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Diocese of Pittsburgh: Standing Committee Statement on Threatened Deposition [of Bishop Duncan]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 • 9:43 am

Standing Committee Statement on Threatened Deposition

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is saddened to learn the Presiding Bishop and her chancellor will continue to press for the deposition of our Diocesan Bishop, Robert W. Duncan, Jr. for the Abandonment of Communion at the September 2008 House of Bishops Meeting. Although we recognize the authority of the Episcopal Church to discipline and remove its ministers for violations of its canons, we believe Canon IV.9, Sec.1 has been misapplied and Canon IV.9, Sec.2 has been misinterpreted in this instance.

Should our Diocesan Bishop be validly deposed pursuant to the requirements set forth in the canons, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is prepared to exercise its role as the Ecclesiastical Authority of this diocese.

Unanimously affirmed by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, May 27, 2008.

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Assuming Bishop Duncan gets deposed, I wonder how long it will be before the Presiding Bishop states she doesn’t recognize the Standing Committee? The term “lickety split” came to my mind when I first thought about it. I wonder if her powers of recognition will fail her before the kangaroo court meets.

This church really brings out the cynic, doesn’t it?

The Diocese of Pittsburgh, its bishop and now its Standing Committee need to be in our prayers.

The Episcopal Church: Where vox populi is always received as Vox Dei.

[1] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 05-28-2008 at 09:59 AM • top

Mousetalker - You took the words right out of my mouth. I fear a repeat of San Joaquin in Pittsburg where she will put forth via an illegal Convention and appoint a seudo bishop. Top of my prayer list is Bishop Duncan, the standing Committee, and the Diocese of Pittsburg as I know therof where they are and feel all too well.

[2] Posted by TLDillon on 05-28-2008 at 10:03 AM • top

Bishop Duncan has stated more than once that he is looking forward to the formation of a new ecclesiastical structure in the USA, which is a violation of his ordination vows (to uphold the doctrine of The Episcopal Church and its governance). What more does one need?

[3] Posted by PadreWayne on 05-28-2008 at 10:51 AM • top

Many prayers need to be prayed for our Diocese right now.  If +Duncan “goes quietly,” I can’t imagine a scenario in which DioPitt is treated properly by 815.

However, there is the operative word of “validly” in the statement - makes one think perhaps we might decide to ignore a deposition as invalid given the violations of canons?  One can dream, can’t one?

[4] Posted by Free at Last on 05-28-2008 at 10:59 AM • top

#3 PadreWayne, that is an interesting take on the subject. So, a bishop gives up any right to criticize the Episcopal Church and to work for change when he or she becomes a bishop?

Please explain what action Bishop Duncan has taken that merits deposition?

I suppose I am hindered by my intellectual baggage. You see, I am an attorney and the concepts of freedom of speech, fairness, equity, justice and not acting until the rules are actually broken have a great deal of weight with me.

I suppose pre-emptive strikes are justified as long as they further the goals of the organization? Even if they are not, nor have ever been in the Anglican tradition. But I suppose tradition gets the boot as well.

I pray you come to a deeper understanding of the necessity of showing mercy in all things before it is too late.

The Episcopal Church: Where vox populi is always received as Vox Dei.

[5] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 05-28-2008 at 11:12 AM • top

And Padre Wayne - many Episcopalian bishops and priests have stated more than once that, in essence, they are looking forward to the day when the superstitious nonsense associated with Christianity - including the bodily Resurrection, the truth of the Trinitarian revelation, the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as mediator between God and man, the Virgin Birth, the need for man to be reconciled to God - is discarded for good.  This seems to be, to put it mildly, a violation of their respective ordination vows.

What more does one need?

[6] Posted by Phil on 05-28-2008 at 11:16 AM • top

The Diocese of Pittsburgh and Bishop Duncan get it.  They are willing to act, which earns my prayers and standing ovation.

This is war, plain and simple.  In one way, Schori’s attempt to “Pearl Harbor” an orthodox faithful bishop got blown - no surprise now.  The correct response of the orthodox faithful is to fight the unprovoked attack of Dr. Schori is to use her own rules against her.  This statement of the Standing Committee reinforces that the orthodox faithful are reinforced in depth here.

What follows from this should be wildly entertaining, if not sadly morose.


[7] Posted by FrJim on 05-28-2008 at 11:23 AM • top

Bishop Duncan has stated more than once that he is looking forward to the formation of a new ecclesiastical structure in the USA

Since when is stating something a violation of anything? Statng that Jesus is a vehicle not the way is also against the doctrine of TEC! I guess the PB needs to be deposed!

