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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What is Their Ploy?

The Diocese of Virginia filed suit today against the eleven congregations that voted to vamoose the Episcopal Church, asking the courts they be booted from their properties. This is likely to be a long, nasty and expensive process.

For the life of me, I cannot figure what 815 Second Avenue is up to (and let's face it, the PB and her cadre are most certainly behind this suit: Look for an amicus curiae brief to filed). With the primates meeting that could very well determine ECUSA's fate in the Anglican Communion just two weeks away, does dragging into court a group representing ten percent of Virginia's Anglicans, who recently voted to affiliate with the largest Anglican province in the world, a wise strategy? Does KJS believe this action will win the hearts of ++Akinola and his peers and cause them to regard with sympathy ECUSA's desire to stay within the Communion? Nope, I can't figure it out.

Unless, however, ECUSA's leaders have already determined the outcome of the meeting next month, that it will not be favorable. Then all this litigation makes a bit of sense. If ECUSA is actually expelled (and I don't think that's going to happen next month but who knows?) we can expect the present stream of deserters to increase to a flood, as it dawns on Episcopalians their church, no longer part of the Anglican Communion, can in no way be considered catholic, but is, rather, just another dying liberal protestant sect, one that requires an impossible stretch of faith to regard as the Body of Christ. Forceful and multiple pre-emptive legal strikes might forestall (for a time) the exodus by sending the message to those congregations contemplating jumping ship: "The hell with you all and if you insist on leaving it will cost you dearly!" And should they leave anyway (and in time they will), the dioceses, by taking title to the properties, will have valuable, albeit illiquid, assets that they can use to help keep afloat.

As I said, however, this strategy only makes a bit of sense. Church membership is declining every year in just about every diocese, already making it a tough sell to potential new members. If dioceses around the country start suing every congregation that wants out, that sell will become well-nigh impossible. Nobody will join a church that's involved in multiple and wide-spread lawsuits. So I guess I'm back where I started: Just what is 815 up to? It seems to me the wiser course would be to let those congregations that want to leave to do so and let them keep their property. Long, drawn-out lawsuits benefit no one but for ECUSA not to engage in them will require admitting to a large and increasing number of its members the present course is just plain wrong. That is something no one in the present heirarchy seems willing to do so I guess the lawsuits will continue.

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