Episcopal diocese sells off properties to fund lawsuits against breakaways

.- The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is taking out a $2 million line of credit to finance legal action against 11 churches that left the denomination a year ago, the Washington Times reports.

At issue in Virginia is $30 to $40 million in real estate and assets.  The lawsuit joins others in at least 12 states filed against churches that have left the Episcopal Church over disputes about biblical authority and the 2003 election of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who openly lives in a homosexual relationship.

The Anglican District of Virginia represents the 11 churches in the state that have left the Episcopal denomination.  Vice Chairman Jim Oakes said the district spent $1 million on legal fees last year and plans to spend another $1 million this year.  Its members have pledged $3 million.

"If people in the pews knew how much money was being spent on this stuff, there'd be pressure to put an end to this," Oakes said. "We just hate spending this money on lawyers.”

The Episcopal diocese has already spent $1 million on the lawsuits.  Diocese spokesman Patrick Getlein said the diocese borrowed the money from restricted endowment funds, and is now paying only the $80,000 interest on the loan.

"Church pledges to the diocesan budget will not be used to fund litigation," he said in an e-mail.  He said the diocese plans to sell surplus property, “unimproved, unconsecrated land,” to pay back the interest.  He also voiced appreciation for those who have made unsolicited contributions to help defray the cost of litigation.

The national Episcopal Church is a partner to the diocese in the lawsuit.  It has not revealed the source of all its legal funds, though last year two letters were sent from five retired bishops demanding the information.

“We are concerned that there could be a violation of federal pension fund laws," retired Bishop William Wantland of Eau Claire, Wis., told Living Church, an Episcopal magazine. "If they are using endowment funds, some of those are restricted."

The Diocese of Virginia is also missing $180,000 in pledges to its $4.79 million 2008 budget.  Getlein said churches typically do not contribute specific amounts until they receive their Christmas contributions.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: