Cleaning out the Stalls.

The ACI / McCall document states that The Episcopal Church is not hierarchical, at some length.

The Canons of TEC say this (Title 4.14.1)

"CANON 14: Of General Provisions Applicable to This Title
Sec. 1. Ecclesiastical Nature. Disciplinary proceedings under this Title
are neither civil nor criminal, but ecclesiastical in nature and represent
determinations by this Church of who shall serve as Members of the
Clergy of this Church and further represent the polity and order of this
hierarchical Church. Clergy who have voluntarily sought and accepted
ordination in this Church have given their express consent and
subjected themselves to the discipline of this Church and may not
claim in proceedings under this Title constitutional guarantees
afforded to citizens in other contexts."

It would appear that the highly valued canons include a specific reference to this as a hierarchical church.

And anyway Tobias Haller has written a paper stating that TEC is hierarchical, but that perhaps hierarchical churches are not all alike. Read his important paper HERE.

Some may remember Joan Gunderson's paper on the same matter. Read it and about it HERE.

Ruth Gledhill has written a fine piece on the whole matter. (Thanks Ruth).

The Anglican Communion Institute is upset about the emails being brought to Anglican blogland's attention here. ACI might note that at no point did I reference particular persons as writers of the specific sections I quoted, and I made use of them only to indicate that there were plans afoot to publish the paper, that it was written not by the bishops but by McCall and ACI, with some tweaking done by some of the bishops, and that there were plans on the ground to put in place a precursor to some sort of pastoral visitor scheme. I did not indicate where I got the material.

Susan Russell has indicated where she got her copy, HERE. I received a copy by another route. She has done a superb job connecting the material to the issues.

So there it is: The statement is out. It has already been countered by others. It is the same-old same old. It does not mention anything about the acknowledgement in the canons that this is a hierarchical church. Susan has provided the reason for bringing the emails forward.

The stalls have been cleaned out for a time.

Time to move on.


  1. The offended outrage of Christopher Seitz's snotty ACI communiqué, which "assumes" you to be "a man of civility and honor", and the high moral tone of its comments on your publishing these "confidential" emails, might carry a little moral authority had Seitz and his ACI colleagues even started to address the question of the extent to which they and their institute profited from the financial morass of Don Armstrong's Grace Church shenanigans. You have your own accounting to do before you demand answers of others, "Revd Canon Professor" [can it be that C. Sugden's title-counting mania has morphed into an Evangelical passion?] Seitz. A "Caesar's Wife" thing, Dr Seitz.

  2. Lapin, I was also amused by Seitz's tone of outraged virtue.

    But then I can understand why he was mortified to have those emails go public. They make him and his friends look like sneaks.

  3. Also, what did the primate of Tanzania do? It must be pretty awful, considering the reaction from people who were apparently quite happy to overlook Armstrong's innovative ways with money.

  4. Mark:

    You screamed bloody murder when materials from the HOB/D listserv [a not so private form of communication] were published w/o permission - but now justify the publishing of private emails when it serves your purposes - more than just a wee bit of hypocrisy, eh. Obviously, ends do justify the means for you. Blessings. D+

  5. "It does not mention anything about the acknowledgement in the canons that this is a hierarchical church."

    The ACI/Mark McCall have certainly recognized the the Episcopal denomination is a hierarchical church at the level of the diocese. In contrast, they again well lay out that at the level of the denomination, it is a voluntary organization. For Pete's sake, the PB can't even enter a diocese without the the permission of the diocesan bishop.

  6. I'm somewhere between 'pots are calling the kettle black' and 'a pox on both your houses' regarding the whole email dustup.

    One person's conspiracy is another person's organized activism. Just chill.

    C'mon folks, settle down and do as Canon Harris has begun to do here, argue the case on the merits, or at least link to others arguments.

    -miserable sinner

  7. It might be time to reconsider Dr. Dator's analysis of the canons, which we discussed back in November of 2007:

    The Episcopal Church: Confederal, Federal or Unitary?The Episcopal Cafe also discussed this paper, under a more revealing title:

    Episcopal Church is not divisibleI'd be interested in hearing a reaction to Dr. Dator's work from the four guys with a website.

  8. Regarding the ethics of what has been done, let's not compare apples and oranges, please.

    This is a matter of a group of bishops supporting unethical behavior, namely offering an argument which will be used to validate those who are attempting to take that which is not theirs.

    It is our Christian duty to challenge such behavior. If we don't, then we share the responsibility for the continued unethical acts that will be the result of our silence.

