Skip to comments.St. Mary of the Angels Fight Drags On
Posted on 07/20/2012 9:47:42 AM PDT by marshmallow
Loz Feliz Anglican parish has been embroiled in an odd sort of holy war since some of the 60 members voted to join the Catholic Church. How it will end, God only knows.
Under the glimmer of a fingernail moon, Christopher Kelley tiptoed toward a two-story, Spanish Mission-style building in Los Feliz. He and his crew were jittery. What if a security guard spotted them?
A few blocks away, late-night revelers mingled in trendy bars. But Kelley's target was dark and hushed exactly as he wanted.
The building's front door was protected by a padlocked, wrought-iron gate. So the crew crept around back, sidestepping a few jugs of rainwater and a tomato plant. They strained to hear whether anyone had followed them.
Then a locksmith pried open the door.
Motion-sensitive lights flickered on. Kelley felt a rush of joy. For the first time in weeks, the priest was back inside his church.
St. Mary of the Angels is an Anglican parish embroiled in an odd sort of holy war.
On one side are the Rev. Kelley and his supporters, who say their rivals are resisting the parish's efforts to join the Roman Catholic Church. On the other: parishioners and Anglican authorities who accused Kelley of wrongdoing, took him to court, ran him out of the church and changed the locks.
Church quarrels are frequently decided in courtrooms, particularly when property is involved. A few years back, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles took a dispute with a breakaway parish all the way to the California Supreme Court.
But the St. Mary's saga is notable for its viciousness. The church has perhaps 60 members, and the bickering among them has been marked by incendiary accusations and screaming matches that often end with "God is on our side!" The parish......
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
He should go to jail. Simple as that.
I keep trying to teach my boys this very lesson and they react like these folks, like we all migght tend to react as is our nature. I try to teach them to answer WWJD with FAMILY - Forget About Me, I Love You. Leave the other side the building and all the sacrifice that is and move on. The side that loves Jesus should do this - and both sides love Jesus of course. Just like the security guard and many readers thought - of Solomon and the baby. Turn the other cheeck and allow it to be smacked and move on, in love with Christ, to another place so worshipping can be gone ahead with for the day.
I’m going to keep drilling this into my kids. Love your enemy and give him the shirt off your back if he really protests that it is his, and move on - because FAMILY is they way Jesus would do it. Jesus has lots of shirts, bricks, money to help you with afterward, just enough.
Given that the Anglicans took Catholic buildings to form their parish, the building should revert to the true owner.
Did the Anglicans somehow get away with stealing title from the RCC or one of it's incorporated affiliates, here in the United States [at some time in the past] or are you just making things up?
The judge possibly erred when she said that it's not the court's place to determine who is the rightful pastor. But then again the complainants may not have cited the proper statutes and precedents.
Although the court cannot wade into disputes and declare which religious views in themselves are correct, they can indeed and have in the past, been called into settle disputes over control of the office of "presiding pastor" in particular.
See Berry v. Society of St.Pious X, Cal Appellate 4th, page 369-373 for more insight to this issue. The same case can be found in other legal reference volumes also.
In California law, it hinges upon what is stated in the Articles of Incorporation. Stated method of succession to "the office of the Apostle" or pastor, or whoever is to be ultimately in control, is one of the few things required of Corporate Sole to be stipulated in State filings. With non-profit Corporate Religious it is similar, but more in-depth.
Just as a church body must follow it's stated Articles in regards to succession of, replacement of [including removal of] an occupant of clerical office, they must also follow their Articles in regards to disposition of properties and debts, if there comes a time for the fellowship to be dissolved.
If there is no provision in the Articles that this particular church body can vote it's properties over to another (by a vote of the membership) then such voting has no real force of law. Similarly, if the authority to replace or remove a pastor is not stipulated to be by a vote of the membership, but is stated to be some other method, then that method must be followed, and is most certainly adjudicable, when or if it is not.
