March 30, 2017

December 5, 2012

No Surprise - Presiding Bishop Ejects Bishop Lawrence from ECUSA

I am limited these days by my involvement with family matters following the sudden death of my sister (and thank you all for your generous prayers and sentiments), so I do not have time to put up a detailed post reacting to the news so carefully crafted by ECUSA’s Public Affairs Office, announcing that the Presiding Bishop has “accepted” the “voluntary renunciation” by Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina of his orders in the Episcopal Church (USA).

Note that on October 18, I wrote this paragraph in a post on the coming fiasco in South Carolina:

Indeed, any communication Mark Lawrence makes in public about the charges or his diocese now runs the risk that the Presiding Bishop will treat it as she did in the case of Bishop Iker, and declare that it constitutes a “voluntary renunciation of orders” so that she can shorten the process of his removal, and not have to bother with a meeting of the House of Bishops. And in fact, now that I think about it, mark my words—watch for that very thing to happen.

And Bishop Lawrence indeed did give a spoken address to his diocesan Special Convention held last November 17. The Presiding Bishop, exactly as predicted, took this address as satisfying the requirements of Canon III.12.7, which provides (with my emphasis added):

If any Bishop of this Church shall declare, in writing, to the Presiding Bishop a renunciation of the ordained Ministry of this Church, and a desire to be removed therefrom, it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to record the declaration and request so made.

Bishop Lawrence (a) did not address any writing to the Presiding Bishop; (b) did not renounce his ordained Ministry; and (c) did not request to be removed from that Ministry. The elaborately crafted press release from the Public Affairs Office is simply a poor attempt to cover over a huge, public lie.

That huge, public lie has been told simply for the sake of the Presiding Bishop’s and ECUSA’s own convenience. It is convenient for them to be rid of Bishop Lawrence now, rather than wait until next March’s meeting of the House of Bishops—that way, they avoid the necessity of taking another illegal vote of “deposition” by less than the full majority of bishops that the Abandonment Canon requires; and they are now free to reorganize those in South Carolina wishing to remain with ECUSA into a pseudo-diocese with a puppet bishop whose immediate and most important mission will not be the welfare of his parishioners, but instead the filing of a lawsuit against Bishop Lawrence and the real Diocese’s corporate trustees, in an attempt to force them to turn over all of the Diocese’s property and assets.

But for reasons I have already discussed in this post (and on Anglican TV), I predict again that the effort in South Carolina will not meet with success. ECUSA is destined to lose this battle on the diocesan front, and lose big—with ramifications for the continued tenure of Bishop Jefferts Schori and her egregious wasting of corporate assets on a personal vendetta.

See also this earlier post for an account of how she proceeded in just the same way with Bishop Iker. In the end, her disregard of the Canon will of course make no difference, because everyone no doubt wants it this way. Still—if ECUSA wants to have a rapid and easy means of getting rid of its Bishops, why not just write a Canon giving the Presiding Bishop the power to remove any other bishop at her pleasure, and in her discretion? They might as well do so—because they are already there.

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Yeah, I am thinking that Dan Martins had best shut down his blog if he wants to remain a bishop for more than another year.  Of course, it doesn’t really matter - given how KJS has played the canons, I am sure that if she declared that a bishop had sent her a renunciation in her dreams, it would count.

[1] Posted by jamesw on 12-5-2012 at 05:57 PM · [top]

God bless the good bishop.  This is standard Newspeak from 815.  I was asked to renounce my orders as it was “impossible” to transfer me to the Diocese of the Holy Spirit.  And the process of kicking me out in standing committee would be “painful” for my bishop.  I, of course, was counseled to do nothing of the sort.  That’s what he gets for not tolerating the gospel according to the Nicolatians.  It’s a badge of honor.

[2] Posted by Theron Walker✙ on 12-5-2012 at 06:01 PM · [top]

This is sad but not surprising, although I presume +Mark Lawrence will continue his ministry within South Carolina in spite of this action.

[3] Posted by the virginian on 12-5-2012 at 06:20 PM · [top]

Strikes me as idiotic on TEC’s part.  There are ordinations on the schedule shortly.  Had Bishop Lawrence ordained someone, he would clearly have been acting in an episcopal capacity, which KJS has “restricted”- and would have clearly been outside the canon (for those who accept the validity of the canon, which is another issue).  But at least she would have had a pro-forma excuse.  This “renunciation” is just a raw abuse of power, and as Mr. Haley says, a big lie.

I do wish the woman would send me a formal ex-communication, I need a new dart board for the basement.

[4] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-5-2012 at 07:14 PM · [top]

Proving yet again that the PB and her Council of Advice know as much about renunciation as they do about the annunciation.  George Orwell is positively rotating in his grave.  Pageantmaster has the best comparison for the PB over at T19.

[5] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 12-5-2012 at 07:33 PM · [top]

TJ,  Bishop Lawrence has already confirmed people which is another episcopal capacity. I agree though this renunciation is in her “dreams”. I am not sure +Lawrence has actually received official signed documents of his “restriction”. SO I am not holding my breath that he will get a formal notice of his renunciation. Agreed, this is a BIG LIE!

[6] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 12-5-2012 at 08:06 PM · [top]

I imagine the Fort Worth 7 and the Quincy 3 are about to discover that signing an amicus brief is also a way to renounce your orders.  Unless, of course, something worse happens.

“Resistance is futile, you will be conciliated”

[7] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-5-2012 at 08:08 PM · [top]

When I was accepted into the ACNA, I gave my bishop notice of that - and included that I was by no means renouncing my orders.  The standing committee did some legerdemain to remove me from the rolls of TEC clergy.  I am not sure of the changes in the canons or whatever, but when I left in the fall of 2009, renunciation meant that you were not a priest at all anywhere.  At least now, they do not say that you are not a priest, only that you are not an EPISCOPAL priest - and that is a big difference.  Though I still have less standing than a Presbyterian pastor…

[8] Posted by AnglicanXn on 12-5-2012 at 09:53 PM · [top]

Bp. Lawrence - sorry to hear this - but when you get the letter you might as well have it framed up real nice and all, and then maybe have minitures made of the letter that you can wear on you lapel and even reward folks for doing good work with it. 

Because I say it is a BADGE OF HONOR to be “Shoried”... 

I know it is painful, but think of all those who went before you…men of honor and of courage.  You know, the exact opposite of those ruling 815

God is using these circumstances to separate the wheat from the chaff.  You sir are of the very finest wheat.

[9] Posted by B. Hunter on 12-5-2012 at 10:31 PM · [top]

Mr. Haley,  we are praying and thinking of you at this time.  God be with you.  Regarding this post, you are so spot on correct.  God bless you and yours and God bless our good Bishop Lawrence.

[10] Posted by Blue Cat Man on 12-5-2012 at 10:51 PM · [top]

Anglican Xn- The new canon, the “At least now, they do not say that you are not a priest, only that you are not an EPISCOPAL priest” canon apparently does not go into effect until Jan 1 of 2013.  The canon Schori quotes in the announcement of +Lawrence’s renunciation, is the same as the one used against +Ackerman, +Scriven, et al- which is to say, a renunciation of ordained ministry.

I am willing to speculate that Beers or another of the lawyers spotted something deep in South Carolina law that they think will give them some advantage if they can now say “but he was no longer recognized as being in orders, so on an emergency basis, we installed a new bishop”- an argument they would not have been able to use had they waited until Jan 1.

I also speculate, that after watching the outcome of the CoE vote on women bishops, KJS might have had some concern over whether she could command the 2/3 vote necessary to depose +Lawrence, even under the unconstitutional method used to depose Duncan (which was 2/3 of whoever happened to be in the room at the time, rather than the 2/3 of all bishops entitled to vote, as called for in the constitution and canons).  So it appears that the motivation to be rid of +Lawrence (a) without risking an embarrassing loss in the HoB and (b) prior to the new canon taking effect on Jan1, led KJS to the expedient of one more fraudulent act.  But after 100 others, what is 1 more?

[11] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-6-2012 at 07:57 AM · [top]

#5 writes, “Pageantmaster has the best comparison for the PB over at T19.” Some years ago, when I suggested that one might get a photo of the PB (there’s a good one at Anglican Ink) and Photoshop her face green, I was rather severely chastised by other commenters.

