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July 1, 2012


Bishop Love of Albany writes his Diocese about threatened disciplinary actions

I received it by email.  This was distributed through the Albany Intercessor, a prayer network serving that Diocese (emphasis reflects the email):

June 30, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Earlier today, I received an email copy of a letter dated June 29, 2012, from the Rt. Rev’d Clayton Matthews. I was one of seven bishops addressed in the letter. The other bishops include: The Rt. Rev’d Maurice M. Benitez, The Rt. Rev’d John W. Howe, The Rt. Rev’d Paul E. Lambert, The Rt. Rev’d D. Bruce MacPherson, The Rt. Rev’d Daniel H. Martins, and the Rt. Rev’d James M. Stanton.
In the letter, Bishop Matthews states, “As the Intake Officer for the Church, I am obliged to inform you that a complaint has been received against you for your action in filing of Amicus Curiae Brief in the pending appeal in the Supreme Court of Texas in opposition to The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and The Episcopal Church. In the next few weeks, I will initiate a disciplinary process according to Title IV Canon 6 Sec. 3 & 4 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.”

To date, I have not seen a copy of the “complaint,” nor do I know who issued it, or what it says.

While Bishop Matthews has informed me that he has received a “complaint,” against me and the other six bishops dealing with our participation in the above mentioned Amicus Curiae Brief, at this point, I have not been officially charged with anything and may not be depending on the outcome of the initial investigation of the “complaint.”

At the appropriate time, I will address my participation in the Amicus Curiae Brief with Bishop Matthews (as the Intake Officer) and others involved.

As I learn more about this situation, I will keep you informed. In the mean time I would ask for your prayers as this situation is resolved.

Faithfully Yours in Christ, +William H. Love


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15 comments

Been there, done that.  Remember this letter?  I will pray that these complaints against these bishops will be resolved and that the outcome will be the same-ie the charges will be found to be without merit.

October 5, 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Thursday, September 29, 2011 the Bishop received communication from the President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops that “serious charges” have been made under Title IV of the canons of The Episcopal Church.  These are allegations that he has abandoned The Episcopal Church. Since several of these allegations also include actions taken by the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, after sustained prayer and discernment, it has seemed appropriate to both the Bishop and the Standing Committee to make these allegations available to the members of the Diocese. These allegations may be found on the Diocesan website…here.

Subsequently, the President of our Standing Committee, the Very Reverend Paul C. Fuener, received a letter from the Church Attorney assisting the Disciplinary Board seeking “Records maintained by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina.” This letter may be found on our diocesan website…here. 

In order to understand the possible implications and to engage in corporate prayer for the diocese, I, as bishop, have called a meeting of all our active and canonically resident clergy for this coming Tuesday, October 11, 2011 from 10:00 —12:00 noon at the Ministry Center of St. James Episcopal Church, James Island.

Rest assured we will do all in our power to defend gospel truth and catholic order. We and the members of our Standing Committee ask your prayers for God’s guidance and wisdom.

Yours in Christ,

The Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence
XIV Bishop of South Carolina


The Very Reverend Paul C. Fuener
President of the Standing Committee

[1] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-1-2012 at 08:08 AM · [top]

I note that there is this from the service for the consecration of a bshop:

“Will you share with your fellow bishops in the
government of the whole Church; will you sustain
your fellow presbyters and take counsel with them….?”

Which is precisely what Bp Love and his fellow bishops were doing for which they should not be “accused” but rather applauded.

[2] Posted by Stefano on 7-1-2012 at 08:25 AM · [top]

Interesting. Has anyone else noted the differences in text?

Here is the text as given in Mr Haley’s post about Silencing ECUSA bishops:
As the Intake Officer for the Church, I am obliged to inform you that a complaint has been received against you for your action in filing of Amicus Curiae Brief in the pending appeal in the Supreme Court of Texas in opposition to The Episcopal Diocese of Texas and The Episcopal Church.


Hers is the text as cited in this post about Bishop Love’s letter to his diocese:
“As the Intake Officer for the Church, I am obliged to inform you that a complaint has been received against you for your action in filing of Amicus Curiae Brief in the pending appeal in the Supreme Court of Texas in opposition to The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and The Episcopal Church.

The joy/agony of electronic communication???

[3] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-1-2012 at 08:36 AM · [top]

It is absolutely needless for Bishop Matthews to have sent out these emails before he made the initial determination that the charges, if true, would constitute an offense under the Constitution and Canons of the Church. Under the new Title IV provisions, neither Bishop Love nor any other bishop will see the actual complaints against them, nor know the identity of their accuser(s), unless and until the cases proceed to the Conference Panel stage.

If Bishop Matthews determines that the charges could not constitute a chargeable offense, then he would inform the Presiding Bishop and the Disciplinary Board president (a new one will be elected at General Convention, by the way) of his intentions. Unless the Presiding Bishop objected, the charges would then be dropped, and the bishops in question need never have been troubled about the matter.

