DioSC: Ooops!

Good news from Stand Firm, where there is more:

Late this afternoon (5:11 p.m. EST), the Circuit Court of South Carolina in Dorchester County (the Hon. Diane S. Goodstein presiding) issued a Temporary Restraining Order which declares:

No individual, organization, association or entity, whether incorporated or not, may use, assume, or adopt in any way, directly or indirectly, the registered names and the seal or mark of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina as are set out below or any names or seal that may be perceived to be those names and seal or mark. The registered names and mark that are subject to this order are: the seal of the Diocese of South Carolina as described in its registration with the South Carolina Secretary of State; the name “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina”, as registered with the South Carolina Secretary of State; the name “The Diocese of South Carolina”, as registered with the South Carolina Secretary of State; and the name “The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina”, as registered with the South Carolina Secretary of State. Again, this seal and these names are those registered by this Plaintiff corporation [Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese of South Carolina] with the South Carolina Secretary of State.

The order was issued following an ex parte hearing before Judge Goodstein yesterday, and after Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese posted a bond set by the court at $50,000. A hearing may be held “ex parte” in cases of urgency, in order to prevent immediate harm from occurring. The opposing side does not need to be present; indeed, the Episcopal Church (USA) has not yet entered an appearance in the case, and does not seem to have been represented at the hearing.

“Consumed By Litigation”

The Anglican Communion Institute hits one out of the park with this analysis of the situation in South Carolina, entitled “Consumed By Litigation: TEC In South Carolina”:

What is not so obvious is that The Episcopal Church’s canon law points to the same conclusion. The Episcopal Church has no canonical basis for the actions that the Presiding Bishop and pro-Episcopal Church local parishes appear to be taking. There is no canonical authority for an “Interim Bishop” to be “appointed by the Presiding Bishop” in an existing diocese. Nor is there any canonical basis for a self-appointed “Steering Committee” to attempt to “reorganize” an existing diocese, to “communicate with the Presiding Bishop” or be advised by other bishops of the church. Indeed, the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church are clear: no bishop can act within the territory of an existing diocese without the consent of its Ecclesiastical Authority. If The Episcopal Church’s theory that the Diocese has not left is correct, then any notion of appointed Interim Bishops, Episcopal Advisors and transitional committees is strictly prohibited by The Episcopal Church’s own canons. Those appointments are the prerogatives of the diocese and its Ecclesiastical Authority acting pursuant to their governing instruments, not the Presiding Bishop or the “national church.” The absence of any canons authorizing what the Presiding Bishop and others are doing is proof that The Episcopal Church is operating under a profoundly flawed understanding of the church’s polity.

The article ends with a beautiful summary: either a diocese cannot leave the Episcopal Church, in which case the Presiding Bishop and her minions are blatantly violating the canons of the church and the civil law of South Carolina… or a diocese can leave the Episcopal Church, in which case the Presiding Bishop and her minions have wasted millions in legal fees for battles in other “rump” dioceses.

Your move, Katharine.

Some Anglican News

If you a regular reader of my Anglican posts, you probably don’t need an introduction to the woes of the Anglican Communion generally and The Episcopal Church specifically. In fact, it seems almost like flogging a dead horse to go over it all again. But this open letter from Jason Ballard to the General Convention encapsulates the issues so beautifully, it’s certainly worth a read:

We are barely able to get one in three of our baptized members to communion on any given Sunday (probably lower if you took out Easter and Christmas), and yet we are going to consider making communion available to those who have never been baptized in contravention of nearly two millennia of unbroken, uninterrupted Church teaching.  We, apparently, can’t even get our baptized membership to take the Eucharist more seriously than soccer, spring break, fishing, and football!

In a so-called spirit of hospitality, clergy in almost every diocese flaunt the canons of this Church and their ordination vows by offering communion to the unbaptized.  The bishops are either ignorant of the conditions in their own diocese, unwilling to do anything to bring integrity and order to the parishes, or are sympathetic to this disregard for the established and agreed upon regulations by which we order our common life.  Any of those three would be a tragedy, and we’ve probably got all three going on in some measure.

Also, World Magazine has this interesting piece about The Falls Church and the other breakaway parishes in Virginia who have been ordered out of their property:

The Virginia courts awarded six other Anglican church properties to TEC, and three of them have no Episcopal congregation left to use the properties. The diocese may sell some of the properties, said Henry Burt, chief of staff for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, but he said it would not sell The Falls Church or another historic property, Truro Church, for which the diocese has no congregation. Truro’s Anglican congregation is still meeting there, under an agreement with the diocese requiring that the Anglicans pay for the upkeep.