I’ve also suggested that the TEC leadership might be using Mein Kampf as a leadership guide, and been advised that this is likewise inappropriate. That being said, it wouldn’t be particularly hard to add a little mustache…

However, actions are the fruit that a tree bears. Nothing I’ve seen (certainly not this series of outrageous lies) appears to be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Of course, there are other spirits. I suspect that’s what’s going on here. The first time she did something like this might have been spiritually difficult for her if there’s a trace of the Holy Spirit left in her. However, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Of course, we all know that +Mark has left TEC, along with DioSC. But, Canon III.12.7 isn’t the way for the TEC leadership to recognize this fact. The constitutional crisis in TEC thus continues.

I’ve observed elsewhere that +Mark is a better man than I; I know exactly what I would do with the PB’s letter of December 5.

[12] Posted by Ralph on 12-6-2012 at 08:14 AM · [top]

Ralph: I do know that ENS released a photo of the PB when she called Bishop Lawrence with her announcement and another image of her discussing the strategy against Bp. Lawrence with David Booth Beers.

[13] Posted by jamesw on 12-6-2012 at 11:48 AM · [top]

But, but, but ... Norbert was green!  At least in the LEGO version…

[14] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 12-6-2012 at 02:06 PM · [top]

In a sane church, the leadership would look at its plummeting membership and ASA and realize that something is seriously amiss.  It would then look at places where the phenomenon is *not* occurring and attempt to emulate those conditions elsewhere.  In a sane church.

Instead, we have the lurid spectacle of the leader of the non-imploding dioces being tried in a kangaroo court and expelled on the flimsiest of pretexts.

I think we know what can be concluded from this.

[15] Posted by Jeffersonian on 12-6-2012 at 04:13 PM · [top]

Shoria law strikes again. It is so much easier to claim that Bp. Lawrence, in a continuing act of insanity, renounced Holy Orders than to tell the truth. This is the preferred explanation as why he is no longer in the HOB.

[16] Posted by Pb on 12-6-2012 at 04:13 PM · [top]

“But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies.”  -  Winston Smith (1984)

[17] Posted by Fradgan on 12-6-2012 at 10:22 PM · [top]

Ralph (#12), you of course know exactly what you would do with the PB’s letter of December 5—is it, perchance, the same treatment that German composer Max Reger gave to one of his critics, as I related in this postThe story is one for all time, and simply resonates on an occasion like this:

One of the most magnificent witticisms from the arts was by German composer Max Reger (1873-1916). Responding to a negative review by Rudolf Louis of his Sinfonietta (1906), Reger is said to have shot back: “Ich sitze in dem kleinsten Zimmer in meinem Hause. Ich habe Ihre Kritik vor mir. Im nächsten Augenblick wird sie hinter mir sein.” (“I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me.”)

Substitue “letter” for “review”, and you have your fitting (but maybe not entirely Christian) response.

[18] Posted by A. S. Haley on 12-6-2012 at 11:55 PM · [top]

Here is another bit of good news and sanity from the Oregon Supremes:

Hopefully, the canon lawyers for the righteous and orthodox can use this decision in their arguments.

[19] Posted by St. Nikao on 12-7-2012 at 07:56 AM · [top]

“In a sane church, the leadership would look at its plummeting membership and ASA and realize that something is seriously amiss.” I don’t think this matters to TEC leadership. Their real agenda is anti justice, anti inclusion, anti women, anti men and anti Gospel. The ongoing confusion is not a product of the Spirit of Truth. It is humanistic yet dehumanizing.

[20] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-7-2012 at 08:17 AM · [top]

#18, Reger is a favorite composer. I know the story well. In addition to being a wonderful composer (for his era), he was a magnificent concert pianist, who apparently could only play well when sotted.

Since the bloggers haven’t deleted or edited post #12, I’ll go on. Yes, the Reger story is exactly what I had in mind. The real question is whether I would send it back to her afterwards. I suppose not, though thinking about it would be good. A more charitable response might be to have it lavishly framed, and hang it next to the ordination certificates. I think +Mark’s response was good.

We can joke about her uncanny resemblance to Margaret Hamilton, but this is bona fide, serious spiritual warfare, writ large. As was the case in pre-war Germany, she could have been stopped early on if the HOB had banded against her, or if the Anglican Communion primates had been able to follow through after Dar Es Salaam. Now, I think she’s pretty much untouchable, and I think she and her Reichstag know that. I don’t for a moment think they are insane - not yet, anyway. They are intelligent, cunning, and being guided by a blinding and deafening spiritual force that Holy Scripture describes with clarity. Others will fall before her work is accomplished. Ultimately, they will lose the war after winning not a few battles. I continue to pray that God will open their eyes and unstop their ears.

