LA church sold despite disciplinary ruling
A CONTRACT to sell St James the Great, Newport, signed by the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt Revd J. Jon Bruno, is “legally binding”, despite the fact that a disciplinary panel that upheld complaints against him recommended that efforts to sell it be suspended and the congregation restored to the building (News, 4 August). In a letter on Monday, the diocese’s co-adjutor, the Rt Revd John Taylor, wrote: “Much as we might wish it were otherwise, we do not believe that it would be in the interests of the diocese or consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities to endorse any steps leading to breaching or threatening to breach an enforceable contract that could lead to further expense and litigation.” The buyers, Burnham-Ward Properties/Burnham USA, planned to “preserve the worship space so it may continue to be used by churches and other community organizations, including St James if it wishes”, he wrote. Walter Stahr, who attends St James, wrote to supporters: “I know how devastating this will be for many of you, but the story is not over.”
Pope orders RC charity to cease euthanasia in Belgium
POPE FRANCIS has ordered the Roman Catholic order Brothers of Charity to stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals in Belgium, where the practice is legal, Vatican Radio reported this week. The Pope had approved a letter sent by the Vatican last month which gave the charity one month to stop euthanising patients at all of its 15 centres in Belgium. The group, which administers the Belgian hospitals, announced in May that it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia on psychiatric patients, provided “no reasonable treatment alternatives” were available. It comes after the RC Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Revd Philip Freier, joined six other Church leaders in condemning plans to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in the state of Victoria. Seven bishops based in Melbourne wrote to the State Premier, Daniel Andrews, this week asking him to reconsider the plans.
Supreme court rules against Diocese of South Carolina
THE Standing Committee of the breakaway Diocese of South Carolina has said that it will continue to fight for its property, after the Supreme Court overturned portions of a ruling from 2015 that the diocese — which left the Episcopal Church in 2012 after years of disagreements over issues including homosexuality — could keep church property worth $500 million, and retain its name. In February 2015, the Circuit Court Judge, Diane Goodstein, ruled that the separated diocese had the right to leave, and rejected the Episcopal Church’s argument that it had legal interest in the diocese’s property (News, 13 February 2015). But in a complex 77-page ruling, the Supreme Court said that parishes which had “acceded” to a Canon law that stated that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership, did not have full rights to retain their property. Eight congregations which had not so acceded were judged to have these retaining rights. The Diocese of South Carolina has said that it will be filing a motion for a rehearing from the Supreme Court before 1 September.