"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

PB Schori Gets The Hammer Ready

The Episcopal News Service has the story of a letter PB Schori has apparently already sent to Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh and will soon send to my own bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker. The ENS story may be found here. (Hat tip to Stand Firm.) The full text of the letter to Bishop Duncan follows the ENS story. The key line of her threatening letter is clear enough: "If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church -- by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased -- and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action."

A particularly interesting part near the end of the ENS story is quoted below (boldfaced emphasis added by me). I call the reader's attention to a couple of points. First, Mr. Beers expressly states that the three bishops who have simply "proposed and supported these changes" to our constitutions may be attacked. PB Schori is not going to wait until second readings next Fall actually put the changes into effect before acting. She will act "promptly" following the upcoming conventions. A mere episcopal endorsement of breaking with TEC at a future date will be enough for her to go after Bishops Duncan and Iker. (Is the third man in line for attack Bishop Schofield or Bishop Ackerman?). Secondly, there is also a clear threat to sue "representative parishes" of the dioceses that are departing, not just depose our diocesan leaders.

Here is the key portion of the story:

At some point, assuming that all these and other constitutional changes go forward, the Presiding Bishop could ask the Title IV Review Committee to consider whether the three diocesan bishops who have proposed and supported these changes have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

Presentment charges were filed in 2005 against Connecticut Bishop Drew Smith, because he deposed a priest on the ground that he had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church in rejecting the bishop's authority. The Title IV Review Committee upheld Smith's action, and Beers said the decision is "an important road map to where we are going."

If the Presiding Bishop were to present materials to the Review Committee regarding potential abandonment by the bishops in question, and if the Committee were to agree that abandonment had taken place, the bishops would have two months to recant their positions. If they failed to do so, the matter would go to the full House of Bishops

If the House concurred, the Presiding Bishop would depose the bishops and declare the episcopates of those dioceses vacant. Those remaining in the Episcopal Church would be gathered to organize a new diocesan convention and elect a replacement Standing Committee, if necessary.

An assisting bishop would be appointed to provide episcopal ministry until a new diocesan bishop search process could be initiated and a new bishop elected and consecrated.
A lawsuit would be filed against the departed leadership and a representative sample of departing congregations if they attempted to retain Episcopal Church property.

"These are consequences, not punishments," Robertson said, "consequences that have long been clear, and are now being reiterated by the Presiding Bishop in the letters of warning. The goal is reconciliation, but also accountability."

Beers added, "The consequences can easily be avoided. But the Episcopal Church has the obligation to discipline its leaders under circumstances like this."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But the Episcopal Church has the obligation to discipline its leaders under circumstances like this."

Finally, after decades, they have found something important enough to fight for. Property!

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Bret said...

Ordaining homosexuals and presiding over the blasphemy of same-sex unions, regardless of the eternal cost, is considered laudable while standing firm for the Truth in obedience to God, regardless of the temporal cost, is an action subject to discipline.

"Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter." Isaiah 5:20

The die is cast.

11:14 PM  

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