Comments: Presiding Bishop writes to San Joaquin

Simon has quoted one passage from Schori as commenting "..yet you have ceased to participate in the councils of the Church. It is difficult to have dialogue with one who is absent..."

I found myself smiling at the irony of this comment (no offense to Schori intended).

What some conservatives have been doing for many years is making it impossible for some souls to participate in the councils of the church, thus making it nigh on impossible to have a dialogue with them because they are absent.

Some have acted so vehemently against Gene Robinson because he represents one of those who had been excluded from participation. Others act vehemently (to varying degrees) to ordained women, another group who were made absent.

Thus the comment highlights a fundamental difference, for some the exclusion and disenfranchisement of "lesser" souls is intrinsic to their strategies, and if a communion exists that is going to give them a voice, then they are out of there.

It would be okay if they had treated women and eunuchs and GLBTs with respect, but they have allowed us to be abused, insulted and violated for a long time, and in turn others who they now opportunistically seek alliances with but a few decades ago didn't give a toss about.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 8:39am GMT

To take a diocese out of the national structures by which it was created is an extraordinary step - I have indicated as much before. The Presiding Bishop is right to say that it would need to be ascertained in this case whether "the communion of this Church" has been "abandoned".

But abandoning "the communion of this Church" (TEC) does not necessarily entail abandoning the communion of the Church Catholic.

The Presiding Bishop may be right to believe that the Bishop of San Joaquin will find that few will recognize an incorporation into the Southern Cone province. But if significant parts of the Communion do, TEC may be in a conundrum. If John-David M. Schofield were to be still recognized as a bishop by, e.g., the ABC, it could be considered schismatic to declare the see vacant because it would imply that not having a TEC bishop amounts to there being no bishop of the Church Catholic.

This problem is of course always present (for those who hold to the geographical principle) where a diocese is established in a territory which already has (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox) bishops.

But in the case of RC bishops, establishing an Anglican diocese "merely" confirms a schism rather than creates one. The case with Lutheran bishops is more complex because of Eucharistic fellowship between some Anglican and some Lutheran churches. How much more troublesome would it be to appoint a (TEC) bishop where there is already not just a RC bishop, a Lutheran bishop and maybe one or two Orthodox bishops, but even an Anglican bishop!

TEC could claim that "we have been there first" but I am not sure this is quite as credible in the case of a bishop and a diocese, rather than a priest and local congregation, leaving. Of course, if Benjamin Twinamaani is right, all that matters in American eyes might be that TEC's legal structure was there first. But since when are buildings more important than people and national legal structures than bishops in apostolic succession?

I am not writing as someone who claims to have the answer but of course for most people in the debate "the schismatic is always the other" and this doesn't wash with me.

Posted by Thomas Renz at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 11:16am GMT

Correction: "The Diocese of San Joaquin, founded as a missionary diocese in 1911, became a full diocese of the Episcopal Church in 1961." So apparently the diocese was not created by the national structure, as I had assumed.

This doesn't change the fact that the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of national churches and that the assumption is that an Anglican diocese becomes part of a national church (which is why TECUSA dropping the USA seemed to me odd).

Posted by Thomas Renz at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 11:30am GMT

Actually, Thomas, "The Diocese of San Joaquin, founded as a missionary diocese in 1911, became a full diocese of the Episcopal Church in 1961" means EXACTLY that it was founded by the national structure. Missionary dioceses are created by the national church and funded by them; they become full dioceses when they are well enough established to run and finance themselves...just as missionary parishes are created by the diocese and may eventually become self-financing.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 11:58am GMT

"But abandoning "the communion of this Church" (TEC) does not necessarily entail abandoning the communion of the Church Catholic"

It's the church he's got, as far as I know. The church into which he was recieved and which ordained him and made him a bishop.

Without it he is plain Mr Schofield.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 12:32pm GMT

"Correction: "The Diocese of San Joaquin, founded as a missionary diocese in 1911, became a full diocese of the Episcopal Church in 1961." So apparently the diocese was not created by the national structure, as I had assumed."

Missionary dioceses are just as much a creation of the Episcopal Church as are constituent dioceses.

Posted by ruidh at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 1:04pm GMT

If it happens that there are two Anglican Communions, one that is more narrowly based than the other, then presumably in many places there will be two such bishops, one representing Anglicanism and its breadth, and one representing a narrow interpretation according to the basis by which it broke away and organised itself.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 2:36pm GMT

"...the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of national churches and that the assumption is that an Anglican diocese becomes part of a national church (which is why TECUSA dropping the USA seemed to me odd)."

