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George Conger: Call for review after trial ‘flouted Church rules’

Thursday, March 27, 2008 • 4:43 pm

Call for review after trial ‘flouted Church rules’: CEN 3.28.08 p 5. March 27, 2008

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori failed to follow the procedural rules governing the trial of Bishop William Cox for “abandonment of the Communion” of the Episcopal Church an investigation by The Church of England Newspaper has found.

In a March 12 press conference, Bishop Schori stated she had not followed rules governing the requirement that the 88-year old retired bishop be granted a speedy trial, that he be informed of the charges against him in a timely fashion, and that the consent of the church’s senior bishops be solicited by the Presiding Bishop to suspend him from office pending trial. A subsequent investigation by CEN in conjunction with The Living Church magazine revealed an insufficient number of votes to convict were cast also.

The Bishop of Central Florida has called for a review of the proceedings, and the president of the church’s appellate court of review for the trial of bishops is understood to have agreed to look into the proceedings.


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Let us note, that is a story in the Church of England Newspaper Rev. Conger is talking about.  Lucky for KJS that no one with influence in the Communion reads anything but Episcopal Life.  Oh, wait, what’s his name is a member of the CoE, isn’t he?  But, he doesn’t actually subscribe to their newspaper, does he?

[1] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-27-2008 at 06:44 PM • top

I’m just waiting for Kate to reveal that +Cox was on double-secret probation at the time of her kangaroo court.  Let’s hope and pray Schori has, in the words of the Bard, heated the furnace of her hate to the point that it has singed her.

[2] Posted by Jeffersonian on 03-27-2008 at 06:47 PM • top

One of the last things that happens to an orgainzation before it dies is that it refuses to follow its own rules.  Bishops are to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church.  When the faith isn’t guarded, unity falls apart.  When unity falls apart, the only “discipline” is power.  Bishop Shori’s deposition of +Cox and, to a lesser degree, +Schofied have been exercises in power, not discipline.  We did not see justice blindfolded, but we saw the fasces - the rods and axe.  All of this is due to a break down in bishops (and presbyters, deacons, and the laity) not guarding the faith of the Church.

Phil Snyder

[3] Posted by Philip Snyder on 03-27-2008 at 06:57 PM • top

Is it definite that a court of review is going to look into it?

[4] Posted by oscewicee on 03-27-2008 at 07:09 PM • top

Phil:  You make a very good point.  When you look at the last days at Enron before its collapse, you see the leadership acting in the belief that they are “above the law.”  I think that this arrogance explains the PB’s actions, but not all of TEC’s.  I think there is also a tendency amongst TEC’s leadership to be profoundly disconnected from reality.  The reality is that TEC is facing serious problems - decline, aging, money drying up, members leaving.  But TEC’s leadership is ignoring these problems and instead circling the wagons every closer.  They are increasingly desirous of shooting the messengers and silencing any and all critics.  Hence we see proposals for loyalty oaths, sedition canons, and draconian disciplinary canons for laity, clergy and bishops with no significant due process protections.

I think that the Enron-like arrogance of KJS, DBB and the radical-liberals plays well with the “circle-the-wagons” desperation of institutionalist-liberals for now.

I also think that if there if TEC loses big in Virginia and California, you will see this temporary marriage of convenience come apart.  And given the breathtaking incompetence and/or sloppiness at play in the recent alleged depositions and actions in the DSJ, I think big legal losses are becoming increasingly likely.

[5] Posted by jamesw on 03-27-2008 at 07:22 PM • top

“Flouted” is the right word for it.

[6] Posted by Irenaeus on 03-27-2008 at 07:32 PM • top

Yup, Phil and jamesw—it’s as a wise old friend of mine likes to say: 

“An organization that won’t discipline itself will do no more than rot from within”...