Like you, I’m still in TEC. I don’t have an escape strategy.

God comfort you and your family, and bestow strength and peace upon you, now in this Advent season, and always.

[21] Posted by Ralph on 12-7-2012 at 09:45 AM · [top]

I am afraid that what we are witnessing with TEC started in 1534. This is a natural deterioration of a split that was originally driven by politics and morals. Like it or not, all branches of Anglicanism still bear traces of the “authority” King Henry took upon himself as “head of the church.”

As a lay Domincan brother, I frequently discuss reasons with my Anglican brothers and sisters why they stay away from the Roman Catholic Church. I believe that, deep down, most of them are attracted to the Roman Church, but have misunderstandings over Soteriology, Mariology or the Eucharist.

Do you stay away for these reasons? Do you stay away for a building, or career, or family heritage?

I would to God that ALL of you AND Bishop Lawrence would come home to Rome.

[22] Posted by Temple1 on 12-8-2012 at 02:31 PM · [top]

You are SO right, Temple1.  The schism began when the See of Rome decided to depart from the Biblical Concilliar form of Church governance and declare itself the supreme ruler over the other Patriarchies of the Church… and there was also the sacking of Constantinople by crusaders sent from Rome.

[23] Posted by St. Nikao on 12-8-2012 at 04:34 PM · [top]

One very good reason for Anglicans to stay away from the Roman Church is the sexual perversion and abuse practised and covered up by those in clerical office, some of the notable examples, Archbishop Favalora, Bishop Raymond Lahey, Marcial Maciel.

[24] Posted by St. Nikao on 12-8-2012 at 04:38 PM · [top]

So, St. Nikao, can I also assume that you are forsaking Christianity at large because of people beginning with Judas Iscariot, and ending with unscrupulous modern televangelists? The most flagrant example of sexual perversion I EVER saw was as a vestryman in an Anglican parish by one of our priests once upon a time. PEACE

[25] Posted by Temple1 on 12-8-2012 at 05:22 PM · [top]

Furthermore… The Roman Church has always practiced a conciliar form of government. The last Ecumenical Council was Vatican II.
I have personally heard some Anglican clergy say that the reason TEC is in such a mess, is that the Anglican Communion has no megisterium.

[26] Posted by Temple1 on 12-8-2012 at 05:30 PM · [top]

I see that the bloggers have allowed the last few comments to stand.

As a lay Domincan brother, I frequently discuss reasons with my Anglican brothers and sisters why they stay away from the Roman Catholic Church.

Well, for starters, there’s Latimer and Ridley. Oh, and Cranmer.
Latimer: Christ made one oblation and sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and that a perfect sacrifice; neither needeth there to be, nor can there be, any other propitiatory sacrifice.
Ridley: ...the church was not built on any man, but on the truth Peter confessed, that Christ is the Son of God.
Latimer: “Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out.

The reasons for the Reformation go on, and on, and on.

Anglicans know that our leadership is made up of very fallible humans. We see examples of that on a regular basis.

Roman Catholics are asked to believe (somehow) that the Bishop of Rome is the head of all Christianity, and that he can speak infallibly. Heh. History has shown otherwise.

[27] Posted by Ralph on 12-9-2012 at 08:16 PM · [top]

Uh . . . Virg?  Did you know, by chance, that when you returned to this blog to troll again, some five years later after your stint here as a gay revisionist Anglican, and changed your blogging name to Temple1, that it would change all your past comments to the same blogging name?

; > )

Obviously, I’ll be deleting further off-comment or trolling comments—but I’m letting these stand, just as a nice reminder for all of us.

[28] Posted by Sarah on 12-9-2012 at 09:51 PM · [top]

[trolling comment deleted—this is a warning]

[29] Posted by Temple1 on 12-9-2012 at 10:53 PM · [top]

[trolling comment deleted]

[30] Posted by Temple1 on 12-9-2012 at 10:54 PM · [top]

[trolling comment deleted . . . and besides . . . you said that last time]

[31] Posted by Temple1 on 12-9-2012 at 10:55 PM · [top]

On top of everything else, I see Bishop Lawrence’s mother’s obituary today. May she rest in peace! Prayers to Bishop Lawrence and his family.

[32] Posted by Temple1 on 12-14-2012 at 09:27 AM · [top]

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