Why is the old TItle IV better than the new?

Why is the old Title IV better than the New? 

Granted one has to be a CandC (Constitution and Canons) geek to even get the question, there it is. While notable Canon lawyers believe I am of no consequence as a CandC geek and ought to take up other tasks, I take heart in the belief that ordinary people can ask ordinary questions.

Here is what the question is about.

The Diocese of South Carolina believes part four (Title IV) of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, dealing with ecclesiastical discipline, does not square with the Constitution of The Episcopal Church. It is, in their view, unconstitutional.  Since this involves a judgment of a law (canon) in relation to the constitution under which such law exists, and since there is (as far as South Carolina can see) no way to test the constitutionality except to confront head on the validity of the canon, the Bishop of South Carolina and the Convention of the Diocese have rejected it, and in dealing with the consequences hope, one supposes, to bring The Episcopal Church to its senses, or alternately to save the Diocese from the general church failings.

The Diocese, in order to do this, makes the claim that it is free to disavow canons passed by General Convention when it its collective wisdom those canons are contrary to the Constitution.  So the Diocese has asserted "diocesan rights," among them being the right to disregard canons that it believes are unconstitutional.

OK. I think I have it so far.

Now my understanding is that the Diocese of South Carolina intends to continue using the Title IV canons that were in force until July of this year, prior to the current Title going into effect. As far as I know the Diocese of South Carolina has used the previous Title IV disciplinary process without objection.

In all of this several Canon lawyers (and how they become experts in such matters is a matter of separate interest) have written papers that we CandC geeks find very interesting.  It is unclear just how much these lawyers are engaged in specific church litigation at this time and how much their writing tasks (which are considerable) and ability (also considerable) is being generated as a form of affirmation of their expertise.  But the fact is they produce a great deal of material, some of it quite good.

Mulling over one of these papers,Title IV and The Constitution: Dioceses’ Exclusive Authority for Clergy Discipline published on the Anglican Communion Institute pages (ACI being unrelated in any way to the official thingy called "The Anglican Communion"),  by C. Alan Runyan and Mark McCall,  I found this remark:

"Indeed, notwithstanding the repeated attempts of canonical commentators and a minority of General Convention “again and again” to provide for a uniform judicial system, including the preparation of draft canons to implement hoped for constitutional amendments, no such canon was passed for almost a century after the 1901 revision. This was not done until 1994, only seventeen years ago, when the current Title IV was passed with inadequate constitutional review. And that unprecedented and unconstitutional canon had been in effect only a few years before General Convention began working on its complete revision."

So Runyan and McCall believe that the prior Title IV was "unprecedented and unconstitutional" just as the current Title IV.

The questions is then, why did The Diocese of South Carolina not object to that Title IV, and why does it think it better than the current Title IV, on the basis of constitutionality?

And, while we are at it, why does the Diocese of South Carolina believe that the ecclesiastical version of civil disobedience, as a means of testing the constitutionality of Title IV, preferable to mounting an effort at General Convention to rescind or modify the existing Title IV.  If the case can be made, isn't that the place to do so?   The claim is made that The Episcopal Church has no judiciary capable of judging if a canon is in accord with the Constitution. But it does. It is called the General Convention. General Convention makes the canons and it can revise or rescind them. 

It might be the sort of resolution only a CandC geek would love, but something like this might do:

"Resolved, the House of _________________ concurring, that the General Convention, believing Title IV, Article  ______ , Section _______ is unconstitutional, directs that Title IV, Article _____, Section _____ be removed from the Canons, being replaced by __________, this to take effect immediately.

The Diocese of South Carolina has gone way around the bend in order to do what it could just as well do straightforwardly. Perhaps it is doing so because it doesn't believe it can convince the rest of the Church.  Well, that's the way it goes in more or less legislatively run Episcopal land.

The rule of the game is, however, that if you can't convince the Church meeting in General Convention to change, you have to live with it until another day, when hopefully the majority sees the foolishness of its ways.


  1. Fr. Harris, I cannot speak for the Diocese of South Carolina, but one reason why dioceses might have adopted the prior Title IV canons is that they were good disciplinary canons. They worked well and provided adequate due process safeguards for those charged with offenses. The constitutional defect, which was the imposition of disciplinary canons on the dioceses by General Convention, was remedied by the adoption of those canons by the authority of the dioceses. In a similar fashion, many states adopt recommended uniform laws such as the Uniform Commercial Code, not because they are required to do so, but because it makes for good law.

