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Presiding Bishop Writes to the House of Bishops

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 • 11:01 am


from Episcope

Presiding Bishop writes to the House of Bishops

The following letter was sent to the House of Bishops at 10:30 am this morning.

April 30, 2008
For the House of Bishops

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Inasmuch as the past several weeks have involved some significant situations, I thought it would be helpful to review and comment on process. First, regarding deposition for “abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church,” it is important to remember that such an act is not by definition punitive, but does give formal recognition to a reality already taking place. Once the Title IV Review Committee has certified that a bishop has abandoned the communion of this Church under Title IV, Canon 9, the bishop in question is given sixty days to respond.

During this sixty day period, Title IV has a provision for temporary inhibition of the bishop by the Presiding Bishop with the consent of the three senior active bishops of the Church. These bishops who must consent to the temporary inhibition do not, however, have a veto over consideration of the merits of the deposition by the House of Bishops, any more than those who must consent to temporary inhibitions in other circumstances have a veto over consideration of the charges by a trial court. This understanding of the canon is held not only by my Chancellor, but also by members of the Title IV Review Committee including an attorney who is an original member of the Committee, the chancellors of several dioceses who have been consulted, and the former Chair of both the Standing Commission on the Constitution and Canons and the Legislative Committee on the Canons at the General Convention.

As the actual vote regarding deposition draws near, it is important to recognize what does and does not constitute a relevant response by the bishop in question. A letter of resignation from the House is irrelevant to the charges brought forward by the Review Committee and the deposition proceedings, since deposition concerns a person’s ordination in this Church, not simply participation in the House of Bishops. Resignation from the House thus has no bearing on following through with the charges brought forward by the Review Committee. Deposition in this situation makes clear in an official way that the bishop in question is no longer permitted to exercise ordained ministry in this Church.

Regarding how the vote is to be taken, the canon is clear that a vote on deposition must occur at “regular or special meeting of the House.” Although we have other canonical consent provisions where consents may be secured by written ballot through the mail, that process does not satisfy the canons here. Every bishop entitled to vote is invited to the meeting and given ample notice that there will be a vote on depositions. Materials surrounding the deposition in question are posted in the “Bishops Only” section of the College for Bishops website. The canon is read that a quorum be present and a majority of all bishops present who are entitled to vote consent to the deposition, as was done in the case of Bishop Davies of Fort Worth in the 1990s and Bishop Larrea of Ecuador Central in 2005. In terms of parliamentary rules of order, any questions about the propriety of a vote are to be raised before the meeting or, of course, during it.

These are weighty matters, and it is important that we take seriously our procedures, as well as their purpose and intent. It is also important that we remember the reason that such canons and procedures are in place. These matters with which we are confronted have ramifications for many outside our House. For those who would like an alternative to deposition, we already have one, in the form of renunciation of vows in this Church, so that anyone may pursue his or her conscience and desires in another part of Christ’s Body. This option makes clear and clean an individual’s departure from The Episcopal Church. Resignation from the House is quite different, since it only deals with the person’s relation to the House, not to The Episcopal Church. Thus, to resign from the House while still claiming jurisdiction over a diocese with its property and assets is not a viable alternative.

Some have misunderstood the impact and intent of deposition. It is this Church’s formal way of saying to the world that the deposed cleric is no longer permitted to act as a sacramental representative of this Church. If vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church are not voluntarily renounced, how otherwise can a cleric take up new vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of another Church?

These are indeed difficult decisions that we at times are called to make, and I have no doubt that all of us would wish things were different. We must respond to the situations with which we are faced, compassionately but not naively, knowing that we make these decisions not for ourselves alone but for the people whom we are called to shepherd and oversee. I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori


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Comments:

What she doesn’t realize is that ultimately canons are worthless if they do not support the propagation of the true Gospel.

[1] Posted by physician without health on 04-30-2008 at 11:10 AM • top

Well, we are left to consider (beyond the several logical fallacies presented in the interpretations of the canons):
In what way is “this church” related to “the Church”? If Bishops are Bishops of the whole Church, how does this square with the geo-political boundaries of this tiny denomination?

In what way is “this church” related to Churches with which it is supposedly “in Communion”?  Is this a declaration that TEC is no longer in Communion with the Churches of the Anglican Communion? 

In what way is it correct to raise the canons of “this Church” above the Word of God?  Are we to understand by this that those who hold the Word of God above the canons are no longer welcome in the all-inclusive TEC?

[2] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-30-2008 at 11:14 AM • top

“It is this Church’s formal way of saying to the world that the deposed cleric is no longer permitted to act as a sacramental representative of this Church.”

