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Apology to Dr. Turner, ACI, and Communion Partners

Thursday, March 12, 2009 • 11:17 am

Earlier I posted a very critical comment about the ACI and the Communion Partners based on my misreading of the text of a comment by Dr. Philip Turner quoted in TLC. It seemed to me that Dr. Turner was going out of his way to say that the ACI/CP took a neutral position between the PB and Bishop Duncan. In fact, I have been assured that he was speaking specifically of the actual legal contest. I apologize to Dr. Turner, the ACI, the Communion Partners for my hasty and harsh words and my critical misjudgment. It was untrue and I was wrong.

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I think they just did.

[1] Posted by martin5 on 03-12-2009 at 11:39 AM • top

Before anyone goes off on the ACI, PLEASE read the statement they issued this morning:
This will tell you EXACTLY what they mean by “supporting the polity” of TEC. This is something entirely different than supporting the polity of KJS.

[2] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-12-2009 at 11:47 AM • top

From the article:

If leaders for the ACI and Communion Partner bishops were to file a friend-of-the-court petition, it would be to ask the court to deny the pleas by the reorganizing diocese and The Episcopal Church, Fr. Turner said.

Well, I guess I just am not a high-grade thinker like Radner, Seitz, and Turner, but the above would indicate that, indeed, ACI would be taking a position against the Episcopal Church in this instance.

[3] Posted by Allen Lewis on 03-12-2009 at 11:48 AM • top

While I would prefer them to say they were siding with +Duncan, it seems to me the proposed brief has the same effect.  I find nothing in the ACI’s position here to take issue with.

[4] Posted by evan miller on 03-12-2009 at 11:48 AM • top

The attempted intervention in Pittsburgh seeks to enlist the civil courts in a new and more serious challenge to the long-standing polity of The Episcopal Church. The complaint proffered by the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor seeks to turn The Episcopal Church’s governance on its head and asks the court to enshrine this reversal in civil law. It alleges that the polity of The Episcopal Church has as its highest tier of authority the central bodies of the Presiding Bishop, General Convention and Executive Council.  Underneath this triumvirate on “the next level” are the dioceses and their bishops.  Dioceses are explicitly characterized as “subordinate unit[s].”

These allegations could hardly be more incorrect.  The Episcopal Church is after all called The Episcopal Church, not The Synodical Church, The Convention Church or The Executive Council Church. This name reflects both the legal reality of The Episcopal Church’s constitution and the ecclesiology of an apostolic church.  The constitution of The Episcopal Church does not purport to define the authority of a bishop, who possesses the inherent authority of the office of successor to the apostles. The Historic Episcopate has long been recognized as an essential, non-negotiable element of Anglican identity. The polity of The Episcopal Church, clearly expressed in its name, its constitution and its history, is that of dioceses and bishops meeting in a general convention as equals. The Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council are the agents, not the superiors, of the dioceses.

From the ACI release this morning, cited above in #2.

[5] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-12-2009 at 11:53 AM • top

tjmcmahon (#2) -
Thanks for posting the link to the ACI statement. It does a great job of clarifying the ACI/Communion Partners stance.  However, I expect that the Presiding Bishop would view such an amicus curiae filing as taking sides against the Episcopal Juggernaut.

[6] Posted by Allen Lewis on 03-12-2009 at 11:57 AM • top

I think it is to their credit that these Communion Partners and the ACI are standing up for the rule of law - just as I would expect Americans to do.

[7] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-12-2009 at 12:05 PM • top

I completely agree.  I think Bishops Howe and McPherson have shown great courage by signing on, along with the “usual suspects” at ACI.  The PB will not be happy. At all.

[8] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-12-2009 at 12:17 PM • top

I have no idea why a purportedly orthodox group would be afraid of saying that they are “taking sides” when on one side stands heretics and on the other brothers and sisters in Christ.

It will be quite nice if they somehow gin up the grit to file an amicus brief and all that and their statements against the PB are just fine and all…but really if you can’t muster up the guff to stand publicly “for” orthodox brethren when they are being opposed then, well, what’s left to say.

[9] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 12:23 PM • top

It looks like when push came to shove the ACI the Communion Partners are going to be fair in their judgement of the PB and litigious 815.  Good job!

[10] Posted by terrafirma on 03-12-2009 at 12:24 PM • top

#7, #8-
Are they REALLY standing up for the rule of law?  Has the Presiding Bishop, by her uncanonical actions, violated the discipline of the church thereby violating her ordination vows?  If so, there is a remedy.  The ACI has repeatedly pointed out, in incredible detail, the violation of the constitutions and canons of TEC.  They have superbly outlined a case for presentment.  There is a remedy.  Bishops with jurisdiction can initiate the process.  The question is will they?

BigTex AC

[11] Posted by BigTex AC on 03-12-2009 at 12:34 PM • top


Ephraim Radner, Phil Turner and the rest of the ACI have made it clear that they do not agree with the new Province strategy.  The very title of their organization—Anglican Communion Institute—indicates that they endorse a communion wide “solution,” or lack of a “solution,” if that fails.  At the same time, their filing of a brief would indeed be “favorable” to one side in the current disagreement, just as those TEC bishops who protested Bishop Duncan’s deposition were “favorable” to a side, even if they did not agree with the decision made by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

I would rather think that the ACI’s filing of a brief from within TEC would have a kind of weight in helping the court to assess whether the Presiding Bishop was acting within the canons that a brief from someone within the new Province might not have.  As such, they are acting as allies, and, I imagine, many in Pittsburgh will be grateful.

At the same time, I do wish that the self-identified orthodox here in Pittsburgh who have decided to align themselves with KJS and the new Pittsburgh TEC diocese and its appointed bishop would listen carefully to what the ACI is saying.  The Presiding Bishop’s strategy is not only un-Christian; it is contrary to the canon law and historic polity of the Episcopal Church.  One could take their protests of orthodoxy more seriously if they opposed the lawsuit strategy as forcefully as they opposed realignment, and if they opposed the appointment of a bishop who had signed Spong’s Koinonia document as vigorously as they have opposed Bishop Duncan.

[12] Posted by William Witt on 03-12-2009 at 12:45 PM • top

Here is an article from ENS on

FORT WORTH: Continuing diocese requests ‘orderly transfer of assets’


[13] Posted by martin5 on 03-12-2009 at 12:55 PM • top

Dr. Witt,

That is simply not the problem. I really don’t care whether they agree with the ACNA strategy or not. I disagree with the CP strategy. Who cares.

But when/if it were ever to come to a pitched fight between the CP and 815, there is simply no question about which “side” most orthodox…myself included..would be on.

It is, as I said, very nice that they are considering possibly at some point in the future maybe if they can get around to it, filing an amicus brief…very good of them. And they have written some fine statements.

But that these people have to take pains to publicly declare themselves neutral…make sure that everyone knows that they are “not taking sides” between the PB and +Duncan simply takes my breath away.

[14] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 12:57 PM • top

I do understand your point and don’t see why they had to tarnish a good statement by adding that comment.

[15] Posted by evan miller on 03-12-2009 at 01:01 PM • top

I have no idea why a purportedly orthodox group would be afraid of saying that they are “taking sides” when on one side stands heretics and on the other brothers and sisters in Christ.

But it’s not quite as clear-cut as that, is it? The folks in ACI are not the only orthodox still left in TEC.

[16] Posted by oscewicee on 03-12-2009 at 01:08 PM • top

#s 14 and 15, my guess would be that it has to do with the fact that such a statement could be received by the courts without the prejudice ascribed to such a statement otherwise. This might allow it a hearing (as a third party statement) that it would otherwise not get; the neutrality provides it credibility that it could not have were it a statement by an ACNA group or by a TEC group.

[17] Posted by optimus prime on 03-12-2009 at 01:23 PM • top

Assuming the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, this statement from ACI will join the large pile of ACI statements. Any hope that the statement will lead to an amicus curiae brief or even a call to protest against or take any kind of action against KJS and her chancellor will, as always, be exposed as futile. That is the ACI modus operandi. I am grateful for the time they took to write the statement. I hope it did not distract from their otherwise “high-grade” thinking.

[18] Posted by Dan Crawford on 03-12-2009 at 01:32 PM • top

Dear Mr Kennedy—Apart from your intriguing effort to personalise the essay in question by focusing on a remark by Dr Turner in TLC, did you bother actually to read the statement? We are quite capable, as you will know, of taking principled issue with Bishop Duncan, have done so in the past in respect of many things. Dr Turner’s comment is not an attack on Bishop Duncan, nor would I imagine that he would take it so. It is, as voice of sanity in #17 indicates, an effort to focus on the case at hand, the principles being argued, and with an eye toward effectiveness. You may decide to make everything now in play in the Communion a proxy on Bishop Duncan and ACNA, but that is surely not the intent of those who signed the statement. Which of course has not appeared on your blog. With sincere good wishes to you in what is surely a difficult time.

