According to George Conger, writing for Anglican Ink, seven bishops have been charged with misconduct. They are the Rt Rev Maurice M. Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas, the Rt Rev John W. Howe, retired Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev Paul E. Lambert. Suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Rev William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt Rev D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt Rev Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas.
Apparently the charges have to do with the fact that these bishops, along with the members of the Anglican Communion Institute filed a "friend of the court" brief supporting the position that The Episcopal Church is not a hierarchical body. See the full article HERE.
What is going on here? Apparently someone believes that these bishops along with the ACI have done something that involves misconduct somehow related to the filing of the "friend of the court" brief. We don't know what it is but there it is. Someone has charged them and so Bishop Matthews was required to inform them that the charges have been made and that an inquiry will have to be held.
The folk who believe that Title IV is a bad piece of canonical work will no doubt shift from muttering to high pitched screech. On the other hand crank accusations are always in the offing and better an inquiry. And better it be an inquiry without much information for those of us outside the loop. So, let it go to the next step.
I hope that the charge IS that the bishops engaged in misconduct by the very fact of filing the brief. Because if that is the charge we can also hope that the inquiry will note that there is no reason to proceed further. Having opinions, even bad ones, is the perfect right of bishops and even people belonging to the Anglican Communion Institute, and all the rest of us. Bad opinion is not a basis for claiming bad conduct.
On the other hand, several of these bishops have been known to work together in less that open ways and some of those actions might well have involved misconduct. Who knows?
What ever else is going on, if the charge of misconduct is that of filing a brief that is wrong, then we need to stand with these bishops. Strange as it seems I have sometimes said stupid or wrong things and have even gotten together with others who agreed with me and worked to a common cause. But stupidity, wrongheadedness and bad opinion is not misconduct. I have always appreciated the support of people who did not agree with me but who agreed for me. My sense is we can only do the same.
If the charge lies elsewhere, the inquiry will I hope bring it to light and examine it. Then we will see. But if the charge is in the action of filing the brief itself, and for some reason if it goes forward, then we are in for quite a ride.