LA bishops hands over his crozier to his successor, but does not say if he is leaving
The Bishop of Los Angeles appears to have resigned his office this weekend, at the consecration of his coadjutor, the Rt. Rev. John Taylor. At the close of the 8 July 2017 service at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno kissed his newly consecrated coadjutor, Bishop Taylor, and as he moved to the side of the stage said: “This is probably the last time he (Bishop Taylor) and I will be at an altar together.”
With crozier in hand, Bishop Bruno said: “John, I cherish you with the mission of this diocese. I hand this crozier over to you, that has been the crozier of every bishop in this diocese since Joseph Horsfall Johnson.” Bishop Bruno then offered prayers for Bishop Taylor and his wife, to which Bishop Taylor responded he hoped the bishop would continue with his ministry in the diocese so long as “the Holy Spirit may ordain”.
The exchange begins at the 3:18:35 mark in the video of the ceremony.
Bishop Bruno’s statement that he would not concelebrate the Eucharist with Bishop Taylor, and his symbolic handing over of his symbol of office has sparked speculation within the diocese the embattled bishop will resign this week.
AI has not learned whether Bishop Bruno was able to close on the real estate deal to sell St James Newport Beach and its rectory by July 3. However, the church’s court of appeals for bishops rejected his appeal of the Hearing Panel’s order forbidding him to alienate the property, while Presiding Bishop Michael Curry took the hitherto unprecedented decision lifting his authority to sell property under the control of the diocese’s Corporate Sole.
Bishop Bruno also faces a call that he be defrocked from the ordained ministry, made by the church attorney, Jerry Coughlan, in his case. Mr. Coughlan raised questions as to the bishop’s honesty in his statements to the court and in depositions, and urged the Hearing Panel to recommend a forensic audit of the bishop’s finances in light of alleged dubious actions.
Handing over the crozier in Episcopal consecration services is the symbolic act of one bishop relinquishing his office to his successor. When the Rt. Rev. Alan Gates was consecrated as Bishop of Massachusetts, the diocesan press release on the service stated: “A second poignant moment came just after Gates had been vested as a bishop, when the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, after 20 years as bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts, passed the diocesan crozier to Gates and thus resigned his office.”
It is not known if the bishop’s actions on Saturday were inadvertent, or a silent statement that he was withdrawing from office. Bishop Bruno is required to step down by his 72nd birthday in November 2018, but is scheduled to retire before that time.