TEC has sold some other properties it has won in court over the last few years, but Jefferts Schori has forbidden selling property to Anglicans. In a recent interview with NPR, she described the Anglican congregations as “competitors.” (Her spokesperson said she wasn’t available for an interview for this article.) “I’ve had two principles throughout this,” Jefferts Schori said. “One, that the church receive a reasonable approximation of fair market value for assets that are disposed of; and, second, that we not be in the business of setting up competitors that want to either destroy or replace the Episcopal Church.” She hasn’t enforced these two principles in all cases: In 2010 the Diocese of Central New York sold a property it won from an Anglican congregation to a Muslim awareness center for well below market value.

Is it time for her to go yet?


Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has announced that he will resign at the end of this year. He is to become master of Magdalene College, Cambridge next year.

This is OMG HUGE news! On the one hand, the Anglican Communion will be free of a spineless technocrat who refused to stand up to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. But, on the other hand, his replacement could be even worse.

The early favorite to replace Williams is Dr. John Sentamu, the current Archbishop of York. Sentamu, who fled Uganda in 1974 due to his criticism of the dictator Idi Amin, is a former attorney (barrister) and judge who is known for his strong stance on social issues. He once cut up his clerical collar as a protest against the regime of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and he also once spent a week living in a tent in York Minster, fasting for victims of violence in the Middle East. Sentamu is vehemently opposed to same sex marriages, but supports civil unions, which should put him on a collision course with KJS and her minions in TEC. Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London (known for his environmental activism, but opposed to the ordination of female bishops), Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester (who recently took a very public stance against benefit caps), and Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford, are some other names mentioned as possible successor.

Let’s all pray that +++ Williams’ replacement is a faithful steward of the Anglican cause. As someone else said, Williams “rubbed his fevered brow with his fevered hands while everything burned around him.  History will not be kind to the Archbishop who did so little and yet wrought so much devastation”.

The Sad Anglican Roundup

The train wreck that is the Anglican Communion keeps chugging along towards oblivion. Want to know why? Just check out this handy Roundup of Sadness.

– Bede Parry was a priest at Conception Abbey, a Benedictine community near St. Joseph, Missouri. He also has a history of sexually abusing young boys dating back to 1981. Parry was kicked out of the Catholic Church. He then moved to Nevada, where he became a music director and organist for All Saints Church, Las Vegas. He approached the Bishop of Nevada about becoming a priest in the Episcopal Church. The Bishop agreed, apparently knowing full well his pedophile past. The Bishop of Nevada at the time? Katharine Jefferts Schori, the current Presiding Bishop of the United States. Although Schori says otherwise, Parry himself has said that Schori knew all about his past before she consecrated him. Is the Presiding Bishop so attached to her policy of inclusion and diversity that she’ll turn a blind eye to pedophilia? Apparently so. Read more about the sad story here.

– Speaking of Catholics… ya know, you’d think that the Episcopal Church would enjoy a rise in membership with the large number of Catholics leaving the Church in the wake of the sexual abuse scandals. But you’d be wrong. According to Freakonomics, if Catholics leave the church and join another denomination, it’s most likely to be a Baptist church. I don’t know if it’s because those Catholics are choosing to go in the opposite direction, or if the Episcopal Church has dropped the ball yet again… but guess which one I’m leaning towards?

Continue reading “The Sad Anglican Roundup”

The Presiding Bishop is an AWFUL Human Being

If you haven’t been keeping up with international Anglican news lately, faithful Anglicans in Zimbabwe are having a pretty rough time of it. Since Anglicans are one of the few groups unafraid to call out Robert Mugabe on his long reign of violence and corruption, Mugabe has seen fit to turn his wrath on them. Zimbabwe’s Anglicans have been arrested, parishes have had their property seized, and priests unwilling to go along with the “new regime” have had their homes taken. Those who defy Mugabe lackey Nolbert Kunonga (and, by extension, Mugabe himself) face a world of hurt. At that last link, you can read a quote from a local bishop who says that:

Intimidation has become physical violence. Threats have turned into beatings, rape and murder. The people’s trust in the forces of law and order has been blatantly abused by repeated acts of injustice, and as the Bishop of Harare has said recently, ‘When the justice system and the police are themselves corrupt, who can we turn to for justice?’

Anglican Church leaders continue to receive death threats, and believers are subject to violent harassment when they attempt to meet for worship. Churches, schools and mission hospitals are invaded and appropriated for the greater glory of Mugabe.

