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July 6, 2012


+Ohl, +Buchanan Write Schori, Ask Her to “Clarify” Charges Against Bishops

The original letter is here. The text of the letter is below:

July 5,2012

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefforts Schori
The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY, 10017

Re: Request to set the record straight

Dear Bishop Jefforts Schori:

We, the bishops of the Dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth, with the support of the Standing Committee and Council of each diocese, respectfully urge the Church’s House of Bishops, at its meeting at the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis, to set the record straight regarding recent statements by certain bishops in our Church. The subject bishops are:

1. The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. Benitez (resigned, Diocese of Texas);
2. The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe (resigned, Diocese of Central Florida);
3. The Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert (suffragan, Diocese of Dallas);
4. The Rt. Rev. William H. Love (diocesan, Diocese of Albany);
5. The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson (diocesan, Diocese of W. Louisiana);
6. The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins (diocesan, Diocese of Springfield);
7. The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton (diocesan, Diocese of Dallas);
8. The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith (resigned, Diocese of Springfield); and
9. The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon (resigned, Diocese of South Carolina).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The House of Bishops is well aware of the litigation across this Church resulting from breakaway factions who left The Episcopal Church but claim to have taken parishes and entire dioceses, and all the historic church property, names, records, and funds, with them, and claim to “be” the continuing parish or diocese. In the Dioceses of Quincy, Fort Worth, San Joaquin, and Pittsburgh, these breakaway efforts were led by former members of the House of Bishops.

Recent events illustrate that there are still bishops in our Church who harm the Church by officially misrepresenting the polity of the Church; invading the episcopal jurisdiction of other bishops; taking official, formal, affirmative actions directly against their own Church and sister dioceses; and even recognizing the continuing authority of breakaway former bishops over the bishops who are recognized by this Church. In doing so they give aid and comfort to breakaway factions who would take title and control of substantially all of the real and personal property of this Church and cripple its mission and ministry.

Specifically, on April 23, 2012 Bishops Benitez, Howe, Lambert, Love, MacPherson, Martins, and Stanton, purporting to act in their official capacities as bishops of The Episcopal Church and its House of Bishops, caused to be filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in litigation in support of a breakaway faction led by former bishop Jack Iker and against this Church and its Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Similarly, on October 6, 2011, 2011, Bishops Salmon, MacPherson, and Beckwith, purporting to act in their official capacities as bishops of The Episcopal Church and its House of Bishops, caused to be filed affidavits in litigation in support of a breakaway faction led by Alberto Morales and against this Church and its Episcopal Diocese of Quincy. The details of their misrepresentations are reflected in the documents themselves. However, generally the bishops falsely claimed as follows:

1. They Represented that Dioceses Can Unilaterally Leave: These bishops give aid and comfort to breakaway factions trying to alienate this Church’s historic property and identity and urge a false view of polity that would purport to authorize each bishop across this Church to lead his or her diocese and church property in the diocese out of The Episcopal Church.

2. They Denied the Dennis Canon and Failed to Safeguard Church Property: These bishops advocate that the breakaway parties should prevail in the litigation against The Episcopal Church and the loyal Episcopalians in those dioceses and assert positions that would strip millions of dollars of historic property and funds, lovingly accumulated by generations of Episcopalians, from the mission and ministry of this Church, and instead urge that they be used by breakaway factions for the mission and ministry of a new church. They thus would nullify this Church’s trust interest in all the real and personal property of congregations in those dioceses and, indeed, across The Episcopal Church and fail to safeguard property of the Church and its dioceses.

3. They Recognized the Wrong Bishops: The amicus bishops in the Fort Worth case expressly claim that Iker, not Bishop Wallis Ohl, repeatedly recognized by the Church, is still the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth; in the Quincy filing the affidavit bishops imply that Morales, not Bishop John C. Buchanan, repeatedly recognized by the Church, is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy. By this claim these bishops not only reject this Church’s authority to recognize its own bishops but they arrogate for themselves, in direct defiance of this Church, the authority to determine the episcopal authority of every other bishop in the Church, substituting at will their personal standards for those of this Church and trying to inject chaos into core ecclesiastical functions of The Episcopal Church itself.

4. They Violated Episcopal Jurisdiction: By their public filings in local litigation, without invitation or consent of the ecclesiastical authority in those sister dioceses, these bishops directly violated the ecclesiastical authority and episcopal jurisdiction of Bishop C. Wallis Ohl and Bishop John C. Buchanan, respectively, who have been consistently recognized by The Episcopal Church as being the current bishops of Fort Worth and Quincy. By inserting themselves in local litigation against the ecclesiastical authority in those dioceses, the subject bishops have violated the longstanding prohibition against “acting in another diocese without the consent of the diocesan authority”’ and have engaged in boundary crossing to interfere profoundly in the mission and the very existence of a sister diocese and the jurisdiction of other bishops of this Church.