[7] Posted by Passing By on 03-27-2008 at 07:37 PM • top

Hmmm - what would be the best way for this article to be carried in any mainstream American news sources, I wonder?  It seems to be clear and straightforward in its presentation of the situation, and would perchance open the eyes of some unsuspecting Episcopal laypeople who keep trying to tell themselves “nothing is wrong”.  But then again, would a mainstream American news source *fiddle* with it so as to make it unrecognizable? (Or am I just cynical on that point?)

[8] Posted by zana on 03-27-2008 at 07:44 PM • top

There has been an element of Wm Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ to all this.  Deeply depressing to see.

[9] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-27-2008 at 07:50 PM • top

<blockquote>I also think that if there if TEC loses big in Virginia and California, you will see this temporary marriage of convenience come apart.  And given the breathtaking incompetence and/or sloppiness at play in the recent alleged depositions and actions in the DSJ, I think big legal losses are becoming increasingly likely.</blockuote>
I rather like our position better then theirs (KJS & 815) better and better everytime she acts and speaks gives me much more hope for our side than I already had!

[10] Posted by TLDillon on 03-27-2008 at 08:06 PM • top

“the president of the church’s appellate court of review for the trial of bishops is understood to have agreed to look into the proceedings.”

WHAT appellate court of review for the trial of bishops?

And who is its president? 

(Or is this a reference to the COE investigation of this mess?)

[11] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-27-2008 at 08:08 PM • top

The Church of England are not investigating this mess; the reference is to the Church of England Newspaper.  I imagine the ‘president’ referred to is an officer in TEC.

[12] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-27-2008 at 08:21 PM • top

According to Wikipedia under “Ecclesiastical court”—

Courts and procedure for trials of bishops are provided for by the Canons of the General Convention (the triennial legislative body of the national church). There is one Court for the Trial of a Bishop, composed of nine bishops (though there have been proposals to include lay persons and lower clergy in this court). Appeals are heard by the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop, also comprising nine bishops. The Constitution of the national Episcopal Church provides that this court must be composed only of bishops.

[13] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 03-27-2008 at 08:47 PM • top

The Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop.  I can’t tell who the president is.

[14] Posted by wildfire on 03-27-2008 at 08:48 PM • top

There appears to one lay person on the list.  Either Wikipedia is incorrect, the constitution has been changed since the Wikipedia article, or her appointment is not valid. 
Lipscomb has retired.  Has he been replaced?

[15] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 03-27-2008 at 08:58 PM • top

Who can discipline ++KJS? Maybe the question is; who will?

I tend to conclude that the only way to stop this sickness is to not feed it.

[16] Posted by Dr. N. on 03-27-2008 at 09:00 PM • top

Thank you for the correction, PM.  You are quite right.
(And by the way, thank you for the numerous links about the Cotswolds.  I found them after the thread had been retired.)  I wonder which officer of TEC the president is?  Anyone know?

I am genuinely surprised to learn that TEC has an “appellate court of review for the trial of bishops”.  Since when?  Where does it sit;  who is on it;  who are its officers who speak before it?  Why isn’t it better known?  Is it only because it rarely has business before it?

I want to believe that it is something more than a dusty piece of paper, but where is it and who is it, really?

Why couldn’t there be an Anglican “appellate court of review for the trial of bishops”?  That would make things a lot easier than reviewing the trials of bishops in highly individuated provincial appellate courts throughout the Communion.  How much experience in appellate review would such individuated courts have anyway?

[17] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-27-2008 at 09:09 PM • top


Canon IV.5 says that the court of review shall consist of nine bishops.  The laywoman must be a staff member; but there are not nine bishops listed.

[18] Posted by wildfire on 03-27-2008 at 09:10 PM • top

Thanks, M. McCall.  You posted as I wrote the last entry.
Important question about +Lipscomb, Jill W., since it lists his term as being through 2009. 

Aside from identifying the president, I wonder what his other duties are?  One must be to review any phony proceedings “trial courts” attempt, as occurred in this case.