The Episcopal Church includes territories outside of the USA.

There are two official alternate names. The historic name is the Prostestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America; the late 1960's the alternate name the Episcopal Church was authorized. USA was dropped because Province 9 of the Episcopal Church consists of Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Puerto Rico.

Posted by Swick at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 2:52pm GMT

Thomas: "The Presiding Bishop may be right to believe that the Bishop of San Joaquin will find that few will recognize an incorporation into the Southern Cone province. But if significant parts of the Communion do, . . ."

Oddly, there doesn't seem to be much recognition of Southern Cone's Bishop of Recife - only of Brazil's.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 3:27pm GMT

Thanks, Pat and ruidh. This makes sense. So my original assumption was correct.

Göran, I think this was my reaction when the news first came out. It may be true but now I am not so sure. A bishop does not only represent the national church but the Church Catholic. Normally, the wider church would not consider someone a bishop who is no longer recognized by the body through which he or she was made a bishop but this is manifestly no longer true universally.

If no-one recognises John-David M. Schofield as bishop, he isn't a bishop. This much is clear. But if he is received as a bishop by the Province of the Southern Cone, he is a bishop - within the Province of the Southern Cone. Highly irregular, to be sure, but it seems to me no easier to claim that a non-TEC Anglican bishop on US-American soil is not a bishop, as it is to say that a Lutheran bishop is not a bishop.

The bishop and Diocese of San Joaquin putting themselves under the umbrella of the Province of the Southern Cone would produce a highly irregular situation but it would not relate to schism in the same way as the establishment of a diocese parallel to an existing and functioning TEC diocese. In principle, all other things being equal, a San Joaquin situation can be mended more easily than a CANA situation.

And so, maybe in San Joaquin "it takes two to schism," the schism being complete only once TEC sets up an alternative diocese.

Posted by Thomas Renz at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 4:11pm GMT

Swick - thank you, I am not sure I knew that there was a whole province outside the USA. The CofE has a diocese and congregations outside England but not a province. It seems to me that when you've got a province outside your national borders, there are two options: either work towards the establishment of national churches or drop the geographical qualifier from your name. Anglicans have traditionally opted for the former, by dropping "USA," TEC seems to have opted for the latter.

Fair point about Robinson Calvacanti, Malcolm+, although "Twinamaani's law" (just made up, with reference to the essay cited recently) may apply, it's one thing for something to happen in Africa, Brazil or Cambodia, another thing for it to happen in the USA.

We may soon know, unless John-David M. Schofield had been invited to Lambeth 2008 but has already declined the invitation.

Posted by Thomas Renz at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 5:12pm GMT

Title IV, Canon IX, Section 1:

"If a Bishop abandons the communion of this Church ..."

"this Church" clearly refers to TEC (aka PECUSA) NOT the World Wide Anglican Communion (which is not a "church")

Posted by Prior Aelred at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 5:31pm GMT

"And so, maybe in San Joaquin "it takes two to schism," the schism being complete only once TEC sets up an alternative diocese."

Say Wha???

Thomas R, TEC will NOT be setting up "alternative diocese". TEC will simply be restoring Episcopal---and episcopal---oversight to the same ol' Diocese of San Joaquin it always was: same cathedral, same altars and, God willing, the same people. Plus a whole bunch of new ones, drawn to the GOOD News! Maranatha! :-D

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 6:58pm GMT

"And so, maybe in San Joaquin "it takes two to schism," the schism being complete only once TEC sets up an alternative diocese."

Why would TEC set up an alternative diocese? There already is a Diocese. The bishop may need to be replaced and perhaps some clergy but the Diocese already exists.

If there is an "alternative", it will be whatever the secessionists set up. There is no schism. Only a bunch of people who have left TEC to do whatever they want to do.

Posted by PseudoPiskie at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 6:58pm GMT

Please remember that the so called Anglo-Catholic dioceses are in fact abberrations from Mainstream Anglicanism....their theology is not traditional Anglicanism, but stems from the ritualist movement of the late nineteenth century.They teach a Gospel which contradicts classsic evangelicalism in several key areas about the nature of the eucharist, prayers for the dead and to the Saints.

