Wednesday, 12 April 2006

LEAC petition

LEAC has launched a petition to bring presentment charges against Bishop Robinson and his consecrators.

You can read their press release about this at PRELATES WHO INSTALLED GAY BISHOP FACE PETITION TO INDICT UNDER CHURCH LAW and the petition itself is a PDF file available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 10:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

Oh, for crying out loud. Does anyone seriously believe that what is needed to improve this situation is litigation?

Posted by: lizw on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 10:52am BST

I thought LEAC was supposed to be non-partisan and non-aligned. Have they got Abp Carey signed up to this one?

Posted by: stephen bates on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 12:52pm BST

The last attempt at presentment on this issue cost a great deal of time and money and at the end, the conclusion was that there was no case. This was against Bishop Righter, for ordaining a gay man to the priesthood. If LEAC wants to waste its own time and money on this silliness, let them, but let it stop short of costing the rest of us time and money.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 12:59pm BST

Just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder...

Posted by: Marc on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 1:18pm BST

Re Cynthia's hope ECUSA will not spend our time and money on this, that is precisely what is intended, that we continue to bankrupt ourselves defending ourselves against these charges. And to try to demoralize the church just before it's General Convention 2006. I would like to believe they have the best interests of the Gospel in mind, but since LEAC evidently is alligned with those who believe we ourselves do not have the Gospel message in mind, I simply no longer can accord these my, our, brothers and sisters in Christ such pure motives.

Holy Week is a cruel time to make this move. It effectively highjacks the Gospel message of salvation to a lower agenda, the singular particularity of who is in and who is out. Well I have no intention of preaching anything this Good Friday but Christ crucified, and this Easter Day anything but Christ risen and triumphing over all death and its minions.

With wishes for a blessed Holy Week and a Joyous Easter, I am faithfully yours,
Lois Keen, Priest
Diocese of Pennsylvania

Posted by: Rev. Lois Keen on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 2:42pm BST

Having had more time to read both the press release and the petition, I'd say that writing clear plain sentences in idiomatic English is not their forte either. "Ordainment," for pity's sake!

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 3:11pm BST

Actually, I don't think it's wierd. I'm surprised it hasn't happened before. That doesn't mean I approve; I don't. But I'm surprised that we've gotten this far without someone trying to make this a juridical issue within the Canons of the Episcopal Church.

The timing is interesting. One of the major issues this General Convention, lost or buried in the face of the Communion and Windsor Report issues, is a major rewriting of the Canons respecting Discipline of Ministers. In addition, the Review Committee (under the current Canon IV) or its equivalent if the revisions pass, are all appointed at General Convention. Moreover, presentment against a bishop is sent first to the Presiding Bishop, and there will be a new Presiding Bishop elected at this General Convention. Finally, once the Presiding Bishop receives a Presentment, in appropriate form, etc., he has up to 90 days before he has to turn it over to the Review Committee. Since General Convention is now less than 90 days out, (61 days today, I think) the likelihood that anything will come of this before then is likely zero. (This, of course, reflects the charge of violating ordination vows. A charge of teaching contrary to the Church would take even longer.) The petition as circulated would not produce a valid presentment in that there needs to be a more explicit statement of how their actions violated ordination vows.

I also don't think any such action, even if pursued, would produce the results they call for. The process would address whether an infraction had been committed; if it had been committed, what would be an appropriate response; and what would be the appropriate further response when the person charged had decided whether or not to submit to discipline. The closest to definition that this would provide would be when the Review Committee determined whether there was such an offense that might be committed. In the case of Bishop Righter, the Review Committee decided that what he did didn't constitute such an offense.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 3:39pm BST

I thought LEAC was supposed to be non-partisan and non-aligned.

They lied.

Posted by: ruidh on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 4:13pm BST

lizw --

What makes you believe that the intention is to "improve" the situation?

Only the most partisan person could pretend to believe that this is not about publicity & politics!

Is it possible for some body to dismiss this as a frivolous lawsuit without it costing TEC excessive time & money? I doubt it.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 4:22pm BST

This is more hatemongering dressed up as defense of Scripture (selective) and yet another attack on OUR Church's inclusiveness and welcoming of ALL people at every level of Churchlife...The LEAC have selectively and visciously targeted LGBT people and our healthy minded/spirited heterosexual Christian friends/leaders in a ongoing and feardriven attempt to create SINFUL behavior where none exists.

I hope Lord Carey isn't thrilled with his latest joint venture with this gang of twisted thinking cronies and their ongoing righteous "work" that he "commends" to us...the combined negative action of ++Carey and his driven and insistant pals is a bottom line desire to "crucify" Episcopal voices (also it's a direct attack on the majority of "members in good standing" in the pews) in OUR Church. This fresh assault at Easter Week continues to be dangerous to LGBT people everywhere but especially in Nigeria, Uganda and *other* African hotspots with despotic leadership...what's worse is that this is another example of premeditated ugliness and disruptiveness at a very sacred time of the year.