So… what does Katharine Jefferts Schori think of all this?

“They have experienced the same kind of thing as congregations in Fort Worth and San Joaquin,” she noted, referring to attempts by former leaders in those places to take ownership of diocesan property and leave loyal Episcopalians without a spiritual home.”

Yes, Katharine, because two American dioceses wanting to break away from The Episcopal Church and going to court over it (which was all your doing, by the way), is exactly the fucking same as living under Robert Mugabe.

When I was a teenager, I’d often say “I hate [some jock who hassled me]”. But I didn’t really mean it, of course. But as I get older, I’m starting to understand where hate comes from. I literally shook with rage when I read that KJS quote. There really are terrible people in this world, and KJS must surely be counted among them.

I mean, first of all, she has to find a way to inject her agenda into a continuing tragedy. As much as my dislike of Barack Obama grows, I’m sure the man isn’t stupid or vain enough to go on TV in the wake of a tragedy and say “Well, 30 Americans died in that helicopter crash in Afghanistan… just like 30 children will die if you don’t work with me to support [some stupid federal program that will accomplish nothing other than waste huge amounts of money]”. But to actually compare Fort Worth and San Joaquin to what’s going on in Zimbabwe? That’s beyond the pale, even for KJS.

You should be ashamed, Mrs. Schori. But, given your past record, I think we all can safely assume that shame and humility are two traits you lack wholesale.

Thursday’s News Roundup

– The FBI finally arrested Whitey Bulger yesterday after a 16 year hunt. It only took ten years to track down Bin Laden. What’s next? Finding Jimmy Hoffa?

– The Archbishop of Canterbury was guest editor New Statesman, a position he used to criticize the British government’s austerity measures. Which is funny, because the Archbishop of Canterbury is the last person who should be critical of the leadership of others. The Anglican Communion has imploded on his watch, yet he has time to criticize David Cameron for cutting programs to keep the British government from drowning in debt. It’s like Herbert Hoover complaining about Jimmy Carter’s “leadership skills”.

– North Carolina’s gas tax is set to become the third highest in the nation. Maybe it’s because the state is shrinking (thanks to Jill Wagner for the link!).

– Is Gordon Ramsey’s star waning? So few people turned up to audition for his show MasterChef that producers “enhanced the crowd” by digitally copying the people who did. Nice.

– When a California man’s cable went out, he called Cox Cable and threatened to kill himself. The Cox technician, taking no chances, called the cops on the man.

– Someone is leaving huge bags of vomit outside a Bed Bath & Beyond store in Philadelphia. Police don’t know if the perpetrator(s) have a beef with the chain, or are perhaps paid to dispose of the waste and are just being lazy.

– Ever seen a $156,679 bar tab? Now you can, as someone took a picture of the receipt from when the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins recently visited the Foxwoods Casino.

– Lastly, New York magazine has a good “nostalgia piece” about the 1988 film Heathers. How has it aged? Read the article and find out!

Wednesday’s Random Stuff

– For years I’ve been saying that the “Drug War” isn’t really a war on “drugs”, it’s a war on “people” and a war on “civil rights”. And now the blue-ribbon Global Commission on Drug Policy agrees with me. The panel, which includes “former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, Greece’s prime minister, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. officials George P. Schultz and Paul Volcker, the writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, and British billionaire Richard Branson” has concluded “that criminalization and repressive measures have failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world” and recommends decriminalizing many drugs, especially marijuana. Predictably, White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske called the report “misguided”.

– Delta Airlines has discontinued the discount it once offered for checking bags online. A Delta spokesperson called the move a “competitive response”… because no other airline offered such a discount. So yes, Delta thinks it’s becoming more competitive by removing something that used to make it unique. The mind boggles. Read more here.

– Speaking of confusing, The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church are paving the way to approving same sex unions. However (and you’ve gotta love this), the two denominations are careful to differentiate between “marriages’ and “same sex unions”. Heterosexual couples in TEC and ELCA will only be able to get traditional marriage ceremonies and not the “civil union” ceremony gay couples can get. Why? Lutheran Bishop Wayne Miller said: “If pastors start performing civil unions, it sets up a very confusing message about whether or not this church still holds marriage as the standard for how a man and a woman enter into a lifelong commitment with one another”. Why thank you, Bishop, that all makes perfect sense!