I think I read Bishop Wantland saying that Episcopal dioceses created the National Church and General Convention.  So I wonder if Provincial dioceses couldn’t create an Anglican court of review for episcopal trials?  If they did it for Nuremburg, Anglicans should be able to do this now.

[19] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-27-2008 at 09:29 PM • top

If I may add one comment to Jeffersonian’s post, the old Roman symbol of authority, the “fasces” is where the term ‘fascist’ derives from.

[20] Posted by wildiris on 03-27-2008 at 09:45 PM • top

So +Lipscomb is questionable and even with him they are short the sufficient number?

Are these further anomalies that will not deter the lawless jihadists of 815?

[21] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-27-2008 at 09:45 PM • top

The link I posted in #18 was about the wrong court.  The review court is governed by Canon IV.6.  It calls for nine bishops and also allows for the appointment of clerks.  But like #21 I can’t count nine bishops, with or without Lipscomb, and still don’t know who the presiding judge is.  The canon (not quoted in the link) indicates he is elected by the other judges.

[22] Posted by wildfire on 03-27-2008 at 10:07 PM • top

Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules.—Schori

[23] Posted by BillS on 03-28-2008 at 12:15 AM • top

Rules/canons?  They say what the Presiding Bishop wants to say, when she wants to say it, and to whom she wants to say it, and don’t you ever forget it, OK.  The canons aren’t rules, they’re more like guidelines, really. Or, “We wrote the rules, and we can rewrite the rules midstream if it suits our royal autonomous fancy…”  And the Montanists in the background say, “Now, why can’t these nice little orthodox realize this and leave us alone to rebuild TEC in our New Thang image?”

[24] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 03-28-2008 at 02:16 AM • top

So what would it take to formally remove the PB from office?

[25] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-28-2008 at 07:33 AM • top

“All Judges shall serve until their successors are elected and qualify; Provided, however, there shall be no change in composition of a Court following the hearing and while a proceeding is pending, unresolved, before the Court.”

It appears this Appellate Court might be inoperable, since it may lack 9 judges at the beginning or throughout any proceeding.

I don’t understand why the judges on it don’t have to be canon lawyers if it is the procedures of canon law they review.

Again, why not an Anglican Appellate Court, with canon lawyers on it, at least in significant part?

[26] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-28-2008 at 07:42 AM • top

Why is anyone suprised at the lack of rule following?  Brought to you by the same folks who did an “end around” by confirming a practicing homosexual as bishop when in 1998 the definition of sexuality was once again affirmed.

Didn’t you get the memo - the ends justifies the means?  Isn’t that in the book of Matthew somewhere?  wink

[27] Posted by B. Hunter on 03-28-2008 at 07:50 AM • top

A commenter at Jake’s said a recent “embargoed” letter from Bp. Howe to his clergy reveals more.  I for one would welcome more public discussion of these issues by the orthodox bishops.

[28] Posted by wildfire on 03-28-2008 at 08:34 AM • top

#27 B. Hunter
I don’t think that the issue is really so much at the surprise of not following rules as it is the fact that she and many of these Bishops have continued to violate their own TEc Canons & Constitutions and continue to violate the WWAC Resolutions (Lambeth 1.10 example) without consequence! It’s almost like God giving satan a free hand to Job to test him and his faith. Affliction after affliction and Job continues to cry out to God for help and ask why? It almost appears to be the same scenario. Will she and her HoB’s ever be called to account before the day of Judgement by God himself? That is the question now isn’t it?

[29] Posted by TLDillon on 03-28-2008 at 08:56 AM • top

The “Appellate Court” can likely only review the results reached by the “trial court”. The procedural roadblock is that, as I understand it, Bp. Cox never had a “trial” at all, so there is nothing for the Appellate Court to review. TEC used the ‘abandonment” canon, at which no trial is required, because the canon assumes that the accused has physically disappeared. [N.B. TEC’s use of the abandonment canon against Bp. Cox is also incorrect, but that is another thread.] I don’t know whether an appeal of the HoB’s vote to depose Bp. Cox to the Appellate Court is possible. The “Apppelate Court” could not discipline the Presiding Bishop but would only correct errors committed by the Trial Court.

