“The hearing panel has concluded that the scope and severity of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct … unjustly and unnecessarily disturbed the ministry of a mission of the church,” the ruling stated.
The panel concluded Bishop Bruno’s closure of the parish was motivated in part by animus. The decision to shutter the church throughout the dispute was done “to punish Canon Voorhees and the St. James congregation for what he views as their defiance of him.”
Bishop Smith disagreed with the panel’s conclusion, writing the hearing panel should not have exercised jurisdiction over the dispute. “Resolution of property disputes properly resides within local diocesan entities,” he wrote, explaining the dispute should not have been “adjudicated through the disciplinary process.”