Bishop Gene may be unacceptable in Sydney, but so would Schofield if he tried to introduce his tradition there and preach from the pulpit of the Cathedral.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 4 December 2007 at 11:07pm GMT

An anecdotal incident of persecuting the orthodox:
While closing up my church in a tourist town on Maui, a young atractive couple approached the door to look in. I welcomed them with aloha and the wife said she was in seminary and they were at the hotel down the street. "Wonderful!" I said, "Which seminary are you attending?" "Ambridge", she replied. I know the code game but didn't want to play it, so I asked, "Which seminary is that?" "Trinity, the only orthodox seminary in the Episcopal Church!" was the reply. I said surely there must be others and for me orthodoxy may permit differing opinions. I said, "I hope to see you at our Eucharist tomorrow [Sunday]". I thought it was a futile hope and it was. I was saddened when they didn't show up.

The persecution? Obviously disagreeing that my seminary wasn't unorthodox and having the effrontary to invite them to the Lord's Table. That's how it is now in parts of the USA folks.

Posted by Kahu Aloha at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 2:49am GMT

Thomas Renz wrote: “If no-one recognises John-David M. Schofield as bishop, he isn't a bishop. This much is clear. But if he is received as a bishop by the Province of the Southern Cone, he is a bishop – within the Province of the Southern Cone. Highly irregular, to be sure, but it seems to me no easier to claim that a non-TEC Anglican bishop on US-American soil is not a bishop, as it is to say that a Lutheran bishop is not a bishop.”

In the Lutheran tradition Bishops are the bene esse of the Church. He/she stand for good order God’s gift (Creation you know), but he is not the church and he is not the diocese. They remain in situ even if the bishop personally doesn’t.

Having 2 bishops in one place is not good order, but neither is having 2 different churches. But that is reality. The Church is split in several, as it was in several autonomous pars before the Empire of Constantine (who, as you know, wasn’t a Christian despite later claims).

The unified Church split in 1054 because of somebody’s stupidity (namely the insistence on a “unity” which never was) and the lust for power (the Bishop of Rome wanted to replace the Emperor as Vicarius Christi). It split successively in the 16th century because of several people’s insistence on a doctrinal “unity” which never had been was.

The situation you paint is schism. Not irregular, but the normal state. It is schism because persons in their insistence on a “unity” which isn’t and lust for power w a n t schism. They want their funny hats – and they want the Right to tell people “how it is”. Against them.

To formalize this schism a treaty declaring orders and offices and ordinations and baptisms and sacraments mutually valid is needed. Pending that, Bishop Schofield remains Mr Schofield.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 8:44am GMT

I still think that a diocesan convention voting to separate the diocese from the national structure of TEC is not quite the same as a bishop and a bunch of people leaving. Sure, the legalities need to be examined but even if it proves true that legally there still is a TEC diocese even after such a vote, what have you gained, if you won the legal argument (and the properties) but lost the people?

Examining whether Bishop Schofield, in supporting such a move, has abandoned "communion with this church" is necessary but it strikes me as insufficient in assessing the status of the diocese. There is more to the diocese than the bishop.

Posted by Thomas Renz at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 11:16am GMT

"Sure, the legalities need to be examined but even if it proves true that legally there still is a TEC diocese even after such a vote, what have you gained, if you won the legal argument (and the properties) but lost the people?"

It will be interesting to see just how many people will be lost. So far bishops and priests have made claims on behalf of their dioceses and parishes but we have heard very little from the people in the pews.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 1:26pm GMT

"I still think that a diocesan convention voting to separate the diocese from the national structure of TEC is not quite the same as a bishop and a bunch of people leaving. Sure, the legalities need to be examined but even if it proves true that legally there still is a TEC diocese even after such a vote, what have you gained, if you won the legal argument (and the properties) but lost the people?"

Would you truly lose ALL the people? You think it's likely that 100% of the Episcopalians in San Joaquin, Fort Worth, or Pittsburgh want to leave TEC for the Southern Cone (or wherever)? I don't think it's likely that even 100% of the parish vestries would so vote if asked.

