THINKING OUT LOUD

Saturday, March 27th, 2010 | Uncategorized

After further review, I’m starting to believe that as far as the Anglican situation in South Carolina is concerned, something else might be in play:

The Episcopal Church (TEC) this past Friday, March 12, filed in the US Supreme Court a brief supporting dissident Episcopal parishioners in the Pawley’s Island area. The brief seeks a writ of certiorari in an effort to overturn the South Carolina Supreme Court’s unanimous September 2009 decision allowing the parish church of All Saints, Waccamaw, to break away from TEC.

The South Carolina court’s unanimous decision last September was the oldest still-pending court dispute involving the application of the Dennis Canon of The Episcopal Church to a parish’s property. In a wide-ranging decision involving All Saints Parish Church, Waccamaw, which serves the Pawleys Island area, the South Carolina court held that All Saints Parish Church, Waccamaw, is an independent congregation and the true owner of its property outside the jurisdiction of TEC. The property includes the original parish church which is more than 200 years old.

The appeals brief was filed with the US Supreme court on a petition for a writ of certiorari. Certiorari is a procedure by which a party can ask the US Supreme Court in its discretion to review a case. The Supreme Court receives thousands of certiorari petitions each year and routinely denies all but about one hundred. If the court decides to accept the case, it will grant a writ of certiorari. Thus, the US Supreme Court still has to rule whether it will take the case. The All Saint’s parties have until April 23 to file a reply brief on this question.

That underlined part is important; this appeal is a long shot, one which Anglican conservatives recently lost.  Granted, Hail Marys sometimes work but the odds against TEO in this particular case have to be considered enormous.

Stay with me.

Since the South Carolina Supreme Court has already demonstrated that it will not prostrate itself before the Dennis Canon and since writs of certiorari are difficult things to obtain, a legal move against the Diocese by TEO would be extremely risky.

If TEO sues South Carolina for not suing some parish that wants to throw in with AMiA and TEO loses, Episcopal Organization authority over South Carolina effectively comes to an end and the Diocese is free to do anything it wants.

South Carolina could vote to join ACNA, it could vote to pursue an independent existence all its own or it could vote to maintain its present ambiguous relationship with TEO, secure in the knowledge that it was effectively independent anyway.

Mrs. Schori’s only option would seem to be her usual “abandonment of communion” scam, deposing Lawrence, firing the Standing Committee, appointing sock puppets in their places and hoping like hell that the South Carolina courts would be fearful of inserting itself into questions of “church governance.”

Thing is, they already have.  By deciding the Pawley’s Island case in the way that they did and by deciding it unanimously, the South Carolina Supreme Court has indicated that it won’t automatically and robotically defer to TEO’s arguments. 

And the difficulties in obtaining a writ of certiorari from the US Supreme Court suggest that if Mrs. Schori wants to “rebuild” the Episcopal Organization in South Carolina, it will be the liberals who will be renting worship space wherever they can find it.

13 Comments to THINKING OUT LOUD

Bro. AJK
March 27, 2010

This sounds like good news.

someone
March 27, 2010

OHHHHHHhhh bravo! Yahooo! Ok. Does this mean something to me? All I ever wanted was a place to go and worship my God and my Lord JESUS. How long do you all expect me to wait around deciding which barn (building) I can do that worshiping stuff in? Oh–who gives a damn? NOT ANYMORE. IT IS TOO late for those of us simple followers to care. DO YOU GET THAT? WE DON”T CARE ANYMORE WHAT EPISCOPAL lawyers say to ANGLICAN LAWYERS, and/or what either/ or both say to the Supreme Court–all, I ever wanted was a peaceful place to pray, to find peace. YOU F —-s are so far away from that and you don’t see it yet! Have a nice day!

someone
March 27, 2010

I forgot to tell say this: your lawyers. You cowards,who have been hiding behind the bar since the late 1970′s. HOW DARE you come forward now and PROtest. You are file little cowards! IF YOU WERE WORTH ANYTHING AS HUMAN BEINGS you would now STEP FORWARD AND DEMAND clean–CLEAN –elections. YOU know, you remember: When you had to REALLY be a CITIZEN in order to vote for the Democrats–not just a need soul from Mexico. NOPE THE WAR–the REALLY FRIGHTENING place for lawyers to be is there–downtown filing cases against the state leadership. YOU KNOW–file a case against those folks who put in automatic ballot counting (done by the same mafia that took your churches away from you). YOU KNOW–get down there by your self on your own with no back up group to protect you. YOU INDIVIDUAL lawyers–get downtown and start a petition to put a referendum on the ballot to demand proof of citizenship for every voter. YOU KNOW get downtown and demand thato no one gets to vote by mail. YOU KNOW, get downtown and start a movement to require that every vote be cast in person at a polling place. SHOW ME SOME REAL TE—— just once for C—- sake!

Michael
March 27, 2010

So, what happens if TEO’s request is actually taken up by the Supremes and the decision finds against the Denis “Canon”? I would think that would be game, set, match against 815 and Dr. Shori.

Katherine
March 27, 2010

Christopher, the Pawley’s Island Episcopal congregation withdrew its appeal, having come to an amicable settlement with the AMiA congregation which won the SC lawsuits. This was announced March 25. Shori’s amicus brief was in support of an appeal which no longer exists. End of case. Property decisions in SC are going to be made between the Bishop, i.e. Lawrence, and the various parishes, and TEO has no legal say at all.

