According to a ruling on 21 July, Schofield cannot continue to call himself the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Second time he's been told that.
- Entry: Minute Order from Dept.: 97A Clerk: M Rodriguez Reporter: from chambers Nature of Hearing:Demurrer to 1st amended Cross Complaint - matter having been previously taken under advisement 5/5/09, the court now rules. Tentative ruling becomes the order of the court. No further order is necessary. Sustained with 10 days leave to amend.
10:47 AM Order filed Schofield, David Mercer
Entry: Order on plaintiffs' motion for summary adjudication signed by Judge A Corona filed. Granted as to 1st cause of action. ng
10:49 AM Minute order - Judge Corona Schofield, David Mercer
Entry: Minute Order from Dept.: 97A Clerk: M Rodriguez Reporter: from chambers Nature of Hearing: Motion for Summary Judgment - matter having been previously taken under advisement on 5/5/09, the court now rules. Partially granted ng
The First Cause of Action in the complaint is for Declaratory Relief as to the Actions and Status of the Corporation Sole. The plaintiffs (Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin) contend that the purported amendments to the articles of the corporation sole were ultra vires, invalid, and void, and that defendant Schofield may not continue as the incumbent of the "The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin, a corporation sole," or as president of the Episcopal Foundation or the Investment Trust, after leaving the Episcopal Church and being deposed.
The Diocese of Ft. Worth (the real one, not Iker's fake organization) issued a statement which includes this about the California decision:
- The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical church as a matter of law;
- The legal analysis in other cases involving parishes attempting to leave the Episcopal Church apply to a case in which a diocese attempts to leave the Episcopal Church;
- Attempts by a diocese to amend its Constitution, canons, or corporate documents to (1) limit its unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, (2) purport to leave the Episcopal Church to join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, or (3) change the manner of determining who is the diocesan bishop is ultra vires (beyond its powers) and void;
- Civil courts must accept as binding and defer to decisions of the Episcopal Church to recognize the provisional bishop and other diocesan officials who were installed after the former diocesan officials left the Episcopal Church;
- The person who is recognized by the Episcopal Church as the bishop is the legal incumbent of the office of the bishop of the diocese, not a former bishop who left the Episcopal Church; and
- When members left the Episcopal Church, the Church has a right to name their successors in diocesan offices.
The Grapevine's original post on the ruling is here.
If you prefer the summary in common-speak, you'll find it here.
The Fresno Bee, which has formerly been kind to Schofield, posted a small notification about the ruling:
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has prevailed in its first lawsuit against a deposed bishop who led a secession movement prompted by the church's ordination of women and gays.
National church leaders removed John-David Schofield as the head of the Fresno-based diocese in March of last year, after he led parishioners to break with the national church.
On Thursday, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Adolfo Corona ruled that Schofield improperly set up outside accounts to transfer up to $5 million in church money to a new holding company.
The ruling also established that Jerry Lamb, a bishop loyal to the U.S. Episcopal Church, officially heads the Fresno diocese.