Mark McCall strikes again: Who is this masked man?

The Anglican Communion Institute has posted yet another article by Mr. Mark McCall, a lawyer, titled, "Do Bishops Deserve Due Process?

I hope they do. We all do.

The Anglican Communion Institute seems modest in its need to tell us just who Mr. Mark McCall is. We have some indication. ACI posted this as a comment on a previous blog entry of mine on the question of Mr. McCall and what makes him an interested party to the conversation:

ACI wrote, "Mr. McCall’s legal career was spent practicing law at the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, a large, international law firm based in New York, where he was a partner. Sullivan & Cromwell is widely regarded as one of the preeminent law firms in the world. He was resident in the firm’s New York, Washington and Paris offices and also worked extensively in London and The Hague, specializing in international litigation. He represented numerous clients over many years before the international tribunal (the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal) in The Hague that adjudicated claims arising out of the Iranian revolution and the seizing of the American hostages. He also served for three years as the administrator of an international tribunal in The Hague adjudicating a claim between a Persian Gulf state and a consortium of European companies. For many years, he represented British and European clients in United States and trans-national litigation and also advised private clients and the British government in connection with treaties and other international agreements. He took an early retirement from his firm, and is no longer affiliated with Sullivan & Cromwell."

Impressive. He is a retired lawyer, and it appears a good one. What is his connection with the Episcopal Church and its current legal or ecclesal issues? What makes him a canon lawyer? Why does he care one way or another?

I am sure there are good reasons, but we are not given any of these. The resume is very impressive. The reasons why we should take his particular opinions as more than those of anyone else is less clear.

At any rate, he thinks bishops deserve due process. So do I. He thinks Bishop Duncan is not about to get it. I think Bishop Duncan has decided that the discipline of this Church no longer holds for his actions. Bishop Duncan also believes he is not going to get a fair hearing at this meeting of the House of Bishops. That is what Mr. McCall, Bishop Duncan and a number of other interested parties believe.

The thing is why is Mr. McCall involved in all this. Why is he concerned to give us advice regarding the legal niceties of Episcopal Church canon law?


  1. Mark,

    As I stated elsewhere, why does it matter who Mark McCall is? Even if he were a "nobody" to the powers that be in TEC, his questions bear an answer and response. The "niceties" that you speak of are what separate our HOB into either a band of hirelings or a band of Church fathers and mothers full of integrity. Only a deceitful organization cares where the questions come from in order to deflect the credibility of the question. Revealing.

    Mark McCall has no power to make anyone do anything. He's not dangerous on that account. His power lies in his intellect, which obviously has folks stirring in discomfort, wanting him to go away. Good.

  2. The canons should be changed to remove any ambiguity. But, given the ambiguity, the ruling of the chair, barring a successful challenge, will and should prevail. One reason for the rules of order of the House of Bishops is to resolve this kind of dispute.

  3. What's the big deal?
    He is an experienced lawyer.....probably better qualified to understand canon law and due process than an oceanographer may be?

  4. My hunch is because (1) he's available and (2) he says what they want to hear - and what they want the WWAC to hear from a "reputable source".

    I don't know who he is, but I suspect that's why he writes and what he writes is then published as widely as possible.

    Sigh. Sometimes reading "legal opinions" like this from "orthodox" Anglican bloggers is a bit like watching re-runs of a really bad family sitcom.

    Instead of the same sad lines being used for laughs ("Dyno-mite!" "Whachutalkinbout, Willis?" "To the moon, Alice"), these predictable lines cause me to either weep or run from the room with my hands over my ears.

  5. Well, unless he has been retained by someone, his is just another opinion on matters before the church. My guess is that someone hopes that we will smoke out his credentials and be properly impressed and therefore lend a great amount of weight to what he offers as his opinion. This is an old American game. We throw our weight around or throw someone else's weight around by the recitation of credentials, and the gullible are really impressed and show deference. Fact is, this opinion has no more merit than any other unless this gentleman represents the plaintiff.
    For what it is worth, I am not all that fascinated or curious. There are lots splendid lawyers with all sorts of views.

  6. Maybe, like TEC, Mr. McCall is interested in international justice.
    While we don't hear much about the saving Grace of Jesus Christ and the need for the confession of sins and the need to prostate one's self before the Lord, we hear endless talk of "justice" from TEC.
    Justice for LGBT, Justice for the poor, Justice for the straggling congregations of the San Joaquin diocese, so why can't Mr. McCall be concerned about justice for Bp. Duncan.
    I would think he is singing from your song book.

    Bob of Fremont

  7. I received the following from Dorothy Taishoff, and assuming the Mark McCall is the same it provides some more information on what his relation might be to George and or churches in Virginia.

    Thaks Dorothy.

    Dear Father Harris,

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting your commentaries, poetry, family news and photos, and all. It has been the most wonderful gift.

    I never seem to be able to register a comment on your blog - some things are beyond me, I guess, and it's OK - but I did want to share this self-identification by Mark McCall on William G. Witt's blog. He has commented - always graciously and clearly - on George Conger's blog and others. I wonder if he "sailed away" to Nigeria and, if so, why he isn't directing his efforts to his own Virginia/Nigerian church. His description of his fellow vestry members as "very congregational Anglo-baptists" is so on target. Perhaps now he is speaking through the ACI-posted document to Bishop Lee (who, I'm sure, has met him) and several other bishops about the matter of Bishop Duncan.
    "Posted By Mark McCall | 12/23/06 10:56 AM
    Dr. Witt: thank you for your thoughtful post. You have stated my position very well, and I know that there are others in my large, suburban Virginia parish - which just voted to affiliate with CANA but shall remain nameless - that agree with you (and me). I have shared similar arguments with my fellow vestry folk, but the argument about Anglican lineage did not persuade these very congregational Anglo-baptists. I am now confronted with the dilemma of sailing off in a CANA lifeboat whose legitimacy/integrity is suspect by many, or searching for an orthodox TEC parish in a largely liberal diocese."

    Dorothy Taishoff

  8. "While we don't hear much about the saving Grace of Jesus Christ and the need for the confession of sins and the need to prostate one's self before the Lord..."

    Wow, what prayerbook do they use out in Fremont, anyway? 'Cause the BCP '79 is full of talk about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, etc. (although I can't recall ever hearing an Episcopalian of any stripe using the phrase "prostrate one's self before the Lord" before).

  9. I'm more disgusted by the idea of prostating myself before God! Talk about inappropriate!

    However, falling prostrate before God is no problem for me. TEC does it every time they work for justice, prostrating themselves in loving action before the Just Lord. It's preaching the Gospel through living it.

  10. WOW!


    I agree with you.

    Now all we need to do is to ensure that our "doxa" is "ortho" because if it is not, then our efforts at justice are for the praise of humans rather than the praise of Christ.

  11. the need to prostate one's self before the Lord

    I'm not normally one to point out typos, but that one really is to good to let pass!

  12. Only God decides the "ortho," we do "doxa" as best we can from the light He gives us.

    One can never be certain of the "ortho" - regardless of scripture - but the "doxa" is always before us to do.

    Less talk. Less mere theology.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.