    As I say, I don’t speak for the Diocese of South Carolina, but this is how I see the question you raise as to why anyone would have adopted the previous canons.

    Mark McCall

  2. Fr. Harris, the thing that makes these "universal" disciplinary Canons unconstitutional (both the old and the new Title IV) is, first and foremost, that they purport to be universal -- i.e., they require that every Diocese follow exactly the same procedure. From the earliest years of the Church, Dioceses always took care of disciplining their clergy on their own, under their own rules. As the paper you cite shows, this practice was jettisoned in 1996 without any discussion or forethought.

    General Convention may pass such Canons, but until each individual Diocese also enacts its local counterpart Canons, there is no disciplinary court in that Diocese, and no rules of procedure for bringing presentments, etc. So the canons passed by General Convention have effect in each Diocese only as that Diocese chooses to give them effect. (See the GC page on ECUSA's Website for the "model canons" which they want every Diocese to pass to bring the new Title IV into effect -- without those, Title IV is a non-starter.)

    After GC 1996, South Carolina could have chosen not to enact the local Canons it is following today (what you call "the old Title IV"), and to go right on using what they had been using before. But they decided to go along, and so passed local disciplinary Canons which adopted the procedures and courts of the 1996 Title IV.

    In 2009, they simply decided not to go along with the crowd. And no one can fault them for that. I have not heard a single member of the clergy in S. Carolina speak up and say they would rather be presented and tried under the new Title IV. So why should the rest of the Church care how discipline is meted out in South Carolina? It's no skin off their nose.

    But to listen to the outrage and uproar, you would think that the Diocese had pulled a fast one, or effectively managed to secede. Things are no more different in S. Carolina now than they were in 1995. This simple disagreement should not be the basis for charges of "abandonment."

  3. I want to applaud for Harris for allowing a serious topic airtime, serious enough that it has brought to Preludium serious responses.

    Surely this is what a good blog should do. And hopefully this discussion will lead to light and not heat.

    I also appreciate his willingness to acknowledge last week that "serious questions about Title IV" were being raised, and even suggesting that Title IV needed a serious re-look at GC 2012.

    I have heard it said that the covenant ought not be adopted as it has been intimated that it needs some final changes. I am not sure that the premise is true, but if one is being cautious about it, then one ought certainly to be cautious about Title IV and not adopt it until it has been reviewed in the light of "serious questions."


  4. "...why does the Diocese of South Carolina believe that the ecclesiastical version of civil disobedience, as a means of testing the constitutionality of Title IV, preferable to mounting an effort at General Convention to rescind or modify the existing Title IV. If the case can be made, isn't that the place to do so?"

    Because it is ONLY in the light of developments with the Disciplinary Committee that people like Fr Harris are now stating publically that Title IV is problematical. Many argued this and were ignored.

    NOW we are in a position where we have +Dorsey Henderson explicitly mentioning a need to move expeditiously. In the light of problems acknowledged with Title IV; and in the light of Fr Harris' proposal that siad problems be taken up at GC 2012, one might ask:

    'What is the hurry? Why is Henderson concerned with moving things forward briskly and without pause?'

    So now we have a state of affairs where he is encouraging SC to take up a cause that is only latterly acknowledged as being one, and going to GC 2012 to correct a Title IV that only now people are saying needs correction.

    Isn't the far more obvious thing to do:

    Put a halt to Title IV proceedings.

    What is the hurry?

    Will a Title IV in need of review be the instrument one needs to hurry toward some end? That will assuredly defeat the idea of SC going to GC and along with others reviewing a Title IV in need of review.

    The hurry is presumably to get an outcome that would void any such review in the very nature of the case.


  5. The Diocese of Albany approved the new Title IV - with objections and concerns for the new Title IV - because without approving it there would be no disciplinary canons in place in the Diocese (or so was the concern at 2011 Convention.)

    The language of Albany's Canon 14 reads: "The Ecclesiastical Trial Court in the Diocese of Albany shall be established and function in accordance with Title IV of the Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church and shall be governed by that Title and the provisions of this Canon."

  6. "Because I believe that time is of an essence, I have made a command decision...".

