Because after so much legal wrangling, many still wonder: What does it all mean?
For one, the Diocese of South Carolina clearly can operate on its own with Lawrence, who led its departure from the national church, at the helm. Second, his diocese can keep the name and symbols, along with the parishes that left with it and the more than $500 million in church properties they inhabit, including historic colonial buildings.
“It is a judicial finding that we are who we say we are ”” the Diocese of South Carolina ”” and our names and symbols are ours alone to use,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, its canon to the ordinary.
Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein’s long-awaited ruling last week also could play a key role in similar disputes nationwide and impact other hierarchical churches that face discord in South Carolina. It comes at a time of increasing legal complexity as judges across the country decide similar cases using two very different legal principles, experts said.
And that could push the South Carolina case to the U.S. Supreme Court’s doorstep. Or at least some hope it will.
Read it all from the front page of the local paper.