So, the next time someone transfers to the CoE, we can expect them to be deposed.

wink

[3] Posted by tired on 04-30-2008 at 11:25 AM • top

As I read this statement I was struck with a thought.  While I would probably disagree with what she would say, I wish she would speak with equal clarity and depth on theology.

[4] Posted by Nikolaus on 04-30-2008 at 11:30 AM • top

Is this a declaration that TEC is no longer in Communion with the Churches of the Anglican Communion?

I think a lot of actions in recent months seem to point to TEC as seeing itself as no longer part of the Anglican Communion - whether this is acknowledged or not. Maybe, more accurately, as a sacrosanct preserve, *of* the Communion but no *in* it.

[5] Posted by oscewicee on 04-30-2008 at 11:31 AM • top

Can you imagine what it must be like to be one of the bishops receiving this letter?  The fact that you are clearly being told exactly what action to take, and by who, and that you have absolutely no ability to speak your mind?

These bishops who must consent to the temporary inhibition do not, however, have a veto over consideration of the merits of the deposition

What must it feel like to be reduced to the status of being a rubber stamp?  Pretty belittling, don’t you think?

[6] Posted by Charlie Peppler on 04-30-2008 at 11:35 AM • top

Have other presiding bishops arrogated to themselves as much power as this one has?

[7] Posted by oscewicee on 04-30-2008 at 11:37 AM • top

irst, regarding deposition for “abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church,” it is important to remember that such an act is not by definition punitive, but does give formal recognition to a reality already taking place.

None of the bishops deposed have “abandoned communion” - they left TEC. To say that they have “abandoned communion” is to say, in effect, that TEC *is* the communion.

[8] Posted by oscewicee on 04-30-2008 at 11:39 AM • top

If vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church are not voluntarily renounced, how otherwise can a cleric take up new vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of another Church?

Sorry, but this letter burns me. What *other* church? As someone said up thread, would she charge a bishop going from TEC to the CofE with “abandonment of communion.”

The irony of her saying :

it is important that we take seriously our procedures

is too rich for my taste. We have to take them seriously while we break and disobey them. Of course. We have to take breaking our own canons seriously because someone might wake up and notice.

Sorry for the sarcasm.

[9] Posted by oscewicee on 04-30-2008 at 11:44 AM • top

I wish she would just go away on vacation for .... about 6 years. Between Robinson, Schori, church property, lawsuits, churches splitting… this week is beginning to feel very long. Can we just go back to serving Christ? (sorry for the whine)

[10] Posted by martin5 on 04-30-2008 at 11:52 AM • top

If a group of conservative bishops do not get together and agree to stand up at the next meeting against this declaration of interpretation of the canons, then it will stand as the protocol from now on, and conservative bishops will deserve everything they get from now on.

[11] Posted by 0hKay on 04-30-2008 at 11:53 AM • top

Conservative bishops are the minority now so it would not make a difference. The majority rules. It is too bad that the majority doesn’t respect the minority.

[12] Posted by martin5 on 04-30-2008 at 12:01 PM • top

She said too much and part of what she said will come back to haunt her. The idea tha “every Bishop entitled to vote will be given an invitation” does not fulfill the Canon process. Oh, she is slippery. A quorum is not those invited, but those present of all countable.

[13] Posted by ctowles on 04-30-2008 at 12:05 PM • top

Explain to me again why it is necessary to obtain the consent of the three most senior bishop for temporary inhibition, if in fact they have no choice but to give it ?  Where does this “who must consent” come from ?  Isn’t it rather the case that for the inhibition to take place, it must have been approved by those bishops, not at all that the bishops must approve of all inhibitions presented by the PB after the Review Committee’s findings of abandonment of communion ?

It reminds me of the whole approval by bishops of a newly elected bishops; some have claimed that if the election was duly conducted, bishops and standing committees have no choice but to give their approval.. unless of course the bishop is orthodox, in which case he has obviously abandoned the communion of this “church” already so we should just depose/inhibit/throw him in the dungeon right away.

[14] Posted by Veronique on 04-30-2008 at 12:07 PM • top

Nickolas,

She read a statement handed to her by her lawyer who is losing quite a few cases.

[15] Posted by ctowles on 04-30-2008 at 12:10 PM • top

Cue Humpty Dumpty, and substitute “canons” for “words”.
You catch my drift - this is just sealant on the veneer of ersatz canonical legitimacy.  Say it long enough, and hopefully people will believe you.  Ignore the fact that plain reading of the canons can do nothing but show her ignorance (or manipulation) of the intent.
This is getting SO tiresome.

[16] Posted by GillianC on 04-30-2008 at 12:13 PM • top

It doesn’t matter if the conservative bishops have enough votes to change the way these proceedings will be carried out.  They have a responsibility to defend the Church and the faith it has received. 

