He found them troubling.

    El Gringo Viejo

  9. Mr. Haley, I'm wondering if, in your opinion, there is any reasonable chance to initiate something in the nature of an appeal to the primates of the Communion on the part of the Diocese of South Carolina and Bp. Lawrence. An action of this nature might have a decent chance of effecting a favorable change in the status quo. (Obviously, the scheduled November special meeting of the diocese would need to be continued, however, that wouldn't seem too difficult an obstacle). Basically, it seems to me that a move to get a number of rational, reasonable and responsible leaders in the Communion (i.e., some primates) involved in some way in ECUSA's unnecessary and harmful actions would at least set in motion some helpful intervention which, by itself, would be a positive thing given what is tantamount to being forced into a ride with a reckless driver.

  10. Hey William P, That tactic was tried by the diocese (an appeal for alternative primatial oversight) and ignored by the primates years ago. Since then the diocese has been strengthening relationships around the WWAC. As Bishop Lawrence said last night, no community of Christians should be in isolation. Bishop Lawrence tried negotiation with PB and that just resulted in his "abandonment". In fact he asked the PB when she *knew* of his abandonment. He told us that she was not very forthcoming with an answer. Evasion is never a good tactic.

  11. In keeping with the Old West vernacular we have slipped into, I say we change the name of the 'Fort Worth Seven' to the Magnificent Seven! We should make a video of them with the movie score in the background.

  12. I'm not suggesting primatial oversight at all, just some action from the primates analogous to injunctive relief under civil may well result in an improvement from "ALL ANGLES".

  13. williamp, I doubt that overseas Primates would bring any such action in the civil courts. The only body in the Anglican Communion with a corporate existence is the Anglican Consultative Council, and it has been taken over by the revisionists, so it will not act in any way to assist +Lawrence and his diocese. Individual primates are probably too remote from the dispute to have standing to sue, though perhaps ten or twelve of them together would. Unfortunately, however, any such case would have all the hallmarks of an intra-denominational dispute, which the Supreme Court in Kedroff said the civil courts could not touch.

  14. This degeneracy is furthered by Catholic souls taking revenge?

  15. Magnificent Seven and Romans taking their revenge. This island of intelligence also is an island of very sharp, and funny, levity.
    It helps to laugh a little. I still see this as something akin to a wake. I feel that our Shepherd could whip these people in any forum. Can we inquire gently why he does not....just kind of....wander in? Every time I follow up some of his constructions, my understanding increases geometrically. Could we raise funds and send him forth with a new suit of armour. Is our Guiding Shepherd content with the legal counsel being given toe "our side"?

    It is just very frustrating.

    Thank each of you. When your names are seen it is like walking into an old friendly Episcopal Church back in the early 1950s.

    El Gringo Viejo

  16. Mr.Haley, I very much appreciate your response and also need to clarify my earlier comment. I definitely don't want to suggest that there ever be any civil litigation involving any primate(s) in this matter; the reference I made to civil injunctive relief was just an attempt to illustrate that an effort at this time by a number of primates acting jointly could have something of the same effect as an injunction in a civil action in that such an effort could theoretically serve a remedial purpose and might be the only course of action to immediately result in some progress in the current situation involving the diocese of South Carolina and its bishop and ECUSA. Thus, I believe in the possibility that some primates may specifically believe they are moved by the Holy Spirit to attempt to intervene in concert in this matter in order to make some progress in the best interest of the Communion, and I also believe +Canterbury might, tacitly at least, approve such an attempt. Such an effort may well involve an attempt to persude ECUSA to cease and desist, for a time to be determined, from proceeding with any and all undertakings in connection with an alleged "vacant" diocese, and also to involve an attempt to persuade the diocese of South Carolina to cease and desist, for a time to be determined, from any and all undertakings in connection with a special diocesan meeting for the purpose of addressing the diocese's status allegedly resulting from ECUSA's actions against Bishop Lawrence. Thus, such an intervention might result in further improvements in the status quo, with the result that the intervention is instrumental in aiding all who are part of the Communion.

  17. Could it be ?...

    Screwtape is no longer persuing, but has now swallowed the Presiding Bishop , and her army.

  18. The special convention is now over. The convention agreed to delete any references to TEC from our constitution and canons.

    SC Blu Cat Lady