Thursday, 14 April 2005

Developments in Connecticut

The AAC and NACDAP have issued two statements concerning the dispute in Connecticut between the bishop and six conservative parishes.

First, this one announces that six prominent NACDAP/AAC clergypersons will preach this Sunday, one in each of the six parishes.

…Bishop Smith accuses the six of “abandonment of communion,” even though he has failed to provide evidence to support his charge and ignored the plea by Anglican Church leaders for restraint and latitude on the part of American bishops in conflict with their priests on fundamental issues of Anglican theology. Bishop Smith supports theological innovations regarding human sexuality embraced by the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church that are contrary to Scripture, to the traditional teaching of Anglicanism, and to positions firmly supported by the leadership of the Anglican Church comprising over 70 million members worldwide. The six Connecticut clergy and congregations targeted by Bishop Smith are biblically orthodox and remain faithful to apostolic faith and order upheld by the worldwide Anglican Communion…

Second, this one is an open letter from a total of seventeen NACDAP/AAC-related bishops (12 of them diocesans) addressed to the bishop and the standing committee of the Diocese of Connecticut.

…What are we to do? We have agreed as bishops not to cross diocesan boundaries. But was not this moratorium based on other moratoria being observed as well, and on the maintenance of status quo as regards actions against the conservative minority? Were not the commitments we made to one another at the March meeting of the House of Bishops also based on the assumption of the functioning of the Panel of Reference, called for by the Primates in February 2005? And was it not notification of their intent to appeal to the Panel of Reference by the six parishes, given by letter to the Bishop of Connecticut, that immediately precipitated the threat of inhibition and deposition of the clergy of those parishes?

We also ask: was Title IV, Canon 10, intended to be used against clergy who have resolutely maintained their commitment to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, as these clergy have? What about due process and right to ecclesiastical trials, both of which are denied when this Canon on Abandonment of Communion is used in this way? Who is it that has abandoned the Communion?

This is a painful letter for us to write. We pose much of this letter as questions. Is there some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops? Please know that we are more than eager to be part of the resolution of this crisis in every appropriate way.

“The whole world is watching”, as we used to observe in the sixties. We do not seem to be commending the faith that is in us in any way that the watching world can appreciate or fathom. Whatever shall we do to reverse the course of the scandal that besets us?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 April 2005 at 9:31pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

More CT Six news is here http://www.ctsix.org

Posted by: CT reader on Thursday, 14 April 2005 at 10:57pm BST

I find it grimly amusing that these bishops are *so* concerned about "actions against the conservative minority" when they act the VERY SAME WAY against those they label as "liberals" in their NACDP associated dioceses. Living in the Diocese of Dallas (Texas), I've experienced this first hand.

See the Via Media USA report "In Our Many Voices"
http://www.viamedia-dallas.org/vmusa-24-Feb-2005.php
for all the charming details.

Posted by: Simeon on Friday, 15 April 2005 at 2:59pm BST

Simeon, I don't think this bears you out...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05102/486797.stm

Posted by: Neil on Saturday, 16 April 2005 at 12:14am BST

Simeon: the 'Via Media' link you give doesn't mention by name a single individual who is alleged to be mistreated in any way, and there is NO mention at all of any priest being inhibited, defrocked or dismissed for their support of the homosexualist agenda in Network dioceses. There is NO symmetry at all with what the bishop of Connecticut is seeking to do.

Posted by: James Coleman on Saturday, 16 April 2005 at 1:30am BST

The ctsix need only file an answer stating "respondents in good
faith deny the allegations" which, under the canon, brings on a trial on
the merits.

Otherwise, this is all for the publicity.

Reading the canon doesn't seem to be the ctsix's strong suit.

