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Court Affirms Bp. Bruno’s Sentence

Mary Frances Schjonberg reports for Episcopal News Service:

An Episcopal Church court has concluded that retired Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno was properly suspended from ordained ministry for three years because of misconduct.

The Court of Review for Bishops said it made the three-year suspension retroactive to Aug. 2, 2017, the day a hearing panel originally recommended the sentence, rather than with the court’s Jan. 31 order.

The case against Bruno involved his unsuccessful 2015 attempt to sell the property of what was then known as St. James the Great’s in Newport Beach, California, to a condominium developer for $15 million in cash. That effort prompted some St. James members to bring misconduct allegations against Bruno, alleging he violated church law.

… “We believe the decision reached in the Bishop Bruno matter is just, but no cause for celebration in any quarter,” Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, court president, said in a press release. “We hope the decision brings clarity to the canonical requirements by which we govern ourselves, will promote healing and reconciliation, and will be helpful to dioceses and bishops in their ministries.”

… Bruno has no further avenue for appeal, Lane told Episcopal News Service.

The Court of Review met in Atlanta, Georgia, in late September to hear oral arguments by the parties. The court’s decision was crafted over the next eight weeks, and the members of the court reviewed the decision and signed off over the weeks since Christmas, according to the release.

Read on.

Update, Feb. 2

The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor, Bishop of Los Angeles, issued this statement in response to the decision:

I give thanks that the decision by the Court of Review brings to an end the official narrative of these difficult years for the Diocese of Los Angeles, Jon and Mary Bruno and their family and colleagues, and the people of St. James Episcopal Church.

But our reconciliation narrative is still being written. With the healing phase coming up soon, we will have ample opportunity to share our feelings with one another, acknowledging pain and brokenness and encouraging healing.

Let us pray in the name of Christ for all who have been hurt in this conflict. Let us envision together a diocesan community of renewed collaboration and cooperation, of restored relationship and mutual care. Let us commit ourselves to the spirit of unity amid difference and to rebuilding sturdy bonds of affection that will again enable our church to show a better way forward to a polarizing world.

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