The state Supreme Court got it right, and the state Supreme Court got it wrong when it came to the opinion issued last week regarding the former Episcopal Church parishes in South Carolina.
The court got it right when it quoted the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1979 case of Jones v. Wolf: “(The) constitution of the general church can be made to recite an express trust in favor of the denominational church.”
The state Supreme Court got it wrong when it relied upon the canons — not the constitution — of the Episcopal Church to determine that some of the parishes had “acceded” to the Dennis Canon.
Anyone who looks at the constitution of the Episcopal Church will find no provision in it addressing trusts for real estate owned by any church.
Such language is in the canons, which are analogous to an entity’s bylaws or operating rules, of the Episcopal Church but not in the constitution of the church, as required in the Jones v. Wolf decision.
The language was put into the canons because adopting those is a much simpler process that can be accomplished quickly.
ROBERT M. KUNES
— Anglican Ink (@anglicanink) April 22, 2022