11/10/2010

To the Archbishop of Canterbury: Let "Yes" Be "Yes", and "No," "No."

Note to the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Not of course assuming that he or anyone else around him reads Preludium.):

I am not surprised that five suffragan bishops, so called "flying bishops" have left the Church of England for Rome. The whole thing about flying bishops ended up being a holding pen for people who didn't understand the CofE "yes" to the ordination of women to be precisely that, "yes." So a way was devised to disguise the "yes" so that it didn't seem to mean it. Well the Pope and the General Synod and the women's movement in the church, and almost everyone else got it: The Church of England does ordain women and that's that, and it will ordain women as bishops in the near future. All the stumbling around to find a "safe place" for people who really needed to deny this reality just didn't work. So the five have left, and one assumes a number of priests will do so as well.  There it is. 

Might it have been better simply to let the CofE answer to the question, "shall we ordain women in this Church?" be a simple, "Yes."  Flying bishops, nice comments about safe places, etc, didn't seem to help much at all.  It was a side trip.

And, now the news comes that the Archbishop Earnest  and a small group of primates will be meeting with you prior to the Primates Meeting in 2011.  If there are primates that in good conscience can not or will not sit in the same circle or room or meeting with The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church or others, then let you might do well to address the question in the open - will you invite the heads of all the current member churches of the Anglican Communion to this meeting of the Primates, yes or no.  If the answer is yes and some wish to stay away, then they will say no.  If the answer is no, then some Primates will be refused invitation and others will decide for themselves if they will attend.  But at least then every one's answer is clear: yes or no.

Having closed sessions with this or that "party" will only inflame party spirit, muck up the possibility of saying "yes" or "no" in clear and perhaps cleansing ways, and generally add to the notion that bargains are being forged in closed door sessions in which the accusers do not have to address the accused, or deal with the possibilities of relationships beyond right and wrong. 

It could be that this is a meeting with people who you know have declined to attend if the Presiding Bishop attends. In which case you are working through a most difficult situation.  If you can convince them to change their minds, fine. But if that convincing involves planning out the program of the meeting so that it becomes an occasion to expel the Presiding Bishop and others, or other "political" bargains then we will have once again the Star Chamber in operation.  This will be an occasion for deep gloom. 

The closed meeting with a small group of primates is a really bad idea. If they are so convinced that they should not attend, then so be it. 

I find little of redeeming value in in either the news of flying bishops who have flown to Rome or the news that more secret meetings are being planned.  Actually, they are in their own way both news of death, not life.  

It would be more redemptive if you were to say, "Well, I am sorry they have gone, but those who remain have work to do."  There is life in that. There is much to be done.

Let "yes" be "yes" and "no" "no."

And when they ask, "Do you pray for the Archbishop?" I answer, "Yes."
 

38 comments:

  1. Sir, couldn't agree more with the sentiment....let yes mean yes and no mean no...... doublespeak, indabas, trying to create institutional loyalty requiring allto compromise is not good for anyone. Better to just be clear,take the consequences....then it is possible for all to move on and forward.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nowheresville11/11/10 11:02 AM

    What an unpastoral essay. So a woman, say whose husband is cheating on her, requests a counseling session with you, would you inform her that the venue would be the shopping mall food court and the meeting would be broadcast on YouTube?

    If Fred Hilz or KJS wants a private audience with Rowan, he should deny them as well by your reasoning, I suppose, or does your logic just affect conservatives with concerns?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I could be more sanguine, Mark, about taking the consequences if I thought that a few eccentric and not really Anglican provinces got burned off the Communion and we were left with an improved Communion in terms of its Anglican character and representation of the diversity of humanity across the globe. But the likelihood appears to run the other way: some very fine Anglican churches will at best disengage from the Communion for a long time and at worst leave; and the effective character of the formal 'Anglican Communion' will be a Western culture dominated entity over represented by white people and weighted towards a progressive theological agenda unable to pretend that it is a true heir of the Reformation. I think ++Rowan gets that and is not only doing what you are unhappy about but willing to crawl over broken glass as well if he thought it would help avoid the end of the Communion as we know it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Observer...don't get your hopes up. I can be for yes meaning yes and no meaning no and NOT be interested in what seems to be your general hope, that the Communion split in two, with the real Communion (being the Jerusalem Statement / GAFCON /FCA crowd) being the primary Anglican international thingy and the miserable west simply miserable.