– Since the Anglican Communion is going to hell anyway (in North America and England at least), you might as well have fun with it. The English church of St Mary The Virgin, in Surrey, has doubled their average Sunday attendance (ASA) since hiring Stephanie Nadarajah as a vicar:

Stephanie Nadarajah

To her credit, the 29 year-old Nadarajah has a theology degree from Cambridge and worked at a few high-level jobs at the NHS before becoming a vicar, so she’s a pretty smart cookie in addition to having a pretty face.

– Speaking of “pretty English girls with strange jobs”, Harriet Haslam-Greene was a model. Now she’s a soldier, stationed in Afghanistan with The Highlanders, 4th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

– And what would a news update be without a strange story from England? Tom Clarke, a 15 year-old boy, was kicking a soccer ball around the back yard of a pub when he accidentally kicked the ball through a glass panel in a neighbor’s green house. Like most teenagers, the scared teen fled the scene. The owner of the greenhouse, perhaps understandably, called police. But when the cops couldn’t find a suspect, they called in a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera! What should have been a teenage accident turned into something from a Will Smith summer blockbuster, and instead of the “stern talking to” you might have expected Clarke to get, he now faces criminal charges.

Just Another Random Monday

– The word of the day is velleity, which is “a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.”

– Conservative? If so, The Episcopal Church hates you. From a guest commentary on their official website:

In an all-wired, let’s-go-viral world of non-information posing as information, these outliers can gain traction. In a saner era, somebody would have told Trump to go back to building unprofitable casinos. No newspaper with sense would dignify today’s bigotry with 24/7 coverage. No network claiming authority would employ people whose wild-eyed extremism makes a mockery of the Fourth Estate.

But here they are, the nutcases, parading in prime time as if they were a legitimate alternative in a deeply divided nation that is struggling with huge and vexing issues.

Thanks to Rupert Murdoch, they even have their own television network to legitimize streams of vitriol, conspiracy theories, fears, rages, and suspicion. In the brave new world of leveling-by-Internet, anybody can say anything and claim to be an authority.

Nice. This wouldn’t faze (or surprise) me in the least if it were on some TEC-affiliated site. But to see it on their official site? Shocking! And they wonder why ASA continues to decline.

– Speaking of religion and politics, an English man is facing being fired for displaying a cross in his work van… but his boss has a poster of notorious racist, homophobe and anti-Semite Che Guevara on his office wall. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others, eh?

– The Metro Design Language isn’t a computer language like Java or C++. It’s actually a set of design standards Microsoft started using in Zune and Windows Media Center and made front and center in Windows Phone. And, like it or not, it’s coming to Windows 8 and the next version of Office. Here’s a confirmed genuine screen cap of a beta version of the newest version of Outlook:

office 15

Man, that’s pretty sexay!

– Speaking of sexy, Chickipedia is the Wikipedia of hawt celebrity women. But while it’s nice to have a giant list of babes and their biographies, what truly makes the site is the “Assets” and “Vices” list at the top of each entry. They’re sometimes mundane, but often hilarious! Check out the list for Heidi Montag: “Assets: Great ass, huge set of tits, cup sized triple D’s maybe triple F’s and going for triple H’s as per her wishes when she’s ready for them. Vices: totally devoid of talent.” Or Jenny McCarthy: “Assets: funny, likes to get naked, tall. Vices: inability to use deductive reasoning, masculine face”. And Ashley Judd: “Assets: Southern sweetness, natural beauty. Vices: race car drivers, bad scripts”. It’s worth a visit.

Pause to Remember

Today marks the 455th anniversary of the death of Thomas Cranmer, the 69th Archbishop of Canterbury and the author of The Book of Common Prayer. From Wikipedia:

Cranmer was tried for treason and heresy after Mary I, a member of the Catholic Church, came to the throne. Imprisoned for over two years and under pressure from the Church authorities, he made several recantations and apparently reconciled himself with the Roman Catholic faith. However, on the day of his execution, he dramatically withdrew his recantations, to die a heretic to Catholics and a martyr to Protestants. His legacy lives on within the Church of England through the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles, an Anglican statement of faith derived from his work.

Cranmer was burned at the stake, and history says that he shoved his right hand – the hand that had signed all those recantations – into the fire first as a penance for his sins.

Cranmer’s beautiful words made the Book of Common Prayer second only to the Authorized Bible as important works of the English language. Everyone is familiar with the words “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” and “What God hath joined here today let no man put asunder”. But Anglicans will hold this especially close to the heart:

“Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again: Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood …”

Thanks to The Ugley Vicar for the heads-up.