Lord Carey and this lynch mob harm everyone with their ongoing "acts" of bad faith.

Have a blessed Semana Santa.

May the Peace of the Lord be with you (sooner rather than later would be nice) in ALL that YOU do.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 5:08pm BST

You don't need 10 bishops for a presentment. Or a petition. This group keeps jumping up and down shouting "Please pay attention to us," and for some reason, people continue to oblige them.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 5:31pm BST

Jim, I too first thought that LEAC was just jumping up and down looking for attention. But when I looked at the Canons, I concluded that at least tactically, LEAC seems to know exactly what it's doing — and it could disrupt General Convention as a result. In a nutshell, if LEAC can find ten bishops with jurisdiction to play along, they could well be able to force a vote, in the House of Bishops, on a Statement of Disassociation with the notion that gays and lesbians can be ordained. See this posting for more details.

Posted by: D. C. on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 7:46pm BST

The judgments in the Righter case can be read in full here: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/decision.html

Posted by: badman on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 8:14pm BST

That is correct, D.C.; it is highly unlikely that the very bishops who voted to approve GRobinson will now turn around and state that they made a mistake, and a mistake which, by admitting it, would open them all to presentment on this charge. If, as expected, the HoB does *not* vote a Statement of Disassociation, LEAC will have (to their own mind) demonstrated the apostasy of the HoB. This may well be their real intent -- to build up the steam for the schism. I don't see it as tying up the GC. There are very, very, few bishops who believe the ordination of gays is "contrary to doctrine." (A larger number may not like it, or be willing to put further consecrations on hold out of care for the "communion" -- but they don't see it as doctrinal.)

Also, and most importantly, note the definition of the word "Doctrine" in Canon IV.15. It will be quite a stretch to subsume LEAC's concerns under that rubric, as "basic and essential teachings."

Posted by: Tobias S Haller BSG on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 12:45am BST

I think Marshall Scott might have it in one. But I have a couple of questions.
Do LEAC believe that +Robinson is an episcopus vagans, in much the way that, for example, David Chislett is regarded by the Anglican Church in Australia? The demand that the bishops who consecrated +Robinson should recant, repent etc seems to imply that his consecration was somehow deficient, and that his orders are a matter open to dispute. How can this be when there were 35 consecrating bishops?
Have any members of LEAC ever experienced the ministry of +Robinson, or are any of them members in good standing of parishes in his diocese? After all, it was the diocese that elected +Robinson in the first place.
What is meant by the term "impaired communion"? I was taught in confirmation classes that you're either in communion or not, with no halfway houses. At the very least it does not fill one with confidence at the motives of those who use it to describe their status. Does this mean that LEAC, TAC and their cohorts will only break communion once they've secured sufficient properties to carry on? If they're so convinced of their rightness, why don't they shake the dust from their shoes and leave, and trust in God to prosper their work? Or are they afraid to do this because it would reveal them to be every bit as marginal as the 'radical gay agenda' pressure groups they denounce?
Finally, there is one major blooper in their claims that ECUSA has been "suspended" from the Anglican Communion. Despite the pressure on them to comply, ECUSA was asked to voluntarily withdraw their representatives from the Anglican Consultative Council, a request they could very well have, and perhaps in retrospect, ought to have, declined.

Posted by: k1eranc on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 1:16am BST

Maybe, DC. But the bishops who opposed Robinson's consecration have been aware of this option for three years. If they use this as their fig leaf, we won't be the only ones pointing out the weasly nature of their behavior.

As for disruptions at GC, I think you can count on them. It would require a level of maturity not yet in evidence from the folks who have turned the sacramental acts of the church into point-scoring publcity stunts to keep that from happening.

Perhaps a few lightning confirmations by Cavalcanti? Maybe an ordination at midnight by a visiting Nigerian open only to sympathetic members of the press? There have to be fireworks.

And maybe pony rides, too.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 1:23am BST

It all gets curioser and curioser and curioser.

Remarks in summary of our current situation by soon to retire Diocese of California Bishop Swing can be read at this link: http://www.everyvoice.net.

His article is called, The Episcopal Church In The Balance.

Meanwhile, in an odd way I sort of welcome this strange and self-deluded LEAC effort. I have always had a hunch that the realignment campaign funders and leaders could get so carried away with themselves as the last remaining righteous believers on the planet, that they ended up making fools of themselves, at least some of the time.

I do hope Rowan Williams is watching all of this, especially since exactly these folks are trying to claim that he instructed them to be akin to the German Confessing Church that opposed the rise of Hitler.

