You don't steal--ever! That was a big one in my house growing up. You just didn't do it. And if you took the five finger discount on a piece of candy at the local store and mom or dad found out, you not only got punished, but you also had to go back to Simmerings and apologize to the husband and wife who owned the store. And since it was a small town, by the time you finished all this, everyone knew and nobody trusted you.
In my community stealing is not only a personal sin it is also a public evil. It puts you at enmity with everything around you.
But in the days of huge severance packages for corporate jerks who sink the company but are bought out to avoid lawsuits, it seems that stealing is only stealing when the thief is in the lower rungs of the economic classes. Oil companies make the largest profits in the history of the planet through collusion, but that's not fraud--it's high finance. Toy companies send most of their work overseas with little if any supervision and the product that comes back to our children is covered in lead-based paint. But that's not negligence--that's out-sourcing.
Why my rant about all of this? The schismatic bishop of San Joaquin, John Schofield, is trying to steal the real property of The Episcopal Church. Plain and simple, no ifs ands or buts about it. Here is what he recently sent out the congregations following him into schism...
To the clergy and parishioners of San Joaquin -We recognize that the news of a lawsuit from the Presiding Bishop and the representatives of Remain Episcopal in Stockton, may be unsettling. However, please be assured that we have been expecting this litigation and the contents contain no surprises. Please know that our legal team has been at work for some time. They are optimistic and remain unperturbed by The Episcopal Church's most recent action. What our legal counsel has accomplished on our behalf is already proving most helpful in defense of property and assets despite the fact that this preparatory work had to be done without the benefit of seeing what the Episcopal Church intended to do. Furthermore, I want to remind you that in spite of the claims by The Episcopal Church, nothing in their current Constitution and Canons prohibits a diocese from leaving one province and moving to another.
I'm not a radical when it comes to this. It is my hope that conservatives and liberals and everyone in between can find a home in The Episcopal Church. I don't want to see the church divided by schism. That only destroys what the faithful before us worked so hard to build.
All of that said, it doesn't change the fact that he once served in The Episcopal Church, and because of reasons of conscience he can no longer remain in communion with us. But rather than resign from an institution he could no longer serve, taking the noble path of many non-jurors before him, he decides to change the rules to keep the church property that was built and has been maintained over the decades by the very institution he can no longer tolerate.
It's theft...there is no getting around it...and no amount of moralizing will make it right. Shame on you, Mr. Schofield. Your mother taught you better than that.