CONCLUSION

This is not a matter of a few unhappy bishops stating their personal views on church polity. They each affirmatively and officially acted by injecting themselves, intentionally and without invitation from the bishops exercising jurisdiction, into local litigation, opposing this Church and sister dioceses on core ecclesiastical issues regarding the very identity of other dioceses.

We respectfully urge that the House of Bishops set the record straight on the polity of this Church regarding its hierarchical character. Respectfully submitted,

The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl
EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH

The Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan
EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF QUINCY


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60 comments

This letter would lead me to believe charges came from both Quincy and Fort Worth with knowledge and approval of Bishops Ohl and Buchanan.  I bet they dodge everyone of of those named in the charges while in Indy.

[1] Posted by bob+ on 7-6-2012 at 10:10 AM · [top]

In summery, here are the four points:

1) The bishops think a diocese may leave even if they shouldn’t, which is obviously wrong despite the fact that there is no rule that says they can’t, and it has historic precedent going for it.

2) They’ve denied the Dennis Canon by not affirming it’s application to dioceses, which the canon itself does not do. They have also failed to safeguard the historic properties of this church, some dating back to 2005, which they are not required by the Dennis Canon, or any other rule of this church to do.

3) They have have affirmed that Bishops Iker and Morales are bishops of the congregations they shepherd, and Bishops Ohl and Buchanan are not bishops of congregations they do not shepherd. Regardless of the fact that this is painfully obvious, the accused should know that there are no bishops, except for bishops recognized by TEC. Especially if the existence of such bishops (of which there are none), would prove inconvenient. Granted they they have broken to rule, per say, however there is clearly guilt present, and should be punished according to said guilt.

4) They have engaged in boarder crossing by filing an opinion “as bishops” in court. Those who say that “episcopal actions” are limited to liturgical activities (which they didn’t do) or church related/sponsored events (of which the court is not), are clearly out of line, which we fully intend to not show.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[2] Posted by Jacobsladder on 7-6-2012 at 10:33 AM · [top]

Oh my goodness - they are asking KJS and her toadies in the HoB to “clarify the polity”. 
“Oh Mr. Fox, would you guard the hen-house, please?”

[3] Posted by GillianC on 7-6-2012 at 10:34 AM · [top]

Recent events illustrate that there are still bishops in our Church who harm the Church by officially misrepresenting the polity of the Church; invading the episcopal jurisdiction of other bishops; taking official, formal, affirmative actions directly against their own Church and sister dioceses; and even recognizing the continuing authority of breakaway former bishops over the bishops who are recognized by this Church. In doing so they give aid and comfort to breakaway factions who would take title and control of substantially all of the real and personal property of this Church and cripple its mission and ministry.

True, this is really shocking carry-on and I am so glad that the Opening Remarks by both the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies recognised the schismatic, divisive and plain ordinary thieving actions of such parishes as Trinity Wall Street which had the effrontery to walk off with the real and personal property lovingly accumulated by generations of Anglicans, including the land so graciously presented in 1705 by Her Majesty Anne, by the Grace of God, Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland.

Let us merely glancingly mention the irregular, to say the least, activities of such troublemakers as Samuel Seabury who brazenly, blatantly and maliciously sought consecration in the Scottish Epsicopal Church - an act, by a sister church of the Anglican Communion, of boundary crossing and interference without invitation or consent of the ecclesiastical authority in those sister dioceses that is breath-taking in its audacity - purely in order to avoid the legal, moral and ecclesiastical authority of his rightful superiors!

I am so glad that GC2012 is finally going to address and repudiate the rash and unilateral actions of a breakaway faction that would purport to authorize each bishop across this Church to lead his or her diocese and church property in the diocese out of the Church of England, by law established, and who claim to have taken parishes and entire dioceses, and all the historic church property, names, records, and funds, with them, and claim to “be” the continuing parish or diocese, and who have violated the longstanding prohibition against “acting in another diocese without the consent of the diocesan authority”’.

I await with interest the schedule for returning all the real and personal property to its rightful owner, the hierarchical Church of England.

grin

[4] Posted by Martha on 7-6-2012 at 10:39 AM · [top]

“We respectfully urge that the House of Bishops set the record straight on the polity of this Church regarding its hierarchical character.”

What canonical provision is there for a HoB to “set the record straight?”  Perhaps they would be better off requesting the episcopal attorney general to issue an optinion or, better yet, filing for a declaratory judgment in episcopal district court. 

And precisely what are the Dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth, and who are the bishops who claim to be exercising episcopal jurisdiction therein?  Beg questions much?

rolleyes

[5] Posted by tired on 7-6-2012 at 10:44 AM · [top]

WOW!  The implications of this letter are huge in the litigational realm, IMO.  Not sure of the exact style of the litigation in each matter referenced, but I guess that each of these Bishops is a named party; or, at least an interested party, if not actually named.  As suggested yesterday on another thread, the timing of all this is very suspect.
At the least it is designed to create “new evidence” to counter the evidence being offerred by the accused bishops by soliciting the HOB to vote on a resolution that affirms their inaccurate assertions about the polity of the church.  I guess, after that resolution passes the results of the vote will be offerred into evidence to counter the “false” assertions of the 9 “offending” bishops.  I am sure the self-serving nature of all this won’t be lost on an impartial trial judge?

The worst implications of this would be that it is intended to set the hook for those bishops who are scheduled for deposition in the Quincy matter.  If the HOB supports this ploy, (and who really thinks they won’t?) then when the bishops testify consistently with their affadavits(which it is reported they will), they will be certainly taking a position contrary to the “official”’ opinion of the HOB as to the polity of the church just affirmed at the 77th GC…OR, if they recant their affadavit, make them into liars…

Hopefully the trial attorney’s in Quincy will begin making a record on this before the trial judge as quickly as possible.

[6] Posted by aacswfl1 on 7-6-2012 at 10:52 AM · [top]

I ask you, would you want either of the authors of such a mean spirited diatribe to be your bishop?

[7] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-6-2012 at 11:15 AM · [top]

Dear House of Bishops,

I respectfully request that you give my godly bishop (+Stanton) the floor for 10 uninterrupted minutes. He’ll “clarify” this for you.

Oh, and a light has gone out in my office. How do I get 815 to dispatch someone to fix it for me? Surely this is a reasonable request, since all our property are belong to them.

Respectfully Submitted.

[8] Posted by Fr. David M. Faulkner on 7-6-2012 at 11:21 AM · [top]

This letter is remarkable.

Heresies by Bps. Spong, Righter, etc. are not punished. We all recall that the Court for the Trial of a Bishop ruled that Bp. Righter beat the presentment because there was no “core doctrine” against same sex blessings. In effect, all of TEC’s canons collectively are ineffective to prevent apostacy or heresies among TEC’s bishops.

Now, this letter asserts that the opinions of the 9 in (i) a purely secular matter, i.e. a civil trial concerning the validity of TEC’s ostensible property interests, and (ii) questions about TEC’s polity (e.g. may a Diocese leave TEC?) are offenses justifying punishment under the canons[!].

This is a perfect inversion, replacing what is objectively important (i.e. the Church’s doctrinal integrity) with what is merely convenient for TEC’s incumbent leaders’ political and litigation claims.

[9] Posted by Publius on 7-6-2012 at 11:36 AM · [top]

This letter confirms that if Bishops Ohl and Buchanan themselves did not file the complaints against their fellow Bishops, then they had members of their “Standing Committees” or “Diocesan Councils” do so for them.

It is a despicable letter, completely unworthy of the calling of a bishop. It is filled with lies and untruths.

To take just one example, the Bishops on the amicus brief did not “represent that dioceses can unilaterally leave”—although that representation would have been entirely true, if it had been made. Instead, the Bishops affirmed that they had no intention of leaving the Church, and disagreed with the decisions of the Bishops who had done so.

Nor did their brief “deny the Dennis Canon.” The Dennis Canon is completely inapplicable to the property disputes in Quincy and in Fort Worth. The amicus brief did not even discuss the Canon.

The attempt to get a statement from the HoB on the polity of the Church may succeed, but any such statement will merely be the opinion of the Bishops signing it. Nine CP Bishops have already signed a contrary statement, so if you want proof that ECUSA is not hierarchical, look no farther.

Such disagreement on matters of polity could never happen in the RCC. The interesting thing to see will be whether the PB tries to exercise her newly granted metropolitical authority now.

[10] Posted by A. S. Haley on 7-6-2012 at 12:09 PM · [top]

This is new-speak. Either these so-called bishops of rump dioceses were knowingly bald-faced lying when they wrote this or they are engaging in complete self-delusion. No one thought this way for the first 4/5 of my time in the clergy. Everybody knew that dioceses are semi-independant. It is only since Mrs Schori came in and decided to turn herself into the first female Pope that this conceptual framework of hierarchy came into being. Frank Griswold would have never had the chutzpah to assert what Kate asserts.

[11] Posted by A Senior Priest on 7-6-2012 at 01:26 PM · [top]

“...breakaway factions who left The Episcopal Church but claim to have taken parishes and entire dioceses…”

I’ve just about had enough of this crap. A ‘breakaway faction’ is not 80% or 90% of the entire church or diocese. Ohl and Buchanan lead (were illegally appointed to lead) the real ‘breakaway factions’ of the churches and dioceses.

I’m so tired of this junk, but apparently a few of those GC knuckleheads swallow it because all they’ve ever seen are the 815 press releases. I don’t expect it to change anything, either way, but maybe in this ‘closed meeting’ someone can set the record straight on that subjective flight of fantasy right now.

[12] Posted by All-Is-True on 7-6-2012 at 02:12 PM · [top]

Martha,

Why not take the issue beyond the Church of England?  Why not swim the Tiber…Oh, I forgot,if we go all the way back, all properties and ministeries of the Body of Christ are seated in the Jerusalem Congregation, under James…NOT Peter, he was away for years fighting Paul.  Oops.

I guess we (you all, since I’m gone) may as well suck it up and let Madame Schorri and His Honor, the Lord Chancellor Beers, take possession of all of that high maintenance real estate after all.

In His Name,
Chip+,SF

[13] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 7-6-2012 at 02:31 PM · [top]

They denied the HOLY Dennis Canon?!?  Is outrage!!!

(Never mind that it is was never actually enacted: http://wannabeanglican.blogspot.com/2012/06/is-dennis-canon-part-of-massive-fraud.html  )

[14] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 7-6-2012 at 02:45 PM · [top]

By the way. Ohl has been a stinker for a long time.  When a large Midland, Texas Episcopal Church approached him saying they could no longer stay in the Episcopal Church and asking to work out a gracious departure, he kicked them out of their buildings post haste.

I think they are now Christ Church Midland if my memory is correct.

[15] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 7-6-2012 at 02:49 PM · [top]

Faux diocese with faux “bishops” and faux standing committees bring allegations on faux “facts” to the faux popetta. 

I am shocked.  Shocked I tell your.  They should have appealed to GC - the canonical highest authority in the EcUSA.  Next they’ll want a dispensation or indulgence for their continuing existence (“Oh, a few million will be enough to shuffle by on.”)

[16] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 7-6-2012 at 02:51 PM · [top]

Newbie:

I was in the Diocese of Fort Worth when they voted to leave and since I was close friends with a few priests in the area (we moved back to MS in 2010), so I got a lot of information about the forming of the faux diocese. From what I heard, Ohl was basically handpicked by a Standing Committee and Chancellor who were all themselves handpicked by KJS are her people. So it doesn’t surprise me that he is a terrible guy. Got any more information?

[17] Posted by All-Is-True on 7-6-2012 at 02:58 PM · [top]

Recent events illustrate that there are still bishops in our Church who harm the Church by officially misrepresenting the polity of the Church;

How about the TEC bishops who’ve harmed the church through their strange and unbiblical theological innovations?

[18] Posted by the virginian on 7-6-2012 at 03:21 PM · [top]

I know nothing of John C. Buchanan, but have the privilege of being in an ACNA parish whose bishop is Alberto Morales.  His profound and godly words at a recent ordination service inspired us all, and I’m thankful that he is ministering among us.  If his leadership is “harming the Church,” then may more men and women rise up who can do it similar “harm.”  May God bless the Anglican Diocese of Quincy, Bishop Morales, and the ten bishops who are the object of these unworthy and foolish attacks.

[19] Posted by DuPage Anglican on 7-6-2012 at 03:40 PM · [top]

Obviously someone from the TEC leadership wrote the letter and got these guys to send it in.

[20] Posted by B. Hunter on 7-6-2012 at 03:41 PM · [top]

B. Hunter, Ohl is something of a puppet. So that would not surprise me at all.

[21] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 7-6-2012 at 03:56 PM · [top]

This letter is being discussed today, July 6, in the HoB.  Today in the Hebrew calendar is the 16th day of Tammuz, 5772.  The Golden Calf was made by Moses’ brother, Aaron, on the 16th day of the month of Tammuz, in the year 2448 from creation (1313 bce).

[22] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 7-6-2012 at 03:57 PM · [top]

#22, Brilliant!

I’ve never understood how Aaron did what he did, and didn’t get zapped on the spot. Perhaps Bishops Ohl and Buchanan will also get a pass. For the time being, that is.

[23] Posted by Ralph on 7-6-2012 at 04:29 PM · [top]

They had to eat and drink the results of their folly, Ralph, and 3000 were killed, and there was plague, and the generation was prohibited from entering the Promised Land ... but other than that, there was no decline.  See Exodus 32 and 33.

[24] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 7-6-2012 at 05:30 PM · [top]

Liars, despicable poltroons, gormless serpent tongued shameless deceiving thief hearted illegitimate sons of pustulant crusted hags of perdition.

May the prayers of the faithful sweep them before the tide of God’s judgment.

[25] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 7-6-2012 at 05:39 PM · [top]

Holy Crap…the House of Deputies just voted to sell 815! How long before KJS sends in the goons and we never hear from them again?

[26] Posted by All-Is-True on 7-6-2012 at 05:52 PM · [top]

Paula Loughlin:

illegitimate sons of pustulant crusted hags of perdition

Please keep your comments gender neutral while General Convention is in session! cool smirk

[27] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-6-2012 at 05:55 PM · [top]

Wonder what the deed says for 815 and what the circumstances were for its purchase.  I’ll bet those involved are rolling in their graves.  But with that and what’s being done to the 9 bishops looks like the church will be fully dismantled much more quickly than I figured.

[28] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 7-6-2012 at 06:05 PM · [top]

I stand corrected, episcopalienated.  It should read, “illegitimate whelps…”

[29] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 7-6-2012 at 06:18 PM · [top]

Can KJS be re-elected to another 9 year term at the next GC?

[30] Posted by James Manley on 7-6-2012 at 06:20 PM · [top]

Lakeland Two-
My recollection is that TEC came into possession of 815, and most of its Manhattan buildings in the 1930s.  Trinity Wall Street leased out most of its land (granted to the Bishop of London by Queen Anne in the early 1700’s, and just kept by TEC after the War of Independence.  At any rate, Trinity leased out the land in the 1800s and 1900s to companies wishing to build in the vicinity of Wall Street.  During the Depression, many companies fell behind on the leases, and/or went bankrupt, and Trinity gained possession of the buildings for 10 cents on the dollar by paying the back taxes.

The problem they have now (that I bet most deputies are not aware of) is that (if I remember correctly) a couple years ago, TEC took out big mortgages on 815 and other real property, and if they sell now, will have to pay off those mortgages.  They probably won’t net near as much as most deputies think they will.

[31] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-6-2012 at 06:28 PM · [top]

Charming that they refer to themselves as bishops but do not have the courtesy of referring to Bishops Iker and Morales by their correct titles.

I’m with DuPage Anglican, Bishop Morales is my bishop, the duly elected Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy, and a good and Godly man. Our parish voted unanimously to join the Diocese of Quincy under his leadership.

Seriously, may God raise up many more like him.

[32] Posted by Ann McCarthy on 7-6-2012 at 06:32 PM · [top]

James Manley-
I am sure that KJS can do whatever she wants to do as long as a majority of a quorum vote in favor and she rules all objections out of order.  After all, it is pretty clear that if she decides to succeed herself and a bishop opposes it, there is a good chance said bishop will wind up as the accused in a closed meeting of the HoB, before the Intake Officer even tells him or her what the charges are.
Heck, I am not sure they won’t just vote her Episco-Pope by acclamation tomorrow or Sunday and pass a canon that all bishops must genuflect in her presence.

[33] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-6-2012 at 06:34 PM · [top]

Thanks, tjmcmahon.

[34] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 7-6-2012 at 06:36 PM · [top]

#32-
I am not in the Diocese of Quincy, but have wished I was for the last 10 years, and will join you in your prayer.

[35] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-6-2012 at 06:36 PM · [top]

From George Conger at   Anglican Ink- no decision in HoB.

[36] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-6-2012 at 08:06 PM · [top]

#30, to James Manley: Yes, the PB can be re-elected as PB because she will not be past retirement years when the end of her term comes. Staggering to contemplate, no?

[37] Posted by Pressing On on 7-6-2012 at 08:34 PM · [top]

Cheryl Wetzel gives some insight in her prayer request.

[38] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 7-6-2012 at 10:04 PM · [top]

The faux diocese of Quincy is a short-timer anyway.  It is financially proped up by New York, which is steering the remnant into the Diocese of Chicago.  It would make far more sense for the Quincy leftovers to merge with Springfield, both geographically as well as theologically but the PBette won’t have that.

[39] Posted by Nikolaus on 7-6-2012 at 11:06 PM · [top]

Here’s a question for the canon lawyers.

Does the HOB have the authority and power to “set the record straight on the polity of this Church regarding its hierarchical character” without the concurrence of the HOD?

Just wonderin’ before I go chill some beer and get ready to pop some corn.

This is better than the July 4th fireworks in San Diego.