Because there was no need to notify the bishops until Bishop Matthews had determined that the charges were valid and needed to be investigated, my post yesterday assumed that his email was a notification to that effect. Since writing it, however, I have heard from one bishop who clarified the matter with Bishop Matthews that no determination of validity has yet been made, and that the emails were for “information only.”

To handle disciplinary matters in such a way is needlessly anxiety-inducing, and disturbs the good order of the Church. Once notified, what bishop could keep from informing his diocese of the potential charges? So why get everyone stirred up when you (a) cannot release the text of the charges without the accusers’ permission, and (b) have not determined whether they even hold water?

It makes absolutely no sense, but then, as SC blue cat lady pointed out, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

[4] Posted by A. S. Haley on 7-1-2012 at 11:38 AM · [top]

#4 Allan - it makes sense as an act of intimidation.  “Nice episcopate you got there.  Would be a pity if something happened to it…”

[5] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 7-1-2012 at 11:54 AM · [top]

#2 Stefano - very, very good point.  They are indeed taking counsel in a situation where the church lacks consensus.  The people who are after them are fond of talking about the need for “conversation,” but their talk is manifestly cheap.

[6] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 7-1-2012 at 12:05 PM · [top]

As Mr. Haley noted what bishop could refrain from informing his diocese of even possible charges against himself.  What was the point of these this is for your information only type email?

I think #5 Tim+ has it right. It is option c)-it does seem to be some e-mail saber rattling does it not?Just a nice little email threat so the bishops realize what they have done has been noticed and will have consequences….... of course what consequence is left to your imagination.  Intimidation of the worst sort- just enough information to get everyone all upset…..

[7] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-1-2012 at 12:29 PM · [top]

In most circumstances, Mr. Haley’s sentence above

It makes absolutely no sense, but then, as SC blue cat lady pointed out, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

would be quite apt. Of course, given the new leadership of TEC, what we should all expect instead is a court made up of members (at least on the prosecutorial staff and the bench) who resemble this this, albeit clothed in clerical collars, copes and mitres of the finest fabrics and adornment.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[8] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 7-1-2012 at 01:33 PM · [top]

Intimidation is the word.

In a church where a large proportion of clergy does not like to ruffle anyone’s feathers, this type of intimidation works well. You see, the goal of the Intimidator is to suppress all the potential grumblers or enemies of the Revolution who might be out there.

[9] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-1-2012 at 01:45 PM · [top]

Mr. Haley and All,
Actually the sentence “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” is my husband’s who borrowed from Monty Python. Sometimes we accidentally post under the other’s ID on SFIF or T1:9.

Pewster, yep, intimidation it is.  I thought it rather interesting that even Mark Harris has commented on the information sent to these bishops. The progressives are playing it real cool saying things like- will reserve judgement until we know more. etc trying to make us look like we are reactionary close minded folk. Anyway, does not change the clear intimidation in these letters(e-mails?). Were actual letters sent??

[10] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-1-2012 at 03:19 PM · [top]

So proud of Bishop Love! It’s a mark of honor, an indication of integrity, to be charged with something by TEC. God bless him for his courage! I had surgery last week and haven’t been at the church since last Monday, and I’m dying to see what the word is there.

[11] Posted by Nellie on 7-1-2012 at 03:26 PM · [top]

I agree.  We should admire the courage of these bishops and of their families who support them, and we should pray that the Lord will protect and uphold them.

[12] Posted by MichaelA on 7-1-2012 at 05:56 PM · [top]

A letter that should be written: 

Dear Leadership of the Episcopal Church,

I would at this time like to make my most formal complaint regarding your clumsy treatment and plagiarism of a work of literature I labored long and hard over.  You have hollowed out my work and used its contents to mix the mortar for your own edifice.  If you continue making literary my nightmares a reality I will be forced to stop writing as I shudder to think what you might do next. 

Sincerely,

F. Kafka

[13] Posted by rwkachur on 7-1-2012 at 09:19 PM · [top]

A letter that should be written (with the typo corrected):

Dear Leadership of the Episcopal Church,

I would at this time like to make my most formal complaint regarding your clumsy treatment and plagiarism of a work of literature I labored long and hard over.  You have hollowed out my work and used its contents to mix the mortar for your own edifice.  If you continue making my literary nightmares a reality I will be forced to stop writing as I shudder to think what you might do next.

Sincerely,

F. Kafka

[14] Posted by rwkachur on 7-1-2012 at 09:21 PM · [top]

MIchael A. Yes indeed! If anyone has not been praying for these bishops and other like-minded clergy and their families, start TODAY!! I have been praying for the Lord’s protection and support the clergy of my diocese (SC) for some time now. When I remember other clergy and bishops in need around the WACC,  I pray for them too.  George Conger+ mentioned on Anglican Unscripted (episode 44) that recently an Episcopal Church in Sudan was bulldozed and Christians have been told to get out. As messy a situation we have here in TEC , no one is bulldozing our buildings.  Think of and pray for Bishop Mouneer Anis and his people in Egypt and the times they are facing.  The needs are great. Prayer is one way that I calm down and put things back into perspective.

[15] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-2-2012 at 10:48 AM · [top]

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