Skip to comments.Anglican Priest Says Legal Battle Against Liberal Conn. Bishop Will Continue
Posted on 08/31/2006 7:21:22 PM PDT by sionnsar
(AgapePress) - An orthodox Anglican priest says six Connecticut parishes that oppose the ordination of homosexuals are not giving up their legal fight against a liberal Episcopal bishop they have accused of abusing the power of his office.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that a civil rights lawsuit filed by the conservative priests known to many as "the Connecticut Six" against Bishop Andrew Smith lacked federal jurisdiction. Smith is being sued for seizing the property of four parishes, suspending an orthodox priest, and threatening to defrock five others.
One of the priests, Chris Leighton of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien, Connecticut, says Smith has been "taking over churches" and must be confronted. "Andrew Smith has not acted in a way that has respected the rights of his parishioners and the people of his churches and [he] has acted fraudulently," Leighton contends, "and that's pretty clear in the lawsuit."
The orthodox minister says he and the other five priests bringing the suit believe that this case involves "a titanic struggle between those who uphold the authority of scripture and those who do not." And even though one federal court ruling has gone against them, he insists the legal fight is far from over and any declaration of victory on Smith's part would be premature.
"This is an opportunity," Leighton says, "to allow for a judgment on whether or not a supposed minister of the gospel, a bishop of the church, can act in such a way that misrepresents his title and office and also violates the rights of American citizens and members of churches."
The clergy referred to as the Connecticut Six are Leighton, Rev. Allyn Benedict, Rev. Ron Gauss, Rev. Mark Hansen, Rev. Don Helmandollar, and Rev. Gil Wilkes. Now that a federal judge has ruled that their civil suit lacks federal jurisdiction, the priests say they are now considering whether to pursue "state court and federal appellate remedies."
State court and appellate remedies are all fine and dandy, but why did they simply stand idly by and let the guy get physical possession of the parishes in the first place?
Why didn't they physically block him and his lieutenants from the buildings, and physically remove him from the property. That would force the Bishop to spend money and time and effort on eviction notices, and would force the whole issue into court...or maybe a court would have ruled the same way: no jurisdiction - at which point the Bishop would NOT have possession of the buildings, but would instead be filing appeals to try and get into court.
Indeed, if orthodox Anglicans are more numerous than that unorthodox, why don't they simply go back into their parishes and take physical possession. This forces a court to listen and hear the eviction arguments.
Passively arguing gives the bad guys the win. Physically block them, and they won't fight either. Then THEY are the ones running to court trying to get orders...and they might lose, depending on the judge. Let them get physical possession, and there's no ground to fight. Engage them in a fistfight, and THEY are the ones invading the property.
Defy them and ignore them. They do not have the police in their pocket. The government doesn't want to get involved in this. If he's an abusive bishop, unceremoniously unfrock him and and declare he's no bishop at all. Fight.
Please understand that the Episcopalians are on new and unfamiliar territory. The action by Bishop Smith was completely new and without precedent, and the very first action aggressively carried forward under the Dennis Canon.
If you had been following the saga as posted here on FR, you would know that this came as a complete surprise, maybe a bit like the circumvention of the Maginot Line.
Indeed, if orthodox Anglicans [sic] are more numerous than that unorthodox, why don't they simply go back into their parishes and take physical possession. This forces a court to listen and hear the eviction arguments.
1) We don't know that that orthodox Episcopalians are the majority anymore. A huge number, yours truly included, have for various reasons left for other jurisdictions -- and even if those jurisictions are Anglican they have no standing in TEC(/ECUSA/PECUSA/whatever-else-we-are-today).
2) Physical possession may nor may not mean a thing, depending on state statutes, after the (possibly questionable) enactment of the Dennis Canon in response to the departure of a number of churches, with property, in the late '70s.
Understand that the liberals have been active for a long time, carefully preparing this battle ground. The orthodox Episcopalians have for the most part remained (willfully? I cannot say) passively ignorant -- "if it doesn't affect me here in my pew, it's not important."
Watch carefully and take heed, Vicomte13; they're trying similar things over your way. ++B16 should not be your only line of defense!
Everything is upside-down in the Anglican communion. Sexual sins have always been at the botton of the hierarchy of sins. But now that there is a gay bishop, the orthodox are finally outraged enough to want to leave. The most deadly sins of blasphemy have been going on for decades, and only now is refuge to be found in priggishness.
At this point, I don't find much substance in either camp.