8/30/2007

Non Windsor Compliant Bishops

Well, depending on who is counting the list of non compliant bishops grows larger and larger. Today in Kenya there were a number of bishops taking part in the ordinations of two new bishops whose specific charge was to care for congregations in the United States without permission of bishops of jurisdiction in The Episcopal Church.

This is not a Windsor compliant web site and so I welcome these worthies into the company of the faithful - that is people who see the Windsor Report as a document not an defining statement of Anglican discipline. I have argued that we must not make the WR an idol. I think the document raises many issues that deserve our attention, but I do not believe it is the answer or even the process that needs to be followed. It appears that these two bishops believe that as well. Just so you know who these Episcopal Church bishops are:

They are Bishop Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network and Moderator of the Common Cause Partners, and






Bishop Jack Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, member of the Anglican Communion Network.




They are members of TEC House of Bishops. They took part in an ordination the purpose of which was contrary to the intent of the Constitution and Canons of the
Episcopal Church. Other bishops and archbishop present were also non compliant to Windsor, but these two are non compliant within the context of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.


As to the other Primates and bishops present they too are now not Windsor compliant: Present at the ordinations were at least the
primates of Central Africa, West Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, West Indies, Southern Cone, and Indian Ocean. An archbishop from Nigeria represented Archbishop Akinola. I have no notion if they have disavowed the constitution and canons of their own Provinces.

It is necessary to point out the presence of Archbishop Drexel Gomez, who was preacher at the ordination. As the chair of the Covenant Design Group he has played a major part in the work of the Communion. By his participation in this ordination he has made his stand, a stand that is incompatible with the very document that produced the recommendations concerning a covenant. He has made his choice. It is time for him to step down as Chair of the CDG.

But here is the thing: These two Episcopal Church bishops are sworn to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church. The clear intent of the Constitution and Canons is that no bishop is to exercise ministry in another diocese than their own, except by permission. Complicity in circumventing this understanding by ordaining a US citizen to do
precisely that, as a bishop in another province commissioned to ministry here, is in violation of the Constitution and Canons of this Church. At least that is how I read it.

I am pleased to see that these worthies are not in compliance with the Windsor Report recommendations. It is no longer necessary to drag out that document as a litmus test. The realignment and dissenter crowd doesn't hold to it and we no longer have to defend our efforts to at least address the requests in it. The dissenter crowd is with impunity ignoring its clear request to end incursions into other Provinces.

The presence and participation by Bishops Iker and Duncan in the ordinations of Bishops
Atwood and Murdoch signals not a miracle at CANA, but a disaster in Kenya. They are now in non compliance with Windsor and with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. The problem is, who will bring the matter up? At a time when the Moderator is given to talking about the cross to come and bishops are being invited to "play the Man" who wants to point out the obvious?

The skunk is on the table. Who will step forward to deal with it?

26 comments:

  1. I just looked at the photographs at SF and Titus etc. and read through the long run of hosannas. Depressing stuff.

    But no one seemed curious about how all those cash-strapped GS prelates managed to pony up for what must have been at least $25,000 worth of airline tickets. And what about +Bob and +Jack rocketing off to Kenya?

    I'm curious. Did the Diocese of Pittsburgh pick up +Bob's tab? Ditto for Fort Worth. Who's writing the checks. Inquiring minds want to know.

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  2. At the risk of being a pest, and alongside my saying that I agree with the thrust of your argument concerning the Windsor Report's (completely unsurprising, given the precendent at least as ancient as Nicea) affirmation of the principle that bishops ought not invade one another's dioceses, I do want to ask one question:

    How is the worldly citizenship of a bishop relevant to the important questions you raise? Personally, I wouldn't be bothered in the least if a diocese in The Episcopal Church elected and consecrated a bishop who was a citizen of Kenya, Mexico, El Salvador, or any other nation to serve as bishop in a U.S. diocese, so long as it were done within the context of the constitution of the province and diocese in which the bishop was to serve. And if I wouldn't on principle abject to that, I don't feel I can on principle object to the Anglican Church of Kenya electing a U.S. citizen to serve *in Kenya*, should the discernment be conducted according to the polity of that province.

    This is, of course, not what's happened here, though. As puzzling as I may find it if Kenyans were to call a white American as *their* bishop, it's a different matter entirely for any province -- let alone a single person or group of persons in a province -- to presume to choose a bishop for another province.

    Those acts were rightly termed as lobbing of "Intercontinental Ballistic Bishops," and that's something that goes much deeper than national agencies issuing passports, and violates principles more ancient by far than the U.S. Constitution. It may be a very small bone to pick with a post, but I'm a picky person when it comes to differentiating the life of God's Church and the fellowship of Anglicans from the laws of a nation.