[8] Posted by TLDillon on 05-28-2008 at 11:24 AM • top

Who will be the Jerry Lamb wannabe rent a bishop for DioPitt? Remember Lambinator was APPOINTED…not elected to the Vichy Group of San Joaquin(VGSJ). That is called a Sitting Committee as in sitting on one’s hands.

[9] Posted by Intercessor on 05-28-2008 at 11:39 AM • top

PadreWayne, pardon me for asking, but WHAT “doctrine and discipline” are you talking about here?  It seems to me that even the most liberal bishops have said often enough that The Episcopal Church “has no doctrinal core.” 

The only “obedience” and “discipline” Schori and Company seem to have a remote understanding about is that “obedience” and “discipline” which they apply to and impose upon those who dare to disagree with them or oppose them in any way.

[10] Posted by Cennydd on 05-28-2008 at 11:53 AM • top

Mousestalker, I read the article you quoted in your #5, and with regard to the Indaba groupings, you’ve got it pegged….right to the wall! 

I expect nothing good to come from Lambeth.

[11] Posted by Cennydd on 05-28-2008 at 11:58 AM • top

Yes, Cennydd #10 - recall Schori’s vision for her Church of Nothing - “we have no answers, only questions.”  Well, Bishop Duncan is asking questions about the proper organizational structure of Anglicanism.  Since when do we have to check our brains at the door to be Episcopalians, Wayne?

[12] Posted by Phil on 05-28-2008 at 12:04 PM • top

#12 Phil…an answer from SVa…when it goes against whatever PB Schori has on her mind on a particular day.

[13] Posted by southernvirginia1 on 05-28-2008 at 12:14 PM • top

The Episcopal Church:  Where vox populi is always received as Vox Dei

BTW mousestalker, I your link lines are fantastic!

[14] Posted by Nikolaus on 05-28-2008 at 12:16 PM • top

#5, 11, Scripture says we are not to be yoked with unbelievers or to commune with them - much less allow them to influence, teach and lead the Church.

[15] Posted by Floridian on 05-28-2008 at 12:16 PM • top

Is this so surprising, really?  The Stalinists at 815 are purging TEO of the orthodox, something that was, or should have been, completely expected.  If any diocese to the right of the Gang of Four doesn’t have a contingency plan for fighting or fleeing this onslaught, such dioceses are mismanaged and/or naive.

[16] Posted by Jeffersonian on 05-28-2008 at 01:54 PM • top

From the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:

Bishop: Has he been selected in accordance with the canons of this Church? And do you believe his manner of life to be suitable to the exercise of this ministry?

Presenters: We certify to you that he has satisfied the requirements of the canons, and we believe him to be qualified for this order.

The Bishop says to the ordinand: Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work?

Answer: I am willing and ready to do so; and I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.

From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:

Bishop. Are you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contain all Doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined, out of the said Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge; and to teach nothing, as necessary to eternal salvation, but that which you shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the Scripture?
Answer. I am so persuaded, and have so determined, by God’s grace.

Bishop. Will you then give your faithful diligence always so to minister the Doctrine and Sacraments, and the Discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church hath received the same, according to the Commandments of God; so that you may teach the people committed to your Cure and Charge with all diligence to keep and observe the same?
Answer. I will so do, by the help of the Lord.

Bishop. Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word; and to use both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole, within your Cures, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given?
Answer. I will, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you be diligent in Prayers, and in reading the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh?
Answer. I will endeavour so to do, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you be diligent to frame and fashion your own selves, and your families, according to the Doctrine of Christ; and to make both yourselves and them, as much as in you lieth, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ?
Answer. I will apply myself thereto, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you maintain and set forwards, as much as lieth in you, quietness, peace, and love, among all Christian people, and especially among them that are or shall be committed to your charge?
Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you reverently obey your Bishop, and other chief Ministers, who, according to the Canons of the Church, may have the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments? Emphasis mine.
Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

The new version is much shorter and assumes much. I can see where godly bishops can use either version, knowing that the shorter version can contain the entire sentiment of the longer. However, the shorter version can also be used by a bishop tainted with evil to accomplish a different reading.

In the 1928 version, the presbyter was only promising to obey his bishop’s godly commands. The bishop, by implication would only issue commands that were godly.

In Canadian law, and probably US law as well, major changes to the terms of a contract must be ratified either by individual assent, or by some sort of democratic ratification process. The new priest makes the promises based on the definitions of doctrine, discipline and worship at the date of ordination. Subsequent changes, if considered major, would require ratification.

