Wednesday, 3 June 2015

General Convention to consider gender-neutral marriage canon

In February this year, the General Convention Task Force on Marriage issued a report which recommends changes to the marriage canon of The Episcopal Church.

The changes are explained in this report from Episcopal News Service by Mary Frances Schjonberg Marriage task force calls for gender-neutral language in marriage canon.

The 122-page report of the Task Force is available in full here.

In addition to the recommendations, the report includes seven essays, which form the bulk of the report (pages 9 to 98) and are:

1. A Biblical and Theological Framework for Thinking about Marriage

2. Christian Marriage as Vocation

3. A History of Christian Marriage

4. Marriage as a Rite of Passage

5. The Marriage Canon: History and Critique

6. Agents of the State: A Question for Discernment

7. Changing Trends and Norms in Marriage

More recently, some articles have been published by the Anglican Theological Review which discuss this report. These articles are all available from this page, but are as follows:

The recent Report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, as presented to the 78th General Convention, proposes substantial changes to The Episcopal Church’s marriage canons. By replacing language in Canon I.18 drawn from the marriage rite in The Book of Common Prayer, the changes would render optional the traditional understanding that marriage is a “covenant between a man and a woman” that is intended, when it is God’s will, “for the procreation of children.” We contend that these changes obscure the nature of marriage as a divinely created social form that is the external basis of the covenant union between “Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:32). As such, it draws a veil over marriage as an outward and visible sign of this union. While leaving open the issue of blessing same-sex unions, we make an Augustinian case for retaining the prayer book’s doctrine of marriage.

Three further articles respond to the above:

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Comments

Surely they should have passed this legislation before they ordained Gene Robinson? This is the logical outcome of accepting contraception, and making procreation optional.It usually takes about twenty years for the Church of England to catch up with TEC. However TEC never had a substantive membership of conservative evangelicals.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 3 June 2015 at 5:33pm BST

Marriage is a sacred covenant between people who commit themselves to each other as partners, and God. For Christians, this covenant may take place before the community of other Christians. The covenant is fundamentally reliant on God's faithfulness, and the relationship is a matter of sincere faith, based above all on God's faithfulness and grace.

Gender does not come into it.

What comes into it is: love, faithfulness, grace, care, devotion, commitment, patience, forbearance, tenderness, companionship, physical relationship, emotional relationship, practicality, etc.

The debate about genders is a non-issue.

If you love someone, you love someone. That is the heart of marriage.

In some but not all cases, this may result in procreation. It need not have to.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 3 June 2015 at 8:46pm BST

I commend the responses of (GC drafting-committee member) Tobias Haller, here: http://blog.tobiashaller.net/

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 4 June 2015 at 3:53am BST

RIW,
I sincerely hope that it won't take the CoE another whole 20 years to catch up with TEC. Even if our Shared Conversations and the subsequent debate at General Synod next year doesn't result in marriage equality (which it won't), the genie of One Man and One Woman is firmly out of its bottle, and now that the church has finally started to engage with this formally and properly, it it inconceivable that it should need 20 years to recognise that marriage cannot be reduced to biology.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 4 June 2015 at 10:24am BST

This inclusive move in The Episcopal Church in North America; to more pastorally consider the possibility of a monogamous, life-long, faithful relationship commitment of two persons of the same gender; is one very good reason why the Anglican Communion needs our TEC sisters and brothers.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 4 June 2015 at 12:08pm BST

The GC 2012 created a dilemma in that the canons of TEC (and the BCP) clear define marriage as between a man and woman. That canon was not changed and still remains. So for 3 years clergy have been blessing ss unions because GC 2015 allowed for a 'generous pastoral response' that necessarily would result in contravention of the canons. And has done. No Title IV charges would ever be allowed to be used against this, even though they are actually mandatory.

So now we come to 2015. GC has to sort out the canonical missteps, but it will not be impaired correcting what it has done because it was bothered with legality to begin with!