All this demonstrates the distortion of the canons attending the disintegration of TEC proceeding along, and accelerating.

[30] Posted by Publius on 03-28-2008 at 09:47 AM • top

I am referencing the following because I think these decisions are important here, and there interpretation will affect how the civil authority would or would not intervene in the case of +Schofield.

1.  Watson v. Jones in Watson v. Jones, 13 Wall. 679 (1872), established a precedent for no involvement

2.  Gonzalez v. Archbishop, 280 U. S. 1 (1929), seemed to modify Watson v. Jones.: Justice Brandeis, speaking for the Court, defined the civil court role in the following words: “In the absence of fraud, collusion, or arbitrariness, the decisions of the proper church tribunals on matters purely ecclesiastical, although affecting civil rights, are accepted in litigation before the secular courts as conclusive, because the parties in interest made them so by contract or otherwise.“280 U.S. at 16.
3. Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 344 U. S. 94 (1952), the Court seem yo convert the principle of Watson, as qualified by Gonzalez, into a constitutional rule.  The Court said, 344 U.S. at 116:
“The opinion [in Watson v. Jones] radiates . . . a spirit of freedom for religious organizations, an independence from secular control or manipulation—in short, power to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine. Freedom to select the clergy, where no improper methods of choice are proven, we think, must now be said to have federal constitutional protection as a part of the free exercise of religion against state interference.”
393 U.S. 440 said:
“A determination whether such decisions are fraudulent, collusive, or arbitrary would therefore not answer the questions posed by the state (in this case the New York statute affecting Kedroff) standard. To reach those questions would require the civil courts to engage in the forbidden process of interpreting and weighing church doctrine. Even if the general church had attempted to apply the state standard, the civil courts could not review and enforce the church decision without violating the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits a State from employing religious organizations as an arm of the civil judiciary to perform the function of interpreting and applying state standards.”

For the Legal Eagles…. Is Presbyterian v. Hull controlling?  If so, in what exact manner.  The Church involved is hierarchical and TEC has not acknowledged a schism.

[31] Posted by EmilyH on 03-28-2008 at 10:00 AM • top

That is interesting Ms Emily and will no doubt be looked at in any ensuing litigation.

But I am surprised, given what you say of your lawyer antecedents.  Do you not thing that TEC should obey the law and its own canons?

It looks as if the TEC authorities are quite clear: a majority of the whole number of bishops was required to effect these depositions and that did not happen.  No lack of clarity - nothing to be adjudicated on.

Why does this matter?  Well tomorrow the PB will again further ignore her own canons and procedures and gerrymander a bishop’s election in San Joaquin based on this false deposition, an ignored standing committee, rigged election qualifications and a set up bishop, however personally worthy, and then presumably present this to the ABC to take into account in his Lambeth invitations.  She has already written to him misinforming him of the result of the HOB vote on Bishop Cox.  Does she think he is a patsy?  Does she not think that the whole Communion is not watching this?

And what of you Emily H - do you think this is right conduct for a church?  Do you not think that the PB should obey the law and the canons?

It seems to me that when the rule of law goes you get Tyranny.

[32] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-28-2008 at 10:45 AM • top

Let us not forget that Schori is a creature of +Bruno

[33] Posted by Creedal Episcopalian on 03-28-2008 at 11:40 AM • top

PLEASE….My stomach is queasy enough without that reminder!

[34] Posted by Cennydd on 03-28-2008 at 12:02 PM • top

I think it’s significant that the Bishop of Indianapolis apparently voted to depose Cox on the basis that he had performed Episcopal duties without the permission of the local ordinary(see Waynick’s quote on her website).  However, it’s my understanding that the deposition of Cox was premised on his submission to a foreign jurisdiction.  So Waynick voted to depose Cox on charges that were not before the HOB.  This should nullify her vote, and at the least raise questions as to whether other bishops voted for deposition on charges that were not before the HOB.