    Nowheresvile... this stuff is so far removed from a "counseling session" as to make your comparison simply nonsense.

    Peter Carrell - I understand your lack of comfort with all this. Actually I share it. But the flying bishop thing was a mistake, as was the provision in the US for a "safe" place for people who believe women cannot be priests or bishops. If Bishop Iker had know from the beginning that TEC was going to ordain women, period, he would have either lived with it or left years ago, or perhaps never have become a bishop.

    The end of the Communion as we know it is already underway. The issue is what sorts of international or inter-provincial expressions of Anglicanism will arise. I would hope that there continues to be a fairly broad fellowship of Anglican Churches doing more or less what the Anglican Communion does now and a second more narrowly defined international and supraprovincial church of the Anglican persuasion. This second thing will have a patriarch different from but roughly equal to the Bishop of Rome or the Metropolitan of Constantinople. The Anglican Patriarch would be the Vicar of a more or less Anglican sighted Christ.

    Of the two I would go for the fellowship of national and regional churches, not the church similar to Rome and Constantinople.

    As for "domination" we in the West are having to deal with the downside of the way we were involved in mission. So be it. Whatever the Communion fellowship looks like in the future, or for that matter a world wide church with patriarch, the work of MRI goes on and domination will less and less look like Anglicanism of the future.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Let's be sure, by all means, that we drive out those who in conscience oppose Women's Ordination (even though provinces have mixed views on this) because of course we know best in the west, and esp in America. When we are done imposing this view elsewhere and assuring homogeneity, we can turn to SSBs. How are the issues different? In time the view of Dan Martins will have to be excised. Logically, this must follow. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mark Harris-- can you explain what a fellowship of Anglican churches doing more or less what we are doing now is -- your option one. I'd have thought that meant the majority of the communion, as against the progressive minority, the status quo prior to Gene Robinson. Is this what you mean? If so, many would agree. Let TEC join with progressive blocks in a loose federation of some sort, and allow the main elements of the communion to be a communion and to carry on. If this is what you mean, I think it is what many have been calling for. Let TEC have the courage of its convictions and march forward. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mark, I for one read Preludium, and you speak for me, eloquently. Thank you for this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, since Dromantine, when several of the African primates refused to receive communion from the Archbishop of Canterbury because Bishop Griswold was present, there has been no Anglican Communion -- we are just taking a long time to sort it out.

    Not having the primates meet will certainly do less damage that allowing them to meet has done -- Donald Coggin would be appalled!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree Mark --the 'safe place' hasn't worked... and that is very sad. And it isn't because they have been pushed out. They have left.

    It seems what the ++ABC should do is not invite TEC... but I think instead he is waiting for us to leave (rather than be pushed out...).

    Let yes be yes and no be no. Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Voluntary withdrawal of TEC would have two immediate consequences, Margaret - strong pressure by those currently fighting to undermine TEC to promote ACNA to its place in the Communion, which, let us face it, has been their aim for the past 15 years, and the escalation of bullying tactics, identical to those used against TEC and, with success and precedent, far easier to apply, against any other province attempting to align its theology and practice with the century in which we live. These peoples' tactics will not cease with the expulsion of TEC from the Communion; rather it will embolden their determination to deform and twist Anglicanism to fit their mold.

