Sentencing Statement by Bishop George E. Packard
|Rev. J. Cooper "forgetting" the 11 phone calls with me about Duarte.|
I have admiration for our legal system, this court, and your administration of these proceedings. Indeed, I have dedicated a good portion of my life in service to our country. For me, such patriotism is as real as the ultimate sacrifices my friends have memorialized with their lives in four of the wars I’ve been in.
No, my great sadness today has nothing to do with the law, its fairness or even an economic system favoring the few at the expense of the many in these days.
It has to do with how Trinity Church has chosen to hop back and forth between being the aggrieved and trespassed party on the one hand and the sympathetic ear and support for those who deserve a message of mercy and forgiveness on the other. There was nothing to be gained by going forward with these prosecutions. Rector James Cooper even appreciated "the healthy debate" about his property. I guess that discussion has limits for him when his corporate side and cash flow takes over.
Is this entity a corporation worried about fiduciary interest or a portion of the Body of Christ? Which are they? We have received our answer today by their insistence for this action. In a time when we hope our moral institutions will speak with clarity…this one didn’t.
I have an additional worry that some witnessing my actions may have misinterpreted them and joined the protest thinking that the church condoned them. Alas if it were so. There is no relevant witness to be found in the institutional church today. I was acting on behalf of myself only and to the degree others felt encouraged to break the law I am sorry but I rejoice they might have reclaimed dignity.
May God bless our nation; may it abide justly with others."