Andrew Brown's comments in that regard can be read at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/wormseyeview/story/0,,1745910,00.html.

Just keep praying, working for justice, and generally keeping on.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 3:00am BST

Just to clear up any confusion and any direct linkage between Lord Carey (my father) and this latest initiative by LEAC - there is none. My father supported the initiative of the survey and said that he believed those responsible for that could be trusted to handle the data responsibly. However, this does not imply any further connection on subsequent LEAC initiatives. I wish that people would try to be a little more responsible in their comments - many of you show yourself in your intemperance to be the mirror image of those you despise.

Yours,

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew Carey on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 11:57am BST

Andrew,
Thank you for pointing out that there is no direct linkage between LEAC's latest initiative and Lord Carey. Is it true that your father was misled by LEAC in securing his support of the poll of bishops re: would they vote to consecrate +GRobinson today?
Has Lord Carey made a public statement regarding his relationship to LEAC?
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your support of your father. I also respect Lord Carey, though I don't always agree with him. I was surprised that Lord Carey would give his endorsemant to a group such as LEAC and involve himself in the divisive issues facing TEC.
God's peace,
Anna

Posted by: faithwatch on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 12:54pm BST

Andrew,
"Despise" is a bit strong
Among other things it suggests a definite insight.
Is that what you claim?

Posted by: RMF on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 12:59pm BST

Andrew Carey wrote: "Just to clear up any confusion and any direct linkage between Lord Carey (my father) and this latest initiative by LEAC - there is none."

But that still leaves a number of questions unanswered, doesn't it?

So there is not be a DIRECT linkage - does that mean that there is an indirect or unofficial link?

Given that Lord Carey gave his name so willingly to the original survey, it is understandable that people should assume that he is in agreement with LEAC and their present actions. Is this the case? If not, surely he should say clearly and publicly exactly where he stands.

And given the subsequent actions of LEAC, does Lord Carey now regret lending his name and influence to them in the first place?

So many questions. So few answers, as yet.

Posted by: David Chillman on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 1:50pm BST

Stop being mischievous David. The questions you pose are not even worth asking let alone answering. The support of one initiative does not imply the support of all initiatives of an organisation, as Stephen Bates sensibly and clearly recognised in a post above. The endorsement my father gave to LEAC was restricted to the survey and his trust that the men known to him would handle the data responsibly.

Posted by: Andrew Carey on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 2:36pm BST

The fable of the frog and the scorpion fording the river comes to mind.

Posted by: RMF on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 3:17pm BST

Andrew,

Thanks for this posting about your father. I never assumed any further connection between him and LEAC. I did want to ask though, given the LEAC press release, was he satisfied that the data was indeed used responsibly? As you are probably aware, many of us thought LEAC badly misrepresented its findings.

Jim Naughton

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 4:29pm BST

One note, Tobias: if the complaint is "violation of ordination vows," (as in the press release of LEAC) the current Canons only require three bishops, and no Statement of Disassociation. That applies only if the charge is persistently "teaching doctrine contrary to the doctrine of the Church." (And the process for responding to that charge takes much, much longer!) However, this close to General Convention, and possible extensive revision of the disciplinary canons, I doubt if even three would seek a presentment. And even then, as I said, any action could be held until after General Convention.

I have reacted elsewhere to the rumor (as far as I know, unsubstantiated) that Archbishop Akinola might come to Columbus in June, saying that such an action would be a provocation, but not really meaningful for General Convention. This action by LEAC, even in the unlikely event that three bishops with jurisdiction requested a presentment, is much the same. If three bishops were to take such an action, it would be an issue for the new Presiding Bishop, and might well shape who was appointed to the relevant courts and committees after General Convention. This June? It will be a distraction; no less, but no more.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 6:55pm BST

Andrew,

I'm as curious as Jim WRT whether your Dad was satisfied that the data from the LEAC survey was analyzed and presented correctly. After reading much about this issue, I have serious doubts about the results being unbiased (I actually visualized my old graduate Statistics & Research Methods professor chasing me out of the building, had I turned in a project like that ;)

And no, w/o any add'l info to the contrary, it's certainly an unjustified leap of conjecture to assume that the former ABC supports all the actions of an organization just because he spoke in a supportive manner about one.

Posted by: David Huff on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 8:11pm BST

A further note: the amount of time consumed in bringing a presentment against a bishop on a charge of teaching false doctrine is measured in half-years. The earliest (as I read it) that a presentment could actually be brought would be some time in 2007: so this will not tie up the upcoming GC -- there just isn't time to get all the pieces into play, even assuming 10 bishops (with jurisdiction, mind) are willing to start the process.