    The above is my personal opinion, btw...I've not discussed this matter with anyone else.

  9. D+ aka 10661949. Where did I scream bloody murder, etc? (I may have. I write a lot. And I might have, since while the content of HoB/D listserv is already public but the agreement (perhaps no longer made) was that people who had access to the list would not use those comments elsewhere without asking permission first.) If I did I can't find it.

    Meanwhile, the copies I received I used with minimal attribution to individuals in order to get the story out - that the paper was in the works, that bishops were being asked to sign up, that CP ventures were in the works, etc.

    If I screamed bloody murder then I must either say I was mistaken to believe readers of the HoB/Deputies list were bound by limitations on use, or that I am guilty of the same.

    This does not support the gambit that the ends justify the means, it might well support the notion that I am to be numbered among the sinners. Actually I believe that some ends justify some means. Don't you? St. Paul does.

    Hypocrisy is a disease of those in blog swamps and I would not be surprised if it occasionally touches us all.

    Blessings yourself.

  10. Robroy, could you point to the canon that forbids the PB entering a diocese without the permission of the diocesan? Indeed, visiting every diocese is one of her express duties, and includes celebrating the eucharist. As this is specified, this right cannot be refused by a diocesan bishop under the constitutional article to which you and McCall refer, which btw, only governs bishops elected to dioceses, not the PB. Just one more example of McCall's sloppy misrepresentation of the PB's office and powers.

    Also, can you point to the canon describing the process for a diocese unilaterally to leave the church? (I'll save you time; there isn't one. Precisely because once one has entered into union one cannot simply walk away as one chooses. Like in marriage.)

    These are easily ascertainable facts -- the tendentious and selective interpretations offered by McCall will not stand close examination by competent canonists.

  11. Bishop John Howe of Central Florida made the following comment today, later reproduced on another blog:

    "The Executive Council has said that the only body that can act upon the Anglican Covenant is the General Convention. We do not believe that is accurate. We believe that dioceses and even parishes could decide to "opt into" it."

    I am nonplussed by this statement. Bishop Howe's understanding of Anglican ecclesiology appears to be entirely congregationalist.

    I also did not know that a parish-by-parish adoption of the Covenant was contemplated by its designers until now. Someone ought to bring this to the attention of the ACC. Their public statements up until now have indicated the Covenant would be adopted province by province. This new procedure represents a very great departure from traditional Anglicanism, as well as from their own statements on the Covenant.

    Finally, I wonder if those familiar with the Church of England would care to comment on what would happen there if a parish-by-parish adoption procedure were required. (If memory serves, wasn't Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream advocating such a procedure about a year ago?)

  12. Funny. Yesterday it was an outrage. Today it is the same old-same old.

    Outraged virtue? All over this blog and Susan Russell's.

  13. The relevant C&C: A Bishop shall confine the exercise of such office to the Diocese in which elected, unless requested to perform episcopal acts in another Diocese by the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof, or unless authorized by the House of Bishops, or by the Presiding Bishop by its direction, to act temporarily in case of need within any territory not yet organized into Dioceses of this Church.Visiting dioceses implies a visitor status at the pleasure of the Ecclesiastical authority of the diocese.

    Tobias writes, Indeed, visiting every diocese is one of her express duties, and includes celebrating the eucharist. As this is specified, this right cannot be refused by a diocesan bishop... Wow! That is a big jump. I don't see that the diocesan bishop must receive the PB. (And there was no Eucharist at the recent visit to South Carolina.)

    Tobias states, which btw, only governs bishops elected to dioceses. I see no such restriction of meaning in the C&C. But that would certainly condemn 815's prosecution (and persecution) of the oldest retired bishop, the godly Bp Cox.

    And thanks for the affirmation of the total silence on the question of whether dioceses can leave. Certainly undermines the "Dioceses can't leave" mantra.

  14. I can think of little more honorable than to expose a vile plot while exposing oneself to the vicious vengeance of those involved.

    And, no, a diocese can't leave. People can. Perhaps the silence comes because the question has been answered with absolute integrity, conviction and godly patience for some - what? - six years now.

  15. Ruth Meyers24/4/09 2:59 AM

    Anonymous says:
    "One person's conspiracy is another person's organized activism. Just chill."

