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Church Attorney: +Bruno is a “rogue bishop”

Church Attorney: +Bruno is a “rogue bishop”

The response by the Church Attorney to Bishop Bruno’s appeal:

The Opposition of the Church Attorney to the Appeal of the Respondent

“Respondent’s appeal is based upon false assumptions and presents an erroneous description of the 3 charges.”

“Respondent’s appeal should be denied”

Conclusion: “Respondent’s conduct directly attacks the discipline process of the Episcopal Church. Respondent’s conduct continues his personal vendetta about a congregation. Respondent’s secret effort (even from his own church) to sell the church in the midst of the Title IV proceedings undermines the integrity of the process. We are dealing here with a bishops who has, at every turn, attempted the thwart and obstruct the disciplinary processes of the Episcopal Church. We are dealing here with a bishop who believes has authority over the property held by the Corp Sole – even consecrated church properties. We are dealing in short with a rogue bishop. The Disciplinary Board, to uphold the disciplinary process of the Episcopal Church, should promptly affirm the Sanctions Order of the Hearing Panel.”

Read it all here


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David Allen

My apology, I did find a link to Bishop Bruno’s appeal in The Lead’s story about his appeal from a day or so ago;

David Allen

I would hope that folks would remember that Jerry Coughlin, “The Church Attorney,” is just an attorney like any other and this is his legal opinion, an opinion which does not carry any more weight than the legal opinion of any other attorney. The title of “The Church Attorney” is misleading and appears to give great weight or respect for what he has to say or to his understanding of TEC Canon Law but it doesn’t. In this Title IV action against Bishop Bruno, Mr Coughlin serves as the prosecuting attorney. As the prosecuting attorney, it is his job to argue against just about anything that Bishop Bruno, and in this situation, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles, might do. In this argument against Bishop Bruno’s appeal against the Hearing Panel’s temporary sanction, he does a bang-up job of representing his side well, complete with inflammatory language and the requisite name calling. It is also Mr Coughlin’s responsibility to try to undercut the argument presented by opposing counsel which is presented in the bishop’s appeal.

It would be more convenient if we had Bishop Bruno’s actual appeal to the Hearing Panel to better determine the accuracy represented in Mr Coughlin’s arguments to Bishop Bruno’s appeal. I think that the headline to the story also betrays a bias against Bishop Bruno.

Arnold Schuchter

The Opposition of the Church Attorney to the Appeal of the Respondent includes some highly critical statements that, in the perspective of Bishop Bruno’s outrageous behavior, actually are understatements. When the Church Attorney says that “We are dealing in short with a rogue bishop”, at first that might seem, to those unfamiliar with the out-of-control bishop’s behavior, like an extreme accusation. However, had the Church Attorney been present at the Saint James the Great church service on May 17, 2015, when the Bishop announced that he was evicting the congregation, for unspecified reasons, Coughlin would have heard, in the midst of the anger and uproar, much stronger language (that cannot be repeated here). The harm and pain of the congregation’s lockout has persisted and intensified for more than two years, in a sense obscured by the overly polite discourse of the Title IV hearing process.

Attorney Coughlin’s brief needs to be read carefully in order to follow and really understand the Bishop’s secretive misconduct, including a secret sales agreement, intended to earn more money for himself and/or Corp Sole while further punishing the SJTG congregation, with the sales agreement carefully guarded by a confidentiality agreement with the buyer. Documented evidence in the Bishop’s trial shows a very clear connection between the sale of a deconsecrated Saint James the Great and extremely valuable commercial real estate in Anaheim. Bishop Bruno’s denial of the connection reminds one of Adolf Eichmann’s calm denials and comments while awaiting trial, “To sum it all up, I must say that I regret nothing.”

Finally, I respectfully disagree with the Church Attorney’s comment in his brief that Bishop Bruno or Corp Sole might have considered selling the church to ISIS for $1. Not only would that be, in the language of Title IV, conduct unbecoming a bishop, more importantly the price for sale of the property would need to be vastly higher.

Professor Christtopher Seitz

I think the real question to ask is if +Bruno cares about a judgment like this or whether he has any genuine concern about what the Panel decides? He may prefer to be inhibited and yet to win the local legal contest. This is the problem resident in Title IV vis-à-vis diocesan canons and things like ‘corporation sole’ — if this were so odious, it would have to have been scrubbed out before the circumstances arising.

Far be it from defending him or having a view of the content of the matter, my concern is trying to understand his ‘defiance’ — this is not a stupid opponent.


Thanks for commenting, in future, please leave your first and last name – thx, editor

Wow, well the excerpts are interesting but the full document by the Church Attorney paints a disturbing picture of the secrecy of the bishop, standing committee and leadership in the Los Angeles diocese. What a nightmare. Hard to believe what is going on, an Episcopal congregation trying to honor the promises their Vestry made to the land donor years ago and it brief states that Bp. Bruno has tried at every turn to undermine it. Even suing the donor. What an embarrassment to the greater church. Very interested to know why the Hearing Panel has not ruled or the Presiding Bishop has not stepped in to help in the matter. Very sad situation for all.

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