Acting to protect the identity of the diocese he serves, the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg filed suit in U.S. District Court today against Bishop Mark Lawrence, asking the court to declare that only vonRosenberg, as the bishop recognized by The Episcopal Church, has the authority to act in the name of the Diocese of South Carolina.Read the rest of the news about the litigation at the link.
Having renounced The Episcopal Church, Bishop Lawrence is no longer authorized to use the diocese’s name and seal. By doing so, he is engaging in false advertising, misleading and confusing worshippers and donors in violation of federal trademark law under the Lanham Act, the complaint says. It asks the court to stop Bishop Lawrence from continuing to falsely claim that he is associated with the Diocese of South Carolina, which is a recognized sub-unit of The Episcopal Church.
Sounds about right to me, although I am no expert in the law, and I have no idea how the case will be decided. I've wondered why the breakaway dioceses don't call themselves "The Anglican Diocese of Whatever," since they claim to represent true Anglicanism, the faith handed down, which would be less confusing all around. Or could it be that the blurring of boundaries and confusion is intentional?
My prayers and good wishes are with the bishop, clergy, and lay members of the continuing diocese during this difficult period.