BISHOP CLEARED - Heresy charges dismissed

May 16, 1966

By Judy Peet

WILMINGTON, DEL. - An Episcopal Church court yesterday dismissed all counts against Walter C. Righter, the bishop charged with heresy in connection with the 1990 Diocese of Newark ordination of an openly gay man. ...

Bergen County attorney Michael Rehill, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Newark who defended Righter, called an appeal of the case that has polarized the church "inconceivable," adding, "the (charging) bishops (previously) said they didn't want to do that. I pray they weren't lying." ...

The majority opinion was received without response by the audience, but the dissenting opinion, issued by Bishop Andrew Fairfield of North Dakota, drew occasional hisses of outrage. ...

"It was an abomination against people," declared Righter's wife Nancy, following Fairfield's reading. "He should be ashamed."

Rehill, however, stated: "He needed to make that speech, and we needed to hear it.

"The minority opinion must always be heard," if the church is to survive its divisiveness, Rehill said.

"We have to remind ourselves that the core doctrine is unshakable," he said. "The essence of the church is far greater than our differences."

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