It should take two conventions to bring about constitutional changes but this is now just a vague scent in the air. We are being told that whatever GC does, that is the law.

No progressive I know has ever answered the question: but what if a Bishop forbids these new rites because he and his diocesan canons hold them to be unconstitutional. You will search in vain for a direct and clear answer to that question.

So like everything else in TEC, the answer will be provided 'on the ground.' That's the way TEC does its changes.

There are places where the CofE and TEC are similar, but the former is required to do things decently and in legal order. That sense of common obligation went out the window in TEC.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 4 June 2015 at 12:41pm BST

Erika, I still believe that in the Church of England the evangelicals will block it. They are divided on women's ministry but still 97 per cent in opposition to same sex marriage. Affirming pro gay evangelicals are very much a minority.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Thursday, 4 June 2015 at 10:51pm BST

I agree, Robert: outside the tiny and marginalized group of accepting evangelicals, the evangelicals who run and bankroll the Church of England are fiercely opposed to equal marriage. It's a non-starter so long as they hold office and pay the bills.

They *might* (and that's a big "might") be persuaded to allow lesbian and gay clergy to contract civil marriages and live in non-celibate relationships, but that'll require a major leap for them, since for evangelicals, homosexuality isn't "adiaphoron" (something indifferent), but a salvation issue. It's possible that evangelicals could be persuaded to allow priests to, in their eyes, damn themselves, but for them, it'll be counter-intuitive in the extreme.

The only alternatives are to proceed on evangelical terms, or to increase liberal congregations and funding and outvote them. Even then, thanks to the undemocratic composition of England's episcopacy, a way has to be found to get past the diocesan bishops, who, regardless of personal views, are currently unanimous in condemning homosexuality.

The picture looks bleak, but not hopeless. It will, however, be a long, twilight struggle. Twenty years would be optimistic.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 5 June 2015 at 6:55pm BST

For those who want to know, here is a link to the justification that the Bishop of New York gives for practicing inclusive marriage: http://www.dioceseny.org/news_items/229-clergy-may-conduct-same-sex-marriages-from-9-1

C. Seitz has it correct, that GC2012 provided for "generous pastoral oversight" to use the new blessing liturgy for the purposes of inclusive marriage. This was adopted as Resolution A049.

At this point, nearly every diocese in the "blue states" has been doing legal church marriage using that clause of A049. Some argue that it isn't sacramental because of the canons (that will surely change) - I believe that argument is akin to the one about how many angels can sit on the head of a pin.

I got married in January in my home parish. It was beautiful, legal, sacramental, liturgy. 175 people were there, and the music was worthy of William and Kate - except we didn't have room for the London Symphony, alas.

I didn't think that getting married after 23 years would be a big deal. It was. It is. It was an outward sign of inward Grace. We have experienced ontological change as a result of the sacrament, as well as the support, affirmation, legal recognition, and celebration of our marriage. In my spouse, I experience the Incarnation, the manifestation of God in my life. Anyone who says otherwise is... not speaking the truth of my life and that of many others.

This is a gift that belongs to all faithful, loving couples. It doesn't matter to God if the bureaucratic aspects are tidy, the Holy Spirit is not exactly concerned with tidiness.

Peace.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 5 June 2015 at 10:16pm BST

Yes, +Sisk even admits that what he is doing he has no authority to do re: Constitution and Canons. He says that he is in contravention of them.

When one can make an admission like that, it indicates the character of the New Episcopal Church without remainder. C/C are only enforceable (arguably) for Title IV purposes when it is alleged the wrong kind of person or action was involved.

In other words, a church of power advocacy, not order or common will.

It is not hard to change the C and C. But it is, well, inconvenient.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 6 June 2015 at 8:23am BST

A wonderful testimony Cynthia. Thank you for sharing it.