    Recent pieces by Bishop Alan Wilson posted on his blog and published in the Guardian strongly suggest that a younger generation, with a new way of thinking, is coming to the fore in the Church of England.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lapin --I am not saying that TEC should leave --just that it seems he is waiting for us to voluntarily leave, just as he has successfully had certain bishop-elects withdraw from nominations.... I mean, it would be the PROPER thang to do!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sorry Margaret, I misunderstood. I see that Andrew Carey has intemperately attacked Alan Wilson's Guardian piece at Anglican Mainstream - these people are clearly taking Bishop Alan seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  14. OK, AJM, help me here, I don't possess a DMin, and I don't understand why the ordination of women is such a big deal thirty-plus years after the fact. Shouldn't all clergy critters be male Jews, and not only Jews, but descendants of one particular tribe? We've already made two exceptions to the rule, including, I suspect, your own ordination. What's the stumbling block that keeps you from accepting women, or, for that matter, gays, from the ranks of the ordained?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Pfalz -- I'd have thought if you wanted a genuine answer, you'd also appreciate that a wide proportion of Christians in the Anglican Tradition--outside the tiny proportion of TEC--see women's ordination as problematic. That is why allowance has been made within provinces to protect the consciences of those who believe WO is unbiblical and against the catholic tradition. That is, the burden has now shifted from you to them. Why is that? It is because of a notion of justice that requires uniformity of practice in the name of human rights. That owes a lot to John Locke. It has not been at the centre of Christian theological reflection, but has been regarded as derivative of that reflection. See Romans 1 for the biblical version of 'natural law'. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  16. Seems I'm pushing Alan Wilson a lot this week, AJM, but check out Equalities and discrimination 101, his most recent post, and read what a bishop "outside the tiny proportion of TEC" has to say about womens' ordination.

    "I know a large number of called, dedicated and effective female priests.

    "I entirely support gender complementarity, but why does this require what in any other context would be gender discrimination — and if you're in any doubt that misogyny was the basis for the exclusion of women from ordained ministry in the eleventh century, just read the literature of the time, about which people are strangely silent.

    "Fact is, if God didn't want female priests. I'm sure he would stop calling, authoritsing and blessing them so obviously and abundantly as he does. The more time passes, the more obvious this becomes."

    ReplyDelete
  17. So the point is: they are wrong, and their view is not to be accommodated/tolerated. Even though WO will be allowed. Anglicanism of this variety is certainly setting itself against Christians of a very great number, worldwide. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  18. PS--it should also be noted that according to TEC Fast Facts, TEC has lost 300,000 members since 2002. That is also now translating into revenue losses, to the degree that the PB is acknowledging a cash problem (hence 'nimbleness'). It is hard to imagine how the trends we are observing will improve through mandating WO without exception and also, one can assume, SSBs. So TEC is going to have to become a very different church if it wants to remain solvent and also pursue these alterations it believes must be held by all. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  19. "....they are wrong, and their view is not to be accommodated/tolerated." If so, and if all you have to offer is "I'm right and you are wrong!", why do you persist in posting here, wasting your time and ours, AJM?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Christopher (P.)13/11/10 9:15 PM

    AJM--

    I have a sincere desire to understand the argument against WO (and SSBs, but one thing at a time). I can't see that you've said anything more than--"we've always done it this way." Perhaps supplemented by "many theologians believe denying WO is correct."

    This is not persuasive to me, when the church (that is, TEC), 1) has in place a process of discernment and decision that is representative of its members (delegates are elected to GC by Diocesan Councils that are themselves representative of their dioceses, while bishops are elected to the episcopal status), and 2) at least in my diocese, the Vestries of churches elect their Rectors, and the Vestries are themselves elected by their members. That is, as a church, we (the broad "we," representing the Church) have decided that ordaining women is OK, and if your parish doesn't want to call one, it doesn't have to, and indeed cannot be forced to.

    Now it may be that some Anglican provinces rely on appointing priests to parishes, and bishops to dioceses, and so someone might have a real beef that a women priest was "thrust upon them," but that's not the case here.