[19] Posted by zebra on 03-12-2009 at 01:33 PM • top

#11   BigTexAC, in answer to your question re “Bishops with jurisdiction can initiate the process.”:  I doubt they will.  Birds of a feather, etc….......

[20] Posted by Cennydd on 03-12-2009 at 01:37 PM • top

Oh yes Seitz-ACI, I read the statement and as I said above—perhaps you did not read my comments—it was very nice.

And you are correct that Dr. Turner’s comment is “not an attack on Bishop Duncan.” And that is also very nice. I mean if you are looking for something good to say about Dr. Turner’s comments then it is, I suppose, commendable that Dr. Turner did not “attack” Bishop Duncan.

[21] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 01:43 PM • top

The voice of sanity can be incredibly self serving at times.  Let’s hope that the “neutral” stance here doesn’t amount to “The Dwarves are for the dwarves” lest you lose your souls for it.  If you start shooting Narnian talking horses with those courteous words of reason, I’m done with you.  I say this with both levity and warning.

[22] Posted by monologistos on 03-12-2009 at 01:47 PM • top

I have a question:

What happened when the Reformed Episcopal Church split in 1873?

(That would seem to me to be the “historic polity of The Episcopal Church” more than the mess we have now).

[23] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-12-2009 at 01:52 PM • top

[11] BigTexAC,

Clearly, the answer to your question is yes, they are standing up for the rule of law. Consideration of the rule of law is precisely what the categorization of the PB’s actions as uncanonical is about.

As to follow-on action by the House of Bishops, given the utter disregard of the rule of law by the PB and the majority in the HoB to date, two of the CP bishops are, as has been implied above, at some risk from signing this paper. Absent some reproach from the civil courts in response to TEC, I seriously doubt that there is sufficient sentiment in the HoB to make the submission of a presentment anything beyond an invitation by its signatories to the PB to attempt to depose them.

Tactical surprise, and the effectiveness of same, is as much about the timing of one’s actions, as it is about their novelty. I think it wise to withhold judgment until one or more of the court cases comes to judgment, at least initial, if not appellate. It isn’t enjoyable to wait for such, but it is prudent. Consider how ineffective it would be to be removed from the field of battle because of a premature initiative thereby missing the battle in which one’s presence and actions might have produced victory.

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer

[24] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-12-2009 at 01:57 PM • top

I think the statement as it stands would make a good presentation to the court.  In not taking sides, they present themselves as impartial, presenting information the court might not otherwise have.  They certainly do not seem to support TEO, and they have documented many of KJS’s faits accompli.  It seems that the further away from Pgh a parish is, the less info it had to make a decision on.  The parishes remaining with TEO seem to be in outlying areas without good access to the center of things.
Dumb Sheep.

[25] Posted by dumb sheep on 03-12-2009 at 02:02 PM • top

# 21

but really if you can’t muster up the guff to stand publicly “for” orthodox brethren when they are being opposed then, well, what’s left to say.

Actually there is plenty left to say. But in order that anything might actually be heard, one must be wise in the means by which they articulate it as it would appear ACI is doing. It is not, as history demonstrates (see the Reformation debates), so often what is said, as how it is communicated that impacts the outcome of various situations. In the case of ACI, both what they have said and how they have said it provides both good Christian witness and a potentially fruitful way of engaging an issue as a mediating party.

But that these people have to take pains to publicly declare themselves neutral…make sure that everyone knows that they are “not taking sides” between the PB and +Duncan simply takes my breath away.

Actually this is as I’ve said, both good Christian witness and potentially quite fruitful for the particular situation in which they could be called to witness; an opportunity they might actually get given how they have presented the statement.

[26] Posted by optimus prime on 03-12-2009 at 02:04 PM • top

[18] Dan Crawford,

Your comment concerning the ACI is uncharitable in the extreme. Unless you have some personal and private knowledge of what the ACI will, or will not, do, I take your comments as purely personal speculation. I would humbly suggest that such pure negative speculation on your part is not only self-defeating, but demoralizing to others whose personal stake in this battle is much higher than many of us commenting here, obviously excepting Fr. Kennedy, among others.

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer

[27] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-12-2009 at 02:08 PM • top

OP, I think it is a simply awful Christian witness for the reasons I’ve already noted. There was no reason to say anything at all…that, I think, would have been the wisest course. Then, indeed, their actions might have been permitted to speak for themselves. But Dr. Turner’s words now add an interpretive lens to the actions. You can speculate all you want, as can anyone else, about the “real” “true” motives…but the ACI has now said very clearly and explicitly that its sole interest in this issue is the polity of TEC and that they do not take sides.

It’s nice to try to make it prettier than that…quite charitable…but you are working against Dr. Turner’s words.

[28] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 02:20 PM • top

Since ACI is working *within* TEC, where else should their interests lie?

[29] Posted by oscewicee on 03-12-2009 at 02:23 PM • top

This announcement is certainly calls into public question the image that the Episcopal Church is attempting to portray that all is well and they are one big happy family but for those unhelpful schismatics.

The fact that this being made public illustrates that attempts at private diplomacy have failed.  If TEC were a company, today would not be a good day on Wall Street, no not at all.

First, we have publicly Bishop Lee announcing his impending flight to the Left Coast just as his legal team attempts to appeal the rulings of Judge Randy Bellows to the Virginia Supreme Court (what’s wrong with that picture?), and now we have very public and damaging announcements by those running the inside strategy that they will now oppose the Presiding Bishop in a court of law for the corruption of the authority of her office.  We may be polite about it all, but the meaning is still quite clear.

No, I believe we should offer our wholehearted support and our prayers for these men who are choosing to make such a public stand.  They are not alone.


[30] Posted by BabyBlue on 03-12-2009 at 02:24 PM • top

Just perused ACI’s statement and it is an excellent one.  I’d rank it with any of the library full of excellent ACI statements issued over the last five years or so.  When ACI backs up its library full of excellent statements by actual ACTIONS, I will be impressed.  Not before.

[31] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 03-12-2009 at 02:27 PM • top


Perhaps their interests should lie on the side of orthodoxy everywhere. The idea that supporting the inside or outside strategy means that you cannot stand in solidarity with your orthodox brethren is very strange.

[32] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 02:27 PM • top

“...Remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no one is too poor to buy.”

[33] Posted by monologistos on 03-12-2009 at 02:28 PM • top

BB, yes it is nice that the ACI is taking a brave stand for the sake of the polity of TEC…but no one has any reason to think that there is any motive beyond the one that has been expressed by Dr. Turner.

[34] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 02:33 PM • top

Why not file the brief and let it speak for itself?

[35] Posted by RLundy on 03-12-2009 at 02:41 PM • top



[36] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 02:42 PM • top

You might have already done this, but if not, you might wish to read Mr. McCall’s article concerning the the legal issues intertwined with the order of the Episcopal Church and the order of the wider Communion. Enabling a neutral hearing of such is critical to faithful and fruitful witness. It seems ACI understands that how things come about are as critical to Christian witness as what end result of what comes about. That seems a pretty faithful biblical witness to me.

[37] Posted by optimus prime on 03-12-2009 at 02:44 PM • top

Matt+—As a legal matter they can’t “take sides” in this dispute because they have no standing to do so as they are not interested parties.  Instead, they have to petition the court to appear as amici.  The purpose of an amicus, and the basis on which one will be allowed to appear, is that that party will provide a point of view that a court otherwise would not receive from the parties before it.  If an amicus positions itself as too partisan, its petition to appear will be rejected as the court will conclude that the amicus will simply duplicate arguments that are already being provided in the parties briefs.  The ACI is going about this the right way, one that will draw the court’s attention.  Good on them.

[38] Posted by Steven in Falls Church on 03-12-2009 at 02:53 PM • top

If you could solve these problems solely by throwing well written, finely crafted statements at them, things would have been resolved a long time ago. What we need is action, not words. I’m quite sure this statement has KJS, Beers et al quaking in their boots.

the snarkster™

[39] Posted by the snarkster on 03-12-2009 at 02:54 PM • top

The most effective way for ACI and the CP bishops to support Bishop Duncan is to provide evidence that helps persuade the secular court to rule in Bp. Duncan’s favor. Viewed as a litigation maneuver, the amicus brief would not openly take sides in the underlying litigation. Yet the brief’s effect is to weaken the legal position of both 815 and 815’s creation, the rump “diocese” falsely claiming to be actual Diocese of Pittsburgh. I would love to hear the Curmudgeon’s take on this.

