27 September, 2008

Good news in the Old Dominion, but...

Much has been written lately about the glaring hypocrisy on display when one compares the actions of the HOB in its recent deposing of conservative bishops (only a majority of those present and voting is necessary) and their lawyers in Northern Virginia insisting that in order to comply with the division statute unique to Virginia, a majority of the membership of the parishes over 18 years of age must vote to leave. While it might be fun to pile on, I will refrain for now. It is time to rejoice, my friends, because the Diocese and 815 are conceding that they are going to lose in court. To quote from their press release:

Though loyal Episcopalians have expressed grave concerns about the validity and fairness of the voting procedures used by the CANA congregations, the Diocese will forgo judicial review of that process to focus on those issues that will most effectively and quickly return Episcopalians to their church homes and result in the overturning of the 57-9 "Division Statute."

The Diocese is preparing to mount a vigorous appeal that addresses the serious legal and religious questions and implications that have arisen from this unfortunate situation. The Diocese will explore fully every option available to restore constitutional and legal protections for all churches in Virginia.

While it is true that this statute is little invoked and even less known, it is highly unlikely in my never humble opinion to be overturned by the courts. Perhaps a better strategy for the Diocese and 815 might be to hire a new team of lawyers, since they have lost at every turn in this case and are now girding their loins for what they surely know will be a losing effort, both in the trial court and on appeal.

Also, the Diocese has reached a settlement agreement with two of the CANA churches in Northern Virginia, though why they were even parties in the lawsuit boggles the mind, since they are mission churches with no real property and meeting in elementary schools.

This is all good news for those of us who feel that TEC has been overreaching of late and "has it coming," but let's not go off the deep end here, folks. The fact is that this ruling (and eventual victory) in Virginia will have little or no significance outside of the Commonwealth because this division statute is apparently unique to Virginia. That I have found, no other state in the Union has anything remotely similar.

On the wider scene, what is 815 likely to do in Pittsburgh, Fort Worth and Quincy, once these dioceses vote to leave, as they almost certainly will? It is my belief that Katie the Lawless (my new moniker for the Presiding Oceanographer) will try to call an "emergency convention" like she did in San Joaquin and enthrone one of her puppets as "provisional bishop." What she and others supporting her fail to realize is that this will certainly come back to bite them in the rump because of the legal question before the court of who is the legitimate Diocese, and it seems to me that the slipshod method of getting rid of the opposition the HOB is currently enamored of certainly will not withstand the scrutiny of a trial court because they simply refuse to follow their own rules! Consider also that the bishops who have voted repeatedly to "depose" their brother bishops (sorry you "inclusive language" aficionados, but name a female bishop who has been deposed, please) are actually doing so at their own peril because Katie the Lawless has made it abundantly clear of late that the price of opposition is an ecclesiastical death sentence. In the psychobabble of the 1980s, they would have been called "enablers." Won't they ever learn? Probably not.

I also believe that 815 will continue to tie up the departing dioceses in endless litigation, hoping that their much deeper pockets will eventually cow the rebels into submission. Let's face it, folks, 815 has some of the deepest pockets out there, and it is tough for me to see this strategy as anything less than an attempt to bankrupt their opponents. How Christian!! These are brutal, vicious, ruthless people we are dealing with, folks. Take due notice thereof and govern yourselves accordingly.

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