Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Pittsburgh: press coverage

Updated again Friday morning

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has Episcopal Church formally warns Pittsburgh bishop over split by Ann Rodgers:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori of the Episcopal Church has warned Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh that he has been declared out of communion with the Episcopal Church and is danger of being removed from office if he does not abandon his efforts to realign the diocese with an Anglican province outside the United States…

The Associated Press report via PennLive.com: Episcopal Church acts against Pittsburgh bishop:

An Episcopal committee says that conservative Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan has “abandoned the communion of this church” — a potential first step toward stripping him of religious authority in the denomination.

The committee blocked the national Episcopal Church from imposing the penalty of “inhibition,” which would have barred him from performing religious duties. But the Episcopal House of Bishops is expected to consider imposing the punishment near the end of this year.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who notified Duncan that he had abandoned the communion on Tuesday, told Duncan that she sought permission to inhibit him.

The Living Church has Pittsburgh Bishop Accused of Abandonment; Senior Bishops Deny Inhibition.

Religious Intelligence has Bid to depose US Bishop backfires by George Conger.

Thursday morning update

Ann Rodgers Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Removal vote nearing for Episcopal bishop

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Bid to depose Pittsburgh bishop blocked (the Associated Press report again)

Reuters Michael Conlon Episcopal church cracks down on dissidents

Friday morning update
Church Times Pat Ashworth Consent for inhibition withheld

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 11:59pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

The spin here by folks like Conger is getting pretty wild: *the* story here is that
?Duncan has been found to have abandoned communion, and has but a few months to turn around (i.e., repent) before the HofB is LIKELY to depose him. The (temporary) decision to not inhibit him, as was xSchofield, is a triviality at most.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 4:30am GMT

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is owned by Dick Scaife, one of the primary funders of the Institute for Religion and Democracy which is trying to tear the major denominations apart so they can impose their puritan prejudices on the US. Dick lives in Pittsburgh and has probably convinced Bob Pittsburgh that he is both Godly and protected. Read that article with a shaker of salt.

Posted by: Pseudopiskie on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 10:43am GMT

Bob is on the greased skids headed toward the one way doors, I believe. His legal status - as far as real estate and money goes - has been put under a significant shadow with the "abandonment of communion" indictment.

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 12:13pm GMT

This is actually the Pittsburgh-Post, not the Tribune Review. Ann Rogers is a member of my former parish. That parish is under a woman priest who as pretty much said she would renounce her orders if asked to in order to help the conservative cause along. Ann is a conservative but a little more retional than many in the evo-conservative ilk.

Posted by: BobinSwPA on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 3:13pm GMT

What JCF said -- my understanding is that as far as TEC canon law is concerned, "Bob Pittsburgh" can still say Mass & the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin cannot. Both continue to have jurisdiction, but the clock is still ticking on both before their status is voted on by the House of Bishops.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 3:18pm GMT

I think everyone should take a clear look at the actual text of Canon IV.9, and what specific action is authorized by the text. By the actual language of the Canon ONLY an inhibited bishop is liable to deposition. Duncan was not inhibited, therefore an attempt by KJS to have the HOB vote to depose Duncan, along with any HOB vote to do so, would be a clear and egregious violation of TEC's canons.

Not that I expect TEC to have any respect for due process of law, or for its actual (as opposed to imagined) polity.

But read the actual canon for yourself please. I would hope that KJS will be brought up on a presentment if she pursues this course. Not that I would expect a rigged church court to convict her, but this shocking abuse of the canons needs to be aired publicly.

Posted by: James W. on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 6:51pm GMT

> Bob is on the greased skids headed toward the one way doors, I believe. His legal status - as far as real estate and money goes - has been put under a significant shadow with the "abandonment of communion" indictment.

How the civil courts will view the fairly massive upheaval that is underway in TEC is yet to be determined. I think it likely that the people withdrawing will attempt to present it as a true denominational split. That would increase their chances of being able to take property with them. The more extensive the withdrawals, the more convincing that argument would be.

Posted by: Richard Lyon on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 7:55pm GMT

Speaking of spin...

Reuters Michael Conlon "Episcopal church cracks down on dissidents"

BS. "Dissidents" are A-OK within TEC. It's *schism* which isn't. >:-/

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 8:10pm GMT

James W posted: "Not that I would expect a rigged church court to convict her, but this shocking abuse of the canons needs to be aired publicly."

Sadly, I doubt that James is employing peripheral vision, and seems to believe that wearing horse blinders is the way to look at life; and that ignores the matter of the facts related to the actions related to the schismatics Schofield and Duncan and Iker.

