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Diocese of Recife facing legal action: CEN 11.21.08 p 6. November 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Secession.

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) has filed suit against the breakaway Diocese of Recife seeking to gain control of the diocese’s properties.

On Oct 30, Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti stated that “following the example of their allies in the USA and Canada” the IEAB has “filed a suit against the Diocese of Recife in Pernambuco’s State court seeking to annul our juridical identity.”

They are “intent on the seizure of certain key properties (including the Cathedral and the Diocesan Central Office), in which for so long we have carried out the tasks of evangelism, thus posing a direct threat to our mission and social outreach.”

The Provincial Secretary of the Brazilian Church, the Rev. Francisco da Silva declined to comment on the litigation, but documents filed with the court allege that following the mass deposition in 2005 of Bishop Cavalcanti and 32 members of the Recife clergy, along with the secession of approximately 95 percent of the church’s members, the church properties should now be turned over to the IEAB.

Historically the small Anglican Church in Brazil was supported by two doctrinally and geographically distinct groups, with the Episcopal Church of the US supporting the church in Southern Brazil and the Church of England supporting the church in the Northeast of the country. Recife followed a different path of theologically development than the southern dioceses and retained an Evangelical identity while the southern dioceses moved into the Affirming Catholic camp. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Bishop Cavalcanti was the sole Brazilian bishop to vote with the majority in support of Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality.

Following his 2005 deposition from the IEAB, Bishop Cavalcanti and his diocese was given shelter in the Province of the Southern Cone. While repeated public calls for reconciliation have been made by the leaders of the IEAB, no action has ever been taken to resolve the dispute.

“As a diocese, we have never surrendered to the option of unlimited comprehensiveness, nor capitulated to the absolute relativism that marks the post-modern liberal revisionism of the Brazilian Province,” the Recife Standing Committee said on Oct 30.

“Neither have we accepted the attempt to force us into ‘continuing church’ status. We are part of the Anglican Communion, part of the Global South, partners of the Networks of the Anglican Communion in the US and Canada, partners of the Common Cause Movement, of GAFCON, signing on to the Jerusalem Declaration and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, in permanent dialogue with all the orthodox expressions of Anglicanism, seeking to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in this slow, difficult, but inevitable realignment,” they said.

However, “geographical and cultural distances often cause us to feel isolated and make it difficult for us to be heard and understood,” by the Western churches. “We hope that Anglican leaders, and the Gafcon Primate’s Council, to whom we appeal, and particularly those who share with us the same principles, sincerity and transparency, may exercise discernment with regard to reports concerning us, so that justice may be done to our identity and dignity as we seek a stable institutional future for our diocese within the Anglican Communion,” they said.

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