[35] Posted by phil swain on 03-28-2008 at 01:13 PM • top

Pagentmaster, you commented “It looks as if the TEC authorities are quite clear: a majority of the whole number of bishops was required to effect these depositions and that did not happen.  No lack of clarity - nothing to be adjudicated on.”  and provided a link to support your assertion but I don’t think that the link was to TEC authorities.  I am befuddled by why Mr. Conger’s opinion of the situation has been rendered as fact, and then reported by him as “new” of the fact, then picked up by a British magazine, which, citing his article in the Living Church, reasserts his TEC’s actioninterpretation as fact, and then others assert that the British magazine is correct..  Track it back, it’s Mr. Conger’s “opinion”, not fact.  Mr. Beers and the parliamentarian at the meeting rendered an “opinion” which is not fact.  The finder of “fact” could possibly be a jury or the highest judicatory of the denomination.  I simply don’t know but I am following it all with great interest.  Our diocese, convening just before the depositions, dealt with exactly the same question.  There was clearly a quorum present, for there to be action on a particular resolution, the question was raised as to whether or not a majority of all eligible voters was necessary or a majority of eligible voters present.  The parliamentarian, in public consultation with the presider agreed that a super majority was not needed.  No implication of fraud, arbitrariness or collusion.  A rather ordinary ruling in the course of a rather ordinary convention.

I understand, at least in instances of fraud, intent is a concern.  If the +Schofield deposition were to actually end up in a civil court (passing some of the potential first amendment hurdles above, and the issue of “standing” of the complainants addressed), and should a court rule that TEC did not follow its own procedures, it would judge TEC’s conduct in a manner meeting the criteria of Kedroff?..fraud, (rather than error) arbitrariness or collusion

[36] Posted by EmilyH on 03-28-2008 at 05:03 PM • top

I apologize for my comments on Conger+.  Apparently they have been well covered by the liberal blogs and I hadn’t didn’t read them.

[37] Posted by EmilyH on 03-28-2008 at 05:48 PM • top

The quotes from White and Dykeman cited at #28 and #29 of the thread I quoted at my post 32 above as well as the extracts from the canons make it clear what the majority requirement for deposition of a bishop under canon IV.9 is and always has been.  The lawyers I have read both reasserter and revisionist have extraordinarily been in agreement.  The deposition votes therefore failed and everyone is now aware of this. 

But thankyou very much for your reply Ms Emily - it looks like Goodwin Procter and their clients intend to bluff this one out, whatever problems it creates for them down the road.  Since this story has been in the Church of England Newspaper and the English and Communion blogs you may be assured that, like you, we are all going to be following this one with great interest.

[38] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-28-2008 at 06:31 PM • top

“A rather ordinary ruling in the course of a rather ordinary convention.”

So you think the grievous and weighty occasion of the deposition of a Bishop is just ordinary—just business as usual.  Have you really looked into the case of Bp. Cox and his particular acts and circumstances, and have you asked yourself what good it does the church to heap this judgment upon a man who has spent his entire life in faithful service in the Episcopal Church? (And why do it without even proper notice and without consulting the Bishops of jurisdiction, as required?) Have these people no shame any more?

