PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Diocese voted overwhelmingly to amend its constitution so that it can disregard policies of the national Episcopal Church it opposes, notably the consecration of gay bishops.
Pittsburgh's Bishop Robert Duncan leads a national network of dioceses and parishes at odds with the national denomination.
Liberals warned that the amendment could lead to a split, but a diocesan spokesman said it provides a way for the diocese to remain part of the national denomination despite disagreements.
Meanwhile, Duncan threatened to call for the ouster of two congregations in the diocese if they don't drop a lawsuit that seeks to block parishes from taking their property and buildings if they leave the Episcopal Church.
Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, in suburban Wilkinsburg, sued Duncan after he introduced a resolution aimed at allowing parishes to break away and keep their property. Duncan later withdrew the measure but the two congregations want it declared illegal anyway.
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