    On the HOBD listserve, I used the word "subversive" to describe the plan for pastoral visitation by CP bishops. Here's what I said about why this plan is different from "organized activism":

    Here is the part that seems subversive to me (from the leaked emails, as posted by the Washington Blade):
    "1) The CO priest will request of +SC, as a CP Bishop, a visitation', 2) the purpose of which is to prevent his parishioners from concluding that the only route for them is joining ACNA (which will be happening in CO soon) because their Diocesan is not foregrounding his covenant commitments and indeed has ordained an openly homosexual priest, etc, but also has said he means to create space for others' views, etc; 3) +SC will phone +O'Neil and ask that this request be honored and seek to persuade him of its importance, 4) +SC will ask +Salmon to visit, and will indicate to +CO that +Chane is using Salmon in this way in DC....

    "Importantly, +SC reminded us that he does not want to get into a quid pro quo situation that, having implemented something like this, the PB makes sure he reciprocates when SSBs pass in General Convention and he is forced to let a proponent of the same do a visitation in SC. Hence, using +Salmon.".

    As I understand the Delegated Episcopal Parish Oversight (DEPO) plan (commended by the 2006 General Convention in A163), the first step for a parish is agreeing with their bishop is to seek reconciliation through direct conversation. If reconciliation does not occur, then the rector and vestry may request delegated episcopal pastoral oversight, and in that case, the diocesan bishop appoints another bishop to provide that oversight. There is then a series of provisions for appeal by either party.

    What feel subversive to me in the Communion Partners plan (as outlined in the email correspondence) are the following elements:
    The request from the Colorado priest to the Bishop of South Carolina, rather than to his own bishop or through an appeal to the provincial leadership.
    The efforts to keep the Bishop of South Carolina on the edges, delegating the visit to the retired bishop of South Carolina, so that the diocesan will not be forced to accept a similar visitation.

  16. Honestly.

    1. Emphasis changed, and mine: "The relevant C&C: A Bishop shall confine the exercise of such office to the Diocese in which elected, unless requested to perform episcopal acts..." The Presiding Bishop does not serve as a diocesan after taking office, how does this apply?

    2. A Diocese is a part of a whole, and historically the administrative unit of a province. This model was designed by the Roman empire for civil government. It was designed to serve local needs while providing a connection to many larger "wholes." It still does that in many churches, including ours.

    3. Let's not pretend that new, petitioning dioceses are (or were) always little geographic collections of independent churches who decided to become part of the Episcopal Church. Population shift and growth powered expansion of many denominations in the U.S. And in TEC, new dioceses were often just practical divisions of another (I'm not going to look through my library to get percentages, sorry).

    Yes, we have kind of a crazy history, and the zig-zagging lines of authority can be difficult to explain to an outsider or even an Episcopalian. There are loopholes in our C7Cs just like any other set of constitution/bylaws. But let's not start making things up as a matter of convenience.
    - - -
    Sidebar - can anyone provide a link that explains how Mark McCall is an authority in this matter? Yes, I know he was a Sullivan & Cromwell lawyer, but with a specialty in international law. At S&C, he'd be pretty specialized; he wouldn't be advising you on your next real estate transaction, or U.S. tax law, or your rich Auntie's estate planning. If you were a client of Sullivan & Cromwell, they'd send you to a different attorney, in another department, for those needs no matter how often you worked with McCall. If McCall earned practical credentials in canon law and church history as a second career, let's hear more about it. Otherwise, it's much like being impressed with an orthopedic surgeon's expertise in delivering babies.
    - - -
    I think my blogging partner Fred would call this entire situation - something nasty on a cracker.

  17. Charlotte--As to the province by province question, there was this one the Cafe right before Easter. I don't know if it will answer your question as to why they think they can do this.


    There was also this:


  18. Ruth:
    and go down to #39 from a certain 'subversive' CO priest. I'll let the post speak for itself.

    -miserable sinner

  19. At the risk of entering into a "yes it is" "no it isn't" form of non-debate; Robroy, you bold the wrong and irrelevant portion of the Constitutional Article: my reference is to the phrase "the Diocese in which elected." The PB is not elected "in a diocese" but at the General Convention. She does not require permission to enter any diocese in connection with her work (your original claim), nor permission to exercise her canonical functions.

    By your second argument, you must believe that the States of the US are free unilaterally to disassociate and leave the union any time they choose, since the US Constitution doesn't mention it. In contracts, the absence of an out clause doe not normally indicate such easy dissolution, and normally, where dissolution is provided for, there are clear procedures laid out. The absence of such clauses in the USConstitution has been taken since the 1860s as a sign that no such dissolution is permitted.

  20. There are loopholes in our C7Cs just like any other set of constitution/bylaws. But let's not start making things up as a matter of convenience.