    +Dorsey Henderson

  7. Sam, is there the possibility that you are reading more into the bishops statement than is there. I do not see him saying that time is of the essence to depose +SC, as it appears you read his statement.

    Is it not also logical that he could be saying what I read, him merely saying that the process was started and there are time frames involved and he made the appointment because the ball is in motion.

  8. Dear David

    Like almost everything now coming of the Disciplinary Committee, it is very hard to know; hence your speculation. The cry that went up on behalf of Title IV was that the new one would be so much better at transparency.

    Those familiar with the old Title IV now have ample reason to doubt that. And the one (and primary) way the new Title IV arguably might have been more transparent than it is--involving Intake Officer, Panel Review, and so forth--has been rejected unilaterally by the Committee in favor of their 'abandonment' procedure.

    But my point is much, much simpler. Fr Harris has asked why the EDSC doesn't go to GC 2012 and help review and alter Title IV.

    The answer in part is that the Committee a) is in no doubt that there is anything to be reviewed, and b) is publicly stating it is moving ahead with all dispatch.

    This makes the idea of SC going and debating Title IV moot.

    It should also be said that a good number of Bishops--publicly and privately--are on record that they too think Title IV is bad or questionably constitutional. It gives the PB powers she does not have by constitution. Indeed, this may be one reason the effort is being made to say she is not involved (but that is speculation).

    Time frames, yes indeed. Ones that extend so that a review might be considered. No sir.


  9. Pete Carroll also notes how odd the entire matter is.

    These charges were in the purview of the OLD Title IV committee for many many months now. They did nothing. Why not? Was he not guilty? Or were they simply waiting to get a committee and a new Title IV process in place which would get the result they wanted?

    You see the problem here. It looks like they wrote the new Title IV in part to be able to succeed where the former Title IV was stalled, indifferent or not prone to press ahead.

    And now we have a new Committee and after all the months of waiting and having these charges/complaints, NOW we are in a hurry.

    Lord have mercy.


  10. Do the canons of ACNA include provisions which parallel those of Title IV? If they do, a compare & contrast session would be of more than a little interest - process for charges, hearings, provision for appeals, & so forth. Some thoughts, perhaps, from those feeling that Mark Lawrence is about to be railroaded, as to how ACNA can show us how this might be done more justly.

    I see, by the way, that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has found, without reservation, in favor of the Continuing Diocese.

  11. Mark McCall's essay will give you what you need: leave discipline in the hands of the dioceses. The new Title IV goes awry at this point (as we are seeing) AND it is unconstitutional.

    We are not wanting ACNA. We are wanting TEC in accordance with TEC's constitution.


  12. Wow! That was some kind of lure you had on that line! Was it hand-tied or store-bought?

  13. Ed--what do you mean by your comment?

    Are you saying Fr Harris is baiting so as to .... do what?


  14. If it were indeed true that the leadership of the Diocese of S. Carolina wanted "TEC in accordance with TEC's constitution" they have certainly not behaved in any sort of manner that would lead one to believe it.

    Withdrawing from the life of the church, removal of the word Episcopal from parishes and diocesan publications, not a peep about years of living under the old Title IV.....the list could go on and on.

  15. "...not a peep about years of living under the old Title IV"

    actually, what does this mean?

    And, for the record, +ML attends HOB meetings as often as other bishops do. He was there at the last meeting, but did not travel to Quito to enlarge the carbon footprint. But neither did a good number of Bishops.

    As for Episcopal signage. Is there a requirement now about that? You must remember that being Episcopal in lower SC is like being a member of the State Church.


  16. I am sure it is a trolling joke Sam!

  17. Which means exactly...?

  18. "...... being Episcopal in lower SC is like being a member of the State Church". Absolute horsepucky. This foolish statement does nothing to stop my wondering whether your earlier coyness about whether or not you live in the State conceals the fact that you do not.

  19. The canons of the Anglican Church in North America. Canons #4, Of the Presentment of Bishops, and #5, Of Courts, Membership and Procedures, may be found between pages 22 and 25.

  20. So, now we have Sal, Sam, Allen, Mark McCall -

    Even for a big ol' troll, it must be getting crowded in there.