If the Articles under which this fellowship operates are in submission to named higher Anglican authorities [entities] in regards to who exactly will pastor there, and who will not or cannot (which is highly possible) there is clear precedent that the articles must be followed, and the current stubborn priest be most likely*(?) be legally removed. I add the question mark due to my own not having direct immediate access to any filed Articles, or the "church rules" which can be found, or should be found in the files of the local church itself. (Removing, tampering or altering such files is a felony in the State of California, by the way...)
“Did the Anglicans somehow get away with stealing title from the RCC or one of it’s incorporated affiliates, here in the United States [at some time in the past] or are you just making things up?”
They’ve done it in England, and they’ve done it in Canada.
From what I can see, it was built up over the years as an Anglican church, however - the parish voted and has joined the Ordinariate en masse. Just because those who did not build the building that they are in want to take it away from those who did doesn’t mean they should. I agree - the law shouldn’t intervene. If the majority of the church wishes to leave and join the ordinariate, then they can go and take the building with them, and the remainder will have to leave and form their own church.
The argument of the parish is that the doctrine hasn’t changed (going from High Anglo-Catholic to the Ordinariate, so corporally, they are exactly the same church as before. What has changed, is their relationship to the other Episcopalian churches. Given the massive doctrinal shifts in ECUSA, this isn’t surprising.
That didn't exactly answer my question, but it does reveal that my own view of your motivation for all but calling the founders of this particular congregation thieves, was correct!
This congregation and it's property is not in England, or in Canada. It is in Los Angeles, and never since it's inception has been RCC property. Which you now agree upon...
Ok, but all of that doesn't address the issue of whether or not the pastor is legally, under formal Articles, in control to do such a thing as joining the "ordinariate", or that the Articles give the membership to vote such a change, either.
It may, it may not. As far as the actual legal transfer of title, which is another matter entirely, again it may or may not be do-able by the parishioners at some later date if they wish to do so. Assuming that they can, is just that --assumption.
These things may well come down in favor of such a change, but they may as well not, regardless of how some may wish them it to be.
If things were going the other way, and by vote of congregation Roman Catholic properties were to transferred to some other entity --- would you still feel the same? Would you still say "vote of the majority, they can take the building too", and anyone disagreeing can take a hike?
Like I said, it depends upon the Articles, the church By-Laws, and to whom is assigned authority.
You said previously; Given that the Anglicans took Catholic buildings to form their parish, the building should revert to the true owner.
Now you say;
It appears to me you are retracting your original comment, but without openly admitting that you misspoke.
It is either that, or the Anglican in some form are the "true owners" and should remain so in perpetuity --- that is, unless they sell the place!
Then further you state;
It could just as easily be said that if there are those whom wish to become more aligned with the RCC, then they should leave and create or join some other, rather than hijack the property in which they are now meeting, over disputes in doctrine.
By what authority can they "take the building"? They may well enough find the power to do so under their own Articles, then again, they may not. It depends much upon the Articles, and how they are worded.
On another note;
Simply assuming that they SHOULD be able to do so, by majority vote, all but totally erases any claim of harm held against Anglican take-overs of properties previously by RCC or affiliates, at least in instances regarding those whom congregations in majority approved of the change. Can you see the logic there? We are commanded to not use unequal measure. We are forbidden to use one scale to measure what we are to gain, but yet another scale entirely for what we are to pay, or give in return. Anything else smacks of hypocrisy.
If the power to provide and/or recall a pastor, was given over to other Anglican authorities, then the whole enterprise is suspect, particularly if the church's own by-laws define adherence to Anglican doctrines, deferring to Anglican authority. Whether that turns out to be what some may be able to make strong case for being "good" or "bad", is besides the point.
But then again the "odinariate" appears to me to be designed to stir up just such conflicts. A subversion encouraged by the Catholic church to stir up from within forces which will lead to themselves eventually having total control. It's a finessing of law, taking advantage of those ignorant of such laws, or underfunded if they are aware, which makes it a deceitful powerplay in some regards.
