As I explained in this earlier post, the Anglican Diocese of Quincy was successful in obtaining a judgment that it had sole title to its bank accounts and real property. The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy had already merged into the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago by the time the judgment was entered, so the only adverse party left before the court was the Episcopal Church (USA), represented by the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, David Booth Beers, and by her Special Assistant for Litigation, Mary Kostel, as well as by local counsel Thomas B. Ewing, of Lewistown. They filed a motion to stay the effect of the judgment, i.e., to keep the Diocese of Quincy’s funds in National City Bank in Peoria frozen pending appeal.

It should be noted that ECUSA never went through the formal steps to attach the Diocese’s funds. It never submitted a motion for prejudgment attachment, or a declaration of hardship and necessity, and it never posted any bond. Mr. Beers simply wrote a letter to National City Bank purporting to advise it of the Church’s claim on the funds, and stating that the Church would “hold [National City Bank] accountable for any dispositions made … of such funds …”. The Bank responded by putting a hold on all of Quincy’s accounts pending an order of court.

Thus the Diocese of Quincy was forced to file a lawsuit against ECUSA in order to try to recover the use of its operating and trust funds. That was in January 2009—nearly five years ago, when there was approximately $2.3 million in National City Bank. By the time judgment was entered, the untouched funds had grown (due to accumulated interest and appreciation) to about $4.1 million.

After Judge Ortbal heard ECUSA’s motion for a stay pending appeal, he ordered that the judgment be stayed as to all except the sum of $1.1 million, which he directed the Bank to release so that the Diocese could pay deferred expenses, including its local counsel’s legal fees. However, ECUSA objected even to this amount being released, and took its case to the Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeals in Springfield, Illinois.

It filed an emergency request for stay with that Court, citing the need to act before Judge Ortbal’s limited stay could be carried into effect. Notwithstanding that the appeal had not yet been docketed with that Court, and notwithstanding that there was no opportunity for the Diocese of Quincy to file any kind of response to ECUSA’s request, the Court of Appeals obliged, and issued a blanket stay on all funds of the Diocese pending the outcome of the appeal.

The Diocese’s attorneys filed a motion to reconsider with the Court of Appeals, and pointed out that they had not been given a chance to be heard; nor had the Court required ECUSA to post any kind of bond for the stay—all standard requirements for the issuance of any stay. On October 24, the Court summarily denied the motion for reconsideration without holding a hearing.

Needless to say, these summary actions by a single motions judge on the Court of Appeals are troubling, due to the lack of due process and fair play which they evince. And the consequences to the Diocese of Quincy, which had looked forward to being able to pay some of its bills, are considerable. ECUSA has no lack of funds to pay its attorneys during the appeal, but Quincy does not enjoy that luxury. Ever since 2009, it has had to survive on current donations. And ever since 2009, its local attorneys have gone largely unpaid for all their work.

Now the Diocese has put out an appeal for contributions to its Defense Fund in order to provide for some payment for the ongoing work of the appeal. (Note: your Curmudgeon has donated all of his legal time and expenses to the Diocese, and does not stand to benefit in any manner from the Quincy Defense Fund.) If the reader of this post is in any position to help with a contribution to the fund, which is administered by the American Anglican Council, he or she may send a check made payable to that organization (with a memo: “Quincy Defense Fund”) to:

Mark Gamage
3914 W. Crimson Road
Dunlap, IL 61525

On behalf of the Diocese of Quincy and its hard-working attorneys, I thank all those who can help, and ask the rest of you for your ongoing understanding and support.

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Matt Kennedy on July 25th, 2014

I was recently asked the question in the title of this post by a parishioner and I thought it might be helpful to post my response here:

1. The idea of corporate participation in the actions of a forebearer conflicts with contemporary western individualism but it is thoroughly biblical. In fact, the author of Hebrews, inspired by the Holy Spirit, grounds part of his argument for the superiority of Jesus’ Melchizedekian priesthood over the Levitical priesthood on the tithe that Levi (Abraham’s great great grandson yet unborn) offered to Melchizedek through Abraham in Genesis 14 (Hebrews 7:9-10). In the same way, Paul in Romans 5:12 places all of us “in Adam” and attributes his sin to all of us as corporate participants…“just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” It is important to point out that Paul does not say that you and I are held responsible for Adam’s sin. Instead, you and I both sinned in Adam. We were actual participants.

How can this be?

2. The idea is not completely alien to those of us who live under a republican form of government. When we elect a congressional representative we do so understanding that his legislative acts are, legally speaking, ours. It is as if we cast our votes through him. Of course, we are, admittedly, quite inept at choosing representatives who accurately represent our corporate desires. Hence the need for congressional elections on a regular basis.

But what if God were to choose a man to represent you? Would his choice be in any way inaccurate or deficient? Do you think that God could choose a man who would act on our behalf in precisely the way that we would want him to act? God has done just that in Adam. And so it is perfectly just that: “one trespass led to condemnation for all men…”(Romans 5:18).

3. The good news is that while we are all willing participants in Adam’s rebellion (as our present lives demonstrate) and we are all, therefore, justly condemned, God has sent another chosen representative; one who lives in perfect obedience, loving his Father with all his heart soul, strength, and mind, one who as our representative endured the full eternal penalty for Adam’s sin and ours, Jesus Christ the Righteous. And the promise of God is that all who call on his name, who repent, surrender, and trust in his work alone, will be represented by Christ and not by Adam. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”(Romans 5:19)

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Jill on July 25th, 2014

political correctness

By Peter D Williams, Spiked Online:

How students’ union zealots are stifling controversial ethical debates.

Vibrant intellectual exchange forms part of the joy of being human. Unfortunately, rigorous, intelligent debate that is receptive to controversy and disagreement is in increasingly short supply. Perversely, this is especially true on university campuses. That is, in a space in which debate should be most encouraged, limitations on controversial speech are becoming more common.

In October last year, I was scheduled to give a talk to the Catholic Society (or ‘CathSoc’) of University College London (UCL). The subject was to be the right of Catholics to have their own view on the contentious issue of homosexuality. I had prepared to explain what the Catholic teaching on homosexuality was, why the Church actually preaches and argues against homophobia, what the implications for this teaching are for Catholics in public life, and why civil liberties (such as freedoms of speech, religion and association) should be respected.

Ironically, given the subject matter, the talk was cancelled at the last minute by officials of the UCL Students’ Union (UCLU). While the official reason was that the requisite paperwork had not been completed, it soon became clear that the union’s sabbatical officers, alarmed and angered about the fact that the talk was taking place, had deployed any means necessary to have it stopped. This was no mere pedantic paper-pushing; it was censorship-by-bureaucracy.

UCLU’s external affairs and campaigns officer, Hannah Webb, on a thread about my talk on the UCLU LGBT society Facebook group, celebrated the fact that ‘[t]his was cancelled!’. After being asked how this was achieved, she answered, ‘Their speaker hadn’t been preapproved, so fairly easily’. In explaining this, she revealed that the event ‘was flagged up’ – that is, someone had complained about it – and consequently ‘several of us were alarmed that such a speaker had been allowed through the external speakers vetting process’. As a result, the union officials went out of their way to look into the event and when they found out the Catholic Society had not been given approval, they moved to stop the event altogether. As Beth Sutton, the UCLU’s women’s officer, boasted on Twitter: ’[W]e managed to stop it [the talk] because union protocol wasn’t followed.’

When I asked Webb on Twitter whether she’d have been so legalistic about any other event, she replied that she would for those events that are ‘on the boundaries of what UCLU allows and requires discussion’. Such a discriminatory attitude certainly puts to bed any last-minute cancellation fears for unconfirmed speakers at the UCLU baking society, or the badminton club, but something tells me the UCLU Friends of Palestine and assorted anti-war groups are probably similarly at ease.

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Jill on July 25th, 2014


General Synod of the Church of England, July Group of Sessions.
14 July 2014.
Electronic voting results for Item 503:
‘That the Measure entitled “Bishops and Priests
(Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure” be
finally approved.’
Bishops 37 2
Clergy 162 25
Laity 152 45
1 abstention was recorded in the House of Bishops, 4 in the House
of Clergy and 5 in the House of Laity.
The motion was carried after a division by Houses

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The detailed results for the electronic votes at this months’ meeting of General Synod are now available. The two relating to the ordination and consecration of women are: Item 503 – Draft Bishops and Priests (Ordination and Consecration of Women)…

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Persecuted church1

From BBC News:

The world is experiencing a “global crisis” of repression of religious freedom and Britain should lead a “diplomatic war” on opposing religious extremism, peers have urged the government.

The threat of violence was used to compel people to “echo religious norms” in 39% of the worlds countries, up from 18% in 2007, Conservative peer Baroness Berridge told peers.

Speaking in a debate on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects freedom of religion, Baroness Berridge said that “accelerated deterioration” of religious freedoms was not confined to one ideology or geographical location.

There was “nothing short of a global crisis” in freedom of religion happening, Conservative peer Baroness Berridge said.

Infringing on religious belief were often “early indications” of other serious problems in countries the Bishop of Derby, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, told peers.

“Freedom of religious belief is a canary in the mine” for other human rights abuses, he told peers.

Baroness Berridge called for the government to make freedom of religion a priority in international development policy, as it is in the foreign office.

Former Conservative MP Lord Cormack said the government should host a summit on the issue and former foreign secretary William Hague should be appointed to travel the globe delivering the message that repression of religious freedom is not acceptable.