  21. Umm it might be best not to question Mark McCall.


  22. Why? I don't go to ACI websites, regardless of the situation. Avoid occasions of sin, that sort of thing.

    If you're suggesting that, because Mark McCall is verifiable, that means he is not pretending to be several others, which is simply not realistic.

  23. In fact, I note that it was one of the Legion that first directed us to us to McCall's writings.

    As the split personality is fond of concluding:


  24. This is so off topic it hurts. Rabbitt.

    Charleston. Called the Holy City. Lots of Churches. Biggest and most prominent ones? Episcopal. Why. Colonial Planters. St Michaels. St Philips. The Cathedral.

    Columbia. Ditto. Look at the graveyard in the Cathedral. First familes of SC.

    Second place finishers? First Scots in Charleston.

    State Church = Colonial period ascendency of Anglicanism.

    Back to topic. O, I see Brunson has inserted his very insightful contributions. Off the rails we go again.


  25. Mr Brunson -- is this your private blog? You speak as if anyone who disagrees with positions you hold is a troll. A troll. The implication is that anything of substance that is on-topic is trolling if it doesn't agree with you.

    Why does this sound familiar? It sounds also like the view of TEC Mr Brunson holds.

    And that's also why it is even important for Mr Brunson to insist that serial contributors MUST be the same person. There can only be a single 'troll' -- not substantive remarks from Allen, Haley, Samuel, Peter Carrell, Joe, Sal, et al. And latterly Mark McCall.

    Nice view of TEC.


  26. Dead right, SammyBaby - totally off topic. It was you, was it not, who slung this irrelevancy into the ring? Appreciate the wave of easily googled, utterly irrelevant SC Wikifacts, but still nothing regarding the mystery of your place of residence. That hurt, too? Go ahead. Tell.

    Serious matters - what might ACNA's finely-honed judicial process, text linked above, have to teach those oppressed by PECUSA kangaroo court system?

  27. "...... is this your private blog?" LOL!! Talk about "all the nerve of the Town Cow".

  28. For the record, I am not Sal, Sam or Allen. I do not want to intrude in this conversation if unwelcome, but Fr. Harris quoted me by name in the post and asked a question. I answered it as best as I could. I am a regular reader of this blog but virtually never comment.

    Mark McCall

  29. No one in Greenville SC says, Christ (Episcopal) Church, Greeneville. No one in Charleston says St Michael's Episcopal Church. No one calls the former Rector Rick Belser, 'that Episcopal Priest.' Only where the episcopal church is a niche church, does one bother to identify it, because it is necessary.

    And where are you from Rabbit?

  30. I have lived within a two-mile radius of the above-referred graveyard at Columbia's cathedral, probably since before you were born, SammyBaby. That do? Since, for a second time, I have shown you mine, go ahead - tell.

    [FWIW, no remotely knowledgeable SC resident would say, as you said, of Charleston mayor Joe Riley, an exceedingly strong force in the state, who has just declared his candidacy for his tenth term of office, that Charleston "has had an outstanding Roman Catholic Mayor". "Has had". Come on.]

  31. While there may be reasons why Title IV should not stand, e.g., because discipline has been a matter for dioceses, that is, IMV, clearly not relevant in the investigation of complaints about Bp Lawrence. The discipline of Bishops is the responsibility of the House of Bishops and that body has approved the new procedures and any new roles that the PB may play in the disciplinary process. I fail to see how Title IV, as applied to Bishops, can be unconstitutional.

  32. My gosh, why so riled up? You are beginning to sound like the caricature of the southern provincial.

    Why not take a day off and spend some time at Mepkin Abbey?

    Joe Riley has had a remarkable career. That's what nine terms means!

    Gosh, I hope you are older than me. That would make me feel very good. I can recall the days when Seabrook Island was nothing but dirt roads and tomato farms, and Kiawah was unhabitable -- then came the 'Arab investers.' I have also thoroughly enjoyed the Rockville Regatta, back when Wadmalaw was unknown.

    But maybe in the Midlands you don't get out much.


  33. I don't call you or Brunton a troll.

    Is that a hard point to follow? Or are you too angry to think straight?


  34. Rabbit: Let's quit playing the silly SC game and get back on topic. Who cares? If you mispronounce 'Legare Street' I promise not to tell.

    Fr Weir

    Actually, I believe this is in question, hence the concern of many bishops that Title IV be reviewed. And several dioceses have made it clear they do not agree that Title IV in constitutional precisely in respect of the role of the PB.