    I really believe that there is broad support for WO here, and that, coupled with the existing safeguard that every parish gets to choose its priest--this seems to be enough, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am not arguing against WO. I am arguing against mandating it as a view against the conscience of those who stand with a vast majority of Anglican and Catholic Christians. Why does TEC as a province want to be left alone to do what it feels is right, but will not permit those whose consciences they had promised to honor to hold a catholic view of priesthood? That does not seem fair. If you are in Ft Worth, for example, you will say that your representative form of polity has decided that a male priesthood is what Christ wishes. You will also conclude that this idea of priesthood is held by a vast majority of Anglicans. You will also observe that Ugandas and Nigerians can disagree about this issue, but find a way to honor one another all the same. The C of E sought to do the same thing in its midst, and may well still. TEC agree to do this, and then it became clear that this was only temporarily. I suspect we are seeing the same thing with SSBs. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  22. Christopher (P.)14/11/10 2:42 PM

    AJM--

    Your argument goes directly to the issue of who you think has authority. TEC is the governing authority for those within its church, not the Diocese, and similarly no other church has governing authority in TEC. One may not like it, but there it is, until it is changed, according to the procedures for such changes.

    But I think that in both WO and SSBs, the issue is the fear of coercion. And again, I struggle to understand. No parish need call a rector it does not want; no rector need bless a relationship that he or she thinks should not be blessed. I really can't find examples where the National Church Canons or even Diocesan Canons regulate the behavior of parish priests to such a degree. (OK, alms for the poor on one Sunday a month is pretty specific, but sheesh, is that a problem?) Chiefly the use of such rules is to regulate procedures and to enjoin practices such as teaching about stewardship and preparing candidates for baptism, about
    which there is no dispute. The rules don't force people to do things that go to the heart of pastoring, such as calling a rector or blessing a relationship.

    It is (barely) conceiveable that the church could force something at the parish level, but I haven't seen it, it doesn't follow past practice, it seems nonsensical to do it, and so I would be very surprised to see it. Yet this prospect seems to create great apprehension, concern, and even fear and anger among the more conservative congregations with which I am familiar. And I find that puzzling!

    ReplyDelete
  23. It is probably pointless to say that you state your conclusion but do not prove it. Another fully defensible account of TEC is that it has no hierarchy in the normal sense of that. Probably the best indicator has emerged in the context of TEC's present money woes, and drop in attendance which creates it (700K ASA). Dioceses are not 'taxed' as in a typical hierarchy. So only 40 or so give full asking -- 40%. 20% give almost nothing. Also, genuine hierarchies would not tolerate diocesan canons -- the existence of which shows that dioceses exist, and then voluntarily associate. Even accession is a two way street, and the courts have so treated it. One can accede and one can withdraw from an accession. TEC is a 'voluntary association.' That is also why general convention cannot mandate things, but only pass resolutions. The constitution would have to be changed, and that takes two conventions. All to say, these are things that do not exist in the kind of system you are describing. And this, again, is why Ft Worth is likely to win its case; Judge Chupp keeps asking, 'where is your rule book' because he has read FW's and he sees that in an orderly way they have followed their own rules.
    Now does TEC (PB and others) see this as a problem? You bet. And that is why they continue to seek a hierachical church -- even without changing the constitution, as with Title IV. We gather there will be news out that Title IV will be tweaked, in consequence. But dioceses will need to fold it into their canons in order to hold them hostage to a semi-hierarchy. If they refuse to do that, as in South Carolina, they do so because they view them as unconstitutional. So the issue of SSBs and WO exists within this system of dubious hierarchy and that is why Ft Worth and SC are able to thwart efforts to make them other than they have been.
    I'm not sure what you mean about the parish's right to do X or Y. If we get a Title IV system in place, and rector X refused to conduct a SSB, he/she could be removed. THIS is what a hierarchical church (like the PCA or RC church) look like, and it puzzles me why liberals want such a beast. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  24. AJM, could you tell us the church in which you participate? It would help in understanding the background you bring to the discussion.

    For example, you make the assertion that if General Convention votes to permit same-sex blessings that a priest who refused could be charged under the Title IV Canons (which, by the way, being part of the Canons are not a Constitutional change, don't require two conventions). However, the Title I Canons relating to marriage are explicit that no priest can be required to bless a marriage, without regard to the priest's reason. So, tweaks to Title IV wouldn't change that, and wouldn't create such a requirement.

