Decoding letters from the former bishop of Pittsburgh

Lionel Deimel of the Episcopal Diocese of PIttsburgh has analyzed the latest letter from the former bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan. He notes that it is important to remember that Duncan calls his breakaway diocese The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the legitimate Diocese the “new” diocese. Deimel writes:

Discredited former Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan wrote to his flock February 27, 2009. (The letter can be read here, and, as I have not quoted extensively from it below, I do recommend reading all of the Duncan epistle before continuing to read this essay.) These missives seem to get progressively longer, more self-serving, and more pathetic over time. Nevertheless, this one deserves careful analysis. One might easily miss its objectives, given its wealth of detail.


The purpose of the letter, I suggest, … is to increase the likelihood that Duncan and his supporters will be able to hold on to as much property (real and personal) as possible. The strategy employed is twofold. On one hand, the letter is intended to advance the legal theory by which Duncan hopes to avoid an adverse ruling in the Calvary lawsuit. On the other hand, it seeks to sidestep the property agreement already in place as a result of that litigation in favor of negotiating something else that might not leave the Duncan faction empty-handed.

There is actually a refreshing forthrightness in the letter. Duncan clearly identifies issues critical to the current litigation, even if he misrepresents them in order to promote the tortured legal theory that represents his only hope of avoiding an adverse and embarrassing judgment by the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas…

Read the details

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