They need to stand and say that the emperor (empress) has no clothes.  It is obvious that she is bent on doing away with the opposition one at at time.  Schofield, Iker, Cox, Duncan and co. are the easiest targets at this point in time.  Stanton, Howe and the other “Windsor” bishops will be next.  Sure, they have not abandoned the communion of TEC, but she will find a way to remove them as well.  She is shrewd and knows that by cutting off the head she can subdue the body.  The good news right now is that the “Windsor” bishops apparently have their heads so deep in the sand (I trying to be nice, let the reader understand) that she is prevented from getting a clean cut.

[17] Posted by frreed on 04-30-2008 at 12:14 PM • top

#9 you’re right on. The canons are being selectively enforced. A great example: the Diocese of Western Michigan had their convention this last weekend. A study was presented (not much though) about open communion in the diocese. A priest stood right beside the bishop and said she was doing this in her parish, all in the name of “radical inclusion”. Do you think she’s going to get brought up on charges? Don’t count on it. All she had to say about the canon regarding baptism and communion was that she didn’t think it’d get changed anytime soon. But so what? If you’re in a prophetic mode, you do what you want!

[18] Posted by DavidSh on 04-30-2008 at 12:18 PM • top

Timely questions from TJ. Since +Schori seldom (if ever) posts here, I will presume to answer the questions for her.

In what way is “this church” related to “the Church”? If Bishops are Bishops of the whole Church, how does this square with the geo-political boundaries of this tiny denomination?

The Whole Church is irrelevant. “this church” can do what it wants and interpret its canons the way it wants. And what do you mean anyway, by “related to”?

In what way is “this church” related to Churches with which it is supposedly “in Communion”?  Is this a declaration that TEC is no longer in Communion with the Churches of the Anglican Communion?

The churches with whom we are in communion are irrelevant. “this church” can do what it wants and interpret its canons the way it wants. And what do you mean anyway, by “declaration”?

In what way is it correct to raise the canons of “this Church” above the Word of God?  Are we to understand by this that those who hold the Word of God above the canons are no longer welcome in the all-inclusive TEC?

The Word of God is irrelevant; this is about canons. “this church” can do what it wants and interpret its canons the way it wants. And what do you mean anyway, by “correct”?
Oh, and by the way, thank you for your recognition of our all-inclusiveness.
+Schori
via The Rabbit.

[19] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-30-2008 at 12:27 PM • top

#7:  Oscewikee

“Have other presiding bishops arrogated to themselves as much power as this one has?”

I believe that the offer by the Southern Cone to accept jurisdiction over U.S. and Canadian parishes and dioceses was discussed fuly by the SC synod and voted on.  It was not a unilateral decision by ++Venables, the presiding bishop.

[20] Posted by Bill C on 04-30-2008 at 12:27 PM • top

Booth wrote it…Squidworth signed it. It’s more bunk.
Intercessor

[21] Posted by Intercessor on 04-30-2008 at 12:35 PM • top

Correction: Please substitute the name Booth with the proper name…BeerKat
Intercessor

[22] Posted by Intercessor on 04-30-2008 at 12:36 PM • top

It makes sense that having seized power from the institutionalists, the reappraising revolutionaries must consolidate power and control.  Because reappraising revolutionaries are a minority even in TEC, this is an appropriate time for TEC to grow a powerful pope, or party “general secretary” (ответственный секретарь?) if you will. 

Such powers are required to facilitate the Great Purge (Большая чистка) of reasserters, which acts not only to remove the counter-revolutionary undesirables (in the name of “inclusivity”!), but to encourage the cooperation of the institutionalists.

Perhaps soon we will see the formation of the Episcopal Commissariat for Internal Affairs, or some sort of ecclesial equivalent to the Народный Комиссариат Внутренних Дел.  I suppose this role may currently be considered as filled by the Executive Committee; recall that the EC assumed that it had the authority to assert non-canonical or constitutional limitations on dioceses seeking to remove the accession clause from their diocesan constitutions.

Of course, anyone who can read will quickly learn that the accession clause is only a requirement for entry of a diocese into TEC; there is no prohibition against its removal.

So, we have a troika: the Executive Committee, the PB, and the chancellor.  Together, they can make law by interpretation, and enforce it without oversight.

Let the Great Purge begin!

wink

[23] Posted by tired on 04-30-2008 at 12:38 PM • top

[22] Does that make 815 “BeerKat Manor?”

wink

[24] Posted by tired on 04-30-2008 at 12:42 PM • top

This stupidity about quorum is astounding.  There is no parliamentary expert anywhere who could defend her reading.  And while her chancellor may fear changing the rules and undermining the previous actions taken illicitly, there’s no reason she could not have said “just to be sure” we will insist on a vote of all the bishops entitled to vote—without ever admitting the error she made before.  In effect, she has just announced that she’s going to violate the canons (in several ways), and thinks that somehow that insulates her from attack and inoculates her from legal scrutiny.  It doesn’t.  Indeed, it makes it all look quite deliberate, which is worse.  What is her lawyer getting paid again???

