“As you can see the Diocese of Virginia form for Standing Committee testimonial is defective on many counts. Since Canon III.11.4.b is crystal clear that the only evidence of consent is a testimonial in the canonical words, the Virginia documents do not constitute evidence of consent.
How did you “proceed to take order for the ordination” without evidence of consent from the Standing Committees? If you do something that is not canonically permissible, isn’t that a violation of the canons? Should you not have declared the election null & void as required in III.11.5? If you fail to do something that is canonically required, isn’t that a violation of the canons? I believe you are familiar with the requirements of both canons III.11.4.b and III.11.5 as you used both to declare null & void the recent election in South Carolina.
Without your confirmation of receipt of proper consents, we have a very uneasy situation. First we have what appears to be your unequal application of the same canon in two separate cases within months of each other. Second we potentially have the irregular consecration of Bishop Johnston [without consents from Standing Committees], calling into question his Episcopal acts. Third we may have before us a Canon IV.1.c liability on your part for violation of the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention. Since you are the person to inform the review committee if there is sufficient reason to believe that a Bishop has committed an Offense [IV.3.23.b], how do you suggest others can clarify the conflicted situation within the Church?
We began this inquiry within the 120 days from notification of election of Bishop Johnston. We ask again Presiding Bishop, David Booth Beers, & the Diocese of Virginia, for the third time, to confirm the canonically required consents, in the words as required by canon, were received prior to consecration of Bishop Johnston. Failing to make such confirmation, please advise as to what steps can be taken to have these matters forwarded to the Review Committee and resolved.”
Back when the consents for Mark Lawrence’s election as bishop were denied and the election was overturned by our Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, I defended her overturn of the election based on a strict reading of the canons. I certainly thought her spiteful attempt to blame the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina for not controlling the form in which the consents from other dioceses was received was a crude, defensive, and clumsy bit of rhetoric. But her overturn of the election was by the book and I did not believe it to be wrong.
Here is what I said:
“For the record, unlike some commenters, I do not believe that it is the fault of the Presiding Bishop that the consents were not provided in the correct format. Any Standing Committee should be crystal aware of its duties under the canons.
And as I have stated on Kendall’s site and here at StandFirm, the main fault lies with some of the progressive leaders of our church who—in a breathtakingly petty, childish, and vengeful manner—denied consent to Mark Lawrence for two reasons and two reasons only. 1) He publicly and vigorously has disagreed with the direction of the national leadership of the Episcopal church and 2) he supported the diocese of South Carolina’s efforts in its successful attempts at offering a clear distinction between the diocese and the theology and agenda of the leaders of the national church, while yet remaining within the Episcopal church.
Those two things about Mark Lawrence infuriated some progressives on some Standing Committees [though certainly not all progressives on all Standing Committees], and so they came up with a transparently vacuous excuse for denying consent—that Mark Lawrence might possibly violate the canons someday.
Because of their immaturity, the usual bureaucratic snafus that inevitably occur in such a process achieved heightened impact and every vote assumed immense and epic importance.
Our Presiding Bishop is certainly not to blame for either the snafus in process that occurred for some Standing Committees, or the vengefulness of some progressive Standing Committees. Neither is the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina to blame for either problem.”
Now one must ask an important question.
Did Katherine Jefferts Schori treat the consents received for the election of a bishop for the Diocese of Virginia in the same way? Did she base her actions on a likewise “strict reading of the canons” for the Diocese of Virginia’s bishop election?
It is surprising that the national church has not chosen to respond to the request for clarifying details from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin. We all now await with interest the response to the questions the Standing Committee has raised.
Surely there will be some explanatory answers.