TEC deposes Fort Worth clergy

To the surprise of absolutely no one, C. Wallis Ohl, provisional bishop of the (Episcopal) diocese of Ft. Worth deposed (fired) all the bishops, priests and deacons of the (Anglican) diocese of Ft. Worth on Monday. While the move was expected, it just goes to show how very bitter and classless The Episcopal Church has really become. Ft. Worth was one of several dioceses to break away from TEC in 2008.

As mentioned in this post, the history of the Ft. Worth diocese is pretty unique, and the legal proceedings currently underway are intriguing. Basically, the Anglicans say that only their diocese (in the “legal corporation founded in the state of Texas” sense) is allowed by Texas law to hire attorneys to defend the diocese; the Episcopalians disagree, and want the matter to go to trial… which doesn’t make any sense. How could the matter go to trial if both parties claim to represent the same diocese?

To put it another way, let’s say that someone wanted to sue Microsoft, and when the trial begins, two sets of attorneys show up in the courtroom claiming to represent Microsoft. One group of attorneys can prove that they were hired by Steve Ballmer (or whoever Microsoft has appointed to hire legal counsel); the other group of attorneys cannot. These attorneys are pressing for the case to go to trial, while the first group presses for the other group to be dismissed because they cannot prove that they were hired by the people appointed by the by-laws of [Microsoft\the Diocese of Ft. Worth], a Texas corporation.

Read Ohl’s disgusting letter here (but why would you?)

2 Replies to “TEC deposes Fort Worth clergy”

  1. Hmm, if they quit the TEC in 2008, how can they be fired? If they quit the church why would anyone expect the church to continue to affirm their ordination? Whichever way you go on the decisions of the TEC, quitting a church would rather clearly seem to imply that you no longer care if they recognize your ordination.

    1. The entire diocese quit the TEC to align themselves with the Province of the Southern Cone. This is unorthodox, but not necessarily “illegal” according to canon law. The thing is, the diocese is the basic administrative unit of most Anglican churches. If a diocese votes to leave a province, there’s nothing a national church can really do (compared to, say, a single parish voting to leave, in which case the diocese can sue).

      What makes all this so interesting is that Iker, et. al are no longer recognized as valid clergy according to TEC… but *are* recognized as such by the Global South, which has well over 50% of all practicing Anglicans in the world these days. So while TEC (less than 2 million parishioners) may consider them invalid, Global South (40+ million parishioners) does. TEC may be king of the hill here, but pulls ever less weight on a worldwide basis. It’ll be interesting to see what the GS does with regard to ACNA; I’d laugh my ass off to see some global meeting where the GS delegates ask TEC folks to leave so that the “valid Anglican representatives from North America” (ACNA) can take their seats.

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