    Windsor-compliant might be a compliment, but if there's a conflict (and nobody's convinced me that there is on this particular point), I'd much rather go for Nicea-compliant. I'm surprised that those who want to be seen as 'orthodox' haven't as zealous to earn a "Nicea-compliant" logo.

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  3. This has been allowed to go on for far too long.

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  4. Mark --

    Gomez's position has been anomalous for years now -- long past time for him to step down.

    There were retired TEC bishops at the first AMiA consecrations in Singapore, but you are right that there is a difference here -- of course these men have repeatedly disobeyed their ordination vows & it is past time they were called on it -- I trust that there are bishops who read your site who will be reflecting on this prior to the HoB meeting.

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  5. sdb...never a pest, often on the case. The comment I made about US citizen really was about the intentionality of the bishops who ordained, including Duncan and Iker. By ordaining US citizens rather than Kenyans for the job there is no question about visas or work permits.

    I agree with you that otherwise there is no reason to have a citizenship issue here.

    Prior Aelred: I was writing rather quickly last night and had forgotten about the AMiA consecrations. You helpfully point out that those were retired bishops taking part then. These are active bishops now. Thanks.

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  6. Mark, that raises a whole 'nother question about what constitutes an "active bishop." Certainly, Bishops Duncan and Iker are currently ordinaries in their respective dioceses. At the same time, they've taken minimal roles in the life of the House and the larger Episcopal Church. Perhaps, like the old rubric that to be a "communicant in good standing" one had to receive three times a year, there needs to be a canon that to be a "bishop in communion" one needs to participate in the House and receive from the Presiding Bishop a minimum number of times within a given period. But, perhaps that's too much to hope for....

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  7. Perhaps it's time to pursue presentments against Duncan and Iker. I mean, how much more obvious does one have to be? I would say that possible violations include Title IV, Sec 1(h): "any act which involves a violation of Ordination vows" works here. I'm not sure about a clear violation of the letter of Constitution or Canons here; merely attending an ordination in another province does not seem to be a prima facie violation. But I am not a canon lawyer, and since it takes ten non-bishops, 2 of whom must be priests, I'm willing to sign a presentment charge. We would need a priest from Pittsburgh and one from Dallas too.

    RFSJ

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  8. Deacon Charlie Perrin31/8/07 10:06 AM

    Jesus wept.

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  9. Viriato da Silva31/8/07 12:00 PM

    I understand the value in the extreme forbearance that TEC has so far shown toward the Bishops of Pittsburgh, Ft. Worth, et al.

    Yet, if there is not *some* line in the sand, or if we keep redrawing it, we basically waive the right later to object to these pointy-hatted brigands' further actions.

    Whatever moral and, yes, p.r. value there has been so far in staying TEC's collective hand from issuing presentments, this latest act by them has, in my eyes anyway, finally crossed the Rubicon.

    Let presentments (at long last) be presented.

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  10. I am convinced that the only reason +Bob is still part of TEC is so he can maximize his pension. I think its beyond time he left.

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  11. On SDB's comments re: electing bishops from elsewhere.

    One of my professors at college was elected to a diocese in Japan. His father had been the missionary bishop of that diocese, and he had taught at a seminary there.

    When the diocesan synod became deadlocked, rather like Ambrose of Milan, someone suggested Cyril. (I don't think, as with Ambrose, that it was a little child.)

    In any event, Cyril was duly elected. When contacted about his acceptance he is said to have replied, "Don't be daft. You need a Japanese bishop." And that was that.

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  12. My husband and I went through a very rough time with our oldest when he was fifteen. He kept pushing his limits and we kept letting him. He pushed - those limits expanded until it appeared there were no limits at all. Life was a chaotic mess and stress and tension were very high. It was affecting our other three children very negatively, especially our youngest who is only now able to deal more healthily with stess and tension.

    Finally, we said enough and we put limits in place. Things settled right down. Once our son knew how far he could push, he stayed within those limits. Life became considerably easier. The underlying problems still existed but with limits in place we could focus on cause rather than symptoms.

    As I watch what is happening in the AC, I often think of that time in our family. The more we try to stretch for working at keeping the Communion together, the more chaotic it becomes as everyone scrambles to find the boundaries in which to exist. If we keep moving those boundaries, there is less to use as a guideline and people become more uncertain about where and how they belong and start to radically cling to the things they are certain about - pushing the boundaries all the more.

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  13. If other bishops in the past have not faced presentment charges for violating the doctrine of the church, then why should any bishop now be charged with violating the discipline of the church - is discipline more important than doctrine? What is really more important here - the God who is described by our doctrine, or the church as defined by our constitution and canons?

    If we can allow all kinds of innovation in doctrine as liberals, then why are we so fundamental when it comes to discipline?

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  14. Non-Bishops.

    According to Canon 16 of the Council of Nicaea the ordinations of William Murdoch and Bill Atwood as bishops are null.

