Brazilian court rules against Recife breakaway diocese
The News Service of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil reports:
Court Orders Return of Churches to the Anglican Diocese of Recife / Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil”
After a long judicial battle that lasted for a decade, a Brazilian judge has this month finally decided that the actions taken by Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti in creating of the Diocese of Recife – DR, flagrantly violated Brazilian law as well as Canon law, the Doctrine & Discipline of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil (IEAB), resulting in the suspension/demotion, and eventual dismissal of Bishop Robinson from his episcopal authority & legal legitimacy for such actions.
With the sentence, it was decreed that all the actions taken by Bishop Robinson were nullified, and all would be returned to the Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR), including property, administration & all goods and rights which were illegally usurped, including amongst them five churches with all of their belongings. From now on, all of these parishes are under the direction and supervision of Diocesan Bishop Sebastião Armando…
For some background to this, a Thinking Anglicans report from 2005 may be helpful: Recife: a clarification.
Many of the links from that report are now broken, but the article from the Living Church is still available from the web archive Southern Cone Primate Annexes Brazilian Diocese.
There is also this 2005 report from the Church Times Venables takes Brazilian diocese under his wing. The current issue also has a news report, but this is only available to subscribers.
Anglican Ink has this report by George Conger: Recife loses court battle over church property to the IEAB.
Rebel conservative factions in the Anglican Churches of both North and South America must by now be getting used to Civil Court opposition to their self-willed attempts to alienate the properties belonging to their former Episcopal (Anglican) Church bodies.
This recent judgement made by the Brazilian Court authorities, which restores Church properties to their original owners – in this case, the official Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR) under its new Bishop, +Sebastioa Armando – from their misappropriation by (GAFCON-backed) rebel Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti; should alert the emerging GAFCON faction in the Anglican Communion to the dangers of aiding and abetting the schism of conservative elements attempting to disassociate themselves from their more liberal parent Churches in other Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
GAFCON’s militant embrace of schismatic elements in other Church of the Communion (notably ACNA in North America) has been a major contributing factor in their breakdown of filial relationship with the Anglican Founding Province of Canterbury, and with the Provinces of the Communion which have suffered from alienation of both properties and people, under the guise of its preservation of ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’. This alignment with dissidents in local Anglican Churches has caused a stand-off between rival conservative and liberal Provinces, which has weakened the Anglican witness to the cause of the Gospel around the world.
With the formation of ACNA in the United States of America and Canada (also supported by the GAFCON Provinces) and their subsequent loss of court battles for alienation of properties from their parent Churches; this latest civil court judgement in South America must, to some degree at least, temper the ambition of the GAFCON Provinces to dis-inherit local Anglican communities which do not agree with their restrictive policies.
At the GAFCON’s forthcoming conference later this year in Kenya, there will no doubt be a showdown on the issue of ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’, which may or may not cause the split among Anglican to become official. At this stage, it is not known whether, for instance, the Archbishop of Canterbury, ++Justin Welby, will be invited to the Conference; or whether, if invited, he will consent to attend. If GAFCON officially disassociates itself from the rest of us in the Anglican Communion; there will be a radical re-alignment – between the sola-Scriptura, conservatives, who are already calling themselves ‘Orthodox Anglicans’, and the remaining Provinces (mostly in the Western-style, more liberal, tradition) still adhering to the Founding Province of Canterbury.
The Anglican Church, like most other Churches, is not immune to schismatic disaffection. However, the current split between conservative and liberal churches of the Communion, if it actually happens to become official, will clearly signal the end of what used to be called the Anglican ethos of ‘Unity in diversity’ – a sad, but maybe necessary, departure.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand