Comments: roundup of American reports

In re: Bishop MacBurney--

Since TEC doesn't accept the fiction that a parish can leave TEC and join another province, the idea that MacBurney was ministering to a non-Episcopal church exists only in the heads of Forward in Faith and its allies.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 11:17am GMT

Even if the ABC's advisors did change their minds and decide he should invite Martyn Minns et al., surely it's too late. Peter Akinola, Peter Jensen and others have made too much noise about not going to Lambeth to be able to turn round and attend after all without losing a huge amount of face. They've painted themselves into a corner, and left themselves no alternative to forming their own communion.

So why not invite Gene Robinson after all, if the damage has already been done? But no, that would mean the ABC losing too much face himself, not to mention alienating the moderate conservatives on whom he's relying to hold the communion together. What a mess.

Posted by Charity at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 12:59pm GMT

One of the more fascinating presuppositional things about so much of the conservative realignment campaigns framework is how magically it moves threat and safety around, manipulating the narratives about what is really real, through typically unexamined ploys of redefinition, categorical and unquestioned.

Thus, having to live on the same planet as queer folks involved in common sense daily living ethics, say, or women in the professions is defined as a threat to safe believerhood.

One wonders where these conservatives live, most of the time. Do they have no competent women on their work teams, to whom they are consistently beholden for inspiration and help? Do they have no competent queer folks on their work teams, also an inspiration and a help?

Then the same conservative believers turn around, seeking to deny non-conservative believers their due space in Big Tent Anglicanism, violating canonical guidelines or procedures, relentlessly trash talking every believer who doesn't think exactly as some conservative belief or reading of the scriptures demands ... all the while claiming that their efforts to conform, narrow, and demolish - yes, I think that is the correct word - demolish leeway for any sort of church life that is not already theirs alone - are actually efforts to provide safety and comfort for conservative believers.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 2:16pm GMT

Regarding both Bishop MacBurney and Bishop Duncan: many of us have felt is more appropriate to bring charges under Canon IV.1.h: "Any act which involves a violation of Ordination vows;" or IV.1.e: "Violation of the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention." Unlike the canon on Abondonment, there is no requirement of consent from the three senior bishops to inhibition, as there is in the "Abandonment" canon. In addition, such violations would seem simpler to prove or disprove. Attempting to disassociate a diocese from the national Church, or alienating property held in trust for the national Church, would both fall under these canons.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 2:42pm GMT

Re Bishop MacBurney:

"Bishop MacBurney is a loving man and is not the kind of man who would refuse to respond to the needs of God’s people in any part of the world.”

Would that include LGBT people - clergy and lay people and bishops?

Posted by Colin Coward at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 3:20pm GMT

"The soon-to-be new Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has a new website."

That's the *RENEWED* Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Simon! ;-)

Posted by JCF at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 5:56pm GMT

What about the Robert Duncan news on Fulcrum and on Stand Firm ?

Posted by L Roberts at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 9:24pm GMT

Pat,
If I recall, the departure of Christ Church Overland Park was an amicable separation, in which the departing members purchased the property from the diocese, and provision was made for those who wanted to remain in TEC. So it truly is a non-Episcopal church.

But regardless of whether it was independent or under a foreign prelate, it was not in communion with TEC, and therefore Bishop McBurney performed episcopal acts for a church not in communion with TEC.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 10:14pm GMT

I think Conger's anaylsis of the canons, as set forth in his article in the Living Church, is wrong.

Canon IV.15 contains a set of defined terms applicable to the disciplinary canons. One of the defined terms is "All the Members," which is defined as meaning "the total number of members of the body provided for by Constitution or Canon without regard to absences, excused members, abstentions or vacancies."

The section of the deposition canon in question (Canon IV.9.2) does not use the term "All the Members." Instead, it uses "whole number of Bishops entitled to vote."

Canon IV.9.1, which immediately precedes Canon IV.9.2, however, does use the term "All the Members" in connection with the Review Committee.

Conger in effect argues that "whole number of Bishops entitled to vote" has the same meaning as "All the Members."

But one of the basic rules of construction of laws is that, if the body that created the laws uses two different sets of words, particularly if they are in the same part of the law, the body that created the law intended that the two phrases mean different things. "Whole number of bishops entitled to vote" does not and cannot mean the same thing a "All the Members" -- meaning "the total number of members of [Bishops] without regard to absences, excused members, abstentions or vacancies." It has to mean the whole number of bishops entitled to vote at the House of Bishops meeting.

Posted by dr.primrose at Friday, 14 March 2008 at 11:27pm GMT

Sounds like a potential mess - which, for a church that claims that its canons are the ultimate arbiter, is amusing.

dr.promrose rightly points out that use of two different phrases *should* indicates two different intentions... but, in law, the overriding premise is that the words *must* mean what they mean. You can't argue that the word means anything else!