    Conversely, that the Episcopal Church is sufficiently hierarchical to have a trust interest in diocesan and parochial assets is well established in Supreme Court decisions. That's why in all but a few instances the Episcopal Church has prevailed (and I'm speaking of historical instances and recent concluded cases in California, Connecticut, and New York. Folks will make assertions about Virgina, Texas, and South Carolina; but those cases aren't concluded, and for their own reasons the Diocese of South Carolina officials haven't pressed the issue).

    I'm not sure which PCA body you refer to. I can't imagine any Presbyterian body claiming to be hierarchical, so you must be thinking of another. No, I don't think progressives in the Episcopal Church (and as you well know I count myself one) want a structure as rigid as the Roman Church. However, neither do we want a Congregational or Presbyterian system because it's not sufficiently connectional. Our system is connected and internally accountable, while also allowing flexibility. Yeah, it can also be messy; and until very recently Episcopalians both Evangelical and Catholic thought the balance worth the messiness.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Christopher (P.)15/11/10 8:31 AM

    AJM--

    We have very different notions of what the Episcopal Church is! But on one thing we agree: your response seems to say "the Episcopal Church is not a church like the Roman Catholic Church." And on that we agree!

    But even if not like the RCC, we are still hierarchical. We may choose not to have assessments, but in other matters, notably governance, be quite hierarchical, in, for example, requiring diocesan canons to confirm to national canons. One could, for example, be a church that would allow "accession" to be reversed, as you indicate, and yet we are not: "unqualified" means, well, "unqualified"! My point: there are many ways of doing church, but TEC's pattern vests considerable authority at the national level, with yet substantial authority at the diocesan. And because we're a representative hierarchy (rather than a monarchical one, like the RCC), I put up with things that I don't like, as well as rejoice in things that I do.

    And yes, thanks, Marshall, no priest need marry anyone; no parish need have a rector that it does not choose (with the input of the bishop). SSBs are not addressed in the C&C, but I'd think that it would follow the marriage canons in this regard. Everyone I know, "liberal" or "conservative," would oppose any attempt to mandate a priest blessing a relationship that he or she did not think should be blessed.

    In short, you're ritght, AJM, I would not want the "beast" that you describe: but I don't see us getting it, largely because of our tradition of balanced authority. I do see efforts to maintain discipline and to keep us in a tension between autonomy and mutual regard that I find productive of much good.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Let us simply say that I have wide personal experience of the Anglican Communion as well as ecumenical neighbours.
    1. Title IV will need to be changed so as to assure it is not unconstitutional. Or, the constitution will have to be altered;
    2. your assurances about the use of Title IV are very kind, but one may also doubt them; appeal to Title 1 is unrealistic. This is the problem with 'class action' categories like 'SSBs' -- OF THEIR VERY NATURE, they will be seen as justice issues, and so will operate above any putative appeal to Title 1. That is the very point. SS Couple A will visit with Priest X. He turns them down. They go public and announce discrimination. Priest X moves forward without any kind of problem? I doubt that mightily. His/her pastoral office will be besmirched. And I hate to say it, but cases are already known where churches/clergy are being targeted, precisely to raise the issue and expose the clergy/church as homophobic.
    As to the character of TEC's dioceses vis-a-vis a 'national church' -- that is exactly what is being defined at we speak. One side claims history and precedent; the other side does the same thing, but also is busy creating a new polity (it is hoped). If Ft Worth, SC, and others succeed, we shall then know what the 'hierarchy' of TEC looks like.
    One thing that is hard to know is whether TEC must win all of these to establish what is seeks, or whether any individual losses are themselves totalizing. I believe we are entering unknown territory here.
    Yes, the PCA is hierarchical, in that it has rules that strictly govern its organisation, and it is not a 'voluntary association' in law as we have in TEC. So too churches like the UMC, which have a Book of Order, courts which discipline, and strict rules governing member churches and clergy.
    This is what makes TEC rather anomalous and so judges scratch their heads as they try to sort this out. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  27. PS--I should probably add. I suspect that because the Episcopal Church has bishops, one might reflexively identify this as a 'hierarchy' -- as against churches like the PCA (not the UMC; as has been said in their ranks, never get a Methodist Bishop angry at you...).
    In the case of TEC, they would be right of course...within a diocese. Dioceses are missional units, with discrete canons, a Bishop, and what one can call a 'hierarchy' -- and it is a fairly clear one (leaving aside the Title IV proposals for a moment).
    What courts are struggling with--and they are doing so for bona fide reasons of unclarity--is how the hierarchy goes 'up' from there. Historically the PB was ONLY and ALWAYS a presider, so there was no 'hierarchy' there -- and for very good reasons. General Convention is a voluntary association. The Constitution does not envision any hierarchy for Gen Conv or the PB. This messiness is a challenge for civil courts. In SC, the supreme court ruled against any notion of hierarchy beyond the diocesan unit itself. The Texas courts to this point in time have also spoken similarly, so we shall have to wait.
    All to say, what is at issue in TEC is not at issue in the Anglican Church of Canada or the CofE whose organisation above the diocese uses the legal language of hierarchy. And btw, an unqualified accession has never legally been held to mean a one way street. 'Unqualified' has meant unencumbered. Lots of associations ask for accession of an unqualified sort, and the law allows them to disassociate all the same.
    So the verdict is out on the character of hierarchy above the diocese and that is why lawsuits demand a hearing on the matter. States will handle this differently, and are so doing. We shall see.
    AJM

