Friday, April 16, 2010

Anglican Curmudgeon posts court room notes on Virginia Supreme Court oral arguments

Yay for JH! It was fantastic to see him in the court room and yes, he took notes! The full scoop is here.

Curmudgeon's got it all, a must-read.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeff H deserves some credit. He did a darn sight better than Julia Duin.

David Handy+ said...

Yes, it's not easy to take notes like that and keep up with the flow of argument.

Thanks, Jeff. Well done!

robroy said...

Don't you think the business about "division" and "branches" was bizarre? What would constitute a division to these guys? When the Methodists split away from the Anglicans? How about the mother of all divisions, the Reformation? Nope, not by their "reasoning".

Anonymous said...

"Division" and "branch" mean what the Confederate veterans who wrote the statute meant in the 1860s. The statute was written to help them separate themselves from northerners with whom they were hugely uncomfortable. But the Court has to remain as faithful as possible to the words of the statute in the context in which it was written.

It surely wasn't written to contemplate the situation we have now. That doesn't mean that it absolutely cannot apply here, but it explains why the Court is struggling with the language. To engineer a fit with the statute, one has to buy in to the idea that the secessionist elements are still a branch of the Episcopal Church in some sense and that a division can be self-declared by those who depart. The trial judge got through that thicket by deciding that the CANA churches are branches of the Anglican Communion and that the Anglican Communion is a "church" within the meaning of the statute.



Scout

BabyBlue said...

The statute was written and used dozens of times because the post-Civil War leadership had been through the most horrendous division this country has ever known. They knew intimately as those who were now in leadership of Virginia after the Civil War (a very important point in knowing who these leaders were) what war was like - be it on the battlefield or in the court room - and found a way forward that was meant to avoid deeper division and perhaps bring healing in the long run - it was a compassionate response to the division of property, something we should commend those leaders for their wisdom and possibly why they were in leadership after the Civil War.

One of the most painful and fascinating moments in the court room last week was when The Episcopal Church contended there was no division. Even the justice who asked the question seemed incredulous, especially since the court room itself was a blaring example that TEC has divided. As Judge Bellows wrote, we'd have to be blinking at reality to miss it.

Saying that people didn't get out of bed on the morning of the vote is equally incredulous. That people may not have been paying attention to the catastrophic breakdown of the Episcopal Church is tragic - this didn't happen over night. It took three years for the parishes and the leadership of the Diocese of Virginia itself to discern that we were at a Level Five conflict and division was underway. The Bishop of Virginia personally met with the rectors of all those parishes - fact to face with many tears. That the diocese took the initiative to find a way forward in the Virginia Protocol (which took the law of Virginia and the canons of the diocese in mind when it was written under Bishop Lee's direction) was an extraordinary act of courage. It could very well have been that the bishop - and the Standing Committee - never dreamed that the division was truly as severe as the Reconciliation Commission found it to be. That 815 was taken over by individuals who continue to usurp the authority of the diocesan bishops and local parishes does not bode well for the long-term health of the Episcopal Church as an institution. At some point, those who are NOT blinking at reality will wake up and get out of bed and bring reform inside TEC. I hope you are one of those people, Scout.

Even at Truro we are working with Episcopal rectors to use the Truro facilities. In fact, we have a wedding coming up at Truro that is being conducted by a sitting progressive rector in Fairfax County in the Diocese of Virginia because a parishioner at his parish asked that it be held at Truro - and we opened our doors to this historically progressive parish to hold their service at Truro - led by their progressive liberal rector who is a friend - a friend. Do you understand what I am saying? That's the sort of "reconciliation" that we could be about and not the tragic stance that 815 has chosen to impose on the Diocese of Virginia.

bb

Londoner said...

BB - perhaps that kind of reconciliation is good on a personal level but the attitude of 815 is better (not necessariy their intention!) for the church long-term...given we need to make a clean break from false teaching (1 Cor 5-7)

Anonymous said...

"Confederate veterans" wrote the statute? I think the Diocese tried that line of argument in the litigation and it was found to be both untrue and irrelevant. In 1867, Virginia was still in reconstruction, so I doubt there were many confederate veterans in the legislature at that time. It was mostly radical republicans from West and Northern Virginia who would have enacted that statute.

Considering what I have heard from some in the TEC Virginia diocese complaining about the church coming under a Nigerian bishop, though, I have a pretty good idea who got any confederate veterans in the split.

Steven in Falls Church said...

If the Division Statute is constitutional (and therefore remains) it has to have some meaning. TEC's reading of the statute (we get to declare the division) would render the statute useless and therefore meaningless. If an alternative Anglican structure in the United States, consisting of entire TEC diocese, numerous parishes, and 100,000 souls who have all disaffiliated, headed by someone claiming equal status to The Great Oven Mitt, and which has gained acceptance by most Anglicans around the world, does not spell division, then nothing will.

ettu said...

Steven- Who in God's Holy Name is the " ''The Great Oven Mitt.." Are you slandering someone or is there a cook involved in this somewhere - If you are referring to the Presiding Bishop of TEC I saw her this past Saturday at the installation of Ian Douglas as 15th Bishop of Connecticut and she behaved properly and quite traditionally in all areas of Church discipline and tradition - Desmond Tutu gave a wonderful sermon, by the way.

Anonymous said...

The last Confederate veteran died in 1959. If there are some still around, I haven't found any in the Episcopal Church.

Scout

Jeff H said...

ettu-

I think this is what Steven is referring to.

ettu said...

well, I'm surprised headgear trumps theology - is this akin to rock breaks scisssors? - seems puerile at best and catty at worst

Steven in Falls Church said...

Perhaps a bit puerile I admit (it was toward the end of a long day), but you have to admit the headgear is downright bad, although not quite as bad as the theology espoused by the person wearing it.

BabyBlue said...

I do think it is wise to keep the name-calling out of the conversation. After all, we do want to hear each other (we're all sitting around our tables sipping our butterbeer and Old Ogden's Fire Whiskey, right?) and the name calling (even as an attempt at humor) often causes us to sit back in our chair and close our ears. Hagrid is looking a bit cross as well.

Even though we may disagree with her - or have very strong feelings - Bishop Schori is still a bishop and should, as best as we are able, be kind to each other.

bb

ettu said...

I always appreciate attempts at humor even when they seem to fall a bit short (short not schori) - PS it does not look as bad in person as in the photo - the robes coordinate - at least a bit

ettu said...

For what it is worth I can report that the mitre she was wearing in Connecticut appeared to be the same as in the photo except the colors are brighter (and more ridiculous) in the photo - seriously, I wonder whether the photo is a fair representation of the actual mitre or is of a different one - photos can be tweaked intentionally or can just fail to record the colors adequately depending on the settings of the camera - this is a serious observation and I would be interested if there are other JPEGs out there that show more muted colors similar to what I saw at the installation of Ian Douglas

ettu said...

Actually the mitres may have been different - anyway the one I saw was more muted - slightly different pattern also