That is a subtle distortion of what I did say. I did not "agree" that the law should not intervene, but more precisely spoke towards some of the instances where the law could well enough be asked to intervene and had precedent for doing so, which is quite different from saying "the the law shouldn't intervene".
In the Berry citation, the court explicitly spoke that it was in the interests of the court to do so, to take that case regarding who was properly in charge, even as they did not go into detail stipulating what those interests were.
“That didn’t exactly answer my question, but it does reveal that my own view of your motivation for all but calling the founders of this particular congregation thieves, was correct!”
The founders of this particular congregation are the ones who have joined the Ordinariate! I never called them theives. I called the ones trying to steal the building from them, theives, as they are. They didn’t build the building and now they want to take it away!
This is very similar to recent cases in Vancouver, over exactly the same thing. Except, the difference here is the continuity of leadership. The priest here has been in charge for quite some time. Up there, a new bishop was appointed, and he started pushing the homosexual agenda, so congregations tried to leave outright.
“never since it’s inception has been RCC property.”
It’s RCC property now, since the congregation came over to the Ordinariate en masse.
“or that the Articles give the membership to vote such a change, either.”
The members, as far as I can see, can vote to do such a thing. They built this particular building (it was not inherited). They should get to keep it. The vote was to join the ordinariate, and those who lost the vote should accept it.
“If things were going the other way, and by vote of congregation Roman Catholic properties were to transferred to some other entity”
Transferred? How about looted. How about stolen? Look up the dissolution of the monasteries. Plenty of Catholic properties have been seized by the civil authorites.
To grab a Catholic church, it’s easy. Simply form a mob, charge in and get the city officials to recognize you.
“Would you still say “vote of the majority, they can take the building too”, and anyone disagreeing can take a hike?”
Where does the Catholic church vote on anything? They don’t vote to appoint their leaders and they don’t vote on doctrine.
Like I said, it depends upon the Articles, the church By-Laws, and to whom is assigned authority.
“It appears to me you are retracting your original comment, but without openly admitting that you misspoke.”
The original owners are the ones pushing for the ordinariate. There is continuity of leadership. I wasn’t sure how they got ahold of a ‘mission style church’, and thought they might have taken one.
“It could just as easily be said that if there are those whom wish to become more aligned with the RCC”
If they are the majority, then they should keep the building.
“hijack the property”
If the majority votes to leave, then it is not hijacking the property. If a majority of the ownership in a business votes for a course of action, your choice is to go along or sell your shares. They lost their vote, and like all democrats are trying to steal what they can.
“By what authority can they “take the building”?”
The fact that they built the darn thing in the first place?
They may well enough find the power to do so under their own Articles, then again, they may not. It depends much upon the Articles, and how they are worded.
“totally erases any claim of harm held against Anglican take-overs of properties previously by RCC or affiliates”
Go look up the dissolution of the monasteries. The state stole the property and gave it to the new ‘state’ church.
“if the church’s own by-laws define adherence to Anglican doctrines”
Well, then, the parish hasn’t changed. I can’t see how they can lose their building by refusing to enact doctrinal changes contrary to their original mission. See what I’m saying? They’ve chosen to go to the Catholic church rather than pass doctrine that they believe is an abomination.
“But then again the “ordinariate” appears to me to be designed to stir up just such conflicts.”
How so? They are giving all the traditional Anglicans who believe that homosexuality is sinful, an opportunity to join the Catholic church en masse. If anything, ECUSA has triggered these conflicts by shoving their doctrinal changes down the throats of unwilling parishioners for years .
The law shouldn’t intervene - the parish should decide.
There’s Mother Of Good Council RCC just two blocks from St. Mary’s. But it seems Kelly wants to be the Rector of his church. Otherwise, by converting, he’d likely be sent wherever the Bishops wanted or needed him.
The conflict is a real shame as St. Mary’s is a very quaint church right in the heart of Hollywood that now remains shuttered Sunday after Sunday.