[25] Posted by RomeAnglican on 04-30-2008 at 01:14 PM • top

This document was written by Chancellor Beers (or his associate) and is intended to state the Presiding Bishop’s legal position to bishops and to any Court in which a lawsuit concerning the validity of the deposition is filed.

Highlights:

1. The inhibition of a bishop by the three senior bishops is not a condition precedent to the House voting to depose.

2. A vote to depose requires a majority of those attending the meeting of the House, not a majority of the whole number of bishops with jurisdiction.

Does anybody know whether those assertions are truly settled canon law?

3. The time to challenge the Presiding Bishop’s interpretations of the canons is before or during the meeting at which the depostion vote is taken. In other words, it is too late to challenge the deposition of Bishop Schofield.

4. Perhaps most significantly, the decision to reject the Presiding Bishop’s interpretation of the canons would have to be made by the House itself, in a vote to overrule the ruling of the Presiding Bishop as Chair. That procedure would require ordinary bishops to defy the Presiding Bishop in public, and to her face. Such defiance would require a sort of principled courage not much in evidence within the House recently. Accordingly, this letter is actually a kind of threat to bishops who might be considering such defiance: cross me on this, and you will regret it.

I think that point 4 is the main purpose of the letter. This letter is truly remarkable. After all, the Presiding Bishop is not even threatening us reactionary reasserters (we’ve been written off) but is threatening her allies, the bishops who elected her.

[26] Posted by Publius on 04-30-2008 at 01:43 PM • top

If a group of conservative bishops do not get together and agree to stand up at the next meeting against this declaration of interpretation of the canons, then it will stand as the protocol from now on, and conservative bishops will deserve everything they get from now on.

This comment needed to be posted somewhere about 1968 during the Pike controversies.

It does not apply anymore.  The so-called conservative bishops left in the HOB are little more than wussy charicatures (with some notable exceptions).

-Jim+

[27] Posted by FrJim on 04-30-2008 at 01:56 PM • top

Sherman marches on! I am curious about the potential implications for defamation allegations in this.

[28] Posted by Adam 12 on 04-30-2008 at 01:59 PM • top

Definitely a threat. That’s pretty much all she’s done since she came to power, isn’t it? Issue threats and file law suits. Strange definition of “reconciliation.” I doubt she will be remembered as a “great reconciler.” Call the wrecking crew.

[29] Posted by oscewicee on 04-30-2008 at 02:04 PM • top

All I called for in #11 (cited by #27) is that they better fight the fight on the abandonment canon at the next meeting. They need to prepare their parliamentary tactics together and call for a recorded vote(which some small number of them can demand). Otherwise all that is left for them is BOMRIC (see comments at http://themcj.com/3781 [apologies for crudeness])

[30] Posted by 0hKay on 04-30-2008 at 02:14 PM • top

It was definitely written by an attorney. Who outside the legal professions begins a letter with ‘Inasmuch’?

I’d rather my church did not require suits.

[31] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 04-30-2008 at 02:35 PM • top

The Presiding Bishop’s nonsensical interpretation of Canon IV.9 is headed for a test in the California courts—-see the comment here.
I would love to see formal legal opinions in writing from “the chancellors of several dioceses who have been consulted, and the former Chair of both the Standing Commission on the Constitution and Canons and the Legislative Committee on the Canons at the General Convention” backing up the PB’s interpretation of these two sentences from Section 2 of the Canon (emphasis added):

The Presiding Bishop, or the presiding officer, shall forthwith give notice to the Bishop of the certification and Inhibition. Unless the inhibited Bishop, within two months, makes declaration by a
Verified written statement to the Presiding Bishop, that the facts alleged in the certificate are false or utilizes the provisions of Canon IV.8 or Canon III.12.7, as applicable, the Bishop will be liable to Deposition.

Could the language be plainer? Only an inhibited Bishop needs to make a response within two months in order to avoid being “liable to Deposition.” I sometimes wish that Bishop Duncan had not responded to her letter forwarding the charges of the Title IV Review Committee, since in one sense, to do so lends support to the PB’s nonsensical reading.

[32] Posted by Chancellor on 04-30-2008 at 02:45 PM • top

Odd that in this extended discussion, there is no mention of which canons she used to depose a canonically elected standing committee, start her own diocese, and install a hand picked bishop in the see.  Now, which canon is that?

[33] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-30-2008 at 03:03 PM • top

I think she has an, um, canoneer running alongside her making up the canons in the wake of her actions. Don’t look for a published copy, because the canoneer is having a hard time keeping up.