    "...that body has approved the new procedures and any new roles that the PB may play in the disciplinary process."


  35. I pronounce Legare the way family members of my acquaintance pronounce it, Sammy.

    More "let's pretend we're SC Society" WikiFactoids and "what I saw on my vacation" stuff, but no answer either way. The truth is always such a pain in the rear, isn't it?

  36. The agreement of the House of Bishops to Title IV is a matter of record. Perhaps some member of the "junior house" are having second thoughts, but the HofB's vote on Title IV stands.

  37. Actually, Fr Weir, my question as to the relation of ACNA's canons to those of TEC is a genuine one. Any relevant insights would be appreciated.

  38. Egg salad sandwich at Five Points calm you down?

    Scrapbook of fun days at Camden Races?


  39. The questions raised did not break according to Junior House v Sr House. Indeed, and unsurprisingly, the resistance to the role of PB in Title IV often comes from liberals/moderates.


  40. Rabbit--you are starting to stalk. Let it go. You are looking ridiculous. I don't want to have to play the SOB card. 'East Ed Coleman' always warned us off that.


  41. Samuel,
    My comment seems to have been misunderstood. The PB had a role in Title IV's provision for disciplining of Bishops, a matter which the Consitution leaves to the HofB. That body approved the new Title IV at the last GC, which would, IMV, make the PB's role in the disciplinary process for Bishops in accord with the Constitution. By what logic could argue that the HofB does not have the right to determine the process by which it will deal with complaints about its members?

  42. I'm not sure why the ACNA's disciplinary procedures would be of any more interest to folks in TEC than those of the United Methodists, ECLA, etc. But here goes. The ACNA procedures and new Title IV have some things in common. They are both relatively new and untested, and as time goes by, people may find that what works on paper doesn't always work in practice. Both have both a trial and an appellate process. Whether one is intrinsically better than the other is open to debate.

    In +Lawrence's case, we are really dealing with apples and oranges. He is being investigated for alleged "abandonment of the Episcopal Church." There is no equivalent offense in the ACNA canons. Also, in TEC "abandonment" cases aren't handled by the ecclesiastical courts. Instead, they are handled by the Disciplinary Panel, the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops.

  43. Blinding self-centredness Sammy, even by the standards of "reasserter" blogging. I am "stalking" you? Mark Brunson treats this as his "private blog". Next, I suppose, you'll be holding your breath until you turn blue because not everyone will play by your "Sammy is always right" rules.

    A classic feature of the Lowcountry Episcopalian you seem to seek to identify with, is breeding. Frat boy bullying ("SOB card"? - Wot that?) is not, in my experience, part of that culture.

  44. And I thought you knew something about the low-country.

    SOB. 'South of Broad' (Street).

    So much for Diocese of SC familiarity.

    I'm not sure you think very carefully. I have NEVER assumed that I was in a position to say: "Mr Brunson and Rabbit don't belong here. They are trolls."

    That is rudeness.


  45. "I'm not sure why the ACNA's disciplinary procedures would be of any more interest to folks in TEC than those of the United Methodists, ECLA, etc"

    Good point. Thank you Paul Powers.

    Fr Weir

    "By what logic could argue (sic) that the HofB does not have the right to determine the process by which it will deal with complaints about its members?"

    It has the right to determine. But the new Title IV was not written narrowly to deal with the HOB alone.

    So, in the meantime, the HOB in its (post-convention) regular meetings has raised the question as to whether the newly voted Title IV is as constitutionally viable as had been argued at GC.
    Objections have been raised about the role of the PB. I would guess that in the aftermath of this past ten days, fresh questions will be raised.

    And add to that the view of Mark Harris that Title IV raises 'serious questions,' the real question -- as stated above -- is, why the hurry? And, why should a Diocese like Dallas, e.g., in its November convention seek to deal with a Title IV that is now being seriously questioned?

    Why not put the entire process on hold until these matters are settled? Harris has encouraged SC to go to GC 2012 and along with others seek a review. But in the light of the expediting concern of +Dorsey Henderson, it is unlikely
    we have that calendar luxury.

    And just why the hurry? This seems to creating problems, not resolving any.