“We have got to address what has happened. We have got to declare, unequivocally, war on extremism wherever it is to be found, and by doing the sort of things I proposed, this government could play a significant part in doing precisely that” he said.

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Jill on July 25th, 2014


by Melanie Phillips, Jewish Chronicle:

Once again, we are living through the hallucinatory, sickening experience of seeing Israel’s morally-elevated defence against murderous fanatics provoke a global explosion, of Israel-bashing and naked anti-Jewish hatred, especially in demonstrations across Europe.

For sure, the current war in Gaza has engendered more sympathy than previous such Israeli military campaigns. More and more people understand that Israel alone is fighting a murderous Islamic aggression which threatens themselves, too. People are less inclined to blame Israel or believe media reports that are often not far off inflammatory incitement against Israel and the Jewish people.

Many in the intelligentsia frame this conflict as if Israelis are the war criminals and genocidal Hamas the victims. They uncritically swallow the Hamas death count, even though it orders all casualties to be described as “civilians” whereas untold numbers are armed killers.

The Hamas strategy is to maximise civilian deaths and give the widest circulation to horrific pictures of mutilated children in order to turn Western opinion against Israel.

It works, with commentators spitting venom at Israel as “out of control”, guilty of indiscriminate slaughter and even – obscenely – “genocide”.

Why did the West turn against Israel? The conventional explanation is that, with the post-1967 “occupation”, David turned into Goliath.

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The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, has today published three prayers highlighting the worsening situation in Iraq where Christians and Muslims are being killed by ISIS forces.

The prayers highlight the experience of Christians of Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city, where families have been forced to flee and faced execution by Salaafi militants.

The prayers are echoed by comments from the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt. Rev. Christopher Cocksworth, in a Church of England interview conducted in the House of Lords .

Dr. Cocksworth linked the forthcoming commemorations of the 800thMagna Carta with the situations in Gaza and Mosul:

“Magna Carta enshrined religious freedom into the British identity. That charter was very important, and it is one of our great gifts to the world. It’s important because this particular freedom is an early indication of human rights. Where freedom of religion is being denied, other things soon follow. Freedom of expression, freedom of association follow and other even more sinister denials of human rights follow.”

Commenting on the situation in Mosul Bishop Christopher said:

“It’s happening in a very, very extreme and deeply worrying and disturbing form as we hear about the ejection of Christians from Mosul and the intention to eradicate Christians in the area Isis seeks to control. The same is happening in other ways with Shi’ites and terrible persecution and inhumanity.  It is really important that Christians not only are deeply attentive to the plight of our brothers and sisters across the world who are suffering persecution as Christians but also we are attentive to wherever this right, this God given gift is being denied.

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Angaleos Bp

As the widespread violence and aggression facing Christians and minority groups in Mosul, Iraq, intensifies, it is increasingly evident that the fundamental right and freedom to practice one’s Faith and belief is, and continues to be, grossly violated.

We are currently witnessing an unacceptable widespread implementation of extremist religious ideology that threatens the lives of all Iraqis who do not fit within its ever-narrowing perspective. While this situation stands to eradicate centuries of co-existence and culture in the region it also threatens to significantly and negatively impact these communities for generations to come. If left unchallenged, it is not Iraq alone that is at risk, but the potential is intensified for the replication of this ideology as a viable and legitimate model for others across the Middle East.

As the situation escalates, little is being said in the worldwide community, and I am therefore appreciative of the recent comment by The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, and their Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, expressing its concern over the current situation in Mosul. Comments such as this have the potential to positively influence these and similar situations by challenging what is being taught, and presenting an alternative religious understanding.

We continue to pray and advocate for all whose God-given right to freedom is denied, hoping that acceptance and respect for all is realised in these affected communities, and that grace, healing and strength will be given to those who continue to suffer great atrocities and the loss of precious human life.


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Kendall Harmon on July 25th, 2014

For decades Jews have been vexed by the question of intermarriage. According to a report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released last year, almost half of married Jews in America have a non-Jewish spouse, a trend of intermarriage in line with that of the larger society. At the same time, according to earlier Pew reports, religious switching and the movement away from religion altogether are both at an all time-high in the U.S. Forty-four percent of Americans do not currently belong to the faith in which they were raised, the Pew Research Center reported in 2009. As of 2012, the fastest-growing faith community by far was “none.”

This presents the Jewish community (and others too) with an unprecedented challenge—but also, perhaps, with a unique opportunity. I believe that Jewish institutions and their rabbis should actively encourage non-Jewish family members in our midst to take the next step and formally commit to Judaism.

To some this may seem a surprising idea. It is well known that Judaism has not been a proselytizing faith. Historically, Jewish authorities were wary of potential converts. The rabbis sought to make sure that converts were motivated solely by devotion to the God of Israel and the desire to join the people of Israel. Conversion purely for the sake of marriage was disallowed.

Read it all.

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