I do not know anybody’s true motives here. But Baby Blue is right: if the two CP bishops file an amicus brief stating that the Presiding Bishop is acting beyond her authority, 815’s entire legal position, and that of its pawns in Pittsburgh, is at risk.

[40] Posted by Publius on 03-12-2009 at 02:54 PM • top

Suppose the ACI/CP do file a whopping powerful brief and oppose KJS et al in a court of law…and even win!!!

Even this unlikely event would NOT allow or facilitate the very needed clearing out of the house of ‘bishops’ nor of the theology schools nor of the church agencies nor of the ‘gay’ ‘lesbian’ ‘priests’ nor of the grass roots infection…nor of the rest of the Provinces which are similarly infused with apostasy and heresy and immorality.

[41] Posted by Theodora on 03-12-2009 at 02:54 PM • top

Mr. Toepfer regards my comment as “uncharitable in the extreme”. Unless he has some personal knowledge that it is an inaccurate characterization of ACI’s past performance, I will assume I have said nothing “uncharitable” but merely stated what most commenting on ACI’s previous “behavior” have pointed out, some more acutely than I. I do not regard my comment “demoralizing” - I have had a personal stake in this struggle for many years, and have desperately hoped that the gifted members of ACI might have shown themselves allies. They have not - instead, they have made it abundantly clear (as their latest snide remark about Duncan shows) that they will do everything to maintain the present status of the Episcopal Organization - no matter how far the Organization deviates from the faith handed on to us by the saints and no matter how contemptuously the Organization treats the members of the Anglican Communion. Sorry, Mr. Toepfer, but the self-defeating and demoralizing behaviors you lament have consistently come from a group that could have done so much more.

[42] Posted by Dan Crawford on 03-12-2009 at 02:55 PM • top

Well the brief, if it actually ends up being filed, would be an “action” on the part of the ACI, much more so than anything they’ve done in the past.  It’s a legal filing encouraging the court to provide specific relief, not just another infamous statement.

And it appears the brief would end up taking Duncan’s side.  This is a good thing.

I don’t know why they say they aren’t going to get in the middle of the fight between Duncan and the PB though.  For one thing, it’s not about individuals, it’s about us.  They shouldn’t belittle the dispute by personalizing it like that. 

And besides, if you file an amicus brief, you ARE taking a side.  It’s kind of the point.

[43] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 03-12-2009 at 02:56 PM • top

I think the question of church structure and limitations on power is properly raised. I wondered why this was not done earlier. Any seminarian can pick up a textbook on theology and read any number of authors work on church governance, and quickly assess the claims by the presiding bishop are inaccurate, and is a new view that has evolved post-2003 VGR.

[44] Posted by Festivus on 03-12-2009 at 02:57 PM • top

Hi Steven in Falls Church,

I was not speaking in legal terms and Dr. Turner was not either. He was explaining the motivation behind the ACI’s statement and possible action…have they actually filed the brief or are they still mulling any case, Dr. Turner wanted TLC to know, and everyone who reads TLC, that the motive behind the possible action was not to take one side or the other. I think his point is rather clear.

[45] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 03:07 PM • top

sorry - my post at #44 was meant to say that in comparatives studies of church governments, the Episcopal model is always presented as ACI indicates. In no way do other instruments function as superior to the equality of individual bishops.

[46] Posted by Festivus on 03-12-2009 at 03:18 PM • top

I think that ACI and the Communion Partners have read the writing on the wall that the Episcopal Church as a province will not sign the Anglican Covenant.  Schori and Anderson have said as much.  If the civil court rules in favor of the Presiding Bishop, it sets up a precedent that the Presiding Bishop rules over the diocesans, which of course, is completely false in Episcopal polity in the United States. 

As I recall, Archbishop Rowan Williams did not help matters (despite his own personal letter to John Howe) when he said during a press conference at Lambeth that the Anglican Covenant would be signed off on by province, not by diocese.  There hasn’t been much public push-back on that, perhaps in an effort to woo the Episcopal Church back from the brink. ACI must be aware of this as well, hence their need to intervene in the litigation in Pittsburgh.

While some dioceses, such as Virginia, limit the powers of the bishop, the Episcopal Church gains much of its identity by its relationship between bishops who are in communion with another and with the Archbishop of Canterbury - it is an “episcopal” church. The diocesans are correct to be alarmed at the authoritarian usurpation of power (or manipulation of local diocesan elections as we see in Northern Michigan) by the current Presiding Bishop and her administration at 815

My concern for our friends in the Common Partners and ACI is that they have not yet been toughened up by decades in the political trenches of The Episcopal Church (even the bishops) and when they do come face to face at just how deep the usurpation is, it may be a crushing blow.  The majority of the Communion Partners and ACI do not yet have the experience of the rough and tumble of General Convention street politics, for many reasons.  By now placing themselves as public targets, which this statement clearly does, they will either be wooed off their platform, threatened off their platform, or kicked off their platform.  Who gets to hold the basket?

It is naive to think one can simply file a “friend of the court brief” and everyone will remain civilized.  As one who has seen the court from the front row, it’s extremely painful.  It is Divorce Court.  It is courageous that they are now committed to do so (and they must be, or it is all over now baby blue). Perhaps at some point they will see as so many of us have, through hours and hours of tears, that will - at some point - take what they need and leave the rest - but having not yet come to that place, that they are willing to take such a public stand (coming from their own experience and context, different as that might be for many of us here) could be a costly stand indeed (if history is any teacher) is still courageous.

I still believe that our response should be compassionate and supportive and prayerful.  For one thing, the Lord is at work and He has a track record of doing His own thing, despite the circumstances or our own ideas (though He does listen, He gets the final say after all).  I don’t want to miss a move He might make when we least expect it.


[47] Posted by BabyBlue on 03-12-2009 at 03:19 PM • top

Re#43: “And besides, if you file an amicus brief, you ARE taking a side.  It’s kind of the point.”

I agree. Anyone who thinks there is a middle ground in this matter is wasting his/her time.

If you believe Schori and 815 are working AGAINST Our Lord’s clear Teaching and the Apostles’ two thousand years of labor, blood, tears, sweat, life and death, you have an obligation to OPENLY and CLEARLY OPPOSE Schori and Co.

And for those in ordained ministry, I believe that doing anything lless than a clear, open, and all-out opposition to Schori/TEc would amount to helping the enemy by default.

Fr. Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco
Arlington Texas

[48] Posted by Spiro on 03-12-2009 at 03:26 PM • top

Mr Kennedy. Your comment is in error. Dr Turner was speaking in a legal context within the interview of TLC, as many have here properly grasped. You are speaking in a different context, having to do with church politics. Ms BB. ACI has never assumed that TEC would sign a covenant if it was an effective one and injurious to autonomy or federation notions in vogue in large portions of the US. As for your views on the rough and tumble, it would be hard to know how you are in any position to judge the matter, but then, this is a blog and your opinion is allowed without taxation! lenten blessings.

[49] Posted by zebra on 03-12-2009 at 03:27 PM • top

Golly, Seitz-ACI, I am on your side.  Sigh.


[50] Posted by BabyBlue on 03-12-2009 at 03:31 PM • top


You are totally incorrect in your assumptions about the ACI statement today and the comments by Dr. Turner quoted in TLC.  I was the author of the ACI statement and the language in that statement that the submission “would not side with a party to the litigation” was mine.  Dr. Turner referenced this language in his TLC interview.  I phrased it this way to be legally precise.  This simply records the legal fact that an amicus is not a party to a lawsuit, but a “friend of court” who addresses a question of law.  CP/ACI would not technically intervene as a party and thus would not be “taking sides”.  While no one is above criticism, one should not criticize Dr. Turner for restating the legal position articulated by the lawyer who drafted the statement.  By criticizing Dr. Turner and ACI generally rather than me, you are criticizing the ones who have worked the hardest to bring this to fruition.

[51] Posted by wildfire on 03-12-2009 at 03:37 PM • top

Dear Prof. Dr. Chris Seitz,

I am curious why you reference Matt+ as “Mr Kennedy?” I wonder if you also would reference the Rev. Tim Keller the Senior Paster of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC or Pope Benedict XVI or Cardinal Egan, also of NYC, the same way because their orders are not recognized by 815?

[52] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-12-2009 at 03:40 PM • top

Mr. McCall on the basis of your comments, I withdraw my criticism and apologize to Dr. Turner, to you and to the ACI. I see that I misinterpreted and misjudged.