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hmmm. AJM, you use a distinctly non-ecclesiological definition of "hierarchical." I hesitate to call it idiosyncratic because you seem to be applying a definition from business law, and I can well believe you know that study better than I. However, it confuses matters not to clarify that. For example, if ecclesial government is "presbyterian," then no presbyter is superior to another; and if "congregational," then no congregation is superior to another (tenets of being Presbyterian back when I was one), regardless of how rigorously members observe the rules that define "presbyterian and congregational." Indeed, your usage applies quite well, as near as I can tell, to the Southern Baptist Convention. The Convention has rules, and they are observed and used quite energetically; but no Baptist would accept the definition of the Convention as "hierarchical," because no Baptist would own any "hierarch" under Christ.

    Even with that in mind, I don't understand how you understand the General Convention to be a "voluntary association." I don't find that definition in the Constitution or Canons (and yes, I looked). And while I will attribute to you authority in civil law, I don't know your authority in canon law, either in the Episcopal Church or in any other ecclesial body.

    By the same token, I don't understand how you come to the conclusion that Title IV of the Canons violates the Constitution. What part of Title IV as devised in 2009 does so?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Title IV gives to the PB authority that is not granted by the Constitution.
    Rumors are that Bishops of TEC have themselves voiced concern about the unconstitutionality of Title IV, and that it will be tweaked accordingly. We shall see.
    'Voluntary Association' is the language that a court would use when trying to understand what kind of an organisation TEC is, and that includes its GenConv. The problem of 'hierarchy' is not my idiosyncrasy or your own, but belongs to an unhappy distinction introduced in the courts. I was using it for that reason. They would likely judge the PCA 'hierarchical' and certainly presbyterianism in general because of the highly organised, even legalistic, way it conducts its business as a church (clerks of session; books of order; etc). To not have a bishop is in fact often to have MORE rules and appeals to procedure. It was not all that surprizing to the typical Scot that for its first years, prior to the construction of a new parliament building, the government as a legal entity used the Kirk's General Assembly building to conduct its business.
    To understand TEC is to go to school regarding a very unique entity. Sadly, the effort to clear all this up will invariably alter the unique character of this church and create something more hierarchical/rule-orientated. No wonder the Pres of the HoD worries when the Bishops say this or that. She does not like Bishops with authority unlike her own. But if we are going to get this kind of shift, TEC will be forced to import more rules so as to dampen the authority of Bishops and Dioceses -- hence, both a more presbyterian model with an Archbishop! No wonder we are sensing tensions. This is what comes of trying to place Bishops and Dioceses under a central authority -- whatever form that might take. AJM

    ReplyDelete
  30. So AJM, you set aside the fact that the highest court in the land of the USA, the US Supreme Court has declared TEC a hierarchal church.

