As we go to press the world waits with bated breath to learn the fate of three embattled Catholic dioceses trapped in the bowels of The Episcopal Church. At enormous expense in effort and treasure, teams of dedicated lawyers have been labouring for months to secure their freedom. As the torrent of litigation mounts, the struggle for survival gains in intensity.

Anglican Primates throughout the world have expressed their solidarity with the trapped dioceses. But there is no help from Presiding Bishop Katherine Jeffers Schori, who alone has the resources to relieve the pressure. As quickly as one team of lawyers manages to tunnel their way forward, she sends her own experienced litigators to block access, with new lawsuits and fresh citations. Said one commentator: ‘This rescue attempt could well take several years.’

Meanwhile medical preparations for the final release of the trapped dioceses are well advanced. A special team of counsellors will be drafted in to help these beleaguered Christians regain their trust in their fellow American Anglicans.

‘It will not be easy,’ said an one expert. ‘Though the dioceses look in good shape now, this degree of oppression usually results in bitterness, anger and recrimination. That is something we aim to avoid, but we expect the recovery itself to take many years of patient work of reconciliation.’

Others are not sanguine about the task. ‘Only Katherine can sort this one out now; and that broad hasn’t felt pain for years’. ND