Furthermore, I would like to hear James address the "rigged" (to use his word) actions at the last Lambeth, as an aspect of balance, or fairness, in criticizing what he seems to think is a blitzkrieg process.

It seems that James can accept a stacked deck that attempts to punish anything or anyone but the new Neo-Puritan fundamentalists, but heaven help anyone who attempts to enforce church canons against those with whom James is affiliated or inclined.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 9:27pm GMT

Actually, I think James W is correct on the reading of the canon. An attorney friend of mine thinks I am mistaken, but I read this as James W does.

I don't think, however, that officials are normally held guilty for the misapplication of laws -- courts do that all the time, and it is in their jurisdiction to do so. Still I think Duncan should be inhibited first, and find Wimberly's refusal to be based on a misunderstanding of his role. To wit:

There isn't anything about Dioceses in the Canon on Abandonment of Communion. The Canon is about the individual and his or her actions that might lead one to think that he or she has abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church first off by renunciation of its Doctrine, Discipline or Worship. This need not involve the vote of a diocesan convention. Rather, a bishop who advised or fostered schism and accused the hierarchy of apostasy has renounced the good order of the church even if the diocesan convention repudiated the advice and accusation. Abandonment (except under cause 2) does not require re-affiliation; the claim no longer to be accountable to the authorities which one had vowed to obey is sufficient in itself.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 10:30pm GMT

James W wrote, "I think everyone should take a clear look at the actual text of Canon IV.9, and what specific action is authorized by the text. By the actual language of the Canon ONLY an inhibited bishop is liable to deposition. Duncan was not inhibited, therefore an attempt by KJS to have the HOB vote to depose Duncan, along with any HOB vote to do so, would be a clear and egregious violation of TEC's canons."

I read the section differently than you do. I recognize that the Presiding Bishop could not (and did not) inhibit Bishop Duncan, for lack of at least one consent. However, first, there is nothing in the relevant canon that says those bishops couldn't change their mind, and so require inhibition. Second, the necessity of turning the matter over to the House of Bishops seems to me dependent on Bishop Duncan's response not to inhibition but to the initial determination of the Review Committee that the breach of communion has occurred. The 60 days to respond is in place whether Bishop Duncan is inhibited or not. The Review Committee has made its decision, and unless Bishop Duncan responds appropriately within 60 days it appears the matter will go to the full House of Bishops, probably at their Fall meeting.

I do think there is an expectation in the Canon as written that there won't be a problem with the inhibition; but in this case there was. That fact doesn't affect the other facts: a committee of bishops does feel Bishop Duncan has abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church, and that the matter should go to the House unless he disproves, recants, or resigns.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 11:34pm GMT

Marshall is correct in his interpretation - the clock is ticking on both bishops - just one may perform episcopal acts and the the other is prohibited (although may do them anyway- last week he did not though). The abandonment charge is in a different place than the criminal et al canon.

Posted by: Ann on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 11:53pm GMT

Marshall, the only reference to "two months" (not 60 days) specifically refers to "the inhibited Bishop." It seems to me that if the proceeding was automatic inhibition or not, the consent of the three senior bishops is not needed. No, I think the inhibition is clearly part of the process. Compare with the following canon IV.10 on priests and deacons: the Bishop need not get any consent to inhibit, and the inhibition takes place before anything else. The only difference is the "consent." I wish it were otherwise, and think this canon needs serious revision.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 12:50am GMT

I agree with Marshall Scott's comment. Under Canon IV.9, the inhibition is merely a temporary disability placed on the "offending" bishop's ministry that lasts from the time of recording of the certification of abandonment until the full House of Bishops meets to consider deposition. Whether or not an inhibition issues, a majority vote of the House of Bishops is required to be taken on the question of depositon--not because there is an inhibition in place--but rather because of the recording of the Review Committee's determination that the subject bishop has abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church. In short, Canon IV.9 does not make an inhibition a pre-condition for a vote of the full House of Bishops to depose a bishop who is the subject of the recording of a certification of abandonment. In the case of Bishop Duncan, the certification has been recorded by the Presiding Bishop as she was required to do; and a vote of the full House on the question of deposition must now follow assuming that Bishop Duncan maintains his current trajectory for the next two months.