[53] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2009 at 03:41 PM • top

bb - You have gotten the point.  With friends like the ACI, who needs…....?

[54] Posted by DaveG on 03-12-2009 at 03:45 PM • top

Thank you very much, Matt+.

[55] Posted by wildfire on 03-12-2009 at 03:47 PM • top

Fr. Matt,

God bless you for standing up for what you stand for.

President Truman is quoted as saying after a meeting with economists who were advising him: Get me a one-armed economist; I am tired of hearing on the one hand, but then on the other hand.

Perhaps we need to find some one-armed PhD’s for ACI, God bless them.

God bless you for what you are doing and your courage in calling a spade a spade.  Accepting weasel words for the truth, for the Faith Once Delivered, is one of the basic causes of the mess TECUSA, and many other protestant churches are in today.

[56] Posted by Ol' Bob on 03-12-2009 at 03:48 PM • top

Dear Mr Kennedy—thank you.
Someone has suggested that I was questioning your Holy Orders. I assure you I was not. When I was at VTS low church Priests preferred to be called Mr. I was seeking to honour that. Yrs in Christ.

[57] Posted by zebra on 03-12-2009 at 03:51 PM • top

A side, but related issue is presented here.  KJS is the de jure presiding bishop, with all the limitations attending to such office under the TEC constitutions and canons.  However, KJS has been acting as a metropolitan over all TEC.  With each tick of the clock, she is establishing precedent. 

Without formal resistance, at some point, she will become the de facto metropolitan over all TEC. This status could be enhanced through implicit or explicit ratification by one or more bodies within TEC, such as general convention.  For example, implicit ratification could be the seating of the rump TEC dioceses at general convention without following the required procedure for admission of a new diocese.  Explicit ratification could be a vote approving and accepting her actions despite their extra-constitutional and canonical nature.  The latter may have already occured with the executive council…

I wonder if there will be sufficient moxie in the inside group to raise formal* resistance.  If one values the polity of TEC, then action will eventually be required.  Otherwise, like Kent Brockman, prepare to “welcome your new insect overlords.”   

*By formal, I mean a formal challenge overturning or rejecting her actions as unlawful or otherwise affirming the lawlessnes of her actions.  Formal resistance reverses the precedent she has set.  Although other types of opposition to ratification may be valuable, the simple passing of time coupled with organizational inaction can become a form of ratification.

[58] Posted by tired on 03-12-2009 at 03:57 PM • top

Mark McCall (#55),

You wrote: “I phrased it this way to be legally precise.” 

Counselor, I respectfully submit that legal precision and truth are not synonymous.

I respect your writings to the extent I have had the opportunity read them.  It is my impression that you are an attorney and an advocate for ACI.  I respect and honor that role.  It does not, however, per se, suggest legal, ethical or moral objectivity.

This is not intended to be, and is not, an ad hominem attack.  It is advocacy for a cause in which I believe fervently.  I respect you and wish you were on my side.

God bless you.

[59] Posted by Ol' Bob on 03-12-2009 at 04:00 PM • top

Well said, Fr. Matt.  (#53)

[60] Posted by terrafirma on 03-12-2009 at 04:04 PM • top

Now, as we await ACI’s amicus brief, let us rest assured all is well, and all will be well.

Don’t later quote me on this, though.

[61] Posted by Spiro on 03-12-2009 at 04:14 PM • top

Keep swinging Fr. Matt….

[62] Posted by Intercessor on 03-12-2009 at 04:18 PM • top

Ol’ Bob, you are correct, they are not synonymous; they are not the same thing. Legal precision is the highway those of us in the profession travel on to get to the (or “a”) truth. ACI, not being known for frontal assaults, appears to be mounting a flanking maneuver which could be very effective. They are, I think, on your side.

[63] Posted by john1 on 03-12-2009 at 04:33 PM • top

[59] Ol’ Bob,

I strongly believe that john1 at [63] has it right, in that they are on the side which the facts and the words of canon law support. Therefore, insofar as the facts are on your side, ACI is on your side. And, based on my<sup>1</sup> reading of Episcopal canon law, the facts are very much on your side. No amount of twisting of words of Episcopal canon law, short of cutting out the letters, assembling them into new words, assembling those words into new sentences on fresh sheets of paper, and pasting them back into the canons, can make the actions of Schori with respect to the alleged depositions, the lawsuits, etc.,  anything other than extra-canonical (lit., “outside the canons”). If the courts find otherwise with respect to her actions and what is provided in the Constitution and Canons, then Dickens had it exactly right:  “The law is a ass.”

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer
<sup>1</sup>—I am not a lawyer, but I am also not without some formal training in the law.

[64] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-12-2009 at 05:06 PM • top

In perusing ACI’s website, I was unable to find a mission statement or a declaration of purpose.  From reading the many missives that have been published, and from what I have deduced from various comments by those in the know, it seems to me that ACI is a “think tank” devoted to addressing all things Anglican.  But much of what I am reading in the blogs posted here would suggest that ACI either is or should be something much more.  While I have no opinion about what the ACI is or should be, I do believe that much of the criticism seems to be a product of a fundamental misunderstanding.  ACI’s stated theological position mirrors my own.  That I may disagree concerning matters of “inside” versus “outside” strategies is unimportant.  Also, Mr. McCall’s analysis of the fundamental governing structure of PECUSA is consistent with my understanding.  In fact, his treatise on the subject and the conclusions he reached essentially duplicated my own (unpublished) research performed and conclusions reached two years ago when consideration was being given to proposing the separation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth from TEC’s General Convention.  Finally, I strongly disagree with Ol’ Bob (#59) when he says that legal precision is not synonymous with truth.  Speaking with legal precision is, indeed, speaking with precise truth.  And whether or not Mr. McCall has specifically articulated it, I judge by his writings that he is, indeed, “on our side”.

[65] Posted by DFW Lawyer on 03-12-2009 at 05:11 PM • top

To Mark McCall and all at ACI - thanks for what you have done here, and in the past. Blessings.

[66] Posted by oscewicee on 03-12-2009 at 05:23 PM • top

Folks, could we all just take a deep breath, and relax a bit here? TEC’s Octopus tactics in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, California and (soon) Illinois (and my apologies to any defendants my quick list has omitted) have us all on edge. Lashing out at each other as some of us suffer the overseer’s whip directly, while others try to call the overseer on her very attempt to act bigger than she is, is simply helping the divide-and-conquer strategy which TEC is following.  It is forcing everybody to defend themselves on all fronts at once (what I am calling the Octopus tactics) in order to be able to max out the defense’s resources and soften it up for what TEC expects will be the coup de grace.

The Anglican Communion Institute is to be thoroughly commended for declaring its principles long ago and then for sticking to them no matter where the criticism comes from. It has not gone with the trend in any sense of the word, or adapted its principles to suit the moment (a la Groucho Marx: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them . . . I have others.”)

At the same, time, clergy like Bishop Duncan and Father Matt, who have literally been put to the fire, have likewise stood their ground bravely against all TEC’s attempts to isolate and marginalize them. They have given up their careers—-in a corrupt organization, to be sure, but how many of us could do likewise if push came to shove?—-in order to remain true to their principles, as well. A salute of my bowler to both ACI and the “deposed” clergy, as together they are making the PB’s strategy anything but an easy one.

Mark McCall is a very fine lawyer, and represents his client knowledgeably and well. A public announcement that the ACI was taking sides in the Pittsburgh lawsuit would have made it easy for the court to refuse to accept their brief, since it already has the benefit of arguments from each side. (It is still not automatic that the court will allow an amicus filing, but it almost certainly would have defeated ACI’s strategy had it announced its partisanship in advance of the request to the court.) If the court allows an amicus brief at all, it will be because the extremely loose associational structure of TEC itself almost assures that no one bishop, and certainly not the Presiding Bishop’s Parliamentarian (Bishop Buchanan is the one who has sought leave to intervene, claiming the right to speak for the whole Church), has the ability or the authorization to present just a single view and call it the “Church’s view of the matter.” By pointing up that at its topmost level TEC is anything but hierarchical, with its staff at 815 who reports to the PB, with its Executive Council who reports to the General Convention, which meets for just 2 weeks out of every 156, and with the PB who seemingly is accountable to no one, ACI will contribute a point of view that no one thus far in the lawsuit has given to the Court. And frankly, no one else but ACI is currently both willing and able to do so; the Court would not accept a brief from anyone who is a party to a lawsuit with TEC, since that would bias them, and most of the bishops in the HoB are unwilling to take a stance publicly against the PB. (ACI’s track record is the very thing that allows the CP bishops to join with it in giving the court a second opinion about the polity of TEC.)