[34] Posted by oscewicee on 04-30-2008 at 03:05 PM • top

So, the Reichstag did burn, huh?

[35] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 04-30-2008 at 03:13 PM • top

I definitely think that this is an attempt by the PB to cover her legal behind given that they know very well that the purported depositions will be challenged in court.  KJS is hoping that the courts which will accept the “heirarchical church” theory will defer to her statement here even if her interpretation of the canons is arbitrary and nonsensical.

[36] Posted by jamesw on 04-30-2008 at 03:14 PM • top

“...so that anyone may pursue his or her conscience and desires in another part of Christ’s Body…”

For some reason that did not come out sounding quite right.

[37] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 04-30-2008 at 03:29 PM • top

Oh my poor wooly head! It’s spinning, spinning, spinning around. Would someone please make the world, or at least the Episcopal church, stop spinning?  Not even Fr Jake can control it. Baaa!  Dumb Sheep.

[38] Posted by dumb sheep on 04-30-2008 at 03:31 PM • top

But ... Dumb Sheep ... TEc is adding You Spin Me Round to the 2010 Hymnal.

[39] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 04-30-2008 at 03:38 PM • top

The canon is read that a quorum be present and a majority of all bishops present who are entitled to vote consent to the deposition

I do not have the canon in front of me, but from what I recall, the word “present” (bold) is not in the text of the canon.  And if the canon reads as I recall, it is not a vote of all bishops with jurisdiction (the ordinaries of the 110 dioceses in ECUSA—make that 109, with SJ having departed), but rather all bishops having voice and vote in the House of Bishops—which is, as far as I can ascertain, the ordinaries, suffragans, coadjutors, and assisting bishops of the various dioceses, the special ministry bishops of the military, plus resigned bishops still active in ministry, and a goodly portion of retired bishops.  That is close to 300 bishops, so a vote to depose would take on the order of 150 bishops in favor to be effective, according to an ordinary grammatical understanding of the canon.  That is a pretty stiff requirement.  It is no wonder that Bp Schori is seeking to have a looser interpretation made.

[40] Posted by AnglicanXn on 04-30-2008 at 03:45 PM • top

#4 “I wish she would speak with equal clarity and depth on theology” - She can’t; she also makes up her theology as she goes along.

[41] Posted by RalphM on 04-30-2008 at 03:48 PM • top

Anyone doubt that TEC is under SCHORIA LAW ?

Lord have mercy!

[42] Posted by hanks on 04-30-2008 at 04:07 PM • top

Actually, I think she may be right about one thing.  I believe that the whole inhibition / deposition thing is supposed to be used for those who really have gone to another church—Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, whatever.  Such individuals naturally no longer intend to function ecclesiastically in The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion and thus the action of the HoB actually does simply ratify an existing reality.  The problem lies in the misapplication of the canons to those who have done no such thing, but merely sought to remain faithful Christians within the Anglican Communion.

[43] Posted by Ann Castro on 04-30-2008 at 04:41 PM • top

The PB’s prose drives me to distraction.  My teacher genes kick in and I want to attack anything she writes with my trusty red pen. I lose the thread of her argument, such as it is, and my brain wants to explode. 
Has she never encountered the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly)?

[44] Posted by Invicta on 04-30-2008 at 04:46 PM • top

Invicta, this was not written by Bishop Cowgas.  It was written by her lawyers.

[45] Posted by Chazaq on 04-30-2008 at 05:05 PM • top

These bishops who must consent to the temporary inhibition do not, however, have a veto over consideration of the merits of the deposition by the House of Bishops, any more than those who must consent to temporary inhibitions in other circumstances have a veto over consideration of the charges by a trial court.

  Those above (Charlie #6, Veronique and Bill C) who claim that somehow +Lee, +Frade and +Wimberley (the specific bishops who now serve on this committee) are required to do anything have misunderstood the statement.  For an inhibition to take effect, the three must agree to inhibit.  But their failure to inhibit does not constitute a veto over the House’s ability to consider the merits of the deposition.    It may slow it down some and allow the bishop to continue practicing his ecclesiastical ministry until the House votes, but it does not prevent the House from hearing and deciding the case.

[46] Posted by EmilyH on 04-30-2008 at 05:20 PM • top

EmilyH, just for clarification, are you an expert on canon law? Is that your field?

[47] Posted by oscewicee on 04-30-2008 at 05:22 PM • top

EmilyH: The canon, in fact, only makes an inhibited bishop liable to deposition.  Ipso facto, if the three senior bishops do not consent to an inhibition, there is no inhibited bishop, thus no bishop liable to deposition.  What the PB is doing with this letter is setting forth an absurd interpretation of the canon in hopes that the courts will blindly defer to it under a “heirarchical church” theory.  I am not so sure that the courts will, as neither the PB nor any of the persons she mentions in the letter are recognized as competent authorities within TEC to authoritatively interpret canon law.