Posted by: Robert on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 3:17am GMT

"... for the next two months"

And beyond.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 8:19am GMT

Obviously the entire Title IV section is badly in need of revision (which was supposed to occur at the last General Convention, but the WWAC's obsession with sex derailed the work of Convention) -- clearly well informed & intelligent people can read Canon IV.9 differently. FWIW, I agree with the reading of Marshall Scott, Ann, Robert & Tobias Haller's lawyer friend rather than with Tobias or James W on the interpretation of Canon IV.9, but i do agree with Tobias that Bishop Wimberly is sadly mistaken to think that for a bishop to "abandon the Communion of this church" means to try to withdraw the diocese from it -- the canons never imagined such bizarre behavior & therefore fail to address at at all! Bishop Duncan's participation in the consecration of bishops not recognized by TEC (OR the Archbishop of Canterbury) ought to suffice!

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 3:58pm GMT

"'Dissidents' are A-OK within TEC. It's *schism* which isn't."

Schism is what happened when TEC consecrated a homosexual bishop in defiance of Scripture, tradition, reason, and the common conscience of the AC.

Ergo, just because apostates control the money and the lawyers, one should not deduce that these licentious women and men in any way constitute faithfulness to the church catholic.

Posted by: Joe on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 6:38pm GMT

Holy cow, Tobias, you have really stumbled onto something here. Although Marshall and others wage a valiant fight, your argument will carry the day ultimately. Let's walk through the statute (uh, I mean canon):

Step One: Review committee certifies that bishop has abandoned communion by one of three general actions. This step has been met (although the open renunciation issue is problematic to some).

Step Two: Presiding Bishop "shall then inhibit the said bishop" until HOB has time to investigate and act, provided however that first PB must get consent of three senior Bishops. This step clearly has NOT been met.

Step Three: PB shall "forthwith give notice to the Bishop of the certification AND INHIBITION (emphasis added)." Notice the conjuntive AND. Canon does not contemplate one without the other. To argue that AND means OR is a problematic here because...

Step Four: Provides that the "inhibited Bishop" will "be liable for Deposition" unless he or she (again, the inhibited Bishop) makes declarations otherwise about the alleged abandonment actions. Note, there is no canon section allowing for deposition of an Uninhibited but certified to have abandoned Bishop. It ain't there. More support is found in Step Five, which says...

Step Five: If PB is satisfied with the Inhibited Bishop's declarations, the PB can terminate inhibition with the consent of same three senior bishops who consented to the Inhibition. Notice here that a noninhibited but certified to have abandoned bishop does not have this option for getting out of this mess; it only applies to inhibited bishops. See the picture yet?

Step Six: You only get here after you pass Step Five because it begins, "Otherwise, it shall be the duty of the PB to present the matter to the House of Bishops." Uh, what matter is that? Oh yeah, that must be the depostion of the "inhibited Bishop" in step four. In other words, there is no matter for an unihibited bishop. Just isn't there.

Step Seven: This proves the point because it talks about a majority of the HOB can consent to deposition, which is only authorized against "inhibited Bishops" under step four.

Tobias, I agree with you.

Posted by: Wide on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 7:35pm GMT

"Schism is what happened when TEC consecrated a homosexual bishop in defiance of Scripture, tradition, reason, and the common conscience of the AC."

That dog won't hunt, Joe. :-/

Schism is MADE BY SCHISMATICS, who SAY "we are in a state of broken communion" or who break their vows to TEC (inserting a pseudo-"Anglican" allegiance instead), or who won't show up for HofB meetings/worship, or who cross diocesan/provincial boundaries *without* authorization, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

"when TEC consecrated a homosexual bishop"

THAT was just simple Catholicity: no more and no less!

God bless TEC.

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 8:05pm GMT

"licentious women and men"

TEC consecrates a gay man to the Episcopate. They do this after years of dialogue with gay people, dialogue we were all repeatedly asked to do by a once a decade meeting of the Church which we are now told is the "mind of the Communion". They found that we are, indeed, human beings, deserving of the same respect and dignity of treatment as all other human beings. They might be mistaken in their action, but "licentious"? This is rather strong rhetoric, and seems to come from a place of hatred and fear, not Christian practice. If that is licentious, what are we to call it when others do not obey the "mind of the Communion" as expressed repeatedly over the past 40 years or so, accuse those who did obey of disobedience, fabricate a persecution myth to nurture their ever growing jingoism, revile and slander those with whom they disagree, propagandize against and seek to jail a group of human beings just for demanding that they be allowed to live their lives unmolested? What is that? To what Gospel is that faithful?

Posted by: Forxd Elms on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 2:17pm GMT
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