6/15/2009

Sweeping house: the need to get clear, be clear and stay clear.

The Living Church reports today that "Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced June 12 that she had accepted the renunciations of bishops David C. Bane and Edward MacBurney." This is of course no surprise.

Bishop Bane left unhappy that there seemed to be no place for him to exercise his ministry after his resignation from Southern Virginia. Bishop MacBurney has had an off again / on again relationship with the Church. Both are part of the Province of the Southern Cone at the moment, but sure to be part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) if it gets started later this month.

According to The Living Church, "Bishop Jefferts Schori said that she did not depose the two, but had removed them from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church “for causes which do not affect [their] moral character,” an action which would not affect their standing in other provinces, she noted." It may be that nothing in all this will "affect their standing in other provinces" but their actions in ACNA will. It was reported that Bishop Bane would become assistant to Moderator, soon to be Archbishop, Duncan in the Southern Cone Diocese of Pittsburgh.

When ACNA cranks up there will be a mass exodus of bishops from the Southern Cone, including one supposes, Bishops Bena and MacBurney. Other bishops to leave: Schofield, Iker, Duncan, Wantland... perhaps there are more, I forget. At any rate the Province of the Southern Cone is about to melt and all the gringos are off to better climes in far North America.

When Bishops Bane and MacBurney reappear in the ACNA group working (ordaining, confirming) they will be (i) acting in a church not a Province of the Anglican Communion, (ii) in ways that counter long standing rules about messing around in jurisdictions not your own, (iii) in a church that eschews communion with The Episcopal Church. At that point they will have adequately shown that they have no regard at all for TEC, are acting contrary to the vows they made as bishops, and are now acting in ways that do affect their moral character.

But at least now the house has been swept. We are clear: These two are not bishops in this church, not now, not ever again. The House of Bishops now does not include Bishops Bane and MacBurney, period. They have no standing as bishops in this church. Let the buyer beware.

4 comments:

  1. And what about Ackerman and Beckwith?
    read here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nom de Plume16/6/09 8:43 AM

    Sorry, but I don't see how we can allow their narrative to stand. If they have renounced ministry, they are no longer bishops, period. Not "in this church" only as if they remain bishops free to take up ministry elsewhere in the Anglican Communion. They have voluntarily sought laicization undr the canons of the church to which they swore obedience.

    The Global South howls with respect to Gene Robinson that ordination as a bishop in the Episcopal Church is ordination as a bishop for the whole Communion. They are correct. But then it follows that renunciation or laicization in one part of the Communion also has effect for the whole Communion. If not, then Communion is meaningless.

    Please, please, please, if they renounce their ministry, then they are laicized and each must, as the English canon puts it so quaintly, "use himself as a layman."

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Southern Cone dioceses may not be leaving the Southern Cone right away. The proposed ACNA canons provide for "dual citizenship," which would allow Fort Worth, San Joaquin, etc to be part of both ACNA and SC.

    Nom de Plume: The problem is that none of these bishops (as far as I know) has explicitly renounced his ministry as a bishop. Instead,the Presiding Bishop has inferred their renunciations based on statements they have made. +Iker, for example, issued a statement that was published on the Fort Worth diocesan website that he wasn't and never had been under +KJS's jurisdition, and she took that to be a renunciation on his part. There certainly isn't any requirement for other Provinces to recognize these "renunciations," something that she herself has acknowledged.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The article states, "Jefferts Schori notified Bane and MacBurney on June 12, the release said, noting that the actions came 'with the full support of her Council of Advice, and under the authority of, Title III Canon 12 section 7 of The Episcopal Church.'"

    The language of the C&C is precise:

    If any Bishop of this Church not subject to the provisions of Canon IV.8 shall declare, in writing, to the Presiding Bishop a renunciation of the ordained Ministry of this Church, and a desire to be removed therefrom, it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to record the declaration and request so made. The Presiding Bishop, being satisfied that the person so declaring is not subject to the provisions of Canon IV.8 but is acting voluntarily and for causes, assigned or known, which do not affect the person's moral character, shall lay the matter before the Advisory Council to the Presiding Bishop, and with the advice and consent of a majority of the members of the Advisory Council the Presiding Bishop may pronounce that such renunciation is accepted, and that the Bishop is released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments conferred in Ordinations.

    Bp Bane states that he denies renouncing anything. It is then silly to think that he expressed "a desire to be removed therefrom."

    Last year, she "inhibited" Bp MacBurney without the approval of the three most senior bishops. (Despite pleas from Bp Ackerman to delay because Bp MacBurney's son lay dying in a hosptital.) No letter of renunciation was even mentioned.

    But that's OK because there is precedent. Bp Iker sent no letter and a public press release was taken to be such a letter (again despite no specific renunciation nor any expressed desire).

    I thought liberals held justice issues paramount? Are there none who see this railroading and are disgusted? What if these bishops were homosexual - would anyone then object?

    ReplyDelete

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