And congratulations and peace & joy to you both.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 6 June 2015 at 4:16pm BST

The most awful thing is that all this focus on gay marriage, detracts from what has happened to heterosexual marriage in the C of E. Evangelicals are quite prepared to stay in a church which allows a free for all as regards re-marriage of divorcees but are threatening schism over ssm.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Saturday, 6 June 2015 at 4:55pm BST

James, the more likely scenario is that ten years from now there will be widespread disobedience in the Church of England with many parishes blessing same sex marriages. As with every situation of this kind, it will not be possible to discipline all the "offenders". Also there will be justifiable outrage, both within the church and in wider society, if clergy are persecuted for marrying their same sex partners. I doubt if civil partnership will survive in practice, unless opened to all---which seems unlikely.

It will then be up to the segment of evangelicals to whom you refer to decide what will happen. It already seems likely that many evangelicals will change their view anyway--those who hold out may well precipitate a schism, because the appetite for multiple "integrities" will be exhausted. It will be clear that it is their choice. And hence likely that they are the ones who will split off--and then the question is whether they will suffer the usual fate of schismatic movements---further splits etc.

those who believe that we should welcome same sex marriage will be seen as moderate, reasonable, loving, and in line with Gospel values. Which will infuriate the schismatics still more. Ten years at most.

Posted by: Turbulent Priest on Saturday, 6 June 2015 at 8:44pm BST

There seems to be a long history in Christianity of people doing things on the ground before the church officially caught up. People like Paul, Wycliffe, and Luther are among the many names that come immediately to mind.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 1:15am BST

Mr. Seitz: While you are expounding on the value of following all of the established procedures and only making changes within the context of methodological precedent I wonder if you could please include a discussion of two small points:

1. At what point did you make the same complaint (work within established systems) to your conservative friends and allies who attempted to do significant damage to the Episcopal Church via "facts on the ground" in the plans outlined the Chapman memo?

2. When breakaway types took over dioceses (such as South Carolina) and did what they promised not to do prior to their consecration (that is, to not lead whole diocese out of the Episcopal Church in contradiction to established rules about the same) did you counsel them that it was best to not try and change facts on the ground but rather to work within the established processes?

Precedent and established process are obviously so important that it would help us to better understand your argument if you could show how you hold your conservative allies to these standards.

Posted by: Dennis Roberts on Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 7:01am BST

What provisions should be made for people who don't even identify within the gender binary?

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 8:19am BST

I am of course speaking about an Episcopal Church of long history, a BCP, C/C and a population not long ago of 3M.

1. I am not speaking of a memo drafted by a single individual in a movement I have never espoused. Read ACI and you will see this clearly.

2. Your point #2 is riddled with factual error. The Episcopal Diocese of SC remains just what it has always been (same name, same canons, same TEC BCP, same Bishop, same Standing committee etc) . TEC drifted in a new direction it did not wish to go. TEC attacked it for saying that in an orderly and canonical fashion after GC 2009. TEC did not succeed. But it did succeed in hitting a 'third rail' designed to protect the diocese if attacked.

So EDofSC protected itself against attack and remains as before.

Now having clarified that in accordance with your "two wrongs make a right" hypothesis, and shown it to be wrong, can you explain how and why TEC is ignoring its own C/C and does not care about that?

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 1:29pm BST

Turbulent Priest, I hope you're right. I'd love to be wrong on this.

Disobedience may well work, but only if it's coordinated, and only if confronts 'Issues...' head-on. Blessings can be spun as being within its abusive "discipline," after all. (Personally, I've never understood why blessings have taken on such weight: surely compulsory lifelong celibacy is a more pressing issue!)

I don't see anything close to a majority of evangelicals changing their mind. Corinthians c.6 is just too explicit, and from their POV, if they get it wrong, they're sending people to burn in hell for all time. The stakes are just too high.

That being so, the only options are schism, or to persuade evangelicals to tolerate acts they abhor. As I said, the second may be possible. Widespread disobedience would certainly improve liberals' bargaining position.