    "Any presbyters or deacons or in general anyone enrolled in any rank of the clergy who depart from their church recklessly and without the fear of God before their eyes or in ignorance of the church's canon, ought not by any means to be received in another church, but all pressure must be applied to them to induce them to return to their own dioceses, or if they remain it is right that they should be excommunicated. But if anyone dares to steal away one who belongs to another and to ordain him in his church without the consent of the other's own bishop among whose clergy he was enrolled before he departed, the ordination is to be null."

    So much for the ancient, orthodox teachings of the Church.

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  15. And now the Diocese of Chicago has nominated a lesbian priest to be a candidate for election to be their next bishop - and you reckon there is hope for the Communion if only the GC primates will stop their border violations? Does ECUSA have no sensitivity to the Windsor Report? I suppose that as long as everything is done according to the polity of the Church then all is well, regardless of how absurd or ungodly the result is. Is it any wonder that the GC primates are continuing their strategy of intervening into US territory for the sake of Christian souls? What hope does the inclusion of a lesbian on DoC's slate of candidates give authentic Anglicans - those who take the Bible seriously without innovative interpretations on the person and work of Christ, or on human sexuality, divorce and remarriage, murder and abortion - that ECUSA will repent of its wilfulness.

    Do the good people of the DoC have no regard for your General Conventions own resolutions (B033), or are they a law unto themselves? Where is the discipline of the church now?

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  16. The doctrine of the Episcopal Church is determined by the GC.
    Dissent from doctrine is a well honed tradition in Anglicanism since the Elizabethean compromise, (honored in the breach,at least.) The primacy of conscience allows such dissent. It does not mean my individual conscience can supplant the doctrine of the church which in the polity of the episcopal church is determined by the GC,
    nor render defensible the rebellion of certain bishops whose purpose is the overthrow of the church to which they were ordained.

    Formal heresy in the form of a threat to polity has always met greater opprobrium then the material heresy of divergent discernments.

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  17. "According to Canon 16 of the Council of Nicaea the ordinations of William Murdoch and Bill Atwood as bishops are null."

    Yes, and Canon 17 says that all priests and bishops who have a bank account should be summarily deposed. What of it?

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  18. Seamus - it is one thing for an individual lay person to have doubts or reservations about aspects of the Christian faith and Biblical interpretations, but it is another thing entirely for a bishop to make public comments or make written publications which refute some fundamentals of the Christian faith - such as the divinity of Christ, his sinless perfection, his atoning death and bodily resurrection, the triune nature of God, the sinfulness of humankind etc etc etc. When a person is consecrated a bishop, they lose the right to express new theologies, since they swear to uphold true Christian doctrine. Many bishops in ECUSA, UK, Canada, and Australia have erred in such ways. But where is the discipline of them? ECUSA has taken no steps whatsoever to discipline its heretical bishops who break the doctrine of the church.

    Bishops should leave such speculation and investigation of the boundaries of theology to the theologians and academics in the seminaries, and pay attention to their ordination vows.

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  19. I must wonder what all the fuss is about these two "rogue" and "schismatic" priests being consecrated as bishops. This has occurred before but the reaction from the various liberal blogs has been especially venomous this time, to say the least.

    I shall speculate that all of those who were present at the consecrations recognize by now, that beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Episcopal Church will never accede to the demands of the Primates. Despite what the liberals say about the need for continuing "dialogue", "inclusion", and "sensitivity", the Primates realize that schism has already occurred, and most likely a long time ago. It will be up to the history books to debate on what specific act brought this about, but no doubt it has already happened.

    The participants of the latest extraterritorial consecration, including, correct me if I'm wrong, 9 primates representing something like 78% of all the active Anglicans worldwide, essentially no longer recognize the Episcopal Church as a legitimate Anglican church. Period. They no longer see any need to conform to a Windsor Agreement when there is no longer any agreement. They will go about their present business to send forth clergy whose intent will be to evangelize to what they see as lost souls. Nothing will change that. These people see a need to go out amongst the dissaffected and preach.

    No doubt,their efforts will see fruit. Do not expect any such efforts from the "legitimate" Episcopal Church, a church whose average parish numbers less that 80 members and whose average age is something like 60 years. We all realize what the current demographics mean for the ECUSA; within 30 years the only active expression of Anglicanism in the United States will be that which results from what the Primates are initiating today. For this in itself, the Primates should be commended for what many "proper" Anglicans see as rash actions.

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  20. "Representing"? In what way?

    And 98%? Of what?

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  21. "Yes, and Canon 17 says that all priests and bishops who have a bank account should be summarily deposed. What of it? "

    Ah but ***you*** claim to be a traditionalis!

    FWIW
    jimB

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  22. Ah, more numbers to make us liberals quail and "Surrender Dorothy."

    It's getting a bit silly, you know.

