Canadian Christianity on the court ruling in New Westminster:
The court decision means that the diocese owns the buildings; but they are still being administered by the parish trustees. Kelleher decided to “leave it to the parties to arrive at a workable resolution” to this problem.
Hutchinson suggested that the court was essentially challenging both parties to cooperate and find a mutually acceptable solution. He noted the “clear scriptural injunction about reconciling with your brother,” and said there are Christian mediation resources which could resolve the issues with less expense and less division than the court system.
However, leaders of the Diocese of New Westminster suggested that the issue has already been decided. Ingham contended that “the entire conflict has been unnecessary,” blaming it on a few “extreme conservative leaders.” He has written to the parishes, inviting them to remain in the buildings and work with him to appoint new conservative clergy acceptable to both him and the parishes.
That is not likely to happen, said Chang. The people in the parishes who voted by strong margins to leave the diocese “knew we could lose our property . . . At the end of the day, if forced to choose, we will choose our faith over our buildings.”
Much as it pains me to agree with the Diocese of New Wesmtinster, I think they have it right: whatever the trustees do, the buildings are Ingham’s. Kelleher’s leaving it to the parties to arrive at a workable resolution has simply placed the trustees in a position where they will either have to compromise every principle that they have fought for this far, or resign. Kelleher must have realised this unless he is a complete idiot. The Kelleher leave it to the parties decision – or why can’t you both just get along – smacks of Rowanesque syncretism, frustration, malevolence or stupidity; perhaps a combination of all four.
The Niagara judge, Milanetti, had the same attitude when she ruled – after snorting her disgust at Christians suing each other at Easter – on the sharing arrangements for the three Niagara ANiC parishes: you are all Christians so why can’t you sort this out for yourselves; her error was in viewing both sides as Christian.