A game changer would be to persuade a diocesan to suspend 'Issues...,' which may also be possible. Widespread withholding of parish shares would be excellent inducement. As evangelicals have shown, that threat works.

To end institutional gay-bashing, liberals must be willing to play as rough as their opponents.

Posted by: James Byron. on Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 9:12pm BST

There will be no schism, as all sides have too much to lose with the wealth and prestige of the Church of England.It will be a slow war of attrition, like ritualism 150 years ago. But remember one salient factor married clergy of whatever stripe may find they have gay children and grandchildren. I know 4 evangelical free church ministers in this category.like divorce there will not be a family in teh country who does not have out gay relatives, ten years from now.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Monday, 8 June 2015 at 7:25am BST

"Your point #2 is riddled with factual error. The Episcopal Diocese of SC remains just what it has always been (same name, same canons, same TEC BCP, same Bishop, same Standing committee etc) . TEC drifted in a new direction it did not wish to go."

Spare me. It's a truism, but nevertheless True, cseitz: "you're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own 'facts'". You can peddle this argument (no doubt successfully) in the anglican Conservativ-iverse, but elsewhere, the SPIN creates a rather odiferous wake.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 8 June 2015 at 8:31am BST

There is nothing remotely un-factual about anything written. Same Bishop, same name, same BCP, same pre-2012 C/C, refusal to go along with unconstitutional Title IV and laissez-faire rite production.

Opinions are yours; these are facts and uncontestable ones. EDofSC remains and is now aligned with the Global South. The ABC has publicly issued his nihil obstat.

And the earth still turns on its axis...

And will do even after GC 2015 transforms TEC yet further.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 8 June 2015 at 4:41pm BST

Cseitz, you've always been fair in your comments, so I'm thinking that perhaps you've unaware of all the details. SC offer an FAQ on their website*, in which they explicitly say that "we have now completely withdrawn our accession to the Constitution and Canons of TEC."

* http://www.diosc.com/sys/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=461:faqs-about-the-assault-on-the-diocese-of-south-carolina&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=75

Posted by: James Byron on Monday, 8 June 2015 at 6:40pm BST

The "Global South" is not uniformly homophobic. That is profoundly dishonest.

The Holy Spirit is on the move and she isn't waiting for c&c!!! The Gospel isn't about c&c, as useful as that can be. The Gospel is about the Good News to human beings, God's Children.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 8 June 2015 at 11:04pm BST

Dear James Bryon, thank you for your kind comment.

I tried to be careful in what I wrote. Many of us judge the actions of GC from 2009 on as themselves against the C/C of TEC. To be cautious I wrote 'same pre-2012 C/C.'

Once TEC created a Title IV that gave the PB authorities nowhere envisioned, warranted, or regulated, it meant that SC withdrew its accession.

It was only in part for this reason, however, that TEC retaliated and charged the Bishop with abandonment. Fortunately, if tragically, the Diocese was prepared for the attack. It had done the legal work necessary to put in place an insurance policy. And it was effective.

When GC 2015 goes yet further in ignoring the Constitution and BCP, it will not be those of us loyal to them that have 'left' though that is what will be asserted. No, a New Episcopal Church (NEC) will be replacing TEC of pre 2009.

But SC's present Bishop, BCP, Standing Committee, Faith and Practice is exactly unaltered from its long history as a member of TEC pre 2009.

I hope this clarifies. Thank you for your question.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 7:23am BST

Perhaps I am misreading the canons and constitution of TEC (but I don't think I am):

General Convention is the ruling body of TEC. Unlike, say, the US government, there is no other body that has the authority to declare a measure passed by GC as being "unconstitutional." Presumably, then, if GC passes a measure in the proper manner (ie, the prescribed number of votes are taken, the votes are counted accurately, etc.), then the measure is not only passed but de facto constitutional...as GC is the only authority on such matters.

