THE TWELFTH DAY OF THE TRIAL
By Ronald J. Caldwell, PhD, Professor of History, Emeritus
Yesterday, July 23, was the twelfth day of the trial. Once again we have our three daily eye-witness reporters, Steve Skardon (www.scepiscopalians.com), Holly Behre (www.episcopalchurchsc.com), and the independent diocese (www.diosc.com). I recommend all three. Skardon's is most useful as a thoughtful description of the Judge's unchanging attitude. There was no significant change in the proceedings yesterday. Judge Goodstein made it clear again, as if that were necessary, that she is handling this trial on the basis of "neutrality." She sees it only as a property dispute between two parties under state law. She has made it abundantly clear that she has no interest in the governmental structure, much less religion, of the two entities. That all but guarantees a ruling squarely on the side of the independent diocese which has the huge advantage of actual possession of the incorporation and the properties in dispute.
Bishop vonRosenberg testified yesterday trying to describe the organizational structure of the Episcopal Church and the way in which the Church went about reorganizing the diocese after the old administrative structure left the Church en masse. Goodstein apparently regarded all of this as unimportant. The independent diocese reported that the Rev. Kronz testified and directly contradicted the earlier written deposition testimony of Rev. Rickenbaker who said that Kronz and Rev. Fuener approached him in the bishop's search process and asked if he would take the diocese out of the Church intact and with the property. Rickenbaker filed an affidavit last December and made an official deposition for the court this month. Either Rickenbaker or Kronz must be incorrect as they are directly contradictory of each other. I am not aware that Kronz has filed an affidavit or a deposition giving his claims.
The trial drags on through today and most likely into Friday before it will mercifully come to an end. I think we all know by now just what that end will be. It has "appeal" written all over it.