[48] Posted by jamesw on 04-30-2008 at 05:31 PM • top

EmilyH, please take a look at the two sentences quoted in #32 above and explain to me how a Bishop who has not been inhibited is nevertheless “liable to Deposition”?  How does the language of the Canon even apply to such a case?  It’s not that the three senior bishops are exercising a “veto”; their refusal to agree to an inhibition simply takes the matter out of that particular Canon.  If other Bishops still want to depose the person, they can always bring a presentment under Canon IV.1.

[49] Posted by Chancellor on 04-30-2008 at 05:38 PM • top

EmilyH, is it your postion that canon law allows depositions of bishops, WITHOUT inhibitions first?

If so, where then, is the protection fo due process?

Or is due process an obsolete concept, not liable to be imposed in the New Thing?

[50] Posted by Scotsreb on 04-30-2008 at 05:39 PM • top

As reguards a quorum: isn’t it usually spelled out somewhere what consitutes a quorum? If there are over 300 bishops all together, how can less than half constitute a quorum? Also, how can someone be deposed with a voice vote with no record? Unbelieveable!

[51] Posted by Already left on 04-30-2008 at 05:43 PM • top

Already left, a quorum of the House of Bishops is defined in Art. I, Sec. 2 of TEC’s Constitution as follows: “A majority of all Bishops entitled to vote, exclusive of Bishops who have resigned their jurisdiction or positions, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.”  At the time of the vote on Bishops Cox and Schofield, a quorum was 68 active Bishops, and that is exactly the number that answered the roll call at the start of the debate to depose.

Canon IV.9, however, spells out that regardless of the number needed to make a quorum to do business, a much larger number is needed to approve the deposition of a Bishop: “a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote.” “The whole number of Bishops entitled to vote” in the House on March 12 was 294 (see previous reference), so it required at least 148 affirmative votes on a motion to depose for it to carry.  The PB did not see the need for a recorded vote, so it was a voice vote only, but the point is that there were far less than 148 Bishops present and voting (just 131 signed up for the meeting, and of that number at least 16 had departed by breakfast-time on the morning of the vote. So the motion failed, but the PB signed a certificate of deposition anyway. Such are the kangaroo procedures that currently obtain among those who should be setting the highest of examples for us to follow.

[52] Posted by Chancellor on 04-30-2008 at 06:03 PM • top

EmilyH were is my logic wrong:

If a Bishop is doing something wrong, there needs to be a way to remove them.  There are two ways IV.1 and IV.9. It seems like bringing a presentment under Canon IV.1. would be the standard way of doing this.  This Canon includes a trail an everything.  However there are times when a Bishop has abandoned the communion of this Church and they must me immediately inhibited and then deposed under Canon IV.9.  This is a much quicker process, that skips the trial part.  This begs the question who decides if they have abandoned the communion of this Church and get the covered under IV.9 instead of IV.1.  In the canons, it says “The Presiding Bishop, with the consent of the three senior Bishops having jurisdiction in this Church..” decides.  This was a check put into place so that IV.9 was not used arbitrarily.  The three senior Bishops having jurisdiction in this Church decided it was not a clear abandonment of the communion of this Church, did not consent to inhibit and therefore should not be under IV.9, but IV.1.

What part of this do you think is wrong?

[53] Posted by JustOneVoice on 04-30-2008 at 06:22 PM • top

Everyone needs to run over to the Living Church and check out Memorandum Concludes Presiding Bishop is Subverting Constitution and Canons

[54] Posted by robroy on 04-30-2008 at 06:25 PM • top

As has been said so clearly on several threads over a period of weeks by Chancellor, Jamesw and others, Canon IV.9 was violated in the alleged depositions of Bishops Cox and Schofield.  The language is clear and unambiguous.  For the Presiding Litigator to now put this letter out to the HOB, having had several weeks to consider its clear language, is worse than outrageous.  It is flat-out dishonest to do what she has tried to do in the letter—distort the meaning, add words that are not in the canon, and skip over language that is there.

