News for Week Ending 9/3/2012
Texas property cases scheduled by state Supreme CourtThe blog Anglican Curmudgeon reported August 31, 2012, that the Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of the breakaway diocese to the lower court decision in favor of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Fort Worth. The hearing is scheduled for October 16. An appeal to the appeals court decision affirming that the property of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in San Angelo, Texas—see Pittsburgh Update story here—will be heard by the Texas high court on the same day. (The breakaway diocese requested an expedited hearing coinciding with the date for the Good Shepherd hearing on July 6.)
Meanwhile, another amicus brief has been filed in the Fort Worth case, this time by Liberty Institute, a nonprofit whose stated mission is “to defend and restore religious liberty across America.” The brief suggests that, since the “highest ecclesiastical authority” in the Fort Worth case is unclear, the court does not have jurisdiction. The Living Church reported the story here. The story includes the Liberty Institute brief, which can also be found here.
South Carolina situation murky; cathedral to vote on severing Episcopal Church tiesThe independent blog South Carolina Episcopalians reported August 31, 2012, that the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, in Charleston, South Carolina, will vote September 9 on whether to sever ties to The Episcopal Church. According to the Web site, diocesan lawyers are recommending the action and suggesting that the church change its allegiance to the “Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” a formulation now embedded in Article I of the Diocese of South Carolina constitution:
The Church in the Diocese of South Carolina accedes to the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. In the event that any provision of the Constitution of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America is inconsistent with, or contradictory to, the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese shall prevail.The above wording is strikingly similar to Article I of the constitution of the Diocese of Pittsburgh as amended by Bob Duncan loyalists before the 2008 split
In an earlier post, South Carolina Episcopalians suggested that Bishop Mark Lawrence, who left the General Convention in Indianapolis unhappy with its decisions, is planning to remove his diocese from The Episcopal Church, possibly with a plan benefiting from the knowledge gained in the departure of factions of the dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, and Quincy. Mark Harris, on his own blog, has tried to make sense of what is going on in South Carolina, but Lawrence seems to be playing his cards very close to his chest.