So calm down, don’t rush to hasty judgments, and above all, allow each group that is on the defense out there room to maneuver against the common enemy.

Where is Mike Bertaut?—-I need him now to add his trademark signature: “KTF!”

[67] Posted by Chancellor on 03-12-2009 at 05:55 PM • top

While I do respect the intellectual think tank that is the ACI, I am one of those who wishes to see more action than words.  The statements that come out are beautifully written, well thought out and very true to the Anglican tradition. I don’t doubt their good intentions at all. But the results almost always put me in mind of this:
<a >

[68] Posted by Liz Forman on 03-12-2009 at 07:06 PM • top

Oops!  I don’t think my link made it into the post.  Without the formatting it is…

[69] Posted by Liz Forman on 03-12-2009 at 07:07 PM • top

I am reading these comments in the emotional and spiritual luxury of now serving overseas in the Southern Cone.  It is heartbreaking still to read the comments of those either pursuing the “inside/outside” strategies.  Both strategies are seeking to stand against the egregious behavior of the current leadership of the Episcopal Church USA and its descent into apostasy and heresy.
Those “inside” and those “outside” are still surely in the same struggle with these principalities and powers.  I say this as I am reminded of Ephesians 6.  We are in a spiritual battle for the soul of the Church.  I should say more exactly the souls of those yet within as those who have departed are now surely in a different place.
I refuse to count those outside or inside as less than full sisters and brothers in Christ.  I pray for those who lead outside and in.  I am very concerned for the welfare of these CP bishops who have signed on to this statement as they are clearly putting themselves in the firing line of KJS and Mr. Beers.
I pray that there will be success in challenging the totalitarian assumption of power that is evidenced as contrary to the Constitution of this Church.  These men are on the front line and the ACI is buttressing them with strong legal argument - so God bless the ACI.
Let us support one another in the common struggle.
Ian Montgomery+  Lima, Peru

[70] Posted by Ian Montgomery on 03-12-2009 at 07:08 PM • top

Thank you for showing such courage Fr. Matt; it is very much appreciated and indeed a good Christian witness!

[71] Posted by optimus prime on 03-12-2009 at 07:22 PM • top


You set a very high standard of what to do when you mess up. Color me impressed, especially with the separate posting of the statement from the ACI.

It may come as a complete surprise to you to learn that I’ve had my share bumping heads with clergy, which usually goes down in an odd form of clericalism in which I’m demeaned and stuff demanded from me that I’ve NEVER seen them do. In the latest, by challenging, I’ve somehow questioned his “high office,” which to me sounds like he’s insecure and the issue he fully admits serving the 98% at cost of the 2% - yet I believe in a Sacramental priesthood and the good shepherd did something different in the parable, so my challenge would be because of the high calling. Two priest in my entire life have apologised (they know each other and need to complete the circle with each other [need for prayer]) —I am completely disarmed by their apology, if I want to continue the grudge then Jesus is the one I need to deal with and His words on the matter. None have gone so far to attempt to make undo the mess. The parishioners of Church of the Good Shepherd are very bless to have a rector who humble himself and demonstrate what he’d expect from them, tragically, I’ve not found that quality often.

I pray those who have been offended will remember the Cross before the offense and forgive ... for their sake, really (trust me, I know that one).

[72] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-12-2009 at 07:55 PM • top

Why doesnt the ACI just submit an amicus curiae brief or at least file a request to participate as a friend of the court in one of the pending cases, rather than by publishing another paper just to say they may potentially file one?  I don’t get it.

[73] Posted by Going Home on 03-12-2009 at 08:23 PM • top

As long as we’re making up here, I’d like to say that I thought BabyBlue’s #47 was so well thought out and written!  Thank you BabyBlue. 
I would love it if, #49 Dr. Seitz, you would re-read her #47.  Your comment, “As for your views on the rough and tumble, it would be hard to know how you are in any position to judge the matter”... well maybe you are ignorant of her fight, but those of us who read BB know that she has earned the right to comment here.  She is in a “position to judge the matter”.

These are touchy times friends.  Let’s keep our eye on the Prize, o.k.?

[74] Posted by more martha than mary on 03-12-2009 at 08:25 PM • top

#47. BB,
Your first two paragraphs hit the nail on the head. This paper is about defending the power vested in the Diocese and in the Bishop. It calls this a defense of “polity” and “process”. However, if the Covenant becomes a reality, it will be no good to the CP Bishops if they are prevented by KJS and General Convention from signing on at the level of the Diocese. The irony is that the much desired and awaited Covenant would slip through the grasp of any Diocese that would wish to embrace it. If TEC decides to leave the AC, there will be no AC connection for the CP Bishops either. The CP folks have been alerted to this by KJS who has quite openly said that the Covenant will only be signed on at the Province level if it is signed on at all. The events of GenCon09 may signal whether TEC even intends on signing on.

[75] Posted by Fr. Dale on 03-12-2009 at 08:32 PM • top

john1, Martial Artist, DFW lawyer and Chancellor,

Based on your compelling comments, I will reserve judgment on whether ACI’s principals are on my side.  Thanks.

Going forward, I will evaluate their words with an open but not empty mind.

DFW lawyer, with respect, legal precision is an expository technique or method which can, and is, used in support of both truth and untruth.  I have no doubt that you and Mr. McCall use it only in support of truth; would that all lived up to your standard.

God bless.

[76] Posted by Ol' Bob on 03-12-2009 at 10:16 PM • top

Going Home (#73), I am not privy to ACI’s or the CP Bishops’ strategy, but it occurs to me that by announcing what they wanted to do in a clear and neutral way, they could have been putting out a feeler to see what other Bishops in TEC might be willing to join them, given the perceived threat which the PB represents to an episcopal polity. At present it is the ACI +2 (judging only from their statement), but a week or so from now that +2 might have grown. And once it gets to +3 or more, there will be enough Bishops to bring a presentment. Patience is required, and may be rewarded once the results of the disastrous litigation policy start to combine with the recession so as to affect significantly TEC’s bottom line.

[77] Posted by Chancellor on 03-12-2009 at 10:42 PM • top

Thank you for your comments and wise counsel.  I read them earlier today and rather than fire off some defensive response I chose to reflect on them and I’m glad I did.  It gave me an opportunity to consider the comments of others wiser than me.  Make no mistake..I know that the HOB wouldn’t act favorably on any type of presentment against the Presiding Bishop.  However, such an action would shed some light on what’s really going on and I’m afraid that many of my brothers and sisters don’t really have any idea of what’s going on outside their parish walls.  I’ve heard the following quote: “That crap will never happen here.”  I’d like to suggest to my brothers and sisters on Crestline that it will and it has.  I’m no Clarence Darrow but as a member of the bar who has had the privilege of being both an advocate and a jurist the rule of law is all that we have.  An aggressive disregard of the rule of law must be addressed.  Calling one to account for their disregard of the rule of law might not result in the desired outcome but to fail to address the matter is to sanction the conduct.

Thanks again and may God have mercy on all of us-

BigTex AC

[78] Posted by BigTex AC on 03-12-2009 at 10:42 PM • top

Mr. McCall, 51, in fact you have been both legally imprecise and disingenuous. 

The statement says

We are prepared to speak further on these issues, including in an appropriate case the submission of a “friend of the court” brief in civil litigation.  Such a submission would not side with any party to the litigation, but would seek only to preserve the historic polity of The Episcopal Church from interference by the civil courts and a Presiding Bishop acting beyond her constitutional authority.”

This is legally imprecise because it doesn’t speak in term of being a party to the litigation.  This is disingenuous both because amici take sides all the time and because, as your own statement makes clear, you would be arguing against TEC’s position in the litigation.

Your comment says

I was the author of the ACI statement and the language in that statement that the submission “would not side with a party to the litigation” was mine.  Dr. Turner referenced this language in his TLC interview.  I phrased it this way to be legally precise.  This simply records the legal fact that an amicus is not a party to a lawsuit, but a “friend of court” who addresses a question of law.  CP/ACI would not technically intervene as a party and thus would not be “taking sides”.

This fixes the legal imprecision but adds a new one.  The polity of TEC is, as you well know, not a pure question of law.  This also moves from honesty to legal technicalities.  You’re claiming you’re not “taking sides” (slightly altered verbiage) because you “would not technically intervene as a party.”

It was possible to be both legally precise and perfectly honest.  You choose not to be.