So, the "whole number of Bishops entitled to vote" must mean the *whole* number of Bishops... otherwise the canons would just state "Bishops entitled to vote" or to be clear "Bishops present who are entitled to vote". The words "whole number" must mean something - or they would not have been approved by GC!

And as for poor Bishop Cox, it looks like the canons have been broken! No due process.. This couldn't be another case of LibTEC wanting to argue that they are 'just following the canons' when it suits what they want to do - and playing fast and loose when the canons hinder what they want to do?!

Posted by david wh at Saturday, 15 March 2008 at 12:47am GMT

On the broader matter of invitations, it is rumour stage at the moment but it is still a wopping mess:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/03/backward-flip-somersaults-coming.html

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 15 March 2008 at 1:14am GMT

This voting buisness as told in the Living Church is probably a hoax, anyway...

I would have more been prepared to trust the claims if they came from a less interested party : = (

As to "Unlike the canon on Abondonment, there is no requirement of consent from the three senior bishops to inhibition, as there is in the "Abandonment" canon" I would suggest it's very much about p r o c e s s and that the leadership of the American church went for the more elaborate process b e c a u s e of the required consent of the 3 eldest bishops. Not least because the other canons you suggest seem more appropriate on the face of it.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 15 March 2008 at 6:53am GMT

"in the Living Church George Conger . . . asserts"

I hope we ALL know to file that under "Consider the Source" by now???

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 15 March 2008 at 6:02pm GMT

Dr. Primrose, the problem is that the history of the canon shows this supermajority going back long before the "Definitions" canon was added. The part of the canon where "All the members" is used is new, as the Review Committee was a recent introduction.

"Whole number of bishops entitled to vote" is not the same thing as "All the Members" because there are non-voting members. (The house has collegial and honorary members without vote.)

Moreover, as the introduction to the "Definitions" section states, "Except as otherwise expressly provide for unless the context otherwise requires, as used in this Title the following terms and phrases shall have the following meanings..."

This does not mean that "All the members" *must* be used throughout the canon; nor does it determine the meaning of "the whole number of bishops entitled to vote" which, as the canonical introduction makes clear, is a different "express provision" with a different "context."

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 15 March 2008 at 9:41pm GMT

drdanfee,

Again we have a lot of talk about how cons talk others down by talking them down! In actual reality again, J I Packer hardly talk about b Ingham at all, just that in light of his long held convictions and efforts to fit in and make Packer's church conform it became impossible (see his own description or A Goodard on Fulcrum).

One wonders where you meet these people you call evangelicals (always in general - would that do if we found certain gay people and then lumped them all together?). I have worked with women in colegial relations and as supevisors, I know gay people who are capable at work and for whom I have great regard etc. All this is part of the world in which many of us live (a young friend just finished a term of service in Mumbai working with HIV aids people). So maybe you need to get out more?

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 2:52am GMT

Still waiting for that list that describes where this hurts you personally David wh.

Maybe you need to apply to 815 Second Ave. and tell them where their canons are limiting. Maybe they can get you a green card for your "CECON" thoughts.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 10:44am GMT

Here's the report of another deposition in 2004:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_33340_ENG_HTM.htm

The procedure doesn't seem to have been questioned then.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 12:54pm GMT

"One wonders where you meet these people you call evangelicals (always in general - would that do if we found certain gay people and then lumped them all together?). I have worked with women in colegial relations and as supevisors, I know gay people who are capable at work and for whom I have great regard etc. All this is part of the world in which many of us live (a young friend just finished a term of service in Mumbai working with HIV aids people). So maybe you need to get out more?"

You remind me of the person who says, "I like individuals, it's just people I can't stand."

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 1:46pm GMT

David comments: "in law the overriding premise is that the words "must" mean what they mean. You can't argue that the word means anything else."
Haven't you ever heard of lawyers, David? If it was all so crystal clear, there'd never be another court case.
Or possibly another disagreement about what the Bible says either.....

Posted by Stephen Bates at Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 2:19pm GMT

Yes Stephen

And if the "word" is so clear, why is there a Judaic principle of recording minority reports. Why do we spend so much time contemplating biblical paradoxes and praying about the best way to handle things.

Why do we have determinations that in one set of circumstances certain conduct is okay but is an anathema at other times? Why does God talk about beating swords into plowshares?

Nor do we have simply human courts and rabbinical councils. We also have debates in the metaphysical great assembly and even angels debate. See this Jewish article http://www.torah.org/learning/ramchal/classes/fundamental6-5.html

Even Jesus acknowledges this - the magistrate Luke 12:56-598 "Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison."

