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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Connecticut Six" Federal case dismissed

Federal Court District Judge Janet Bond Arterton has dismissed the lawsuit filed by the so-called Connecticut Six against the Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut, the Andrew D. Smith.

The Courant summarizes:

The lawsuit, filed in 2005, claimed that Smith had violated the civil and property rights of the six priests and the churches they led, which had sought to break away from Smith's authority because of his support for the election of an openly gay bishop.

It also claimed that Smith acted illegally when the diocese seized control of St. John's Episcopal Church in Bristol in July 2005 after its priest, the Rev. Mark Hansen, was stripped of his duties by Smith. Six months later, Smith removed Hansen from the priesthood.

"Whether Bishop Smith acted contrary to or outside of the Diocese's own rules is a question of canon law, not a question of constitutionality of the challenged Connecticut statutes," Arterton wrote in Monday's ruling. "A declaration of unconstitutionality by the court would not redress the plaintiffs' actual grievances or their theological disputes with" Smith.

In essence, the Judge ruled that the Federal Court could not hear matters related to church canon law. The priests still can pursue their claims in Connecticut State Court.

A complete copy of the opinion can be seen here.

Please continue to pray for all those who are struggling to stand for biblical truth in historic denominations.

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