Sinner
March 28, 2010

So, what happens if TEO’s request is actually taken up by the Supremes and the decision finds against the Denis “Canon”?

TEO immediately ceases to exist.

I would think that would be game, set, match against 815 and Dr. Shori.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Frankly were I in an SC parish, I would have demanded the Diocese leave TEC at their convention yesterday. Failing that, I would immediately remove my parish from both TEC and the Diocese.

Llano Estacado
March 28, 2010

Frankly were I in an SC parish, I would have demanded the Diocese leave TEC at their convention yesterday. Failing that, I would immediately remove my parish from both TEC and the Diocese.

But you aren’t, and what they do is up to them, not you.

Mark Windsor
March 28, 2010

Ok, I’ll ask…

Which team was which in the video?

Allen Lewis
March 28, 2010

Chris,

I fail to see how +KJS can depose +Lawrence and then try to get rid of the Standing Committee. There will definitely be some legal challenges there as the Diocese has not gone – or attempted to go – anywhere. I believe the SC courts will not look kindly upon someone who has no legal standing in the state to try to control what happens to an entity which is recognized by the State of South Carolina and has a charter to boot. I don’t think that will play out the way TEC might want it to. I think +KJS might be missing a hand by the time she is able to withdraw her arm from that trap.

The Diocese of SC is not like San Joaquin, where a reasonable argument could be made that since the Diocese had voted itself out, then whatever remained of the Standing Committee was no longer in existence. [NOTE: I am not arguing the fact that after the convention vote in San Joaquin, there was no diocese left at all. That is for another day.] So I do believe that TEC has no chance of pulling off such a maneuver. Such a move would be met with a legal challenge before +KJS could say “Boo!” I do not think that Chief Justice Toal will take kindly to a bunch of New Yorkers trying to dictate to native South Carolinians about who is, or is not, on the Standing Committee for the Diocese of South Carolina. Not gonna happen!

skeptic5
March 28, 2010

My understanding of TEO’s status is the same as Katherine’s – they’re essentially out of business on this particular appeal now that the local parish has settled. There’s simply no further “case or controversy” over which the US Supremes could take jurisdiction, even if they wanted to wade into this particular swamp.

From what the Curmudgeon writes, it sounds like church PROPERTY in SC is now beyond the reach of TEO lawyers. (The Dennis Canon was essentially the only arrow in their quiver, and it has now been shot and found wanting.) So even if Katie Babe were to reach into her bag of tricks and depose Bp Lawrence, I’d bet that the near-immediate result would be the departure of most of the diocese WITH ITS PROPERTY from TEO. She could appoint a new standing committee, but it would probably be working in rented digs. Without the Dennis Canon I’m not sure what claim TEO could possibly have on diocesan buildings and assets, as against the bishop and standing committee in place.

Presumably there are some apostate parishes who would choose to stay in communion with 815, and presumably the Bishop’s Christian spirit would wish them well, so KJS could form a new diocese if she wanted to support it. But I’d bet a large percentage of the parishes and an even larger percentage of the money would shift to a Godly province elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.

I don’t see a lot of available outcomes in SC that She of the Oven Mitt would find attractive.

Sinner
March 28, 2010

Frankly were I in an SC parish, I would have demanded the Diocese leave TEC at their convention yesterday. Failing that, I would immediately remove my parish from both TEC and the Diocese.

But you aren’t, and what they do is up to them, not you.

The largest and richest parish in DioSc, St Andrews, has today voted to shake the dust off their feet and get out as soon as possible.

They made quite clear that had DioSc left ECUSA yesterday they would still be in the diocese,

When Mark Lawernce is called before Christ, he will have to account for his sin.

By remaining in ECUSA, he risks damnation.

Toral
March 29, 2010

P) Chris makes a good point about the S.C. courts. there is no necessary logical connection between the argument for the validity of the Dennis Canon and the argument that a diocese, being what one TEC pleading called a “component unit” of the national church, cannot withdraw or separate from the national church. But the S.C. decision does show that the Palmetto State is a different beats from, say California, which rather casually assumed that TEC is a hierarchical church and therefore just accepted everything TEC said about itself at face value.

2) It should be remembered that the Dennis Canon does not help TEC grab diocesan property in the event of diocesan separation at all. It applies only to parish property.

Sinner
March 30, 2010

P) Chris makes a good point about the S.C. courts. there is no necessary logical connection between the argument for the validity of the Dennis Canon and the argument that a diocese, being what one TEC pleading called a “component unit” of the national church, cannot withdraw or separate from the national church

Well yes there is practically – because if the real property & assets of a congregation are effectively vested in that congregation – every parish could simply leave and there’s nothing ECUSA or Lawrence could do about it.

2) It should be remembered that the Dennis Canon does not help TEC grab diocesan property in the event of diocesan separation at all. It applies only to parish property.

Right. so there would only be a fight about diocesan trust funds. But I think you’ll find that a) they are covered by the same reasoning as the parish trusts, and b) nothing would stop a diocese basically handing all their funds to e.g. a Cathedral parish.

In any event: the situation is now brutally clear. Neither Lawrence nor Shori can stop parishes leaving. Remaining by TEC, Lawrence is simply a mini-Shori – either he gets out of TEC immediately, or the parishes leave.

Sadly for his diocese, for the work of Christ, and to the peril of his own soul, he remains with Shori. So the parishes are leaving.

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