[40] Posted by Ralph on 7-7-2012 at 09:58 AM · [top]

#37- I doubt an election is actually necessary.  She accepted the renunciations of several bishops who never renounced their orders.  I do not see why she could not just accept re-election by unanimous consent without an election.  Precedent, you know.

[41] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-7-2012 at 10:39 AM · [top]

#30, to James Manley: Yes, the PB can be re-elected as PB because she will not be past retirement years when the end of her term comes. Staggering to contemplate, no?

There may not be much of a church remaining if she serves a second term. Remember TEC’s endowments and finances from the sale of various properties won’t last forever.

[42] Posted by the virginian on 7-7-2012 at 11:54 AM · [top]

I’m not convinced that there is going to be much of a church remaining even if she doesn’t. It won’t ever disappear entirely. But it will be an ever-decreasing blip on the nation’s denominational radar.

[43] Posted by Pressing On on 7-7-2012 at 01:11 PM · [top]

#40, no there is no Constitutional authority in the HoB to make definitive and binding declarations as to ECUSA’s polity. That would be a judicial function, and there is no constitutional judiciary in ECUSA - there are just disciplinary courts.

The HoB is a legislative (and disciplinary) body, but has no judicial functions. So a declaration by it on ECUSA’s polity would be just that - a declaration of their opinion, not binding on anybody.

General Convention has the authority under the Constitution to create a court for deciding questions of doctrine. Article IX says:

The General Convention, in like manner, may establish an ultimate Court of Appeal, solely for the review of the determination of any Court of Review on questions of Doctrine, Faith, or Worship.

But GC has never exercised that power. And to establish an Ecclesiatical Court with the power to interpret the Constitution and matters of polity would require an amendment to the Constitution itself.

[44] Posted by A. S. Haley on 7-7-2012 at 03:57 PM · [top]

How odd. The Ohl-Buchanan letter, then, seems to be asking for something that the HOB cannot provide - clarity.

Yet, it has exposed the simple fact that the HOB will be divided, rather than united, about the mess. I’d speculate that the letter would have made the PB’s legal staff go nuts, UNLESS they’re 100% certain that the HOB will resoundingly affirm hierarchical polity - to whatever extent they think they can do so.

I’d also wonder whether their discussions could be discoverable.

So is it accurate to say that actually bringing about metropolitical power-authority and a top-down national hierarchy would then either require a constitutional amendment, or that the PB assume such powers, daring anyone to challenge her?

I don’t think any sane person would give this current PB metropolitical power and authority.

[45] Posted by Ralph on 7-7-2012 at 04:51 PM · [top]

Ralph,  Under Title IV of 2009 (granted, this is unconstitutional, but since there is no court with authority to determine that, it has been ignored), in matters of jurisdiction, the PB already has a metropolitan’s authority in matters of discipline- that is, Title IV gives her the same authority over bishops that bishops have over clergy. So you are 3 years too late in questioning the sanity of GC.  (Actually, I think you could have questioned it anytime after 1970)  And the TEC PB has as much authority over doctrine as the ABoC in the CoE, or any other Primate, which is to say, not much, because in both cases, doctrine is anchored in the BCP, not in a person or legislative body- although of course GC can always authorize a new prayer book (based on what happened at the HoB, they appear to be putting that process off until next time around, so it won’t become official until 2021).

[46] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-7-2012 at 05:18 PM · [top]

Ralph,
I trust what Mr.  Haley has written abut Article IX of the Constitution (or is it the canons?) and how a ecclesiastical court would have to be established.  Anyway, The existing ecclesiastical courts are in the dioceses. Every diocese has an ecclesiastical court for the trial of clergy. That there is not a permament judicial body nor ecclesiastical court at the national level strengthens the idea that this is not a hierarchal church beyond the diocese.

I think it is safe to say the present PB has indeed assumed (taken?) many of the powers of a true metropolitical authority despite the constitution limiting the authority of the office of the Presiding Bishop.  No one has give her the authority rather she has taken it. That is one reason she has been difficult to deal with. She believes one way (i.e. that she is a true metropolitan/primate)  while the constitution actually states it differently.  Many bishops are already in total agreement with her. There are a minority of bishops who would and have stood up to her intimidation tactics.  Yes, this is a real mess simply because some won’t play by the rules.

[47] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-7-2012 at 05:35 PM · [top]

#46, the PB is not an archbishop with the power and authority to instruct (for example) DioSC that it must (for example) perform SSBs, or admit practicing homosexuals or transgender individuals to Holy Orders. Or, cease using the Name of Jesus in worship services. Or, to teach that Jesus is a way, not The Way.

No way.

[48] Posted by Ralph on 7-7-2012 at 05:40 PM · [top]

Ralph (48), Of course not, but no archbishop in the Anglican Communion has that level of authority. You are putting all sorts of words in my mouth that I never said. As the 9 bishops said in their response, if you want to engage me on what I said, fine, but don’t engage me on things I never said.  I NEVER said anything about forcing South Carolina to do anything.  Even a Roman archbishop doesn’t have that level of authority.  What you are talking about in your example is not metropolitical power, but some sort of absolute dictatorship of heresy.  In all cases of Anglican polity that I am aware of, Archbishops are responsible to either their HoB or Synod. 

However, did the PB inhibit Bob Duncan and get the HoB to back her up by deposing him?  Answer: yes Could she, under Title IV, inhibit +Lawrence if someone brings charges against him?  Answer: yes she can- Read title IV, the current one.  No more 3 senior bishops, no appeal.

Did the PB, in the course of that deposition, violate the canons of the church in regards to the number of bishops necessary to convict?  Answer: yes.  In the same proceeding, did she abuse the power of the chair and declare valid motions and points of order to be out of order?  Answer: yes.  Has she ever been brought up on charges, much less tried, for any of these violations?  Answer: no.

Has the PB accepted renunciations from bishops who never renounced their orders?  Yes, she has.  Does the HoB (as a body) still recognize those bishops as bishops of TEC (note that one of the charges laid against the 9 bishops by Ohl/Buchanon is that they still recognize those bishops as having jurisdiction), even though they never renounced?  No, they don’t.

Did Title IV of 2009 give her extensive new powers over her fellow bishops, including powers not delegated to the PB or GC by the constitution?  Answer: yes.

Looks like a metropolitan to me, at least as far as discipline is concerned.  From the looks of things, she has substantially more power over her fellow bishops than does the ABoC.  Again, none of this is constitutional, but in 2009 GC extended her powers enormously.  We are talking power and authority, not legitimacy.  From the point of view of the real church, she is a heretic and has abandoned the communion of the church.  She is not a priest, much less a bishop.  But do not be naive about her power as it is currently exercised.

If she did not have a metropolitan’s power in disciplinary matters, there would be no charges against the 9 bishops and Dr. Turner in the first place, and the Ohl/Buchanon letter would have been torn up.

[49] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-7-2012 at 06:31 PM · [top]

In their eagerness to have their way, I think the revisionists have created a monster. I hope they enjoy the new “hierarchy.”

[50] Posted by oscewicee on 7-7-2012 at 06:40 PM · [top]

What you are talking about in your example is not metropolitical power, but some sort of absolute dictatorship of heresy.

I stand corrected. The latter is what I meant; totalitarianism, perhaps. I believe that she is trying to assume authority and power unprecedented in modern Anglicanism. Think Archbishop Laud.

I NEVER said anything about forcing South Carolina to do anything.

True that. It was my example, chosen because I live in the Southeast USA.

You are putting all sorts of words in my mouth that I never said.

Most profound apologies for my inarticulate writing.

[51] Posted by Ralph on 7-7-2012 at 06:46 PM · [top]

“Inarticulate” is what most of us are when confronted with the reality of this GC. Words fail…

Anyway, Buchanan has asked his question of the PB and of the HOB and is now complaining that he didn’t get what he asked for. 

The PB spins it that HOB voted unanimously and without any great debate on the motion that eventually emerged. Yeah, right!

I expect there are a lot of liberals in TEC who are now getting wary of centralising power any further - it is just starting to dawn on them that what has been done to the orthodox can as easily be done to recalcitrant liberals.  But they may have left it too late - KJS and her close circle are getting very good at this game.

[52] Posted by MichaelA on 7-9-2012 at 02:06 AM · [top]

Michael A-
The “asking” in the current proposed budget (some sort of chimera made of parts of the EC budget and parts of the PBs budget) is, as I understand it, 19%.  This is substantially more than some bishops were expecting, but could well emerge as the final figure (although others are lobbying for 15%).  I suspect a lot of bishops are concerned about being able to pay their “taxes” to 815, regardless of final percentage, with parish revenues falling, on average, 3%/year when inflation is taken into account, and many expecting to take a big hit this year once the major media start touting the story that they have approved gay marriage (and the media stories will probably be an exaggeration, given that most of the information will be doled out by Integrity and other supporters).

If 815 will set up a fifth column group in your diocese because you try to uphold the Constitution as currently written, imagine what they might do if you don’t pony up your “fair share” of the diocesan revenues.

I think, as you say, there are some liberals getting wary of centralizing power any further- and are certainly getting tired of paying for KJS’ world tours and such- it is beginning to cut into their own travel budgets.  I mean, there hardly an episcopal limo to be found anymore.  And if they hadn’t been careful, their country club dues would have gone to fund youth missions in Haiti.

[53] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-9-2012 at 06:34 AM · [top]

Another point, of course, is that the HoB wasted its closed sessions for 4 days talking about this, which will enable KJS to shorten the discussion periods for 4 things she does not want to talk about from 2 hours to 15 minutes each.  Whatever those 4 things are, by the time the committee is done presenting the resolution and pro argument, there will be no real discussion, a voice vote, motion passes (ruling by the chair that yeas clearly out shouted nays, no time for a recorded vote), next motion….
CWOB anyone?

[54] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-9-2012 at 06:40 AM · [top]

Thanks tj. 

What can 815 do if a diocese doesn’t meet its obligations?

I am not thinking of imperialist capitalist running dog dioceses (i.e. orthodox), but party-members in good standing, i.e. genuinely liberal dioceses headed by liberal bishops.  If they don’t meet their “taxes”, can 815 in practice do anything about it?

[55] Posted by MichaelA on 7-9-2012 at 07:28 AM · [top]

I guess we can now safely say the two “rump” dioceses emmited flatuances that met with appropriate polite indifference from the HOB.

[56] Posted by aacswfl1 on 7-9-2012 at 04:07 PM · [top]

Michael A- I don’t know if it is hidden anywhere in the current GC motions and committee briefs, but from time to time, executive committee members and HoD types have floated the idea of making the asking into an assessment (with punitive consequences for those who don’t pay), or simply developing some rules that would restrict deputations at GC to those who paid up on the asking.
Given the rising power of the PB, I can’t see why if you can charge and/or depose someone for upholding orthodox theology, or for presenting to the court an accurate history and polity for TEC, that you could not depose a bishop who did not pay up on his dioceses obligation.  Recall that bishops whose dioceses voted to sever relations with 815 were deposed for actions of their conventions.  Since the precedent was set in those cases, you could make a case for extending that to things other than refusing to recognize 815.
Most direct are the suggestions that come up on the HoBD from time to time that TEC adopt a “super diocesan” model- that is, that 815 and the PB relate to the dioceses and bishop the same way that a diocese and bishop relate to a parish and rector. (This is the root of the argument that TEC is using in its court cases- and that disagreement leads to charges being filed).  If that is the case, then 815 might adopt the weapon that has been so successful in dealing with stalwart parishes in revisionist dioceses- adopt a canon allowing 815 to declare any diocese that does not pay up to be “in distress”- which would allow for the replacement of the bishop and standing committee.

[57] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-9-2012 at 05:06 PM · [top]

56- Remember that this isn’t over.  It’s not like Matthews dismissed the charges.  While clearly Ohl and Buchanon did not get what they were after (a statement from the HoB upholding TEC’s hierarchy and repudiating the 9 objecting bishops), I suspect that the meetings provided KJS, DBB and other 815 types with valuable info, like-
Which liberal bishops are “not trustworthy” on the hierarchy issue.
Whether they have enough votes to convict in a deposition of 1 or more of the 9 in the HoB.
How far they can push hierarchy in the structural “reforms” currently under consideration.

As an exercise, I think it may have backfired, other than as a distraction as discussed in some earlier posts.  I think there may be a long term downside.  Many of the bishops are relatively new, some brand new.  I’d be willing to bet that until this blew up last week, many of them had never read the constitution of TEC.  Any historian in the group would see almost immediately that it is not based on the US constitution, but in reality much more closely parallels the Articles of Confederation, which were the governing documents of the US prior to adoption of the Constitution.  I wonder if Bishop Benhase raising Article X in the discussion on trial liturgies was not a result of him actually reading it as part of his dealing with the discussion in the HoB on the Ohl/Buchanon letter.  Having a bunch of bishops roaming around GC who have actually read and discussed the constitution of the church could be a dangerous thing for those trying to gut the same constitution.

[58] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-9-2012 at 05:19 PM · [top]

57/58 I am not overlooking anything.  As C.R. Seitz has commented, the HOB ignored the issue upon which Buchanan/Ohl thought they would receive a ‘mind of the house” hoping it would assist them in litigation.  They instead received a stroke of the head and a “you are being a good boy”  much like your pet would receive.
I would hazard that the majority of the House is not too eager support the notions these two insecure, bitter, pandering bishops put forth.

[59] Posted by aacswfl1 on 7-9-2012 at 05:37 PM · [top]

Tjmcmahon, thanks.  That makes sense.

[60] Posted by MichaelA on 7-9-2012 at 08:05 PM · [top]

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