I have studied California law concerning non-profit corporate sole, and non profit corporate religious. My comments were based on that information.
The dissenters may have a case. I touched upon why they may have.
You seem to insist the congregation has the power to give itself over to another entity? Again, they may have that power, they may not. Not all congregations are given the power "to vote". You yourself have established (or should we say mentioned) that fact.
In this nation, today, it seems we are not following our own Constitution very well. Some wish to ignore it. Others try to defend it. Those wishing to defend it, most certainly have a "legal" case, do they not?
The question here is, in regards to this church; are they following their own constitution (legal Articles of Incorporation)?
It all hinges upon that.
The law can be possibly be asked to intervene (by making a proper pleading) depending upon what is written in the Articles. For if they are not being followed, then the dissenters do have a legitimate grievance, adjudicable in the State of California.
Are you familiar with California law in respect to this?
You seem to also be skipping over how I repeatedly said that things could go either way, depending on the wording in the Articles of Incorporation, the By-laws of the church, what possible relationship this church had with a separate Anglican entity, etc.
You say such things as;
Oh, really? Has title been transferred? Or is this just another one of your facts made up on the spot in regards to this discussion? Without looking into the Articles personally, we don't even know for a certainty if the congregation could have properly and legally done what they have so far! Much less actually transfer title over to another entity. Besides, isn't the whole "ordinariate" thing, all about having congregations retain their own autonomy and tradition to a large extent, but be allowed to use RCC materials, and be considered in close fellowship with the RCC? But that's the canon law part of things, which have little or nothing to do with established law concerning California Non Profit Corporate Religious, and/or Corporate Sole. Confuse the two (canon law, and State laws) at one's own peril.
Just because you seem to prefer a certain outcome, doesn't mean what is being done now, is being done legally, under California law.
Please try to wrap your mind around that. Or else we will continue to be talking here of two entirely different things.
As I noted from the beginning, you are arguing from assumption, but seemingly to me, without keeping track of those assumptions.
If you insist on taking that route (and I think you shall) then I can't stop you, if you won't stop and think about what I'm saying to you, other than to how you will form argument against it.
But go ahead, pour out on me yet more specious argument. I've had my fill already. It's just rolling off of me right now, the reasons for which I have clearly outlined above.
You understand the legal aspect just fine, but you don’t understand the ordinariate very well.
“Besides, isn’t the whole “ordinariate” thing, all about having congregations retain their own autonomy and tradition to a large extent”
Traditions - yes. They are allowed to perform a modified version of the rites - essentially what they had under the book of common prayer, much like the Ambrosian rites, or the Byzantine rites, etc. There are many such rites within the Catholic church.
The purpose of the Ordinariate, is, for the first time - providing an ‘english’ rite that is acceptable to the Catholic church. You have to remember that the Ordo is still basically a translated Latin Rite - the rite is only put in English for convenience. Part of the hopes is that the Ordinariate will succeed and so the Latin Rite can be just that, the Latin Rite. :)
The purpose of the Ordinariate is to give them the support and the structure of the Catholic church (as they will report directly to the Holy See), while at the same time permitting them to keep their medieval traditions. They will not have local autonomy. They will operate as a Catholic parish, just under a different rite than the Latin Rite parishes.
They will be for all intents and purposes as Catholic as the rest of us. :)
I have been an Anglican. I have participated in similar discussions in my former parishes and I have seen up close what happens to a congregation when the Anglicans/Episcopalians shovel the homosexual agenda on a faithful parish. Every time, bar none, the rump tries to take control of the building, just like we are seeing here, and they get the law involved so that they can steal the building. Then they win, sell the building when they can no longer support it (and most of the congregation leaves).
With the Ordinariate, they can come over en masse. If he were to convert, he wouldn’t be a rector at all. He’d have to go through the same process of becoming a priest, taking on holy orders, etc. This is why the Ordinariate was set up in the first place, to provide the faithful Anglicans with a haven.