The Living Church published a news report on Monday 30 October which was headlined Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor Threatens Fort Worth, Quincy Dioceses.
This contained only two selected short quotes from the letter itself, but substantial comments from the Bishop of Fort Worth including the phrase: “The timing of this letter is shocking,”
Later, on the Stand Firm website, Bishop Iker wrote that:
The Beers letter is dated Oct. 19th and came by regular mail to my chancellor’s law office. When a copy was faxed to me from his office on the 27th, I then faxed it to Lambeth Palace, so the Archbishop would know what was in the works. Alas, Katharine had been there for her visit with the ABC that very day but had already departed. +JLI
[Comment: isn’t it weird that such communications are sent by ordinary mail and not electronically? I didn’t realise facsimile technology was still in common use.]
Huge dialogue ensued on the usual blogs: Jim Naughton provides all the links here, and adds some comments of his own. None of the blog commenters had of course read the full text of the letter,but nevertheless many people denounced this action in very strong terms, and generally blaming the new Presiding Bishop, whose term of office begins today, for behaving outrageously in sanctioning such a letter.
Today, a senior priest in Bishop Iker’s diocese, Chris Cantrell, has published just that. It turns out to be a piece of milk toast.
Several persons have told me recently that they believe that your diocese, within the past few or several years, has amended its Constitution in some way that can be read as cutting against an “unqualified accession” to the Constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. First of all, could you please send me a copy of your Constitution so that I can have first-hand knowledge on this score.
Second, if your diocese has indeed adopted such an amendment, then, on behalf of the Presiding Bishop, I want to express the hope that your diocese will promptly begin the process of amending its Constitution to declare clearly an “unqualified accession” as Article V of the Church’s Constitution plainly requires. If your diocese should decline to take that step, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what sort of action she must take in order to bring your diocese into compliance.
With warm regards,
David Booth Beers
I shall be pleasantly surprised if anyone now apologises for their earlier remarks.