Now, having read the LEAC document again, I note they've woven in reference to violation of ordination vows. It isn't entirely clear from the canons that a bishop can be so charged. Under the heading for violation of ordination vows (essentially constituted and understood as "disobedience" to pastoral direction) only Priests and Deacons are mentioned. Bishops only take a vow to "obey Christ" -- so I'm not sure what earthly court would be deemed competent to determine a violation.

My sense is that this petition is as dead in the water as the earlier "survey."

Posted by: Tobias S Haller BSG on Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 10:30pm BST

Marshall,

Thanks for your note about the alternative presentment route (for violation of ordination vows) which I proleptically addressed in my posting of the 13 of April! I do not think the LEAC folks are intending this route for the reason I mentioned -- it isn't clear Bishops come under that category of "offense" -- though the language of the LEAC document is tortured at best, and I cannot say _what_ they are thinking! But they mentioned the need for 10 bishops, as well as the word "doctrine" -- which is what steers me towards the process I addressed above.

However, if the charge is "consecrating or assisting in the consecration of Gene Robinson" interpreted as a violation of ordination vows (perhaps because this "threatens the unity of the church"?), then it is clear that the time limit for filing a charge has lapsed. Canon IV.14.4.b gives a two-year limit. This same limit applies to the "doctrine" offense according to Canon IV.14.4.d.

I suppose Bishop Robinson himself could be charged, simply for being Bishop Robinson. But then you have the odd problem of people charging someone with violating ordination vows they say he never should have taken.

The mind reels.

—Tobias

Posted by: Tobias S Haller BSG on Friday, 14 April 2006 at 11:16pm BST

Full marks to Andrew Carey for a fighting attempt to protect his father with a rewrite of history. In fact, Lord Carey went well beyond supporting what Andrew Carey describes as "the initiative of the [LEAC] survey" or saying "that he believed those responsible for that could be trusted to handle the data responsibly". He described LEAC as "concerned Lay Episcopalians who wish their Church to remain faithful to Orthodox Christianity". Furthermore, he did not merely endorse their survey (although he did do that "with enthusiasm") nor did he merely suggest that they could be trusted to handle "the data" responsibly. He said "I am confident they will handle ALL MATTERS with due regard for the truth" (my emphasis). That is a much more general expression of confidence. If he disagrees with what they are now doing, only he can now distance himself from them, with a statement as direct and public as the one with which he lent them his prestige and authority at the outset.

Posted by: badman on Saturday, 15 April 2006 at 6:47pm BST

Evidently other senior clergy in the C of E are also unhappy with Lord Carey's ways. The Anglicans Online News Centre reports that a letter publically asking him to cease and desist is forthcoming. One supposes - as a mere American - that those who occupy the office of Archbishop of Canterbury are aware of the fate of their noble - but meddlesone - predecessor, Thomas a Becket ... a public letter is so much kinder than what happened to Thomas.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 17 April 2006 at 8:20pm BST

Tobias said:
"But then you have the odd problem of people charging someone with violating ordination vows they say he never should have taken.

The mind reels."

My mind is rockin' and rollin'. Where do the Network priests who have deserted TEC fit in? Didn't they violate their ordination vows? I know that in my diocese there are priests who are anything but obedient to our very conservative bishop. They don't seem to mind having broken their ordination vows. Aren't they in support of LEAC?

Posted by: faithwatch on Tuesday, 18 April 2006 at 2:29am BST

Good for LEAC ! It may be useless in liberal dominated ECUSA to attempt presentments against Bishops who knowingly chose to participate in the "consecration" of someone who was clearly excluded - according to their own church's canons, and according to the Canon of Scripture - but it does makes a very clear point. ECUSA ran roughshod not only over the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, 2000 years of Christian morality, and the recent decisions of the Communion's Bishops - they even ignored their own canons, liturgy (GR was living in a sexual relationship not blessed by the church) and even their own theological committee!

I can't think of many more serious violations of Bishops' responsibilities... And, in my view, such a bishop has forfeited or at least compromised his canonical authority.

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 18 April 2006 at 10:20pm BST

Dear Faithwatch, Here's a thought..

Ordination vows are ultimately to Christ. Bishops are only the tenants of His episcopal seat. St Paul condemned, in extremely strong terms, church leaders who lead people astray and/or followed their own imaginings. I don't think that even bishops can claim any authority if they won't remain under Christ's..

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 18 April 2006 at 10:27pm BST

Dave, Bishop Robinson's election and the process of consent was completely in accord with the canonical and constitutional processes of The Episcopal Church. No church canons were violated. The Primates, in their communication from Dromantine, noted that in some of the provinces (England is an example) there would have been a canonical problem such as you suggest. But this is not true in the Episcopal Church.

You may well feel justified in the rest of your claims, but in this (limited) regard you are mistaken.

Posted by: Tobias S Haller BSG on Wednesday, 19 April 2006 at 12:45am BST
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