How does one who holds herself out as the leader of a church that claims to be Christian write such trash?  She and Beers have to know that they are wrong.  The evidence that Schoria Law has taken over TEC is clear in this letter.  She has sunk to the level of the national leader who once said—“it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

[55] Posted by hanks on 04-30-2008 at 06:26 PM • top

This letter, besides striving to assert the legitimacy of the recent deposition votes, is clearly also a preemptive defense of the coming vote on Duncan. Look at her (correct, on the surface) statement that the Abandonment canon is meant to recognize an existing reality instead of for declaring a punishment.  Note the subtle spin in the choice of verb tenses: “but does give formal recognition to a reality already taking place.”  Not a reality that has already taken place, such as leaving your see behind to swim the Tiber, but one that is taking place.  In other words, her letters takes as a premise something that she really ought to be making an argument for: that the Abandonment canon can apply to an action in progress (such as the planned departure of the Diocese of Pittsburgh) and not just a completed action.  Like most of the statements that comes from her office, this letter is only good for stirring up more turmoil and communicating the party line to her supporters.

[56] Posted by K-W on 04-30-2008 at 08:28 PM • top

Addendum: Now I get her statement that IV.9 is for recognizing a reality and not declaring a punishment.  You can only declare punishment for done deeds, but “recognizing” an action sets a lower standard of proof and procedure, all while sounding conciliatory by denouncing the idea that you are being punitive.  When you take an action outside the realm of judicial proceedings, you bring it into the realm of applied institutional power.  See Lewis, That Hideous Strength, and the Institutional Police…

[57] Posted by K-W on 04-30-2008 at 08:34 PM • top

In response to KJS’ “...it is important that we take seriously our procedures…”, oscewicee wrote:

The irony of her saying [this] is too rich for my taste. We have to take them seriously while we break and disobey them.


It’s easy. This is simply an example of taking the canons seriously, but not literally.

[58] Posted by kyounge1956 on 04-30-2008 at 10:20 PM • top

#24-tired
BeerKat Manor has been in a state of severe decline lately de-evolving into the Sporkadelic Shack.
Apologies to the Temptations.
Intercessor

[59] Posted by Intercessor on 04-30-2008 at 11:51 PM • top

By the way when did Greg Griffith sell the Stand Firm blogsite to EmilyH?
When will it be renamed Ask EmilyH? What the hell does the H stand for…oops…never mind… just answered my own question.
Intercessor

[60] Posted by Intercessor on 04-30-2008 at 11:55 PM • top

I think EmilyH is the greatest troll in the history of AnglicanBlogism.

When the definitive history of our time is written in 200, 300 years, she’ll have her own chapter.

[61] Posted by James Manley on 05-01-2008 at 12:22 AM • top

de-evolving into the Sporkadelic Shack

One free pass to the Laffin’ Place for Intercessor.
And where’s the Snarkster, anyway?
The Rabbit.

[62] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 05-01-2008 at 07:21 AM • top

[59] Oh great, now you got this in my head:

The Spork Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Spork Shack baby! Spork Shack, that’s where it’s at!
Huggin’ and a kissin’, dancin’ and a lovin’, reconcilin’ next to nothing
Cause it’s hot wearin’ an oven mitt
The whole shack shimmies!
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s
Deposin’ around and around and around!
Everybody’s suin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby!
Folks linin’ up inside just to get out
Everybody’s suin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Funky little shack! Funky little shack!

wink

[63] Posted by tired on 05-01-2008 at 07:55 AM • top

#63-Tired
Puff…puff…puff…whew you’re right . I can’t stop the dancin’.
Intercessor
Taking a stroll through my mind…sometime…I might be surprised on what I might find…...

[64] Posted by Intercessor on 05-01-2008 at 08:37 AM • top

Of course, this is far too clear, if twisted, to be Ms. Schori’s writing.  It is twisted because it works against the clear intent of the canons to use this for clear and undisputed cases ... when Bishop X joins the Mormons and dons his magic underware ....  First, the senior bishops will of course, agree to inhibition when this is obvious.  Secondly, even then, a stiff final requirement is in place to vote for deposition ... to prevent this canon being used as a purging mechanism.This letter is a beautiful example of using the language of law to subvert the law.  It is the logic of those who reject the lawfulness of our Lord ... who use logic as a tool when they wish and discard it when they don’t wish it.  Queen Schori comes before Aslan and says, “The Law requires you to turn over that traitor or all Narnia will be overturned in fire.”  In this case, however, the bishops are not traitors and only granting the White Witch her claim will burn Narnia.  By analogy, Schori’s desire to arrogate to herself the title of Queen of Narnia is clear.  Simple birthright in fallen Charn really should not convince adult bishops that she is their queen but the constant refrain from TEC bishops seems to be a drinking song ... “...all my trials and tribulations singing in a gentle pool of wine, don’t disturb me now, I can see the answer, til this evening is this morning, life is fine.“Sadly, the supposedly conservative bishops such as Stanton have gone missing for the past 40 years and the current state of affairs directly connects to their abdicating their episcopal responsibilities because they themselves would not live the holy lives to which they were called.

[65] Posted by monologistos on 05-01-2008 at 08:55 AM • top

What is next, K-W [#56]?  Being ejected because you have non-conforming thoughts?