[79] Posted by DavidH on 03-13-2009 at 06:24 AM • top

#79 David H
“Mr. McCall, 51, in fact you have been both legally imprecise and disingenuous”

Goodness, do I take it you feel strongly about this?  I am surprised to see you make such an ad hominem attack.  I would have expected more of someone of your legal knowledge and background.

Polity is obviously a matter for the American Church [although I currently remain unconvinced that it has any] but you say:
“The polity of TEC is, as you well know, not a pure question of law”.  This also moves from honesty to legal technicalities”. 
It seems to me that what ACI are saying is that the PB has been acting outwith both the law of the land and the specific canons of TEC; that the PB has taken powers and authority which under the polity of TEC she does not have.

The idea that ACI is partizan or supportive of the FedCon position is so outlandish as you will have seen from the reaction of others on this thread. 

No - it seems to me that Mr McCall and ACI have done precisely what they have said, taken a stand for the rule of law, the prevention of abuse by the executive, the rejection of the principle that might is right; indeed all of the things which your and my ancestors fought for at Runnymede, in the Napoleonic Wars, in your war of Independence, and in two World Wars and a Cold War - the right of us to live in equality and freedom under the law, away from the tyranny of princes and the abuse of arbitrary executive action.  They are in the noble tradition of the last of the Romans.

[80] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-13-2009 at 07:13 AM • top

#80. Pageantmaster,

The idea that ACI is partizan or supportive of the FedCon position is so outlandish as you will have seen from the reaction of others on this thread.

I’m not sure I can agree with you here. This thread began with an apology for misunderstanding the communication and throughout the thread there appears to be differing viewpoints. What would have helped would have been an opening rationale in the statement for why the “Statement on Civil Litigation” was being offered. Because this was not done I think some folks were wondering why it was being offered and evaluating the content based on possible underlying motivation.

[81] Posted by Fr. Dale on 03-13-2009 at 07:48 AM • top

In the eighteenth century, Catholic secular priests were commonly addressed as Mister.  “Father” was for religious.

[82] Posted by Ed the Roman on 03-13-2009 at 08:34 AM • top

#81 Thanks for your clarification Deacon Dale.  My concern was with the idea that somehow ACI and Mr McCall were being disingenuous by claiming neutrality to the Court when in fact they were weighing in on the real Pittsburgh Diocese side.  It seems to me that they are taking a stand for the rule of law, and that is what seems to be so difficult for some to accept and respect.  I personally agree with them.  If we do not respect the rule of law, then as a society where are we?  In a sense they have taken a stand on TEC’s behalf, saying TEC deserves better than this, to have its canons trashed and its procedures subverted in the interests of expediency.

All power to them for their position of integrity.

[83] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-13-2009 at 08:42 AM • top

Well said, Pageantmaster (#83 and #80) - it is a stand for TEC and for all of us, including TEC, a call to higher things and more principled behavior.

[84] Posted by oscewicee on 03-13-2009 at 09:04 AM • top

I give statements from the ACI all the import one would give Neville Chamberlain’s speeches in the House of Commons in January 1938.


[85] Posted by FrJim on 03-13-2009 at 09:26 AM • top

Don Dale, post 47,
You noted the following: “The CP folks have been alerted to this by KJS who has quite openly said that the Covenant will only be signed on at the Province level if it is signed on at all.”

My question is this: If the Presiding Bishop signs on to the Covenant at the Province level does that give her the sole authority to interpret or re-interpret the covenant for TEC and its Dioceses?

[86] Posted by Betty See on 03-13-2009 at 09:39 AM • top

I find the contrast between Rowan and KJS interesting.  One with much writing and very little action, and one with very little writing and much (misguided IMHO)action.

I would be interested in the way different people who have held these positions have acted (or not)in the past when faced with large issues facing the church.  It would seem that one has vastly under-reached, and one has vastly over-reached.  I would be interested in not so much a legal description of what they have the power to do given them by canon, but what they have done based on their perception of their role.

[87] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-13-2009 at 09:57 AM • top

[79] DavidH,

Your statement that

(t)he polity of TEC is, as you well know, not a pure question of law

is puzzling. Polity is defined as “The form of government of a nation, state, church, or organization.”<sup>1</sup> This accords with every usage of the term that I recall ever having seen. It seems to me that the “form of government” of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, consists of the totality, i.e., neither more nor less than the current Constitution and Canons of that organization. Unless you are prepared to assert that there is something outside of those documents, any reasoning human being must take your assertion as nothing short of totally absurd.<sup>2</sup>

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer
<sup>1</sup>—Source:  <a >The Free Dictionary</a> (
<sup>2</sup>—N.B., I will not accept any argument that the “form of government” of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America includes the guidance of the Holy Spirit, unless you can show me in the Constitution and Canons how that vote is recorded separately from the votes of Bishops and Deputies. Vox populi is not, inherently, Vox Dei.

[88] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-13-2009 at 10:06 AM • top

86. Betty See,
As usual, you provide a perceptive question. One would hope that TEC leadership would not influence the Covenant Process to the point that the Covenant is a feeble document. Also one would hope that if and when the Covenant final draft is in the ratification process TEC would be honest enough to opt out if it did not believe the Covenant reflected the values of TEC. Personally I believe the ABC is hoping that those Provinces that are not a good fit will self select out. Lastly, to your question. If TEC signs on to a robust Covenant, it will still be their determination not the AC whether they are honoring the terms of the Covenant. Two issues that continually emerge are Provincial autonomy and the freedom to innovate. I believe TEC sees these as non negotiables and will not subjugate them to accountability and tradition.

[89] Posted by Fr. Dale on 03-13-2009 at 04:58 PM • top

86. Betty See,
P.S. my post was post #75 in response to the post of Baby Blue post #47.

[90] Posted by Fr. Dale on 03-13-2009 at 05:02 PM • top

Matt [#14 & #28], to again express what many have already said, ACI disagrees with TEC but also with the new Province, so in that sense, they are neutral.  What they agree with ACNA about is also counterbalanced by what they think is a grave error.  Among other things, they are “taking sides” with the proper use of canon law and authentic TEC polity.  But neither TEC nor ACNA is following it.  The fact that they are not “siding” with ACNA in the way they are not, actually would be more helpful to ACNA in the civil courts, as their disagreement from within TEC is more helpful to whomever will stand up for TEC’s gravely abused canon law and polity.  They are not your enemies:  their position appears to be a divinely inspired paradox.  It is one of many reasons why I think they are probably proceeding correctly.  For this reason, neither do I question their sense of timing, as you do, frequently.

Your initial posting at the beginning of the thread was moving as an apology and statement of genuine remorse, a virtue I am grateful to witness during this season of wonder.

Please don’t leave us, monologistos.  We need you and your levity. 

Ed the Roman [#82], you are so sweet.

PM [#80 ] I’ve also wondered if TEC has a polity or not, but we shall see, won’t we?

[91] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-13-2009 at 05:10 PM • top

Seen_too_Much writes: “Please don’t leave us, monologistos.  We need you and your levity.”
My levity gets me in more trouble than my sense of approaching doom.  Aside from the fact that I am around twelve years gone from Anglicanism, I will hang around here if I am able.  I am under authority so my life is not my own.

[92] Posted by monologistos on 03-13-2009 at 07:32 PM • top

Given the gutless wonders that the Episcopal tank is stocked with of late, I’m not expecting them to move off their seats and bring a presentment against Schori.  They will not heed the warnings.  If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced, even if Someone rises from the dead.

[93] Posted by monologistos on 03-13-2009 at 07:51 PM • top

I haven’t been paying much attention because of midterms, but just having read this retraction may I say that we need more of this kind of humility and repentance in the Church.  Thank you for setting a good example.

[94] Posted by Modest Mystic on 03-13-2009 at 08:21 PM • top

Having read many of the writings of ACI principals Messrs. Radner, Seitz, McCall, et al, and holding each of them in high personal esteem, I have been asking myself for some time, how I would characterize my view of the effect of ACI’s well intentioned efforts.

This afternoon, it came to me.  I envisioned a small Southern town, much like the one in which I grew up.  I could see an antebellum house, the gutters on the front porch sagging slightly and the white paint on the back porch beginning to peel.  The magnolia trees in the front and side yards were magnificent.  The dogwoods in the side and back yards were beautiful.  The azaleas in the back yard were a sight to see in the spring.

The house was built by Everett Butler in the mid 19th century and had been occupied by succeeding Butler family generations since.

The Butler family monuments were prominent in the cemetery at Saint Timothy’s Episcopal Church.  Stained glass windows bore Butler plaques.  The pipe organ was donated by a Butler.  The narthex was dedicated to a Butler.  Generations of Butlers have been baptized, confirmed, married and buried at St. Timothy’s.

