Follow up on The Province of the Southern Cone and receiving dioceses

A correspondent who prefers to remain anonymous, but whose credentials are those of a canon lawyer, has sent me the following note concerning the Province of the Southern Cone and its reception of dioceses outside its territory. He refers to "Thomas" the correspondent in my prior post "Concerning the Province of the Southern Cone...."

"Thomas is spot on with respect to the duplicitous actions of the Southern Cone. They cannot, under their own rules, accept a diocese from outside the territory listed in their constitution. Nor can they do so within the norms of Anglican Canon Law.

On top of that, there is no way under generally accepted canonical principles that they can receive and license a bishop or other cleric who has been deposed, or who has voluntarily relinquished his or her orders in the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada (or
elsewhere, of course).

The Global South howl that Gene Robinson is not just a bishop in the Episcopal Church, but in the Anglican Communion, and they are correct to say that, though I don't personally understand why they are so distressed about it. But it equally holds that deposition or relinquishment of orders has effect throughout the Communion, and not simply locally within one Province. Ergo, Robert Duncan is simply not a bishop, and this is true not only in the Episcopal Church, but throughout the Communion. He cannot be licensed as a minister of word and sacrament in the Anglican Communion, and any Province that purports to do so has stepped completely outside the bounds of Anglican canonical norms."

So the deposed bishop of Pittsburgh, if he was true to his word about not contesting the matter of the deposition and about being obedient to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church ceased to be a bishop in practice whatever the sacramental character of the office. He is no longer an ordained person in this Church and if he presented himself or was accepted by the PSC as a bishop it is contrary to judgment rendered while he was still an ordained member of this Church.

This Anglican Canon Law correspondent has laid out the argument that leads to the conclusion that the PSC and Robert Duncan are both engaged in matters "completely outside the bounds of Anglican canonical norms."

The fact that the PSC has received him as a bishop in spite of his deposition says only that they and he do not believe that he ever ceased being a bishop in the Anglican Communion. It appears that they are wrong.

Well, there it is.


  1. Mark,
    With all due respect, duh?
    When good guys and bad guys fight good guys usually lose because good guys fight by the rules while bad guys have no rules.
    Have we learned not a single thing about these folks yet?

  2. Of course they are engaged in activities outside Anglican norms. Everyone told us if we stepped outside those same norms, there would be a tearing. What did we expect?


  3. But Mark, canon law doesn't apply when it would prevent an illegal activity which the GS and SC wish to commit.

    If we have learned only one thing in all of this is there are no rules for the schsmatics. Rules only apply to "apostates" not the fundamentalists.

  4. Duncan's alleged deposition: wrong canon, wrong way, no due process, tortuous reading of the canons, no trial . . .. Maybe, when the national church sues him in the secular courts, the courts will review the deposition. I am not sure. That was done in the case of Moyer. But so what? All these posts are really blowing inthe wind. This is what realignment looks like. He thinks that a diocese can realign withing the Communion. Voluntary accession and the right to secession makes sense to me. It's not irrational. And self-determination is not immoral.(This is what TEC says, recall, to the wider communion.Hmmm.) And it is not clear in the canons that a diocese cannot leave. And he has always said there will be fair negotiations of property (like FTG and unlike KJS. What's to object to from those who so often say the Spirit might be doing a new thing. My goodness. Quit whining. You sound like Lionel Deimel.

    JOHN 2007

  5. Pretty amazing... Thanks for spelling it out. It goes to show that the Primate of the PSC has no regard for the Anglican Communion. But since he likely does not see TEC as part of the AC, then he does not see the HOB's actions as legit. Further insult to the faithful Christians of TEC.

    I just wish the ABC would grow a pair and say, "What part of 'stop interfering in foreign provinces' do you not understand?" The man's beard has weakened his spine.

  6. Rulz? He don't want no stinkin rulz!

  7. To raise an issue here of who and what is or is not a member of "the communion" and who rules. Although I disagree personally with this argument, those supporting Mr. Duncan will base his membership and that of Dio Pittsburgh on the basis ofborthodox theology and tgey will cite +Cantuar's Advent letter as their warrant. By contrast, those who argue that he is not (me included) will cite the constitution of the ACC and its rules on membership. The question of the name "Anglican" vs. its reality seems legitamate. It appears that +Rowan has rendered the decision as to who is the authorized bishop of a jurisdiction to the province. I am citing Recife and Harare as my warrant. Since +Venables is acting on what he believes to be right theology vs. "the rules", is it possible to address this question? Question 1: What we believe and who decides? 2. How do we work together? What trumps what?

  8. You guys crack me up.

    First, you "re-interpret" the canons so that your opponents have absolutely no rights and no protections. Then, you chide your opponents for not following your "re-interpretation" of the canons. Then, when someone else re-interprets their canons to come to the assistance of those whom you've "canonically" denied all rights and protections, you are outraged, and you smugly wrap your canonical robes all the more tightly around you, unable to see what everyone else clearly sees: the Emperor has no clothes.