Therefore, Dr. Seitz can personally believe that Title IV is unconstitutional, but his opinion has no authority and no legal backing--unless he chooses to challenge it in a civil court.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 1:36pm BST

This will be one of the first times a body secular or religious worked hard on a Constitution only to discover that it is actually meaningless.

And, the idea of challenge in civil court is both a non sequitor and nonsense.

But what civil courts have concluded--not least because under oath TEC's expert witness said so, when asked--is that the GC is not invested with supreme authority.

Your reading of the c/c is patently awry. Why would the Constitution demand two hearings of GC if it was just so much ephemeral authority?

To say that a Constitution is not a Constitution because it cannot be enforced is bizarre logic. No, a Constitution is not a Constitution when TEC has decided it can ignore it no matter what. This is not TEC but NEC.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 4:23pm BST

A personal “opinion has no authority and no legal backing--unless he chooses to challenge it in a civil court.”

Civil courts are hesitant to interfere with General Convention's interpretations of TEC's own governing documents. For example, a parish attempting to leave TEC with its property offered some opinions that TEC was not a hierarchical church. The court held that the statements were merely unsanctioned opinions and interpretations contrary to TEC’s constitution and canons:

“[The parish] contends that it created a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether [TEC] is hierarchical for temporal matters, including property disputes. [The parish] submitted an affidavit by a former bishop of a diocese in Illinois, an affidavit by a board member of a diocese in Florida, and a document entitled Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of [TEC] (the ‘Bishops’ Statement’). The former bishop stated that [TEC] is not hierarchical for any purpose. The board member opined that The Episcopal Church is not hierarchical for “the issues in this dispute.” The Bishops’ Statement is dated April 18, 2009, and appears to be authored by fifteen or so bishops and former bishops, but does not appear to be sanctioned by [TEC] or the General Convention. The Bishops’ Statement suggests, inter alia, that [TEC] is a voluntary association of equal dioceses.

“The affidavits [the parish] offered do not create a disputed issue of material fact because the affiants were simply offering their opinions and interpretations of the constitutions and canons, not facts. The constitutions and canons, as well as [the parish’s] filings and Articles of Association, speak for themselves and are determinative of the issue. As discussed earlier in this opinion, when resolving disputes involving hierarchical churches, the courts will defer to the highest church authority on questions of church governance. In such situations, the courts ‘are bound to look at the fact that the local congregation is itself but a member of a much larger and more important religious organization, and is under its government and control, and is bound by its orders and judgments.’ [quoting a U.S. Supreme Court case]. We think that includes interpretation of church governing documents and interpretation of the basic organization of the church. Consequently, we cannot conclude that there is a factual question regarding the organization and governance of [TEC] and will not inquire into it.”

https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/protestantepiscopalchurchopn.pdf (p. 24)

Posted by: dr.primrose on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 5:33pm BST

"Why would the Constitution demand two hearings of GC if it was just so much ephemeral authority?"

Because, like the by-laws of a secular corporation, the Constitution of TEC determines how matters are to be decided...in this case, that--in order to avoid just the ephemeralness that Dr. Seitz derides--any change to the constitution and canons be voted on by two succeeding General Conventions. This requires that a desired change withstand at least three years of discussion and debate in the church at large. That, by the way, is exactly how the Title IV that Dr. Seitz characterizes as "unconstitutional" was adopted.

My point is not that the Constitution of TEC is without authority...just that the only body that can define that authority is General Convention. And one of the ways it does so is by adopting new canons and provisions which are--by virtue of being adopted by GC--inherently constitutional.

And Dr. Primrose is exactly right--the secualr courts in the US have consistently refused to get involved in the governance of churches. That is precisely why I suggested a civil suit as Dr. Seitz's only real alternative...because a civil court would most certainly tell him he was wrong.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 6:55pm BST

"The court held" -- yes, and then another set of court rulings held otherwise. Including the Illinois Court of Appeals.

