3/15/2008

Standing Corrected, at least in part... a good discipline for Holy Week.

My last post, "Bishop Duncan is elsewhere once again" has given rise to lots of comments, some supportive some not.

It's too late at night (2 AM) and I'm a bit fried having just gotten in from travel back from Germany to be with the family there. So I can't do more than jot down a few comments:

(i) Baby Blue suggests that we admit there is schism and just get on with life, trying not to poke each others eyes out. BB, I've been thinking about that all day on British Air. More later, I hope.

(ii) While off having dinner yesterday (in Germany) the news broke that George Conger and Steve Waring thinks the vote on the depositions failed for want of the required majority. Fr. Jake thinks otherwise. The House of Bishops / Deputies list is mixed. If it is a screw up, then let's call it that and declare a failed vote. The Bishops can be called on to visit that again. Meanwhile, in the article I declared the matter done - that the depositions had taken place. Was I too soon? We shall see.

(iii) I reminded readers that the Moderator of Common Cause, also the Bishop of Pittsburgh, was still subject to further action by the House of Bishops concerning the findings of the Title IV Review Committee. Shortly after there was a report from Matt Kennedy over at Stand Firm that things were moving forward for a plan to consider the Review Committee report prior to Lambeth. (I've not seen that confirmed elsewhere). My comment and Matt's are unconnected. Mine were related to Bishop Duncan's absence from these proceedings and my understanding that at various meetings (including those of during General Convention) Bishop Duncan has been in attendance for part of the meetings only, and in particular not for common Eucharist. I was not accurate in stating that he did not come at all, and was appropriately called to account by his wife.

(iv) and additionally I let the "orthodox" crowd be called the orthodox without the quotes, again. So in addition to my regular paid up sins there is always the sin of bad grammar. (sigh!)

So, settling in for Holy Week, let me climb up in a tree and see what there is to see.

As to the comment that I was Bishop Duncan's "...once close friend and colleague." I am more sorry than I can possibly say that we separated from one another in these days. He was indeed a close friend and colleague. He still is close in my heart and I find him in my prayers regularly. But we are distant and that is a source of sadness.

But I stand by my general sense: (i) Schofield and Cox either are, or ought properly to be, deposed, (ii) The Common Cause Partnership has become the fixed future of the Network and Bishop Duncan is Moderator of what is hoped will be "orthodox" Anglicanism in North America the carrier of "the faith once delivered to the saints," etc, (iv) the CCP look like, and acts like, a church over against a church - that is one not in communion with The Episcopal Church, and (iv) there is plenty of pain to go around.

The canons of this church made the processes possible by which Gene Robinson and Bob Duncan got ordered as bishops. As an Episcopalian I honor them both as bishops, but I suspect, like most of us, I am a Christian whose expression of faith is in the context of the Episcopal Church, and if it comes to it will stand with bishops who stick with the Church just as most of us do.

I am willing to stand corrected. Anyone can attempt to correct me. Many do. But I stand convicted not by those across the great divide in this Church or any conflict. I stand convicted because that's one of the points of the whole Story. I need to remember (as do you dear friends) two small truths:

(a) it is God's love that triumphs, not any body's orthodoxy, and
(b) sorting out the messes in the Church is an equal opportunity employer across the spectrum.


Maybe if sweeping house were more a hope to find the lost coin than an occasion to curse the mess we would all be better off.


7 comments:

  1. The Chancellor has issued a statement on the matter here:

    http://episcopalchurch.org/79901_95735_ENG_HTM.htm

    So it should be official now, I suppose.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was just wondering, in response to the news that the Chancellor of The Episcopal Church has deemed the vote to be valid, could these deposed bishops bring civil lawsuits against TEC for "wrongful deposition" or something? I realize that the secular/civil courts are involved with property disputes, but could they take up this type of lawsuit? hmmm, we live in interesting times!

    Peter+

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ren-

    Like that is an unbiased source, and furthermore a source that would be embarassed if he was wrong. That has no credibility with many of us.

    And yes- I attend a non-Network, mainstream TEC church in the non-conservative diocese of Delaware.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Then I hope that those concerned should file a protest against this action taken by the House on the grounds of procedural irregularity.

    Actually what I found wrong was that the final vote was taken by voice. Would it be more appropriate, given the gravity of this decision, that each bishop should be called to vote in order that he or she should take responsibility for their action? After all, it's ousting a bishop that is being done here.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I find Fr. Jake's reading to be quite persuasive.

    Title IV contains a whole section (Canon 15) devoted to the definition of terms used in that Title. "All the Members" is there defined as the term to be used when everyone (not just those present) is to be counted. When Title IV, Canon 9 sets forth the procedure for deposition, it does NOT say that a majority of "All the Members" is required.

    I therefore think that the Chancellor's position is correct, even though his statement sounds a bit like "because we said so, that's why."

    Doug+

    ReplyDelete
  6. For Mr. Carey...from U.S. Supreme Court
    PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH v. HULL CHURCH, 393 U.S. 440 (1969)
    393 U.S. 440
    "A determination whether such decisions are fraudulent, collusive, or arbitrary would therefore not answer the questions posed by the state standard. To reach those questions would require the civil courts to engage in the forbidden process of interpreting and weighing church doctrine. Even if the general church had attempted to apply the state standard, the civil courts could not review and enforce the church decision without violating the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits a State from employing religious organizations as an arm of the civil judiciary to perform the function of interpreting and applying state standards."

    I would doubt that any court would intervene based on Presbyterian v. Hull (even fraud is alleged ala Gonzalez EPfizH

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, the legal precedents for civil courts are pretty clear that only a church can interpret its own rules -- since the vote was basically to acknowledge what these persons have already claimed, I don't see the problem with the rightness of the vote.

    But as I said at Fr Jake's, for many General Conventions the House of Bishops has been trying to get rid of the voice & vote for retired bishops because a strict construction of the rules makes it essentially impossible for the House of Bishops to have a quorum -- the House of Deputies either keeps voting against it or never getting around to it -- all of Title IV needs to be redone anyway, but The Episcopal Church has to have some mechanism to acknowledge that some bishops have left The Episcopal Church in a hostile manner that intends harm -- obviously the current canons were never designed to cope with the tactics of the Chapman Memo

    ReplyDelete

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