Posted by: Tim Stewart on Saturday, 16 April 2005 at 7:33am BST

Hi--I'm fishing for comments on a brief argument in favor of blessing gay unions that might merit further development. Please humor me with feedback:
(1)The marriage union in this state, between sinning Christians, is modeled on the union of Christ with the Church. (2) (Conservative premise)Christ was resurrected in the flesh. (3) (Conservative premise) Christ will be united with the Church in the world to come. (4) The Church is nothing over and above its members. (5) In the world to come, Christ, a male human being,willbe united with males from the Church. (6) If marriage is modeled after the union of Christ with the Church in the life to come, and that union can be between a man and a man, then it follows marriage in this state can be between a man and a man.
Deny (6) and you deny (3) or (4): the reality of the Resurrection or the reality of the union between the Church and Christ in the world to come.
I infer: (A) conservatives, who should uphold the reality of the Resurrection and union with Christ, are incoherent in resisting gay marriage in the Church.
(B) For a male Christian to deny gay marriage comes close to his turning away from Christ–will he consent to being joined with Christ in the world to
come if he on moral principle resists any union between males? No.

Posted by: Todd Bates on Monday, 18 April 2005 at 12:58am BST

Todd, your point 6 is a little, um, entertaining...

The nature of the union of the Church and the Lord in Revelation clearly portrays the Church as Bride.
The Church *is* *the* sum of its believers. Whatever is meant by `the Bride of Christ', it does not have to equate to any marital relationship with individual members who may me of either sex[0].

There are other rationales for or against acknowledging, blessing or sanctifying same-sex relationships in church, but I'm afraid the eschatological argument you attempt won't get you very far.

[0] "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." - Matt.22:.

Posted by: Tim on Monday, 18 April 2005 at 3:37pm BST

The latest stmt from the Diocese of Connecticut.

"From The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, April 15, 2005 Statement by the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith

In the interest of sharing information quickly and broadly across our Diocese, we are sending you this statement released late this afternoon by the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. It concerns an invitation from the Bishop to the rectors of the six parishes that requested Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight last May:

A duly authorized elected body of the diocese has determined and signified to me that six priests of this Diocese have abandoned the communion of this church.

My responsibility as bishop is to review that determination and act accordingly.

I have offered an opportunity for all the priests to meet with me, next Monday, in the company of Bishop Scruton of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, whom I have asked to help us in our conversation. In light of this meeting, I will not take action today concerning the inhibition of these priests. I look forward to this meeting.

I care deeply for these priests, and for the congregations they serve. I have every hope, for the sake of the Church and our mission, that we will go forward together."

Note: a "duly authorized elected body of the diocese" made the determination of abandonment of communion, not the Bishop acting on his own or any such nonsense. The Bishop "is to review that determination and act accordingly" as is his responsibility. Everything is happening above-board, right out in the open and according to church law and custom.

Now, was the elected body's determination well founded ? Who knows, until it's investigated ? But everyone really needs to stop all this melodramatic caterwauling about liberal conspiracies, "persecution" of conservative clergy, and such...

Posted by: David Huff on Monday, 18 April 2005 at 4:21pm BST

The jury: “a duly elected body”
The charge: “abandoning the communion of this church”
The evidence: who knows?
The jury’s verdict: guilty
The sentence: inhibition/deposition

Just what is the evidence?
Is simply requesting DEPO sufficient for the verdict?
Remember the inhibition * was * to take place TODAY! In other words, the sentence * was * to be summarily carried out without the evidence being known and with no defence having being given.

Yet only now – presumably because of the understandable international outcry – has the Bishop called the meeting – “to review the determination”. The inhibition * was * to have been carried out immediately.

David, I wonder if you think any reasonable person would consider this acceptable in a secular court?! And is the standard for the church, lower?
I wonder if you were being treated like this, you might think you were being persecuted?

Contrast this with the way that conservative Pittsburgh has reacted to a liberal parish refusing conservative oversight: have * they * abandoned communion? (See earlier post).

And as for “everything is happening above board” – the six themselves don’t even know how they are thought to be guilty!

And here is a legal opinion on this action:

http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/index.php?p=6102

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 18 April 2005 at 10:26pm BST

"The jury: “a duly elected body”
The charge: “abandoning the communion of this church” "

So far, we agree.

"The evidence: who knows?"

Which is what the process will bring out. Haven't got there yet.

"The jury’s verdict: guilty
The sentence: inhibition/deposition"

This is where you're jumping the gun. Ain't happened yet, so it's speculation on your part until the process concludes.

And any opinion offered on TitusOneNine, legal or otherwise, is bound to be slanted towards one side of this issue, and should therefor be taken with a (large) grain of salt :)

Posted by: David Huff on Tuesday, 19 April 2005 at 12:34am BST
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