Therefore, Padre Wayne, the promises cannot be eternal, because General Convention has the power to change the definitions. The Dennis canon, women bishops, prayer book revision, and blessings of SSU are all examples of changes that should have been offered to the whole Church for assent. If you asked priests who are currently serving to remake the promises in the 1979 BCP, many would have to do some serious soul-searching to go through with it.

[17] Posted by Bill in Ottawa on 05-28-2008 at 02:02 PM • top

Why does PadreWayne’s comment sound familiar? Oh, yeah…

Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?” Matthew 26:65-68 NKJV

[18] Posted by Peter C. on 05-28-2008 at 02:04 PM • top

In either case, BiO, it places the burden for judging a bishop’s words and actions on other bishops who, one would hope, enforce orthodoxy.  That’s the way it’s worked in the Orthodox Church for millenia.

Remember, Spong and Pike were both consecrated under the 1928 BCP, and look what the outcome was.

[19] Posted by Jeffersonian on 05-28-2008 at 02:55 PM • top

Can you show where +Duncan has violated the “Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of Christ as this Church as received them?”

I submit that those who have blessed same sex unions (calling what the Church has called “sin” to be “blessed”)are in violation of their ordination vows and their baptismal covenant.  To prove me wrong, you will have to show where blessing homosexual sex is found in the “Apostles teaching.”

Phil Snyder

[20] Posted by Philip Snyder on 05-28-2008 at 03:32 PM • top

I can imagine no action that would more unite the diocese of Pittsburgh to vote quickly to realign than the deposition of Bob Duncan on spurious charges of “abandonment of communion.”  And, of course, my understanding is that Pittsburgh is “neutral principles.”  The courts will make their decision based on title deeds, all of which are in the name of either the parishes or the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  815 can make no legal claims to any property in this diocese unless its name is already on the title.

Virginia, California, and now Pittsburgh.  The Schori-Beers team cannot really afford to bat 0 for 3.

[21] Posted by William Witt on 05-28-2008 at 03:46 PM • top

which is a violation of his ordination vows (to uphold the doctrine of The Episcopal Church and its governance). What more does one need?

Hmmm, well, the Philadelphia 11 didn’t seem to care about the doctrine of The Episcopal Church or its governance. If I’m not mistaken, I remember someone pointing out on a blog that technically there has not been a change in the canons about today’s presenting issue clergy and sexuality ... so it seems that there are two sets of standards to “What more does one need?”

[22] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 05-28-2008 at 04:08 PM • top

Thank you, #17. I was baptized under the 1928 PB rite and consider myself bound by it.  The promises that were then made on my behalf were: renunciation, fidelity, and obediance (to God’s will and Law.)  Every time I hear “baptismal covenant” I cringe. I do not consider myself bound by it as I was not baptized under it and I HAVE NOT RATIFIED IT as a change in my vows.  I did not promise to do effective social work.
Earlier today I was thinking of the Episcopal Church as a dearly loved person who has been afflicted with dementia.  The face is familiar, but the personality is vastly different and unpleasant.  Not the person I knew and loved at all.  Only death will release them from this degradation.  I’m hoping for a new North American Province that is orthodox Anglican.
With sadness in my heart for a once great lady, I am
Sad Dumb Sheep.

[23] Posted by dumb sheep on 05-28-2008 at 05:33 PM • top

Should our Diocesan Bishop be validly deposed pursuant to the requirements set forth in the canons, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is prepared to exercise its role as the Ecclesiastical Authority of this diocese.”
Hmmm, I see the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh being prepared to exercise its role as the Ecclesiastical authority of the diocese as recognized by the TEC canons.  Me thinks they are getting the jump on TEC…..don’t intend to have her declare them out - appoint new - hold a bogus convention - and put her reptile in bishop’s chair…..imagine they are taking every precaution.  Just perhaps The Duncan (who God appointed) should be legally deposed (by the canons), they are ready…..I sure hope I’m reading this right…..then they can take the diocese to the Southern Cone…...of which he might already have been accepted as a Bishop in Good Standing of the Southern Cone…...
I posted the above on Titus - am I really off base is saying this…...I do see it as precaution against 815

[24] Posted by Dee in Iowa on 05-28-2008 at 06:47 PM • top

I don’t think you are off-base at all, Dee…I think you have it exactly right—and I think they do, too!!!!!

[25] Posted by Henry on 05-28-2008 at 08:27 PM • top

Wayne, it looks like you haven’t read +Duncan’s recent letter to KJS. In case the above wasn’t enough, please note that +Duncan mentioned his ordination vows—from the 1928 BCP—in his letter, and how they demand that he “banish all strange doctrines…” from the church. Just adding to the argument, in case you didn’t get it yet!

[26] Posted by DavidSh on 05-29-2008 at 10:30 AM • top

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