On an early afternoon recently in the Butler house, Margaret Anne called out “Sister Mary, bring the smelling salts.”

“Who needs the smelling salts?”

“Aunt Mary Jane.  She is reading another of those ACI articles cousin Billy Bob left when he dropped by this morning.”

The smelling salts will work.

Aunt Mary Jane, Sister Mary, Margaret Anne and cousins and in-laws will be in the Butler family pew at St. Timothy’s Sunday morning.  The celebrant, Fr. Frank Abernathy, will deliver a moving homily about inclusion.  The service will be in a printed program written by Fr. Frank, not the BCP.  Communion will be open.  Aunt Mary Jane will drop her check for her monthly pledge in the plate.

After the service, at the coffee hour, Aunt Mary Jane and others of the Butler clan will mingle with other parishioners, most of whom are newcomers, working at the new plants, and some college professors who teach at the university – it used to be a Baptist junior college - in the next county.  Fr. Frank’s beautiful wife - she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma, you know - and lovely, well mannered children are such an asset to the parish.

Aunt Mary Jane will be fine until the next time cousin Billy Bob, possibly a friend of Greg’s, drives over from Jackson and drops off another ACI article - then bring on the smelling salts again.

I think increased smelling salts sales may be one of the more significant effects of what the well intentioned and honorable principals at ACI are doing.  But, hey, increased smelling salts sales in the midst of a recession is no mean accomplishment.

[95] Posted by Ol' Bob on 03-13-2009 at 09:33 PM • top

MA, 88, I wouldn’t really disagree with you on how you determine the current polity, if you were to add the BCP to the Constitution and Canons.  But examining the polity of TEC could also require examining particular events and their relationship to the BCP & Constitution and Canons, or the BCP & Constitution and Canons historically, or White & Dykman, or General Convention records, etc.  Not to mention that the Constitution and Canons & BCP might not clearly address something, in which case history, the degree of discretion allowed TEC officials, and other matters would certainly be relevant.

My point is that what the ACI wants to talk about is really not just some question of law (e.g. what is the proper interpretation of Supreme Court decision X).  They want to talk about something that requires bringing in and analyzing facts.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with amici talking about facts—amici often need to describe themselves and how a court’s decision would relate to them.  My point was simply that for Mr. McCall to say the ACI would just be “address[ing] a question of law” is again a highly questionable statement.

[96] Posted by DavidH on 03-14-2009 at 04:43 AM • top

I imagine, if it ever gets to Court, that the Court will decide to what extent if any, anything in the BCP excuses breaching the canons and constitution so flagrantly.

Further if TEC had paid any attention to what was in its BCP would it be in this mess?

[97] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-14-2009 at 06:22 AM • top

[96] DavidH,

If Mr. McCall was saying what I think, and which is most likely the case both from the fact that Dr. Turner has stated that the ACI is not taking sides in the legal contest between Pittsburgh and TEC, coupled with the fact that the point is to provide a proper amicus curiae brief to the court that is relevant to the case, then he misspoke, however slightly, which would explain your resulting confusion. My suspicion is that, as an amicus curiae, the ACI would be addressing what are termed pure questions of law, rather than questions of law and fact, the latter of which I believe to be very rarely a matter for amicus briefs. As such, it is not likely that his comment is, in any way, disingenuous.

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer

[98] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-14-2009 at 05:48 PM • top

77-If so, it seems like they could have simply called and asked the two or three Bishops that they hoped to sway.

[99] Posted by Going Home on 03-14-2009 at 06:10 PM • top

I find criticisms of the ACI for “not taking action” perplexing at best:  it’s quite unclear to me what “action” those making those criticisms suppose it is possible for ACI to take.  By way of contrast, I see how +Rowan Williams can “take action” because he has a recognized role in the CoE and the Anglican Communion; unfortunately, he has repeatedly failed to take actions he could have to oppose the grotesque actions of TEC and Schori, and he has taken bad and ill-considered actions which undermine orthodoxy and fairness.  But ACI has no such status:  it’s a voluntary association of faithful, learned Anglicans, and almost the only thing it can do is to provide analysis and statements.  At times, the individuals in it can do other things:  Dr. Radner can try to make documents produced by Communion bodies to which he’s appointed better and more faithful, for instance.  Dr. Turner can try to guide a seminary he’s called to advise in a better direction.  What is so perplexing to me, though, is that the critics seem to speak as if ACI, or its members, had potent powers which would allow them to fight TEC’s leadership.  They don’t, so far as I know.

I also find it odd and, frankly, unseemly when people reproach them with lack of courage and awareness of the real rough-and-tumble of communion politics.  Both Seitz and Turner were on the receiving end of a torchlight parade that virtually ousted Turner from his position as Dean of Berkeley (the Yale-based Episcopal seminary) and Assoc. Dean of Yale Divinity School because he had signed a strong but gracious and careful statement reaffirming the Biblical position on homosexuality.  He was joining the fray, on the side of orthodoxy, in rough-and-tumble, as well as in scholarly ways.  As I recall it, Dr. Radner, a very talented theologian and Professor, was unable to get a seminary post for many years because of his stand on this issue; while Dr. Seitz had to go to the UK to have a post where he was not continually attacked.  All of them, starting 2 decades ago or more, stood up for the unpopular truth, and experienced the mob-atmosphere and illiberality of TEC’s revisionists and suffered personally and professionally as a result. 

To say this is not to agree with all their positions, nor to state that I never find those positions somewhat irritating.  I, as laity, and especially as a layman living in the geographical territory spanned by revisionist TEC dioceses, cannot, according to my own conscience, indefinitely continue in TEC dominated contexts. Thus I appreciate and applaud the action of primates who have provided people in circumstances like mine a way to continue in an Anglican context, and think it is proper and right, and in fact helpful to the communion.  Similarly I appreciate and applaud the things +Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh has done.  I fully support the GAFCON initiative, and so obviously I don’t see eye-to-eye with ACI.  My views are much closer to those of, say, Dr. Stephen Noll.  I wish ACI could be less critical of others who are fighting against the revisionists.  But everyone plays their part in the struggle for the faith—and ACI clearly is doing so and has done so.

I also do not see their activities as ineffective.  Precisely the position of seeking solutions at the Communion level, and concern for sound principles of ecclesiology that they have espoused, and their demurrers from moves (“strategies”) which involve separation from TEC and the like gives them a moderate position from which their statements can be influential in cases like the current lawsuit in opposing the destructive actions Schori is undertaking. 

Statements that they can be “more influential” in some ways due to the position of conscience they have operated from (though it’s different from my own conscience’s call) are apt to be met by rejoinders that they “have accomplished little.”  This strikes me as silly.  I don’t regard Matt+ Kennedy’s efforts to fight for the property which (I think) rightly belongs to his parish as “ineffective” because he didn’t win the lawsuit.  In this situation, the power, for now, belongs to revisionists who have no qualms about weilding it ruthlessly; and often they win.  That doesn’t mean that our rearguard, stone-bridges-defending actions, are pointless.  ACI— just like +Bob Duncan and Matt+ Kennedy and others—have labored, and suffered, and continue to labor and suffer, to try to stand for Biblical truth in the face of TEC’s heresy and apostacy. 

We should honor ACI, with the others, even if we at times disagree with their approach.  If we quarrel the laughter of Mordor will be our only reward.

Bless you ACI—friends with whom I often disagree!  And bless you Matt for your gracious apology and your own valuable writings and many struggles for the Gospel.

[100] Posted by Scruff on 03-14-2009 at 10:51 PM • top

First off - why are people so upset with the ACI over this?  The ACI is doing everything right in this situation.  If the ACI came out and publically supported Bishop Duncan and the Diocese of Pittsburgh, they would have seriously damaged their credibility with the court.  It is VERY MUCH IN THE ORTHODOX INTEREST for the ACI to appear as a neutral commentator from within TEC in this affair.  The value of this amicus brief is to show to the court that not everyone in TEC agrees with the PB’s claims as to her despot-like powers.  If the ACI had come out and said “we are supporting Duncan”, then they would no longer be the neutral commentators from within TEC.

And another thing - the ACI is a think tank, for Pete’s sake.  What exactly does everyone propose that they DO???  They can’t depose anyone, they can’t remove a bishop from his or her see.  They can’t force Rowan Williams to do anything.  They can’t impose a Covenant.  They don’t issue invitations to the Lambeth Conference.  They can’t dismiss lawsuits.  All they CAN do is make compelling arguments consistent with their principles.  And that they do extremely well.