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  23. Brian( a side note- in a previous post you said I put you in a shame box. You confused me with another poster and I wanted to bring that to your attention.)

    Well I'll let the bishops take that one, but why stop at the bishops? Take a cue from Rome and censor the theologians as well. But seriously or (less seriously)there is great latitude in the Anglican tradition most evident in its evangelical and catholic expositions, not only in form but essentials. And that latitude comes not only in personal conscience but in personal expression of Faith.
    Material heresy almost has no meaning since the Anglican church acknowledges itself as "broken", born in heresy(according to Rome)but in the truest sense a pilgrim church tring to find its way home, and a seeker of truth holding on to its history in its traditions and traditional understandings yet moving forward in the direction of the living Word-Logos and growing into new understandings.
    In that regard the Anglican church is fairly unique among Christians bodies in that it not only welcomes sinners but conscientious objectors. It all depends on who you want to exclude and how. You wish to exclude those bishops not doctrinally pure, I would say exclude those bishops who have already left, or who are attempting to dissassociate their diosceses from the Episcopal Church and in fact are attacking the polity of the Episcopal Church.This is the greater damage and the actual break to the Communion than how many Articles are redundant or how many candles to put on the altar.

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  24. Seamus - sorry about confusing you with another poster, and thankyou for your civil response.

    I'm not aiming to get to a doctrinally pure episcopacy - I don't believe such a thing is possible on this side of heaven, but I am trying to point out the need for less latitude in theological expressions. You refer to the diversity evidenced in Anglican history by the co-existance of both evangelical and Anglo-catholic streams within Anglicanism, but everyone seems to forget that both of these streams have a lot in common - the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture, the triune nature of God, the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Christ, the two natures of Christ and his sinless perfection, and his divine conception for example. There were differences of course: the nature of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the nature of the priesthood, and the liturgical forms for example; but none of these would lead to either side being cast as heretics or non-Christian. But now bishops have extended the boundaries to question Christ's divinity, and his resurrection; and to deny the inspiration of Scripture, so that it is no longer the Word of God. How far should we let these theological boundaries extend? What is to stop a Muslim Episcopalian lesbian priest from becoming a bishop? The traditional toleration of minor differences between evangelicals and catholics in the past ought not become a justification for acceptance of anything by liberals, otherwise Anglicanism is at risk of ceasing to be Christian.

    I also take issue with you over the acceptance of "conscientious objectors". If a person comes to me for baptism, I don't automatically baptise them without first enquiring after their faith and repentance. But before that of course I explain the gospel of Jesus Christ - if they repent and believe in him then of course I proceed and baptise. But if they remain unrepentant then I cannot in good conscience baptise them. But usually they come to that decision themselves first by realising that they are unable to make their baptismal vows and statements of faith in good conscience.

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  25. Brian F. said: "But now bishops have extended the boundaries to question Christ's divinity, and his resurrection; and to deny the inspiration of Scripture, so that it is no longer the Word of God."


    The "conservatives" keep repeating this charge ad nauseum. I suppose they believe that repeating it often enough will eventually make it true.

    The House of Bishops in the US has done no such thing.

    The House of Bishops in Canada has done no such thing.

    Individual bishops from all sides of the present issue have said unhelpful and even stupid things from time to time. It hardly constitutes a change in the faith of the Church every time an individual bishop says something daft.

    And what prevents a "Muslim Episcopalian lesbian" from becoming a bishop is that no diocesan synod is going to elect such a person so clearly confused in their faith journey.

    Finally, despite the "so much in common" between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals, it didn't prevent those oh so tolerant Evangelicals from imprisoning Fr. Green, Fr. Dale, Fr. Enraght, Fr. Cox and Fr. Tooth, or from hounding Fr. MacKonochie to his death.

    It is interesting to note some of the rhetorical commonality between Evangelical condemnation of the Anglo-Catholics in the Victorian era and today's spiteful comments about ecclesiastical "liberals."

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  26. Brian,
    Quite frankly I don't have a ready answer except to acknowledge the validity of your concerns and fears . I do not share them to the same extent as I find most contradictions, self-limiting. While I believe that you dismiss too readily the differences between the evengelical and catholic streams which in many respects are quite antithetical to one another, I agree that part of the solution you acknowledge of seeking commonality is the correct approach. Those seeking exclusion and schisms are not engaged in anything I recognize as seeking commonality that undergrids the Anglican conception of the Via Media.

    To open wide the doors to Christ, you open wide the doors of his church. Christianity and Anglicanism in particuliar has had an expansive vision which is being attacked in the present debate.
    Faith is not static statements but must be dynamic, living,and thus growing.
    If liberals are tend to be foolish and "accept anything" conservatives tend to be too restrictive and fearful.
    If Christ's "yoke is easy and his burden is light" then far be it from me to pile on further impediments of etc.,etc. and etc.

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