  46. Sam, you speak as if a great percentage of the HoB are now questioning the very legislation that the HoB passed in GC. Are you making a bigger case than exists? Do a large percentage of bishops actually question Title 4, or are you vested in making a case there that does not really exist? That occurs often on the internet of late in the Anglican world. It is part of the "Orthodox" tool set, raise such a ruckus with just a few repeating the same story multiple times and suddenly it is thought to be the majority view.

    How many bishops actually question Title 4 as it stands? 10? 20? 50? Mostly the retired bishops? Mostly bishops ordinary? Suffragans? Ex-pat bishops? Or is it actually the usual handful of suspects? CFL, Dallas, etc?

  47. David--you raise an important question. If I had to guess, it was probably 20%. As of now, due to this past ten days, I'd guess it will be higher, maybe 30-40%.

    Now if you asked, what percentage is acceptable for the new Title IV to genuinely command respect and consent, I'd say, minimally 85%. Title IV is not like a favorite TV show. It really needs hardy endorsement, or it will fail of its own accord.

    I saw that you were also raising questions about fairness from the standpoint of your life in another Province. Good for you.


  48. One more crowing point scored, eh, Sammy? If you can't shout 'em into submission, escalate to humiliation?

  49. Dear Lapinbizarre -- One can only hope and pray for your life in the Diocese of Upper SC. Can you return to your basic concerns and stay on that topic?

    Let's try to hold on to the major Gospel promises and urgings. I have never had any interest in questioning whether you were from SC, or not.

    Glad you are in U-SC. How do you view +Dorsey's Executive Council President's statement in The State? How do you view the struggle up close in +Henderson's back yard?


  50. Dear U-SC, Colombia Rabbit

    From your Bishop:


    Grace and peace--Samuel

  51. I should know better than to take your bait, Sam, but here goes.

    "not a peep about living for years under the old Title IV" was my questioning why (until recently) there were no complaints from S. Carolina about the old Title IV. If Title IV (the old version) was always as bad as they say it is, why did we hear nothing about it until now? The obvious difference is that the diocese thought themselves to be a part of TEC back in those days...now not so much. Accountability was evidently not a problem until recently.

    A quick session of browsing SC diocese churches will make it obvious that they have a real problem with the word "Episcopal" (unless it is followed with the words "Diocese of S. Carolina).

    I was in S. Carolina last year, and were it not for the fact that I knew (and had attended previously) the Episcopal parish in town, I would have not known they were an Episcopal Church. The name Episcopal was nowhere to be found, not even a symbol that would tell anyone visiting that they were even connected with the Anglican Communion (much less by virtue of their being an Episcopal Church). The homily and music were what one could have experienced at any one of the number of Southern Baptist churches in the area. Needless to say, it was a huge change that happened in just a few years.

    In my travels, I have been in Episcopal churches all over the east coast. No matter where I'm at, I am at Mass on Sunday morning. Every single solitary time there was no doubt as to what kind of church I was in, except for my last few times in S. Carolina.

    There is no way anyone can say (with one iota of honesty) that it is not obvious what is going on in the Episcopal Diocese of S. Carolina. It seems as if the only church in the diocese that wants to admit being Episcopal is the mission in Port Royal that Bishop Lawrence is so set against recognizing.

  52. On the taking of older Title IV and accommodating this for a diocesan canonical context, see above (Mark McCall). Nothing prevents dioceses from taking a disciplinary proposal and assuring that in their context it can be properly deployed.

    The NEW Ttile IV voids that.


  53. I believe that you are a distraction. I don't care that you disagree, as you don't matter. I question whether you - calling yourself Samuel - even exist.

    If you do, your comments here indicate a disturbingly obsessive and unhealthy worldview, which it would be un-Christian and uncharitable to continue to support by treating you as capable of rational debate. As it is, I suspect you know that your comments are as pointless and hollow as your cause, and you come in the hope of inflicting some sort of emotional harm.

    That being the case, it is my duty to caution decent people to disregard and cut you off.

    Either you need serious help or a punching bag, and neither are here. These people, regardless of the blog's ownership, are my responsibility as a follower of Christ, and, to that end, it is my duty to alert them to the evil that you pose to them and to yourself.

  54. "I believe that you are a distraction. I don't care that you disagree, as you don't matter."

    Brunson at his finest.