DavidH - I think you read too much into Mark McCall’s statement.  The court needs to decide this case in the context of TEC’s polity.  The ACI would appear to be speaking to what that context is, so that the court can decide how the facts fit in.  Clearly there are facts which can inform us on what the state of the law is (e.g. legislative history and the like) but that doesn’t change that they are still arguing the law rather than the facts.

[101] Posted by jamesw on 03-14-2009 at 11:06 PM • top

I second that, jamesw (#101). An amicus curiae has no ability whatsoever to introduce any evidence into a lawsuit, nor does it participate in examining or cross-examining witnesses. All it can do is cite written evidence (or transcripts of testimony) that has already been admitted by the parties to the lawsuit, argue how the law should apply to that evidence, and inform the court of any adverse consequences it sees might result if the court does not apply the law as the amicus would like it to. That is of the essence of what a “question of law” is.

If there are differing versions of the facts in evidence about how the Episcopal Church was formed, or what happened during the Civil War, for example, the amicus brief will have to fashion its arguments accordingly, and address the version of the facts it believes to be true, and argue the law as applied to that version. If the court finds the facts are otherwise, then it will ignore any argument submitted that is based on those different facts, and consider the legal consequences only of the facts it finds.

In short, a court would never seek the advice of an amicus on a disputed question of fact, and I can’t see an amicus ever being in a position to offer any, since it did not take part in the trial. Arguing disputed questions of fact is a function reserved to the attorneys for the parties (and their expert witnesses, if applicable), who introduced the evidence in the first place.

[102] Posted by Chancellor on 03-15-2009 at 02:00 AM • top

#100. Scruff,

I wish ACI could be less critical of others who are fighting against the revisionists.

This is my criticism also. ACI has been steadfast in it’s criticism of ACNA. I do appreciate Dr. Radner’s willingness to dialogue with others about his statements.

[103] Posted by Fr. Dale on 03-15-2009 at 08:17 AM • top

#100 Scruff - that’s a very moving post.  Thanks for some of the background to members of ACI I was not aware of.  Thank you also for your witness.

[104] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-15-2009 at 08:20 AM • top

Yes, it is easy to rush to judgment on others when we feel ourselves under the gun.  I remember when I was a little kid (sometime during Grade School), there was a park nearby my house with a kind of small (totally untended) ferris wheel that turned if you pushed your seat back in the cage with your feet.  A kid on the ground got his leg caught and there was a kid up at the top who probably didn’t realize what was going on who was exerting force to make it turn.  It was me alone at the bottom trying to push this giant mass of metal off this kid’s leg.  I didn’t know anybody there, just happened by.  So there I am engaged in this sudden massive struggle against an object that outweighed me by tons with the kid crying helplessly.  Some other bigger kids came walking by and I shouted, “Don’t just stand there, help push!”  They were put off by my words, didn’t understand what was happening and probably frightened by the situation, just walked away.  Maybe they figured someone should tell an adult.  After a few minutes that seemed like hours, probably due to nothing I did, the kid was able to slip his leg out of the mechanism.  The kid up top came down, realizing in part what happened, but was laughing mockingly in an insecure kind of embarrassed way.  I pushed him down angrily and walked off.  Communication is difficult and it is true that people don’t often assess the situation as we ourselves might.  I had the tearful thanks of some kid I didn’t know and never saw again to justify my anger but all in all, an unpleasant experience that just came back into my head.  If I had been able to solicit the help of the other kids with calmer words, it might have made things easier.  That depends on what real effect a few small kids can have on pushing something truly bigger than oneself.

[105] Posted by monologistos on 03-15-2009 at 09:01 AM • top

Matt, Thanks for your apology, I probably would not have read Dr. Phillip Turner’s article if you had not brought our attention to it.
Now that I have read most of the comments here I am convinced that the ACI is providing a valuable service to all faithful Christians and I hope their efforts succeed.
Dr. Turner’s article did give me food for thought and I am beginning to wonder if the Presiding Bishop’s claim that TEC is a hierarchal church is an effort to convince the court that it should ignore the real power structure and polity of the Episcopal Church in the USA and instead, equate TECs power structure and polity with that of the Roman Catholic Church.
I can’t help but believe that her hierarchal arguments are influenced by the fact that she was raised in the Roman Catholic Church until 1963 ( 9 years old), . She probably studied the Roman Catholic Catechism and learned much about the hierarchal structure and polity of the Roman Catholic Church as a child and although she has rejected Catholic theology she seems to affirm their hierarchal power structure.
I wonder if the court is allowed to hear arguments that explain the difference between the Roman Catholic hierarchy and power structure and that of the of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA.

[106] Posted by Betty See on 03-15-2009 at 04:19 PM • top


For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

[107] Posted by M. J. G. Pahls on 03-15-2009 at 04:42 PM • top

Sorry, posted #107 under the wrong thread…

My bad.

[108] Posted by M. J. G. Pahls on 03-15-2009 at 04:43 PM • top

#108. abbotcolumcille,
Seems like a good place for your quote from 1st Peter Chap. 2 here too. It shows the universality of the Gospel message for all situations.

[109] Posted by Fr. Dale on 03-15-2009 at 05:13 PM • top

yes, it certainly fits here…I apologized because I was wrong and I sinned against brothers and sisters in Christ. I was unkind, judgmental and wrong…my criticism wholly unwarranted. I appreciate your kind words and generosity. Thank you. 

Apologizing for my wrong was not, however, a giant leap of courage or faith or example of exemplary Christianity. I should not have done what I did in the first place.

[110] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-15-2009 at 05:40 PM • top

Apologizing for my wrong was not, however, a giant leap of courage or faith or example of exemplary Christianity. I should not have done what I did in the first place.

Actually Matt, I would argue in fact that it was an example of exemplary Christianity. We all sin, we have all acted without charity; you demonstrated how we are called to live because we still must battle with our sins. Your act of Christiform living pointed to Christ, and in so doing gave me hope for the future of our Church. Thank you.

[111] Posted by optimus prime on 03-15-2009 at 06:11 PM • top

The internet is a much easier thing to deal with than a personal phonecall that puts somebody’s “face on the line”.  This way all the other 100 bishops will have to face the music individually.  Bishops MacPhearson and Howe have stepped up to the plate publically.  We will see how many other bishops have their moxie.(I am thinking a spanish word that begins with a “C”.)  Isn’t the internet fun?  In instances like this, it is. 

Somebody else referred to the paradox provided by Mr. McCall.  That paradox is the difference between the spirit and the letter of the law.  ACI (particularly Rev. Dr. Seitz) have taken a lot of heat on this site. 

The latest epistle by ACI really demonstrates the paradox.  If somebody else has pointed this out, please forgive me.  I have about 20 posts to read to get caught up today.  I couldn’t resist posting my comment until I have read all of them.

[112] Posted by terrafirma on 03-15-2009 at 07:03 PM • top

If we are ever in New York State (or even nearby), we are so coming to one the services where you are the leader. 

You give courage to us all, and show that a backbone and a tender heart can co-exist in the same person.

May God continue to lead you into Himself.

[113] Posted by Bo on 03-15-2009 at 07:16 PM • top

Thanks, Scruff, for the background history.  I apparently should have included Dr.‘s Radner and Turner in my #112.

[114] Posted by terrafirma on 03-15-2009 at 07:23 PM • top

“My levity gets me in more trouble than my sense of approaching doom.” 
  —monologistos [#92]

Truly, monlogi?  But what of God’s mirth?  He’s already done away with the doom, don’t you think?  I think he must have really enjoyed himself at the Cana wedding, to turn water into wine.  Why not milk and honey, why wine?  Do you think the wine might have inspired greater mirth among his beloved?

[115] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-15-2009 at 09:03 PM • top

We do have it recorded that Christ wept (at least twice), but not once do we have it recorded that He laughed.  Laughing got Sari into a bit of trouble.  The Preacher says that it is better to be in the House of Mourning.

Not that laughter is sinful, it just seems to me, as it does to monologistos, more likely to get one into troubles than tears.

[116] Posted by Bo on 03-15-2009 at 10:12 PM • top

I see your point, though, monologistos, after having just read your story of the ferris wheel doom.  Interesting to think who was present that day.  Someone who pushed the kid on the top to push the wheel, who drove off help and stuffed their ears against your cries; someone who performed a miracle for two small children, one saving the other; someone who was nervous, frightened, probably as guilty as the first someone left him; someone who was overcome by the sudden realization he’d been saved for life; and someone who acted as God’s own child, then and now.  I can see what you mean, how that child sees salvation in visions of doom.

[117] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-15-2009 at 10:16 PM • top

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