  9. Just to make sure about my observation about the actions of the SC and Pittsburgh/San Joaquin, my point is not about the interpretation or misinterpretation of the C&C.

    My issue is very much focused on the American side-- Pittsburgh and San Joaquin bishops and clergy claiming that they, >>including the bricks and mortars of the diocese,<< have been received/transferred to the Southern Cone. This is not so. The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone has only received the clergy and granted licenses. SC has never claimed right to the diocesan properties.

    The issue is not the C&Cs, as some would love to argue. The issue is the truth. Of course, Pittsburgh and San Joaquin will argue about canons and depositions and persecutions... But Pittsburgh, San Joaquin et al. cannot argue against the fact that whatever they may say, the SC is not taking claim to the bricks and mortar of the Diocese(s) or formally incorporating the Diocese into their Province.

    Whether one agrees or not with the actions of the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, as far as I know he has been very clear about receiving >>>the clergy<<< (and NOT >>>the diocese<<<) for pastoral reasons.


  10. On the question of Southern Cone receiving the Local Church of Pittsburgh ?

    The critics are not quite correct in their reading of canon law. The canonical structure they are questioning is the nature of particular Churches. A Diocese is the most familiar and typically is not transferable as its designations and definition are principally geographic.

    However there are other types of particular churches such as a vicariate or a personal prelature which may possess some of the qualities of a diocese but are not necessarily defined by a set geographical area. An apostolic vicariate is a form of territorial jurisdiction of the established in missionary regions and countries which do not or cannot have a diocese yet. It is essentially provisional!

    Moreover, there are in the canonical tradition autonomous ("sui iuris") particular Churches. Thus, if the Local Churches of Pittsburgh recognized that it was an aggregations of local particular Churches that share a specific liturgical, theological and canonical heritage they may seek Patriarchal oversight from a Patriarch or Primate who shares their liturgical, theological and canonical heritage and may be designated an Apostolic Vicariate or a Apostolic Personal Prelature which is in accord with the norms of canonical structures.

    On the question of Southern Cone receiving a previously deposed Prelate?

    The suggestion that the Primate of the Southern Cone cannot extend ministry towards the Bishop of Pittsburgh because the canonical tradition does not allow for it is simply untrue. As part of the canonical constructs of the law in the east and west the idea of oikonomia has precedent through the structures of the Church, the Sacred Ministry, and, above all, the Apostolic Episcopate. The Church of the Southern Cone is fully tamiouchos, possessed of stewardship in her own household, and in her exercise of oikonomia philanthropia may relax akribeia for the good of human souls whenever need demands and the condescension is possible.

    The Primate of the Southern Cone may extend the sharing of episcopal ministry to Bishop Duncan under this historic provisio in canonical structures. An essential criteria for every exercise of Economy is that it shall not compromise or appear to compromise the dogmatic tradition of the Church. Holy Orders are a question of the discipline of the church, not the dogma of the church!

    For our present purpose, Economy may thus be defined as an exercise of her stewardship by the Church whereby that which by the strict letter of her law is forbidden, is permitted.

    It is this very spirit that fostered the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963 in the Church of England Canons cf #53 Restoration on Pardon : Where by virtue of anything done under this Measure an archbishop, bishop or other clergyman is deprived or deposed his incapacities shall cease if he receives a free pardon from the Crown, and he shall be restored to any preferment he previously held if it has not in the meantime been filled.

    It is simply an act of oikonomia and it is part of the Anglican tradition as well as the canonical tradition.

    The suggestion that Bishop Duncan will be functioning irregularly is equally absurd! Irregularity is declared when a canonical impediment directly is declared for a person to exercise the orders they have received. Certain requisites for the licit reception of orders are necessary and when there is a defect in these qualities it is called an irregularity.

    There are two types of irregularity

    a) Complete - when the impediment makes the reception of any order prohibited or the exercising of it total and without exception

    b) Partial - when an impediment allows one to receive one level or orders but not another. Either of these must have a declaration attached of the irregularity being perpetual (enduring) or temporary (only for a certain period)

    Irregularities are declared because of two reasons impediments or defects


    a) The consequence of crime (ex delicto) -

    a) Censure -Applies to those who presume to exercise orders while under censure (excommunication or suspension)

    b) Bad Faith - Those who in bad faith receive Sacred orders from bishops who are under censure become irregular and incur suspension from the order received. If the defect be principally in the one ordained, however, he is suspended, but probably does not incur an irregularity

    c) Heresy, Apostasy or Schism - This is self explanatory but it should be noted that a schismatic is not irregular, unless he be at the same time a heretic.

    2) Defects (ex defectu)

    a) Moral Probity (This is where the Ordination of the Bishop of New Hampshire would be defective!)

    b) Proper Age

    c) Knowledge Proportionate to each order,

    d) Integrity of body, mind, will, and faith

    A Canon Lawyer trained in the Canons of the Western and Eastern Church ( which include Anglican norms!!!!!)


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.