PB Schori Gets The Hammer Ready
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."