More Good News for Father Vasile Susan: Appellate Decision in Duncan v. Peterson
In a recent decision by an Illinois Appellate Court, arguments for ecclesiastical abstention in the case of Duncan v. Peterson were once again rejected. The complete ruling is linked above.
The new decision in Duncan v. Peterson is good news for Father Vasile Susan, whose lawsuit against the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (ROEA) and Archbishop Nathanial Popp had, until last month, been bogged down while the ROEA and Popp asserted over and over that the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine prohibited the court from hearing Susan’s case. That lawsuit is now certain to move forward.
The earlier appellate decision in Duncan v. Peterson was one of the cases cited by Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird in her December 3, 2010, decision to uphold subject matter jurisdiction in the lawsuit filed by Susan. The case was also used by Kinnaird to uphold the subpoena issued by Susan’s attorneys to Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen of the Orthodox Church in America. Kinnaird’s decision is also linked above.
Susan is a priest in good standing in the OCA. Until 2004, he served in the Romanian Episcopate. That year Susan was removed from his parish in Chicago by Popp, head of that diocese. He has never been assigned to another parish.
While Susan was never given a reason for his dismissal, he believes that he was removed from his parish when he spoke out about another OCA clergyman who was actively homosexual. When the Romanian Episcopate refused to apply its internal disciplinary provisions to Susan’s case, the priest filed suit in 2005.