The Anglican Communion Institute has released an indepth paper on litigation that makes a convincing case that the Presiding Bishop has no authority in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church to initiate and conduct property litigation against dioceses. "Arguments based on a presumed equivalence of the roles of the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council to those of a corporate CEO and board of directors are found not to be valid," writes the ACI.
The paper also finds that there is also no convincing case that the Presiding Bishop is carrying out a fiduciary duty to pursue litigation against dioceses (and we would include interference in local parishes since the Presiding Bishop herself sued the parishes that separated from The Episcopal Church in Virginia, a case that still stands though she seems to have later abandoned that strategy in regards to other separating parishes, setting up shadow dioceses or directing sitting diocesan bishops to carry out the strategy instead - obviously they saw an issue there so are financing the operation without Schroi's name on the lawsuits).
And the point is, as we saw at General Convention this summer, Schori's office is still running the litigation operation, including hiring full-time staff to carry it out.
"No person is under a fiduciary duty to undertake something that has not been authorized," writes the ACI. The paper then goes on to unpack what is actually authorized by the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church - and it's a devastating read.
"Bishop Stacy F. Sauls attempts to locate authority for the Presiding Bishop to conduct litigation by identifying the Presiding Bishop as the chief executive officer of TEC, but that identification is incorrect. Presumably he bases his assertion on the canon that provides that the Presiding Bishop is chief executive officer of TEC’s Executive Council."
The paper then goes on to make the case that "The Executive Council is not a constitutionally established body." Which is what we've all known. The Presiding Bishop and her advisers then reinvented the word "mission" to mean conducting litigation. The ACI paper confronts that redirection point by point and takes that misuse authority apart, piece by piece.
Read it all here. More commentary coming.