I will not bother to quote the extremely awkward exchange in Illinois where TEC's expert witness, under oath, admitted the supremacy language re: General Convention was nowhere to be found.

He was not called in when it came to South Carolina.

And the Texas Supreme Court ruled that neutral principles trumped alleged Dennis Canon 'hierarchy.'

So at best, TEC's recourse to civil courts--itself expressly forbidden by the C/C--has faltered badly indeed.

Grace and peace.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 7:18pm BST

"That, by the way, is exactly how the Title IV that Dr. Seitz characterizes as "unconstitutional" was adopted."

Wrong yet again, sadly.

Title IV was judged inadequate and so reviewed due to its potential unconstitutionality.

The Diocese of Dallas, e.g., refused to accept it because its own C/C require it to adhere to the Constitution of TEC.

We did not therefore have 2 General Conventions agree the constitutionality of Title IV. Rather, a committee asked to evaluate the matter said that it wasn't sure whether it was constitutional or not, and because we had no ecclesial court of review, it guessed GC could do what it wanted.

Yet another example of the sort of logic now operating in NEC.

And so it will continue.

And of course this is why the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina said, at last, enough lawlessness and disorder. And for that, it was targeted, and the attack was successfully protected against.

The rest is now history. SC has retained the BCP, the logic of the erstwhile C/C, its Bishop, and now also, its Anglican Communion ligature, with +Welby's nihil obstat.

And the Archbishop of Egypt and the Middle East, who heads the Global South and who brought this about on their behalf, is this week in London as the ABC's guest.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 7:56pm BST

“TEC's recourse to civil courts … has faltered badly indeed.”

Off the top of my head, I’m aware TEC has definitely prevailed in the courts in California, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. I suspect there are other states that do not come immediately to mind.

In the Texas case, the Texas Supreme Court held that, “We agree with the court of appeals that the record conclusively shows TEC is a hierarchical organization.” Its ruling is, of course, at odds with the Illinois court, which is in turn also at odds with the other state court decisions mentioned above. The Texas court decided that “neutral principles” would apply under Texas law and sent the case back to the lower courts to review that case under those principles, something that the lower courts had not previously done.

Use of “neutral principles” does not mean that those leaving TEC will prevail. For example, Connecticut, Tennessee, and California (and perhaps the rest as well) also require use of “neutral principles” and, under those principles, TEC prevailed.

Finally, there has been a claim that TEC's recourse to civil courts is expressly forbidden by TEC's constitutions and canons. If anyone can cite a specific provision so holding, I would be appreciative.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 9:01pm BST

Cseitz doesnt tell you other states found differently and he forgets about the fact that TEC have won most of the other cases and the final word has not been heard in Texas, Illinois or South Carolina..

Posted by: robert ian williams on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 10:59pm BST

"Finally, there has been a claim that TEC's recourse to civil courts is expressly forbidden by TEC's constitutions and canons. If anyone can cite a specific provision so holding, I would be appreciative."

Bien cordialement.

You are wanting IV.19.2. 'No member of this church, lay or ordained, shall have recourse to a civil court to adjudicate the C/C of this church or seek to resolve a dispute...'.

I am quoting from memory so you will want to google it yourself for the exact language and share it, since this seems important to you.

It is quite startling to see yet again how cavalierly those in charge of TEC break the C/C.

The Diocese of SC had had enough and said it could not agree this conduct. For this it was attacked; its bishop charged with abandonment.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 at 9:32am BST

Sorry, the final word has been heard in Illinois, TX and SC (pending review). In Illinois, this comes with possible collateral estoppel as it was an Appeals upholding.

In matters such as these, judges are on a learning curve; they are learning. The recent rulings are the most relevant.

TEC's expert witness has now been retired.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 at 3:42pm BST

TEC’s Canon IV.19.2 does not bar persons from bringing lawsuits in the civil courts concerning property disputes.