Which leads to an interesting counter question: What preparations has any of those dioceses made for the Episcopalians in their areas who do not wish to split from TEC?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 2:39pm GMT

I am one of the people in the one of the pews in the diocese of San Joaquin, and I am just sick over the choices being made by Bishop Schofield. There are many who follow the Bishop in his choices, but there is a strong minority who feel we have lost the life of the Episcopal church, that is of our understanding, in this diocese. After many years with a Bishop who will not allow women to serve as priests, and who denigrates and derides the national church every chance he gets, we are really weary of the animosity. We are looking for someone to come in and restore the presence of the Episcopal Church here.
Beryl Simkins

Posted by Beryl Simkins at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 2:43pm GMT

I always understood that both RC's and Orthodox believed schism could only be from the Church --Anglicans and others who work with a broadly "catholic" ecclesiology believe schism is within the Church.Adrian Hastings doctoral thesis,published as "One and Apostolic" is very enlightening here--not least as he changed his mind!
On a totally different note--I think there were plans for a province of the Andes to take in Ecuador/Colombia/Venezuela/Peru?/in the late 80's presumably it hasnt happened because the Churches arent strong enough or viable.

Posted by Perry Butler at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 3:06pm GMT

“Please remember that the so called Anglo-Catholic dioceses are in fact abberrations from Mainstream Anglicanism....their theology is not traditional Anglicanism, but stems from the ritualist movement of the late nineteenth century.They teach a Gospel which contradicts classsic evangelicalism in several key areas about the nature of the eucharist, prayers for the dead and to the Saints.” Robert Ian Williams

Rubbish! Anglo-Catholics have existed as “Mainstream” within Anglicanism since Elizabeth I, who after all, was an Anglo-Catholic, not a Calvinist.

In particular, within the American Church, the High Church tradition existed as a major force long before the Tractarians, and probably influenced them (e.g., Bishop Hobart, the Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg, etc.). Low Church Latitudinarianism in Virginia, Pennsylvania and elsewhere has also been a significant element within American Episcopalianism. If anything, it’s Evangelicalism that’s an aberration from “Mainstream Anglicanism” in America.

As for Sydney, maybe “Flogging Parson” Evangelicalism is normal there, but it is hardly “Mainstream.”

Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 6:49pm GMT

Two points about the Episcopal Church. first to answer Swick -- Province IX of the Episcopal Church is made up of dioceses all of which are outside the bounds of the U.S. The Episcopal church used to have more such dioceses, but as the churches in certain places reached a point where they could be viable as a separate province, TEC has overseen that process. Examples of this would be the Provinces of Mexico, Central America (all but one diocese had been part of TEC), and the Philippines.

Second, Since dioceses in the Episcopal church are integral administrative units of TEC, they can't leave on their own vote any more than a subsidiary of Ford Motors could decide to go its own way without permission from the Board of Directors of Ford. In TEC people may leave since it is a voluntary association (not an established church), but the administrative units of the Church - the parish and diocese do not. The Church septs in and oversees a process of electing new leadership and then the Church goes on.

Posted by Joan Gundersen at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 11:04pm GMT

Bishop John-David Schofield, in his response to the PB's letter, certainly knows how to twist the truth:

To quote him: "The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone has graciously offered the Diocese sanctuary on a temporary and emergency basis. This action is unprecedented but so, too, are the apostate actions of The Episcopal Church that make these protective measures necessary. The invitation of the Southern Cone is a matter of public record. In essence it embodies the solution agreed upon by you and the rest of the Anglican leaders at Dar es Salaam to provide adequate, acceptable Alternative Primatial Oversight" (Episcopal News Service, 5 Dec. 2007).

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 11:54pm GMT

Yes Bishop Sch. has replied to KJS, and his answer is a rather resounding - I am headed to the Southern Cone, thank you very much - though in this instance the word, headed, means symbolic affiliation and membership rather than the brute physics of real travel.

One of the really, really, really interesting questions is: What exactly will all these varieties of strict, slightly varied and even contradictory at points, and above all meanly animated conservative folks do - once they have slipped the filthy bonds of the modernity and the Anglican liberalisms they so say they despise and doubt?

Is Sch. a conservative episcopal knight in shining spiritual armor, as, say, StandFirm would have it? Someone more admired even than Duncan of Pittsburgh? Someone so fine, just like Akinola The Humble?

Or more of a clone for, say, the deposed bishop of Recife? These conservative kids are trying to do just a fine job of tearing down the house in order to get sufficiently at their three favorite targets, i.e., queer folks, educated women, and progressive citizens of many different sorts. But in tearing down the house, we may discover that only their ruins are left behind, and then the rest of us will just have to move on, pilgrims, praying, praising God in Jesus of Nazareth, and changing for the better as often as we can understand how to do so, one day at a time.

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 6 December 2007 at 1:22am GMT

"Second, Since dioceses in the Episcopal church are integral administrative units of TEC, they can't leave on their own vote any more than a subsidiary of Ford Motors could decide to go its own way without permission from the Board of Directors of Ford."

