Comments: trouble in Philadelphia

A small correction: the special convention regarding the budget for the Diocese of Pennsylvania is Saturday a week, the 25th of March, not this Saturday. [CORRECTION NOTED; THANKS]

A comment: The Diocesan Council repudiated the request of Standing Committee for Bp. Bennison's resignation.

Further, many of us here in Pennsylvania recognize that what is being acted out here has its roots not in Bp. Bennison's episcopate but many years before. The hope that ousting this or any bishop in order to make everything okay is a vain one, since it ignores the systemic problems here. Bp. Bennison's management and leadership styles, and the fact of his passionate vision that brooks no slowness of pace make him an easy target.

But should he depart, we will only be left with a vacuum into which all sorts of demons can and will enter. Not to mention the fact that it could leave us without episcopal representation in the House of Bishops at GC2006, an occasion for possible rejoicing on the part of those less moderate than myself, an occasion I would not wish to afford them.

Please keep us all in your prayers.

Lois Keen, Priest
Diocese of Pennsylvania

Posted by The Rev'd Lois Keen at Friday, 17 March 2006 at 12:57pm GMT

What a tragic impasse: far be it from me to deny that the same ol'/same ol' problem of *human sin* was alive and well in the Episcopal Church... :-(

Lord have mercy!

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Friday, 17 March 2006 at 6:17pm GMT

It's worth noting that rightwing extremists of the AAC/Network stripe have had +Bennison in their sights for years.

The following comment by Fr. Jake on his website has details:

Posted by David Huff at Friday, 17 March 2006 at 6:32pm GMT

How many of these right wing extremists are on the Standing Committee? None.

One can safely say the fell hand of the IRD, Freemasons, the Illuminati, neo-conservatives, the Trilateral Commission (add the bogeyman of your choice here), is not present.

Posted by George Conger at Saturday, 18 March 2006 at 2:03pm GMT

Dear Lois et al, I don't understand why you are defending Bp Bennison?

It is not just the diocese's Standing Committee that is heavily critical of Bennison but also the Deans AND the folk sent by the Presiding Bishop's office. All these unanimously agree that he should go and they are hardly "right-wing extremists" !!

Furthermmore, the Diocesan Council didn't repudiate the Standing Committee's decision completely - but decided to not support the call for the Bishop’s resignation in favor of a process that might bring about reconciliation..

This was assessed by the folk from the Pesiding Bishop's office... and they have said that "Given the depth of divisions that have been created over many years, the repeated leadership style preference of the Bishop, and the unanimous opinion that the Bishop is incapable of entering into any process without being in control of it; we cannot recommend any process of conciliation or any “rigorous long-term process for addressing problems.”"

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 18 March 2006 at 2:17pm GMT

Off topic but it's my blog, what George is referring to is I presume (I confess I had never heard of it and had to look it up).

As for the Illuminati, try

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 18 March 2006 at 2:19pm GMT

Rev'd Lois,
My prayers are with you. I don't know much about +Bennison, other than some of his comments which are quoted in Network propaganda. What a terrible situation! I am surprised that PB Griswold is involved in discipline here. Where is the discipline for those bishops who are involved in aiding outside bishops to cross diocesan borders without the consent of the diocesan bishop?

God's peace

Posted by faithwatch at Saturday, 18 March 2006 at 3:25pm GMT

Can we all just agree, here, to *pray for reconciliation* (whether +Bennison stays on as bishop or not), and not pour more gasoline on the fire?

*Sometime conflicts are personal, w/ no ideological considerations whatsoever, but

*A time of divisive ideologies (and the *distrust* such division engenders) can complicate even the most strictly personal conflicts

(It's a paradox that way)

I don't know any of the particulars here, beyond the links given. I *do* know that Our Lord says we should always go the extra mile w/ our brother or sister... Pray, folks!

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 18 March 2006 at 6:34pm GMT

I was going to thank Mother Keen for the clarification, but then further comments got me all confused again.

I am reminded of a comment Desmond Tutu made when someone criticized his successor, "He has a difficult time dealing with many issues, whereas all I had to do was take a stand against apartheid and I knew I was in the right."

Sometimes the main problem in a diocese is the responsibility of one person & changing that person can fix things, but all too often scapegoating a person is a convenient way of avoiding dealing with deep & complicated issues. I confess I have no idea which (if either) model fits better in Philadelphia.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Saturday, 18 March 2006 at 7:53pm GMT

This is not a theological dispute, but a matter of incompetency on the part of the Bishop. He is a divider, his financial dealings are questions, and has the support of very few parishes. He is simply unable/unwilling to be bishop of PA.

Posted by Rittenhouse at Sunday, 19 March 2006 at 5:18am GMT

Faithwatch said, "I am surprised that PB Griswold is involved in discipline here." Note that the Presiding Bishop has not been involved in discipline. He offered to assist in consultancy and in reconciliation if it were possible. Consultants did come, and did express an opinion.

Discipline per se could only happen if appropriate charges were brought by clergy and laity of the diocese or by other bishops, and the appropriate procedures were completed. By the same token, formal discipline can only happen if someone chooses to file charges. It would be hard to begin charges against bishops of another province of the Communion unless there were those in that province who were interested, as in the Diocese of Recife in Brazil.

Now, why charges haven't been raised by other members of the House of Bishops against those bishops in ECUSA who encouraged such boundary violations I don't know. I hope perhaps it's because many are willing to wait a long time in hope that reconciliation is possible. In any case, whatever opinions may come from the Presiding Bishop or from representatives of the Executive Council of ECUSA, they aren't discipline. We have an established process in ECUSA to pursue that.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Sunday, 19 March 2006 at 11:03pm GMT

Ah ha! Thank you Marshall for the clarification. I have learned so much about ECUSA from my fellow bloggers as we watch events unfold.

God's Peace1

Posted by faithwatch at Tuesday, 21 March 2006 at 5:06am GMT
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