  55. This now from +U-SC.

    "I have difficulty understanding why matters that are arguably legislative and constitutional in nature should be dealt with in a disciplinary context. I await the report and yet hope the review board shares my difficulty."

    Here's a Bishop, Fr Weir, who obviously thinks there is a constitutional issue at stake. I suspect his view is shared by 30%.


    ("These people, regardless of the blog's ownership, are my responsibility" -- confirms my view of Brunson's private blog sense).

  56. I will weigh in once more. I am had not heard that there had been discussion in HofB meetings about problems with the canons that that house approved at GC. Even if 20% of the Bishops are seriously unhappy with Title IV, the only remedy is to take up the matter at the next GC. I would have no serious problem with dioceses that decided, after careful consideration, to continue to use the old Title IV until the matter is resolved. I would, however, recognize the right of any accused cleric in such a diocese to insist upon the use of the new procedures. Disciplinary canons must seek to protect the rights of accused and accusers. If, as Samuel has asserted, there are serious and widespread concerns about Title IV in the HofB, I trust that that house will deal fairly with Bp Lawrence. In my limited experience with Bishops, I have found that they do not let their disagreements with one another lead them to treat one another unfairly.

  57. Fr Weir

    This is very reasonable and fair:

    "I would have no serious problem with dioceses that decided, after careful consideration, to continue to use the old Title IV until the matter is resolved."

    I think at issue is whether the Diocese would then face the same treatment as SC. That's why it would be very good to have this clarified ahead of time.

    +Waldo helpfully indicates that this is a constitutional and not a disciplinary matter. May his tribe increase.

    Let's not get further entangled. Things are sufficiently murky already.


  58. We have two problems. The first is that we have no Canon Lawyers, but merely lawyers trained in secular law who have made Canon Law their hobby. Bishop Sauls did do a degree in Canon Law from the University of Wales at Lampeter. I know of no other instance in which an American lawyer has studied Anglican ecclesiastical law.

    The second problem is that we have no court of appeal by which to judge the constitutionality of a new canon or set of canons. We need one.

  59. Fr Clavier

    Your first item is an opinion. More importantly, it is held hostage to the second, really more vital, concern.

    Obviously a brilliant orientalist can make very shrewd and often far more perceptive observations about a text than a poorly trained biblical scholar.

    But be that as it may.

    Your second point is critical and has been noted by many. This is also, e.g., where we get into trouble about saying one obeys 'constitution and canons' both -- yet the latter's constitionality cannot be simply assumed, else there is no distinction to begin with.

    And that is why the C of E, for example, and as you know, has ecclesiatical courts, judges, etc.


  60. PS--some of the comments alleged to have been made by 'canon lawyer' +Sauls might make your hair stand on end....

    'we know we just make it up as we go along' being one of them. Give me a trained and highly professional lawyer any day over that. (and let's hope the quote is inaccurate).


  61. All of this discussion about attorneys raised a thought for me: that this was the result of the work of a committee, and the membership of that committee would almost certainly be public. I found on line the 2009 Blue Book. There, beginning on page 766, I found the report, "TITLE IV TASK FORCE II ON DISCIPLINARY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES." While the largest part of the report is the resolution including Title IV as it became effective in July, there is some interesting information in the report.

    First, there is indeed a list of the members of the Task Force:

    Title IV Task Force II
    Stephen F. Hutchinson, Esq., Chair
    Duncan A. Bayne, Esq., Secretary
    The Reverend Barbara Bender-Breck
    Ms. Ellen Bruckner
    Joseph L. Delafield, III, Esq.
    The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick
    Mr. Luis Gonzalez
    The Right Reverend Dorsey F. Henderson
    Fred C. Isaac, Esq.
    The Right Reverend C. Wallis Ohl, Jr.
    The Reverend R. Stan Runnels
    Diane E. Sammons, Esq.

    Now, the title "Esquire" indicates the attorneys on the Task Force. I cannot speak to whether these are "canon lawyers" or "lawyers with an interest in canons;" but clearly legal thought was represented in this effort.

    Of further interest was this:

    An unfortunate outgrowth of a revision such as here brought forth is an appearance that the changes are vast. Such is simply not the case here. The large bulk of Title IV is, or will be, unchanged. Task Force II did not attempt to reinvent the wheel, but simply to express in new language much of what already existed. The abandonment provisions, appeals and modifications are essentially untouched, as is most of the other content of the Canon. What has changed is the process by which complaints are brought and heard."