The canon provides in full as follows:

“No member of the Church, whether lay or ordained, may seek to have the Constitution and Canons of the Church interpreted by a secular court, or resort to a secular court to address a dispute arising under the Constitution and Canons, or for any purpose of delay, hindrance, review or otherwise affecting ANY PROCEEDING UNDER THIS TITLE.” (my emphasis)

“This Title” means Title IV of TEC’s canons, which concerns “Ecclesiastical Discipline.” The canon’s language concerning lawsuits is expressly limited to proceedings connected with the ecclesiastical discipline of ordained clergy. It has no application to any other disputes, including the property disputes that are the subject of the cases discussed in these comments.

I could be wrong on this. But I don't remember any argument that this canon barred lawsuits on property disputes even being raised in the lawsuits discussed in these comments. And I'm fairly certain no court has ruled this this canon bars TEC from bringing these lawsuits.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 at 6:23pm BST

"Sorry, the final word has been heard in Illinois, TX and SC (pending review)"

If there's a review pending, then the word isn't final.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 at 9:52pm BST

TX and Illinois are final.

If you believe the first clause of IV.19.2
Is not restricting appeal to civil court to interpret the C/C, you are welcome to that view and a loyal member of NEC.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 11 June 2015 at 5:15am BST

Sorry, I have had one of those 36 hour international travel nightmares that many of you will know and love so well...

1. Court rulings are not in the category of 'it's 40-15, your serve'. Any loss for TEC is disastrous because it means that judges are finally mounting a steep learning curve. This was especially true in Illinois and SC. TEC's expert witness, under oath, said there was no supremacy language in TEC's documents. Terribly damning, and very awkward, was Bishop von Rosenberg's response to direct questioning about the canon under discussion here (IV.19.2). You may read the transcript. I will spare you the embarrassment.
2. The Illinois ruling could well lead to collateral estoppel and have effect from here on out in other states.
3. I now read an essay by Bishops Benhase and McConnell in SC pleading with GC 2015 to honor the BCP and C/C and do things decently and in order. I suspect it is too late, but neither of these Bishops is a 'conservative.'
4. The Episcopal Diocese of SC is now receiving oversight from the GS and Lambeth has issued a statement which clarifies that it has no objection. This is surely the best outcome for a Diocese that remained loyal to a C/C which was being modified on the hoof and without proper procedures. We now see their concerns were valid.
5. I doubt much of the detail of this is of interest to our English hosts, but it serves as a study in contrast -- whether one likes that or not.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 11 June 2015 at 10:23am BST

PS

Judge Chupp has just awarded the sole major TEC bastion in EDFW to +Iker.

40M may have seemed to make sense if one was winning--highly dubious though that be as Christian witness--but not when the money is not going down the drain.

We can but pray a new PB sees that the tide has turned and stops this money misuse.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 11 June 2015 at 12:00pm BST

The plain fact is, is that in every property dispute, TEC is challenging and appealing all the decisions made. The TEC has spent millions of dollars on litigation, but has reaped a rich reward in victories. The lower court decisions in Virginia and Georgia(Christchurch) were all reversed and the same will happen with SC,Texas and Illinois. Other churches are also concerned by these lower court decisions, and will support TEC all the way to the ( SCOTUSA)Supreme Court if necessary.

Sadly when the cases are lost the real losers are the manipulated faithful and not Iker,Duncan and Lawerence, who make sure their own personal financial security is untouched.

Meanwhile the Anglican church in North America
( so called ) is running out of steam , and its Canadian branch is stagnant. They are so " biblical " they can't even agree on women's ordination and are riddled with divorce. Thats how holy these would be defenders of matrimony are.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Sunday, 14 June 2015 at 1:15pm BST

Well it hasn't reaped a 500M award in SC but it has spent millions trying! How would you like to pay that bill? Or the one in Illinois or TX?

You are welcome to inquire of TEC about all their rich reward reaping. You won't learn much about that.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 at 9:38pm BST
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