YES!

Don't know about elsewhere, but in the US, CocaCola has a new soda called Coke Zero. A series of funny TV ads has actors consulting a real lawyer [who is not aware he's being filmed] about suing Coke Zero on behalf of Coke. Lawyers puzzled by this. But you're the same company, they say. The actors say, But we're on diffreent floors!

Not quite a match, but close enough.

BTW, where is the ABC;s Advent nessage?

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 6 December 2007 at 1:51am GMT

Well, in "apostate TEC", the Commandment (one of 10) to NOT "bear false witness against thy neighbor" still holds. In xJohn-David's new religion, apparently, not so much...

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 6 December 2007 at 8:01am GMT

"The invitation of the Southern Cone is a matter of public record. In essence it embodies the solution agreed upon by you and the rest of the Anglican leaders at Dar es Salaam to provide adequate, acceptable Alternative Primatial Oversight" (Bp. Schofield)
So now, wait a minute - does that mean San J. is NOT leaving TEC, but rather merely seeking (temporary) alternative primatial oversight? Way to muddy the waters, John-David.
Lois

Posted by Lois Keen at Thursday, 6 December 2007 at 10:37pm GMT

I loved + Schofield's letter to apostate TEC. Rather condemnatory to say the least... and deservedly so! But I'm sure that any legal action TEC takes won't be over that lettrer; I doubt they could win a suit claiming slander.

But TEC do have form for sacking priests and sueing churches for the assets. They'll just focus on legalistically on their canons, not on Truth or on the people of the churches.
Ecclesiastical legalism seems to be all that TEC have left to cling to!

Posted by David Wh. at Friday, 7 December 2007 at 12:12am GMT

We have another NP here it seems.

When you modify your nouns with words like "apostate", it would seem that you very little thinking to contribute here on this blogsite.

The Episcopal Church is engaging in ecclesiastical legalism because people like you wish tear it apart over a man in New Hampshire. Refusing to act in a Christian and charitable manner results in this. So you all asked for it.....

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 7 December 2007 at 10:21pm GMT

I think you will find that the disappearance of NP and DW's arrival is no coincidence - I have seen this sort of organised anti-gay campaign on other sites. I would suggest that one or two people are involved in supplying all the comments using different names

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 10 December 2007 at 12:48pm GMT

Agreed Merseymike. And this one can't even use the English language properly.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 10 December 2007 at 6:26pm GMT

No kurt is wrong...there was a high church tradition from the 16th century on, but it was Protestant. For instance Archbishop laud refused to pray to saints and regarded the ordinations of non episcopal Protestants as valid. He wrote most strongly against transubstantiation and the Eucharist as being a propititiary sacrifice.

Anglo-catholicism is an off shoot of the ritualist movement of the nineteenth century.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 9:18pm GMT

"Anglo-catholicism is an off shoot of the ritualist movement of the nineteenth century."

You know, Robert, conversion from one Church to another is usually accompanied by a great deal of pain, rejection, anger, and a lot of other negative emotions that colour our response to the group we have abandoned. I'd suggest you think about how you are still angry at Anglicanism. I say this because I was once there. I was very angry at Canadian Anglicanism. Had there been an Orthodox church here, I would have angrily tried to convert. I say tried, because the Orthodox tend to take the attitude that one should convert out of love for Orthodoxy, not anger at what one is leaving behind. I do understand the level of hurt and anger, but you don't need to be so blatant and insulting about the beliefs of others just because you yourself are angry at the institution in which they practice those beliefs. It really isn't helpful. Why should it be a matter of scorn if the Catholic tradition slumbered for centuries in Anglicanism, then was reawakened? It's the same attitude I have to take WRT Rome. Much of basic Christianity slumbered in that tradition for centuries, what with warrior Popes and all, yet I don't deny their Catholicity.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 2:51pm GMT

"Anglo-catholicism is an off shoot of the ritualist movement of the nineteenth century."

Why should it matter?
Whichever expression of Christianity leads you closer to God is surely right for you, regardless of its origins.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 4:14pm GMT

You are certainly not on the NP/DW theory, Merseymike.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 8:25pm GMT

Meant to say "certainly NOT alone", MM. Always proofread!

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 9:26pm GMT

Please may we have no more conspiracy stories without evidence. NP and david wh are different people.

Posted by Peter Owen at Friday, 14 December 2007 at 9:57am GMT
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