[39] Posted by Paula on 03-28-2008 at 08:36 PM • top

Hi Paula.  I did not say that our diocese dealt with anyone’s deposition, I said it dealt with the question of whether a majority of those present and eligible to vote on a resolution vs. a majority of all those eligible to vote on a resolution, the same issue as has been raised by +Cox’s and +Schofield’s deposition.  We had no knowledge that the +Schofield case would raise the same issue but, in our diocese, it was handled in a very perfunctory way…  Normal course of business.  I am suggesting that, had the issue not been +Schofield, but simply a question of the chancellor’s and parliamentarian’s interpretation of Robert’s Rules, and the canons, there would have been little concern or red flags raised.  It may well be that this is the first occasion when the issue of validity or legality has been raised although the HofB has previously deposed bishops.  Some have asserted that, historically,  supermajorities were not required in at least some of those circumstances but I have not as yet been able to prove that as I just don’t have access to the canons at the time of the depositions, or the voting records.  I believe the depositions of Neptali Larrea Moreno and A. Donald Davies (1989) are ones that are the most recent and may be relevant.

[40] Posted by EmilyH on 03-28-2008 at 09:23 PM • top

But you are equating the business as usual with the situation in which the depositions occurred.  By the way, the history of the relevant canon (and others) has been discussed on one of these threads and is not a bit helpful to the claims of the TEC leaders—quite the opposite.  (I’m sure someone can give a link for this.) I don’t think that past abuses of the canons should make present ones all right.

[41] Posted by Paula on 03-28-2008 at 10:14 PM • top

Paula - I think you will find the thread you refer to on the link I put on #32 above - the whole thread summarises the position; also try the links at the top of GG’s post ‘Jake and Mark protest too much’.

[42] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-29-2008 at 07:23 AM • top

Paula and Pagentmaster, I have visited the link at 32 but I do not recall seeing a review of the depositions I mentioned.  I am not suggesting that any of this was handled as well as it could be.  I am not suggesting that there may not have been some technical errors.  I am suggesting that I don’t believe that previous history has been adequately reviewed and, if Paula has references and data to share, rather than an assertion that such proof exists, I would be delighted to see it.  I am asserting, that even if there were technical errors in the process, the outcome would have been no different and, if the situation were to end up in the civil courts (+Schofield anyway),  and the standards of “fraud, collusion or arbitrariness” were deemed relevant and applied,  +Schofield’s attorneys might have an uphill struggle.

[43] Posted by EmilyH on 03-29-2008 at 08:13 AM • top

Could somebody explain why enough bishops didn’t show up to an HOB meeting to cast a majority vote? Was there a big golf tourney that weekend or something as important?

[44] Posted by Creedal Episcopalian on 03-29-2008 at 08:21 AM • top

#44, currently the majority of bishops eligible to vote on the matter are retired bishops. As such, they don’t have a diocese to pay for them to take these little vacations. The travel money would come out of their own pockets.

If 815 had had the foresight to establish a ‘retired bishops’ traveling fund’ this mess would never have happened. If they had been especially cunning, they could have cherry picked which retired bishops they funded, thereby guaranteeing a slam dunk deposition and staying within the strict letter of the rules.

I’m told that retired bishops do like to visit the triennial General Convention.

I read somewhere that the Episcopal Church once had the opportunity to have the purity of the Dalai Lama, the theology of the Lutherans and the political savvy of the Chicago Democratic Party. Instead we wound up with the political savvy of the Lutherans, the purity of the Chicago Democratic party and the theology of the Dalai Lama.

Smugly anonymous

[45] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 03-29-2008 at 08:58 AM • top

we wound up with the political savvy of the Lutherans, the purity of the Chicago Democratic party and the theology of the Dalai Lama.

stalker, thanks for that, the cost to register and travel is also getting to be a drain on smaller dioceses, when the format is to sit around at tables and follow a revisionist Bible study and tell each other that “all is well”  Our Bishop is busy enough and has gotten into the habit of not wasting the thousands on these (mostly) non-events.

[46] Posted by Soy City Priest on 03-29-2008 at 09:18 AM • top

The issue of getting enough retired bishops to attend an HOB meeting is also one of the reasons why the PB’s thoughts about calling a quick May meeting to “deal with” +Duncan is not that simple.  The September meeting attendance will be a challenge if they want to go forward with their “orthodox cleansing.”

