Earlier today, I gave an interview on the Ft. Worth litigation, in which over $100 million of Episcopal assets were lost to dissidents. I am not sure if it will air, but if nothing else it provides good background.
At the heart of the matter is the refusal of the US Supreme Court to hear an appeal from the Texas Supreme Court awarding parish property to a group of dissidents.
In the Texas ruling, the state Supreme Court noted that the diocese had made changes to its canons years ago that were inconsistent with the Dennis Canon and its assertion of a trust interest in church properties. The court also noted that the national church had turned a blind eye to those changes, only now asserting that they are invalid.
My comment — which I have shared on Anglican Watch — is that the outcome ignores the shambolic state of governance in the Episcopal Church. Indeed, while the national church may go after folks like the ironically named Bishop Love for ignoring church policies, the reality is that it’s done all the time.
Here in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, a bishop, sat on the tribunal that purported to judge Love for ignoring the requirement that he permit same-sex marriage in his diocese. That’s pretty rich, because the Episcopal diocese of Virginia even ignores church disciplinary canons, including the express prohibition on clergy engaging in deceit and misrepresentation. Yes, that would be perjuring priest Bob Malm.
The diocese’s reason for doing so? That perjuring priest Bob Malm hasn’t faced criminal charges.
So, Episcopal clergy, just know that, at least here in DioVA, you can do whatever you want, as long as you don’t face criminal charges. Who says? The Episcopal diocese of Virginia says. And it put it in writing.
And next time DioVA comes roaring into court, fairly foaming at the mouth about the canons, just know that they only apply if the diocese and its officials decide that they apply. In short, only if it is convenient.
As to the Ft. Worth properties, I feel bad for loyalists. But that is exactly what you get when you ignore violations of church canons.