    Umm, like ignoring the requirement for the three senior bishops give consent for inhibition? For Bp Duncan, it was sought but not obtained. For Bp Cox, it wasn't even sought.

    The sheer hypocrisy of the left...

    The C&C description of the restrictions is for bishops. There are no qualifiers. Hence, this the reason the PB has always (to the best of my knowledge) requested visitation - as he (or she) should.

    Again, the conspiratorial nature of this affair is ludicrous. ACI had a very publicly announced meeting in Houston. Then they worked on a document for public release. Secret cabals don't release public statements. As for Bp. Lawrence "affair". Bp Lawrence certainly need not provide DEPO to a parish in Colorado for whatever reason, and calling up a fellow bishop to advocate for retired Bp. Salmon is nefarious in only the minds of the most avid John LeCarre fans. Again, that is ridiculous.

    Now, there might be a conspiracy in all of this. Who knew about the private email? Who released it to the press with the intent to impugn the signatories? Did 815 know? I find it hard to believe that they didn't. Was a lawyer consulted in that apparently there are attorney client confidentiality that was violated.

    As someone pointed out, clergy should be held to higher standards. If a clergy member finds a wallet with identification in it, one would hope that the clergy member would return it to the owner. Similarly, clergy members should "do the right thing." I assume that it was Ms Russell that released the email to the press since she was quoted extensively in the Washington Blade article, but certainly I don't know that.

    Speaking of Ms Russell, someone pointed out the the etymology of the word cretin is most likely chretien, French for Christian. The thought is that congenitally hypothyroid children were either weak or by their mental retardation, they were thought incapable of sin. Her attempted slur was actually a complement:

    I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

  21. That a state cannot leave the Union is not relevant. We fought the bloodiest war of American history to write the unwritten law that states can't secede.

    Of course, this is entirely irrelevant to partnership contracts or marriages. For these don't last in perpetua necessarily. A partnership contract that does not include a dissolution clause does not mean those partners have to stay together forever. Neither is the United States relevant to the Episcopal denomination. Boringly repeating "dioceses can't leave" won't change the silence of the C&C.

    Who is right with regards to whether the PeeBee needs permission to enter a diocese? Look to precedence. I have heard several bishops state that the PeeBee always asks, and I have heard none rebut it. Now, neither the C&C nor tradition really matter at all to the current PeeBee. You, yourself, have admitted she has violated canon laws, and her own gender shows she cares little for tradition.

  22. Or were you referring to the Gill typeface?

  23. Mark, I know I shouldn't write this final comment - but I can't resist. I defer to your duties as our host if you do not want to post this.

    Robroy, attorney-client privilege is violated when an attorney discloses private information obtained during consultations with his or her client - without that client's permission. It doesn't apply to the client, or anyone else.

    "Attorney-client privilege is the right of clients to refuse to disclose confidential communications with their lawyers, or to allow their lawyers to disclose them. It is the client's privilege, not the lawyer's, and is the earliest known 'privileged communication' in the law. The attorney-client privilege is viewed as fundamental to preserve the constitutionally based right to effective assistance of legal counsel, in that lawyers cannot function effectively on behalf of their clients without the ability to communicate with them in confidence." (Source: American Bar Association.)

    I'm not going to rehash the other issues outlined in our posts, readers can draw their own conclusions about my statement and your rebuttal. (Mark, I'm trying to be good. Well, at least a little).

  24. Hi Canon Harris,

    I have been following ACI's work and the CP work for sometime now and must say that I have been somewhat confused as to why there has been concern over some of the information contained in these emails as it seemed completely consistent with the work and actions of ACI/CP to date - all of which has been presented on the ACI website over the last year or so (which is exactly where I read it). Am I missing something novel here?

    Furthermore, it seems an odd thing to publish someone else's private emails in public forums - why not erase them? If anything seems like conspiracy - that certainly does.

    What is your purpose in posting them? It seems an even odder thing given your position on the Executive Council. Could you please explain how this action is consistent with your role on the Council and your ministry and witness as a priest of the Episcopal Church? I'm not particularly interested in how this compares to other people's actions; rather I am simply interested in how the particular action you personally have taken, is both consistent with the witness to Christ to which you are called and the ethical and legal implications associated with the particular offices you hold.

    I realize that you have tried to move on from this post, but given your particular role on the Executive Council, I would appreciate it if you could please explain your actions.

    Would not it have been more ethical and more charitable and a better witness to at least have verified your sources, let alone contacted the identified individuals to verify information?

    Thank you for your time and explanation.

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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.