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Court rules on breakaway Recife

26 July 2013

by a staff reporter


A COURT in Brazil has ruled on a decade-long judicial battle involving the creation of a breakaway diocese of Recife.

The church was established by the late Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti after the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson, who is gay, in 2003. In 2005, Bishop Cavalcanti was deposed on the grounds that he had broken communion with the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil. When he left, he took 32 clergy and their congregations with him, including several church properties.

Bishop Cavalcanti and his wife, Miriam, were found murdered in their home last year. Their adopted son is alleged to have stabbed both his parents, then tried to take his own life (News, 2 March 2012).

A judge has now ruled that all property, including five churches and all their belongings, will be returned to the Anglican diocese of Recife, and that the actions of Bishop Cavalcanti are nullified.

A statement from the Anglican diocese said: "From now on, all of these parishes are under the direction and supervision of diocesan Bishop Sebastião Armando.

"It is clear, therefore, that with the decision, the Judiciary as enforcing justice and law, has put an end to this situation which generated unprecedented legal instability in the Anglican diocese of Recife, resulting in a deleterious effect on the entire Brazilian Anglican province, reflecting poorly on the credibility of the (church) institution and leadership in Brazil and abroad.

"Unfortunately, even with this new step, the unity of the Church, so carefully cherished and painstakingly built over these 100-plus years during the existence of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil, once again remains shaken . . . certainly causing in many people of faith a cooling of charity, which is our biggest concern right now.

"This is an historical moment. We trust in the aid of Divine Grace, with which we can reconstruct the unity of the Church. It is our prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, touch our hearts, and tell them much more than we can express."


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