It’s just terrific that the bright lights are being shined on the way this “abandonment of communion” canon is being abused.  Given the SC letter and all the attention that has been drawn to the requirements of the canon, 815 will have a very difficult time trying to pull off this stunt again.  Schoria law must be stopped!

[47] Posted by hanks on 03-29-2008 at 09:48 AM • top

A “technical error” did not impose the equivalent of an ecclesiastical death sentence by manipulating the process to remove opponents with the majority of a quorum.  That’s not a technical error - that is either duplicitousness or incompetence.

As I’ve written before, the equivalent in our American democratic form of government would be the use of a majority of a quorum to impeach the Presiding of the United States for wearing the wrong color tie.  With a majority of a quorum and the mood some of the president’s opponents are in right now, they could impeach the president with a majority of a quorum.  That’s why it’s common sense that the Episcopal canons mean exactly what they say - it takes all the qualified bishops (the bishops of the whole number) to remove a bishop from ministry.  This is the gravest thing that can happen to a bishop, of course it takes more than the majority of a quorum.  Wake up, Church!

Waving it off and sniffing that it’s some sort of technical glitch is basically affirming that Kangaroo Courts are just fine if you are happy to agree with the Chief Kangaroo.  And that is exactly what we are hearing from the so called “progressives” on this matter.  No longer can they say they are the champions for justice.  Manipulating a process by using the majority of a quorum is exactly the sort of action that should cause true democrats and those that care about the cause of liberty to speak out if we dare call ourselves Americans.

I’ll tell you - those with clear heads should be quite concerned today if the Presiding Bishop carries out her plan against the duly-elected Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin.  815 has based its entire rationale of their lawsuits on the Dennis Canon and if they themselves cannot follow the canons of the Episcopal Church then their case is sunk.  Canon lawyers are on the sidelines today with their laptops ready to write their briefs about the gross miscarriage of justice going on in Lodi.

Goodbye Dennis Canon.

What seems to be driving David Booth Beers is to build a wall between the Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion to illustrate the point that the Episcopal Church is separate and autonomous denomination and the other provinces of the Anglican Communion are separate denominations - like Lutherans or Presbyterians.  This means that there is no direct link between Diocesan Bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Now all the Episcopal Bishops go directly through the Presiding Bishop to Canterbury - that’s what she is doing today. 

This should send off alarm bells in Lambeth Palace and with the catholic-minded Rowan Williams that the American Church will pull up the bridges between the dioceses in the United States and the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The actions today and before Easter continue to weaken Canterbury as just a figurehead and nothing more.  The real power is where the money is and the money is in New York.

This is in conflict to what Rowan Williams wrote to John Howe that he is in direct communion with the diocesan bishops and not the province.  Beer and Schori appear to be trying to usurp that authority between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the diocesan bishops by reconfiguring the Presiding Bishop as an Archbishop and thereby superior in rank to the Diocesan Bishops.  She then becomes a rival to the Archbishop of Canterbury by cutting off his direct relationship to the Diocesan Bishops - which does not go through the Presiding Bishop since she is not an Archbishop.

Remember, the Episcopal Church chose not to have Archbishops.  Each Diocese is a Church with a bishop in direct relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  815 is not a Church. 

Each diocese is made up of parishes and missions, not churches in the Anglican sense.  Each diocese has canons that limit or extend the scope of the bishop over those parishes.  Some have given the bishop more authority over the parishes and some - like Virginia - have limited his authority, instituting more authority to the parish vestries.

Katharine Jefferts Schori’s job is to preside over the House of Bishops - she does not have a diocese as Archbishops do.  Her manipulation or incompetence in carrying out her responsibilities of “presiding” was in plain view when she orchestrated the removal of two opponents just before Easter.

The deal is - why do the Diocesan Bishops allow her to usurp their authority?  And why do the laity continue to follow the bishops that allow her to intervene in their diocesan affairs?  That’s what continues to puzzle me.