    The courts in California appear to have none of the issues that you raise and have pointed to numerous cases across the USA where civil courts in multiple states have also held that TEC was a hierarchal church.

    ReplyDelete
  31. "So the verdict is out on the character of hierarchy above the diocese ..... States will handle this differently, and are so doing."

    Er, actually AJM ...... No. In every case except the All Saints, Pawleys Island suit (seems we don't use possessive apostrophes down here in SC) state court decisions have unanimously affirmed the hierarchical principle. Even the SC Supreme Court has not rejected it; rather it has ruled that a deed of gift predating Independence places the property beyond the scope of the hierarchical church argument. Had the lawsuit been within the border of a diocese with an interest in pursuing the suit to the Federal level, there is an excellent chance that the Pawleys Island ruling would have been overturned on appeal. As it is, the Supreme Court of the adjacent state of Georgia made it clear in its later ruling on the Christ Church, Savannah case, which reaffirmed the hierarchical principle, that it considers the Pawleys Island ruling irrelevant to the Savannah case and comes surprisingly close to implying that the SC ruling is bad law.

    Incidentally, AJM, I find "Let us simply say that I have wide personal experience of the Anglican Communion" astonishingly evasive. I doubt that I am alone in this. Try again?

    ReplyDelete
  32. 1. The US Supreme Court has ruled that TEC is hierarchical? Well, that settles it...
    2. At issue is whether TEC needs to win every case in order for the hierarchical notion to function properly (and with this, to find a way to get Title IV in place in something like its present form). That is, if the State of Texas sides with Ft Worth (and that looks likely at present) and it joins SC, we will have anomalies in a system now seeking to be air-tight, but not there yet. As I thought I said clearly, no one knows what effect this will have.
    3. We may also be seeing the beginnings of 'liberal' push back. This is probably exacerbated by the loss of membership, and more importantly, revenue. In a system where dioceses can refuse to support the church leadership, they are doing so.
    4. We shall also need to see what tweaking of Title IV is going to effect, if anything, and whether dioceses decide to say No (it is also the case that several dioceses actually have no accession language in their canons -- another sure sign of the original, historical polity of this church). AJM

    ReplyDelete
  33. "The US Supreme Court has ruled that TEC is hierarchical? Well, that settles it..."

    Yes, AJM, it does.

    Still waiting for your answer to Marshall's question "could you tell us the church in which you participate?", though given the phrasing of the question, "No" is, I suppose, a valid reply.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Where has it ruled this, please?

    ReplyDelete
  35. US Supreme Court ruling?

    ReplyDelete
  36. This is the conclusion that one observing all this reaches. People like Dahveed and Lapin simply invent a universe of opinions and call them 'facts.' The US Supreme Court has never declared TEC hierarchical -- it has offered no view whatsoever. But that is irrelevant. Perhaps one should conclude that they OUGHT to, or maybe WILL do. But all that is beside the point. This kind of 'progressive' lives in an echo chamber. When it becomes apparent that they are simply purveyors of their private Idaho ideas, they close down the thread and move on. That is the kind of TEC we are now inheriting. put me down as SAD CONCLUSION

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is the conclusion that one observing all this reaches. People like Dahveed and Lapin simply invent a universe of opinions and call them 'facts.' The US Supreme Court has never declared TEC hierarchical -- it has offered no view whatsoever. But that is irrelevant. Perhaps one should conclude that they OUGHT to, or maybe WILL do. But all that is beside the point. This kind of 'progressive' lives in an echo chamber. When it becomes apparent that they are simply purveyors of their private Idaho ideas, they close down the thread and move on. That is the kind of TEC we are now inheriting. put me down as SAD CONCLUSION

    ReplyDelete
  38. So, Sad Conclusion, you're correct. The US Supreme Court has not rules explicitly that the Episcopal Church is "hierarchical." However, the description of the Presbyterian Church that identifies PCUS as "hierarchical" (pace AJM) would seem clearly to apply as well to the Episcopal Church.

    ReplyDelete

OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation 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.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.