One question that has been raised is the extent to which the recent California Supreme Court decision on Saint James Long Beach and The Episcopal Church will apply to the secessionist "Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, of but not in the Southern Cone."
It is true that there is no explicit constitutional language describing the process by which a diocese can become independent of The Episcopal Church once it has entered into union with it. Some might say that silence implies consent. However, as I have noted in the past, exactly the same silence is a feature of the Constitution of the United States, and the Supreme Court has ruled (Texas v. White 74 U.S. 700 (1869)) that secession is not possible when a "union" is thus established — certainly not unilaterally without the consent of Congress. Details of Article V of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church are in many respects reminiscent of Article IV.3 of the US Constitution — though far wordier. The use of one word, union, is not without significance.
The governing documents of The Episcopal Church do provide a mechanism for non-domestic missionary dioceses to become independent, which requires the consent of the General Convention. Surely the independence of a domestic diocese — even if it were possible — would require at least as much consent.
It will be interesting to see how this case is argued, and the cases in Pittsburgh, Fort Worth and Quincy, if indeed argued they must be.
Tobias Haller BSG