In the days leading up to November 17th Special Diocesan Convention, the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina was inhibited from exercising any episcopal function, and was himself (not the Diocese) under obligation to obey the inhibition by virtue of being a bishop in The Episcopal Church. He of course said the canons did not apply, being the nasty ol' Title IV canons. Of course he also contended that there was no reason for the Diocese of South Carolina to be bound by any canon they believed was contrary to what the canons of the Diocese of South Carolina held. So the fact that he, as bishop, chaired the meeting of Convention, took part in the deliberations and guided and gave direction the the assembled all point to a simple fact:
Bishop Lawrence indeed had abandoned the communion of this church, meaning he has acted specifically and exactly contrary to the restraining order placed upon him by inhibition. That inhibition did not mean he had abandoned the communion. But his clear and blantent disregard of that inhibition does settle the matter. He is now no longer a bishop in The Episcopal Church and holds license as bishop in no other part of the Anglican Communion.
All this hocus-pocus of declaring that the Diocese of South Carolina is extra-provincial in the Anglican Communion is just a smokescreen. The bishop and his followers have launched out with out the vaguest sense of how nutty their proposition stands.
There are all sorts of mutterings about how all parties might have worked at this otherwise - how the Disciplinary Board might have made other recommendations, how the Diocese might have done other than craft a doomsday triggering of dissolution actions, how the work between the Presiding Bishop, other bishops and Bishop Lawrence might have been given some space, on and on - but at the end the one clear fact remains
Bishop Lawrence by direct disregard of the inhibitions placed upon him has confirmed that he has abandoned the communion of this Church, which communion requires, particularly for bishops, obedience to the canons...even the canons you don't like.
All the canonical mutterings of the Anglican Communion Institute not withstanding, the matter has proved itself out in ways that do not have to argue to last month or last year. There is no need to analyze the body of the actions taken by the Bishop or Diocese to prove it. The proof of his abandonment is in his presence in an episcopal capacity at the special called meeting. There was no surprise in it.
One comment caught my eye, however, that seems to me to sum up the arrogance of it all. If the comment is true, ENS reports that
"Following his address, Lawrence called upon the convention to vote on
three resolutions. The first resolution affirmed the actions of the
bishop and the Standing Committee and stated “that we are no longer in
any relationship with TEC, including union or association with in any
capacity.” The resolution also had the convention declare that Lawrence
is the diocese’s “rightful bishop.”
“By stating this, we declare that as God has sent Bishop Lawrence to
be our bishop, only He [God] has the authority to declare otherwise,”
the resolution continued." (italics mine).
Now there's an interesting concept... "God has send Bishop Lawrence to be our bishop, only he (God) has the authority to declare otherwise." There is not a province in the Anglican Communion who will let this man in as bishop who believes or is believed by his followers to have such a close relation to God that God alone can remove him.
Its always fine to see arrogance in full sway.