    This suggests that in fact we have been working with these procedures since 2007; or at least since 2009. However, I took the time to look at the 2006 Canons; and while I have not done an exhaustive review, and wouldn't call my opinion expert, they certainly look much the same.

    So, perhaps it has only been with application that folks saw problems. However, conceivably some of these issues might have been seen as early as 2007, and addressed in the 2009 Convention.

  62. Must-read essay on lack of transparency in the +ML case.

    See T19.

  63. "What has changed is the process by which complaints are brought and heard."

    And therein lies 85% of the problems we read about in this case.

    Naturally, the move away from dioceses would not be reckoned a major change if that is the outcome one wants. Nor would one mention its questionable constitutionality.

    But as we are seeing, that does not make the issue go away. Even +Waldo seems to get that.


  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. Brunson at his truest! I don't lie to you and tell you you're a decent, important, powerful voice to me. Why should I? Polite and true are rarely the same. I have shown you great kindness. I have not called you names, nor libelled your convictions, nor denied you the Grace of God, nor accused your gods-and-monsters of illegal doings. I have simply told you what I see, and I see very well, whether any choose to listen or not.

    The inability of the others here to resist your bait and feed your ego is their own affair. I've warned them.

    To use terms you'll understand, everything I said is a well-known fact.

    You come to a place in which no one will possibly agree with you, with spurious "facts" and an aggressively-ugly attitude, then complain you're mistreated. You came to hurt, to tear and rage and assault, to smear and defame and mock.

    My attitude, and I tell you ALL of this only so you may gain some degree of insight, is to let you stamp and steam and scream with no response until, like Rumpelstiltskin, you rage and stamp so hard you tear yourself in two. Then God can begin rebuilding you. Love is harsh, sometimes.

    If you're not ashamed of your un-Christian behavior, I am ashamed for you. I pray for your soul, which is clearly troubled, and your parents, who clearly never taught you better.

  66. I should also add that I fully anticipate your diatribe about my faults, however, we both know that you lack the insight I have.

    Let me save you the time and assure you that I am fully aware of my own lack of sanctity, my hatred, my (as you'll perceive it) arrogance, my dishonesty, my hypocrisy . . . all of these.


    It doesn't change that I can read you so easily and what I've said is true.

  67. I fully supported the affirmation of Lawrence's election to the episcopacy; I believed - and I was right - that we would hand him his rope. I just hope that our weak leadership doesn't allow him to hang all of SC with it. We shouldn't be messing about with all this disciplinary stuff. It really is a lot of manipulating and sleight-of-hand.

    It should be a straightforward excommunication - he cannot be a part of our fellowship, so he should be cut off from it. If he wishes to repent and return, well and good, otherwise he is simply a poison in TEC's system. Excommunication means, also, that there is no legal question of who owns what as he has been cut off from any claim - no longer a part. Yes . . . gasp! . . . thrown out.

    God is all-inclusive - no institutional church is God. We must have order. Whatever kind of church it may once have been, it has changed. Change is the nature of all living things in creation. If you cannot be a part of the change in a community, you must, yourself, change and join another community. That is the difference between symbiote and parasite.

  68. Your words speak for themselves.

  69. "My attitude, and I tell you ALL of this only so you may gain some degree of insight"


    "We shouldn't be messing about with all this disciplinary stuff. It really is a lot of manipulating and sleight-of-hand.

    It should be a straightforward excommunication - he cannot be a part of our fellowship, so he should be cut off from it."

  70. It's encouraging to see Rabbit agree with +Waldo and against the following sentiment at The Lead.

    "It should be a straightforward excommunication - he cannot be a part of our fellowship, so he should be cut off from it."


  71. I see it is being reported that

    1. +Ian Douglas's Diocese of CT has no accession clause to the canons of TEC
    2. +Herman Hollerith's Diocese of S Virginia has no accession clause to either Constitution or Canons (as is true also of the Diocese of Virginia)
    3. The lay rep from Puerto Rico belongs to a province that has no accession clause.

    These are three members of the Disciplinary Committee.

    +Tom Shaw has of course famously proceded, knowingly, to violate the constitution and canons of TEC and has said that he has done so.



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.