07 October 2009

Reactinge to a "win"

From Report here
"A judge has agreed with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that it should have control of assets still held by former diocesan leaders.

In a decision issued October 6, Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County ruled that an existing court-approved agreement is “clear and unambiguous” in requiring that diocesan property must remain with a diocese that is part of the Episcopal Church of the United States"
Over on Stand Firm in Faith, like the report above, there is a fairly straightforward report of the decision in Pennsylvania to affirm the ownership of church property vests with the diocese within TEC. That report notes correctly I am sure, that the schismatics under Robert Duncan have the prerogative of filing an appeal and likely will use it. Around the blogosphere there are several other reports. While editorial slant varies I have read generally reasonable reportage.

When I was a kid, my mom observed frequently that the sin in another we most detest is the one we commit. Her explanation was that we do not want to see the uglyness of what we do. 60 odd years on, my observation is that she was right. Mom offered this maternal wisdom as a way to improve myself. "Note what really makes you mad, get a mirror, make some changes" was her prescription. I have tried and likely failed to follow her advice.

On SFiF and other schism friendly boards, those who supported the losers in this case are awaiting the gloating from the winners. Really? I do not see any. Even the Fr. Troll has been pretty restrained. My friend Mad Priest has been too. Everyone else has pretty much simply reported the news and most comments seem to be simply pleased. Ah but you see mom was right. I think it is the mirror that is the problem.

Oh I am sure some liberals somewhere are prepared to do happy dances. But not many I hope. There is little to celebrate here. There are several reasons for this. Consider:

1) We do not want these people to leave at all. Most of us want to have the disagreements and the open common prayer and pray together.

2) We remember the Chapman Memo. We understand that for the schism minded this is not really about winning it is about doing damage. They have done that.

3) Because they insist, these fights are not over. Oh, we know we will eventually win, but that is not the point. We simply do not want the fight.

Mom was right. We all hate the sin we do, and we hate the mirror. So the anger will presumably continue. The expectation will remain. The mirror will I fear continue facing the wall.

Which leads to the observation that the schism minded have unleashed a whirlwind. Oh the blog owners are reporting fairly (mostly) and are relatively restrained and can stand above the fray. But they have done this; they have let the haters out from under the rocks. Once angry hateful folks gain the reigns they cannot be easily constrained. Which explains a lot about why the "continuum" is so fractured.

Lord have mercy!



RonF said...

I have no problem with the concept that if an entire diocese leaves TEC, diocesean property should remain with TEC. What I DO have a problem with is the rather novel concept that parish property (as opposed to the Diocesean HQ, youth camps, etc.) belongs to the diocese rather than the parish. That idea was never part of TEC polity until the 1970's, when people were leaving due to female ordination and General Convention got talked into stealing parish properties. Even then it was more important to keep properties than people.

You look through the history of TEC and you'll see that until then there was little concept that the parish properties belonged to anyone except the congregations, with title held by the vestries. Our present polity still reflects this. Only the vestry can sign checks, not the parish priest, a structure that's echoed at the Diocesean level IIRC. And when we vote on our annual budgets, we argue about how much money we'll send the Diocese. Why discuss it if it's all theirs in the first place? Nobody writes a check to the Diocese - they write it to St. Helena's or All Saints or whatever your parish is.

As far as I'm concerned, TEC is committing theft when they use the courts to take parish properties. The fact that they get away with it is shameful. Note that they initiate the legal proceedings, too. Weren't we told not to use the courts to resolve issues between Christians?

JimB said...


Most Scout troops I know about hold the checkbook and sign the checks. The money belongs to the chartering organization anyway. There is no chain of ownership established by who signs checks.

The courts have held how the have and consistently except for a couple in the South that will be overturned, TEC has won. The truth is I fear, that the only reason for on going legislation is the Chapman strategy and a desire to harm.

They can do that, no one can deny a US Citizen access to the courts. But when they lose it is a bit much to worry about gloating. One the rare and reversible occasions when the schism minded have won, the gloating posts never end.

That leads us back not indirectly to my mom's observation. The topic of the post is not really the right and wrong of the title arguments, albeit I admit I touched on them. It is the question of 'gloating' and motivation that matters here. The courts will do whatever they do.


Christal said...

Its a shame what has happened here...Unbelievable.

I think your mother was a wise woman.

John Sandeman said...

From Mark Harris comments "(With a certain glee, I must confess.)" Pity.

JimB said...


I will let him defend himself if he chooses. I will however note that compared to the amazing crap one read on SFiF when for instance the Virginia decision came down it is pretty restrained.


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