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Civil court ruling for Recife schism: The Church of England Newspaper, July 28, 2013, p 6. August 1, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation.
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Bishop Miguel Uchôa

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) reports that a Pernambuco judge has handed down a ruling in the property dispute in the Diocese of Recife, awarding ownership of the diocese’s assets to the faction aligned to the national church.

On 18 July 2013 the Rt. Rev. Sebastião Armando,  the caretaker bishop of the IEAB diocese released a statement announcing the secession of the diocese and over 90 per cent of its clergy and lay members in 2005 “flagrantly violated Brazilian law as well as Canon law” and the “Doctrine and Discipline” of the IEAB.

In 2005 the then Bishop of Recife, the late Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti was deposed for incivility by his fellow bishops following several years of doctrinal disputes between the evangelical bishop and the liberal majority in the House of Bishops. After he was removed from office, the province then defrocked 32 Recife clergy without trial for backing their bishop.

Bishop Armando, who retired in May but has acted as caretaker of the minority faction until a new bishop is elected in August  argued “that with the decision, the Judiciary as enforcing justice and law, has put an end to this situation which generated unprecedented legal instability in the Anglican Diocese of Recife, resulting in a deleterious effect on the entire Brazilian Anglican province, reflecting poorly on the credibility of the (church) institution and leadership in Brazil and abroad. Fortunately the law does not applaud these sorts of mistakes.”

He went on to say the ruling would not halt the IEAB’s decline, however. “Unfortunately, even with this new step, the unity of the church, so carefully cherished and painstakingly built over these 100+ years during the existence of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil, once again remains shaken, leaving its faithful troubled and confused, certainly causing in many people of faith a cooling of charity, which is our biggest concern right now.”

The bishop of the majority faction now aligned with the Anglican Church in North America and the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchôa last week told The Church of England Newspaper he had “called an extraordinary synod for this Saturday to have a united voice from the Diocese with the presence of our lawyers.”

While Bishop Armando has pushed for a civil legal settlement of the dispute closed door meetings have been held between the Recife leadership and national and local leaders of the IEAB to seek an amicable resolution to the conflict.

Bishop Uchôa told CEN there had been a number of closed door meetings between the breakaway diocese and the national leadership of the IEAB in recent months seeking an amicable resolution to the dispute. But added he would withhold comment on the court ruling for the present. “At the moment we will let them speak. We come later.”

However he noted the diocese would appeal the ruling.

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