[66] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 05-01-2008 at 09:06 AM • top

ok im going to post the relevant portions of the Canon for everyone espically EmilyH. to see
<“The Presiding Bishop, with the consent of the three senior
Bishops having jurisdiction in this Church, shall then inhibit the said
Bishop until such time as the House of Bishops shall investigate the
matter and act thereon”>

<“Otherwise, it shall be the duty
of the Presiding Bishop to present the matter to the House of Bishops
at the next regular or special meeting of the House. If the House, by
a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote,”>

[67] Posted by Lords servant on 05-01-2008 at 09:32 AM • top

Chancellor(#52), I agree with your analysis concerning what the canons require and the Presiding Bishop’s violations of them. Unfortunately, isn’t the remedy illusory? As I said in #26, isn’t the remedy to the Presiding Bishop’s misinterpretation of the canons an appeal to the HOB? Given the recent behavior of the bishops, I think their overruling the Presiding Bishop to her face is very unlikely.

Now a secular court can consider whether TEC violated its own canons in deposing Bps. Cox and Schofield. But if the Presiding Bishop’s interpretation of the number of votes required to depose is affirmed by the HoB, I fear that the secular court may defer to the HOB’s interpretation of its own canons.

[68] Posted by Publius on 05-01-2008 at 09:49 AM • top

In fact, Publius, there was no vote by the HoB to affirm the PB’s ruling that the requisite majority had approved the depositions, and there cannot now be any such vote before next September’s HoB meeting, if then (I doubt the PB will seek such a vote, because she’s too convinced she’s right already, as she indicates in her letter).  But there may yet be hope of a remedy, however slim, within TEC itself: see the discussion toward the end of this thread.

[69] Posted by Chancellor on 05-01-2008 at 09:57 AM • top

I agree with Robroy—read the Living Church article! The conclusion is particularly enlightening, since it lays out several avenues for action. Also, if I’m remembering what I’ve seen of the canons, the action that Conger mentions in his article could easily be tried, even if, in the end, it fails. I think it needs to be done, simply for the sake of doing it. Let the lack of action (if that’s the outcome) speak for itself.

[70] Posted by DavidSh on 05-01-2008 at 10:05 AM • top

Oh, I see SF has already posted the article. Sorry I didn’t see it earlier…

[71] Posted by DavidSh on 05-01-2008 at 10:08 AM • top

DavidSH wrote:

I think it needs to be done, simply for the sake of doing it. Let the lack of action (if that’s the outcome) speak for itself.

I completely agree and that is also the conclusion George Conger reaches.  There absolutely is great value in calling people to accountability—regardless of the outcome.  While there clearly is merit to the proposed presentment against the creator of Schoria Law, we should not give up on the idea simply because we think the spineless majority of the HOB will not go along.

Anticipating short-term defeat is the wrong approach.  I think the example of +Iker in his letter yesterday to the PB about the +Venables visit is an excellent example of speaking the truth and then letting the outcome rest in God’s hands.

[72] Posted by hanks on 05-01-2008 at 11:14 AM • top

This struck me as rather funny. +KJS Pentecost message is followed by her letter to the HOB. Really, they should be more careful on Episcope in what story follows what.

[73] Posted by martin5 on 05-01-2008 at 04:26 PM • top

What is next, K-W [#56]?  Being ejected because you have non-conforming thoughts?

I doubt things have gone so far downhill to where that would be the case.  Although, FrJake’s latest on his blog suggests that he would like to see someone deposed for merely talking about leaving.  I doubt that kind of attitude will prevail, nor do I think that the present state of canonical martial law will end up nearly so dramatically as the mass deposition of all the “Puritan” CoE ministers in the wake of the Restoration.

Still, the pending case of +Duncan suggests that ++KJS is trying to set a precedent for deposing a bishop by “recognizing” a break that merely in progress.  It would be beyond even the power of cognitive dissonance to propose a policy of “preemptive justice”, hence the need to claim that any deposition under the abandonment canon is neither judicial nor punitive. 

I also think it likely that she believes the spin that she is putting on the scope of the canon, because it seems the only way she tell herself that she is not simply beginning a purge or a power grab.

[74] Posted by K-W on 05-01-2008 at 10:22 PM • top

The sad thing is, PECUSA could have benefited greatly by kicking out the nonconformists and tightening discipline. The only problem is that it has come 40+ years too late.  Now all those that have failed to conform to the Revelation of God through the Scriptures and Catholic Tradition as recieved by Anglicanism are in charge of the instruments of discipline.  The patients are running the asylum.  Kyrie Elesion.

[75] Posted by AndrewA on 05-01-2008 at 10:48 PM • top

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