01 February 2010

Duncan loses property

According to the Episcopal Church News Service, a judge has ordered Duncan and has schismatic group to turn over control of all diocesan assets. The order is dated 29 January.

According to a spokesman for the Diocese of Pittsburgh,
The diocese plans to quickly make arrangements so that all parishes may again have access to their investment funds that were frozen by financial institutions during the legal proceedings.
The group led by Duncan said Oct. 29 that it would appeal the ruling once the court issues a final order directing it to transfer the property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America
Duncan told the diocese he leads that he wanted "to assure you that we will continue to work diligently for the protection of all our parishes and for the good of our mission and ministry."
The Honourable James' order says that financial institutions and repositories, trustees and fiduciaries must only act on instructions from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, that no real property can be sold or its current occupants removed without a court order, that holders of "altar artifacts" are answerable to the diocese as to their use (and that they cannot be sold or transferred to another location without a court order) and that people or entities who have borrowed money from the diocese (close to $1 million) are answerable to the Episcopal diocese.

Duncan's diocese has 20 days from Jan. 29 to give the Episcopal diocese the financial records, documents and other electronically stored information it needs to hold and administer the property.

There are two versions of the order: a confidential version and a public version from which financial account information has been removed.

The Judge ruled in October that "regardless of what name the defendants now call themselves, they are not the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America."

He ruled that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh "did not cease to exist" after the 2008 convention vote because it was created by the Episcopal Church and the church now recognizes that those Episcopalians who did not follow Duncan now make up the Episcopal Church's continuing diocese.

The most interesting part of the order states that
Recipients of “altar artifacts”.. ,may not sell, transfer, or move the artifacts to another location without the permission of the court.
Apparently the court agrees that memorials to and purchased with funds given to the local parish are the property of TEC, not the local group in power at the moment.

Now that the property is lost - and let's face it, the courts are going to continue to rule in favour of TEC - we'll see another of the schsmatcs' lies exposed. We've heard them repeat the mantra "It's not about the property." Well, we'll see, but Duncan promises to continue the fight to retain what he says doesn't matter.

I think there will be a slight spin to that mantra as the mostly Trinity trained graduates are forced to turn over the keys to Duncan's Kingdom.

Let's see how much aid comes from the Southern Cone and the Africa based non-communion. I wonder how swiftly the funds to build new buildings will arrive. Let's not hold our breath.

UPDATE: The Post Gazette has an article about the decision it today's paper.