Of course, perhaps the laity may be voting their displeasure by withholding financial support to the dioceses and voting with their feet.  The Presiding Bishop has made it quite clear she doesn’t care.  People can leave, she has said - who cares about them? 

What matters is power.

But in America, the power is in the people - that is the principle of our form of government is built on and many of the same people who formed the United States government, formed the dioceses in the Episcopal Church.  Those principles are what are at risk now and if we can’t find agreement amongst ourselves as Episcopalians or as Anglicans or even as Christians - perhaps we can find agreement that our democratic principles are at risk and we know it because we are Americans.


[48] Posted by BabyBlue on 03-29-2008 at 10:30 AM • top

Hanks said:

It’s just terrific that the bright lights are being shined on the way this “abandonment of communion” canon is being abused. Given the SC letter and all the attention that has been drawn to the requirements of the canon, 815 will have a very difficult time trying to pull off this stunt again. Schoria law must be stopped!

Agreed! Light shined upon evil is a good thing. But the question is what do you do once the light has been turned on and you can see clearly? Schoria law as you and many call it, is taking place right now in Lodi, CA.

As good as Bisho Lawrence and his Standing Committee’s letter is….it is too late! It was issued yesterday the day before this “Special Convention.” Plus his voice is the only voice being heard or read! So what really is anyone going to do about KJS? Who and what?

[49] Posted by TLDillon on 03-29-2008 at 11:27 AM • top

ODC, it’s late, but it is never too late.  As BabyBlue wrote quite movingly, “the power is in the people.”  We have to continue to be faithful and continue to speak the truth.  No guarantees of success, but we can be near certain we will fail if we give up the fight.

[50] Posted by hanks on 03-29-2008 at 12:21 PM • top

Baby Blue, you are making allegations, and state them as facts,  that may be very difficult to prove.  You state: A “technical error” did not impose the equivalent of an ecclesiastical death sentence by manipulating the process to remove opponents with the majority of a quorum.  That’s not a technical error - that is either duplicitousness or incompetence.” Again you state: “Her manipulation or incompetence in carrying out her responsibilities of “presiding” was in plain view when she orchestrated the removal of two opponents just before Easter.”  If there is evidence to be brought forth and a case made that what you suggest is true, then the claimant should be +Schofield.  It will be interesting to see if he files suit.  Here, it is stated as fact that the church “flouted its rules” to depose +Schofield.  That is a conclusion on the part Mr. Griffith presented as fact.  Your statement that +Schori “orchestrated the removal” of anyone is a conclusion presented as a fact.  If this does end up in court, after evidence has been presented, and argument made, we will have a conclusion drawn by the appropriate finder(s) of fact.

[51] Posted by EmilyH on 03-29-2008 at 12:30 PM • top

It is a fact, EmilyH.  That someone disputes it is of no import.  The planet does not become a pancake because the Flat Earth Society convenes.

Schori trampled the very rules she wants to use against her enemies.  Fact.

[52] Posted by Jeffersonian on 03-29-2008 at 12:51 PM • top

EmilyH, see Chancellor’s posts #28-29 on the “Bumped” thread “Let’s Get to the Procedural Bottom of This” (same as Pageantmaster’s link above in his #32) if you are really looking for the history of the relevant canon.  I didn’t say that I had an analysis of past abuses of the canon.  But if you can look at Bp. Cox and be glad to justify his deposition on the grounds of previous mistakes, then I don’t know what more I can tell you.

[53] Posted by Paula on 03-29-2008 at 01:23 PM • top

In his latest piece, Conger identifies Bp. Clifton Daniels of East carolina as the presiding judge of the court of review.

[54] Posted by wildfire on 04-02-2008 at 08:55 PM • top

For those of us who know Dan Daniels and his record of dealing with those who disagree, that’s a frightening prospect.  If there’s a pastoral bone in his body, he keeps it well hidden.

[55] Posted by hanks on 04-02-2008 at 10:08 PM • top

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