[With the previous thread’s discussion going strong on the ACNA C&Cs I’ve decided to open up another post for continuing that discussion.]
Is the ACNA really going to approve a Constitutions and Canons that disallow all future lay and clergy choosing their bishops for new dioceses, phrased as it now is as: “Where the originating body is newly formed, that body shall normally nominate two or three candidates, from whom the College of Bishops may select one”?
And look, they’ve neatly grandfathered in the dioceses of the AMiA, the three Anglo-Catholic dioceses, the dioceses of the REC—but all the “newly formed” dioceses must have their bishop selected [from two or three candidates] by the College of Bishops.
Am I reading this correctly—and did all the previous drafts of the C&Cs include this line?
Is the “newly formed” diocese forever “newly formed”—or do they get to elect their own bishop after the *first bishop* is selected by the Council of Bishops?
Years ago I was informed—over and over and over and over again—by departing Episcopalians that politics was a Bad Bad Thing, that I was becoming Badder and Badder by engaging in it, and that where they were going there would be no need to engage in Bad Bad Politics.
But politics is merely the ordering of institutions and organizations by human beings. That’s what politics is—and one may choose to be a part of that ordering or choose to remain and act oblivious to that ordering, while it goes on all around one by others. But this choice to insert this little rule about the bishops being selected—[neatly shuffling off the laypeople and clergy from simply selecting their own bishop and still allowing said bishop up for approval to the college of bishops]—is a political choice with rather far-reaching consequences. It centralizes a massive amount of power in the College of Bishops and certainly shortchanges any power of the laity and clergy.
With this rule as a huge red flag, I would begin—were I departing TEC for the ACNA—to explore and scour the C&Cs for further evidence of further centralization of power with the College of Bishops.
If there’s anything at all we’ve learned—surely—over the past years it’s the sheer perfidy and oiliness of bishops-with-power. Revisionist bishops. Orthodox bishops. Moderate bishops. Institutionalist bishops. When they are unchecked by lay and clergy resistance, they run rampant over parishes, laypeople, clergy, canons, and constitution. It’s just a given.
How on earth a group of laypeople and clergy leaving a corrupt nasty oily place like TEC with its current crop of bishops and promptly deciding they were going to “be like Nigeria and Uganda” and allow their College of Bishops to select a bishop for a diocese one cannot imagine.
People are just sheer mysteries.
I have no interest, honestly, in what Nigeria or Uganda do in selecting their bishops, any more than I have an interest in how the COE selects its bishops; otherwise I’d be hoping that the ACNA would also introduce a Queen somewhere in the mix. The one thing that the bishops of TEC have not been able to corral, in fact, is their Rebellious Wicked Laity, despite attempting to do so by enacting some new disciplinary standards at GC 2006. The primary thing that has led to the excellent chaos and resistance in TEC dioceses is groups of laity standing together and saying “no way, Hosea.”
Years ago, other departing TECans who weren’t explaining to me how Bad Politics Was, were earnestly informing me that they had Really Really Learned their lessons. They weren’t fleeing fighting battles—they recognized that wherever they went, they’d need to engage and be a part any new organization and little stone bridges and battles over those bridges were everywhere.
Well . . . in one month’s time will be their chance. Do you know who your delegates are? Where do they stand on the various parts of the C&Cs? Have they even read the C&Cs? Do they know one another? Have they networked with other delegates of like mind?
Good luck in June.
And I really mean that—I’d rather have the joy of seeing my friends in a highly functional, healthy ACNA, then a repeat only conservative version of TECusa.
So here’s my question for the purposes of conversation on this thread. Setting aside the above issue of selecting a bishop for the newly formed dioceses, are there other parts of the C&Cs that yield further centralization of power for the College of Bishops and decline of power for laity and clergy?
This will serve as an ACNA C&C discussion thread.