With the whole planet in crisis and every living being facing possible extinction, the times for testosterone posturing is past. Christians would become extinct along with their neighbors. Do not think that God will give another planet to souls who attack and neglect this planet and its occupants.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 7:16pm GMT

According to Bishop Pierre Whalon (Convocation of American Churches in Europe) a clarification of the interpretation was made at the last General Convention in 2006 (Journal pg 81) on the meaning of Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and how to count the quorum was given in a note. It reads, "Note: A quorum is defined by Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution as "a majority of all bishops entitled to vote (281), exclusive of bishops who have resigned their jurisdictions or positions (156)" Thus the present quorum is 63." At Camp Allen, Bishop Kenneth Price, Secretary of the House announced the number present as 68, thus a quorum.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 9:53pm GMT

"make Packer's church conform"

This is a lie.

No church in the Diocese of New Westminster has been made to "cpnform" with same sex blessings. No parish is obliged to be involved in same sex blessings. The onus is on parishes which want to perform such blessing to seek permission.

This discussion would be so much easier if the lying would stop.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Monday, 17 March 2008 at 3:42am GMT

Malcolm+ wrote: "This discussion would be so much easier if the lying would stop."

What would they say ; = )

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 17 March 2008 at 9:10am GMT

Malcom,

More cheap and easy talk about "lying" instead of what is actually going on in the Westminster diocese? Who said it was a matter of someone coming in making a particular church do same-sex blessings? As such I never even mentioned them. But who will deny in this situation at different points there is pressure to conform? The clear indication of that is the threat hanging out there - and now the eventuality - of being ousted! Try to talk about what is actually going on.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Tuesday, 18 March 2008 at 1:08pm GMT

Pat,

Another cheap throw-away line but no advance in the conversation.

Do any of us - do you - just lump all people into one and say "I like people?" The snide remarks here from you are evidence that you are far from that!

Ben W

Posted by ben W at Tuesday, 18 March 2008 at 1:19pm GMT

"Another cheap throw-away line but no advance in the conversation.

Do any of us - do you - just lump all people into one and say "I like people?" The snide remarks here from you are evidence that you are far from that!"

Yes, if you are a Christian that is what you do...in fact, if you are a Christian you say you LOVE people. It is what we are called to do by the second of the great commandments.

"More cheap and easy talk about "lying" instead of what is actually going on in the Westminster diocese? Who said it was a matter of someone coming in making a particular church do same-sex blessings? As such I never even mentioned them. But who will deny in this situation at different points there is pressure to conform? The clear indication of that is the threat hanging out there - and now the eventuality - of being ousted! Try to talk about what is actually going on."

Now, who isn't "advancing the conversation"? If you have firm evidence of such "threats" being made, provide it. And who is ousting anyone? Here in TEC, all the departures have been voluntary and from the conservative side. And then the conservatives complain when TEC moves to protect its own property and polity with canonically appropriate measures.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 18 March 2008 at 4:55pm GMT

The alleged "compulsion" to "conform" is a common charge among "conservatives."

There is no "compulsion" in the Diocese of New Westminster to conform to the synodical approval for same sex blessings.

There is no "compulsion" in the diocese of New Westminster to conform to liberal theology.

Claim otherwise all you want, Ben. It is simply, categorically and demonstrably false.

There IS compulsion to conform to the constitution and canons of the Diocese of New Westminster, the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Tuesday, 18 March 2008 at 5:06pm GMT

Pat,

The intent of my original statement is just this: I know capable gay people in the work setting and have great regard for them (drdanfee's question was "do evangelicals know anybody like this"), the point is these are real people and my regard for them. If you want to object you should perhaps best take it up with drdanfee.

My point further is, to love people is not simply to approve whatever they may do. It is possible that we may do this without proper discernment but the point still stands.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Wednesday, 19 March 2008 at 12:54pm GMT

Pat,

The letter from b Ingham to Packer is out there that anticipates suspension (see: LambethConference.net.). These churches in this diocese have sought other oversight for years. The promise of this appeared on the horizon through earlier action by the primates but was aborted because of inaction in N Westminster and the ACC. What qualifies as pressure or "compulsion?" What do you call what has happened there?

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Wednesday, 19 March 2008 at 4:46pm GMT

"My point further is, to love people is not simply to approve whatever they may do. It is possible that we may do this without proper discernment but the point still stands."

Certainly--but, also certainly, to love people is definitely not to tell lies about them, to slander them with falsehoods about their lives, loves, and beliefs.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 19 March 2008 at 9:17pm GMT

To me, pressure or compulsion boils down to "do as I do or else...." If the situation is merely, "I permit others in this diocese to do X, I believe it is proper to do X; if you do not, I will not act upon you in either direction," that is not pressure or compulsion. Those who see having to live under an authority that disagrees with them as some form of compulsion to conform to that authority's beliefs are simply wrong.

I have lived, as an example, for seven years under the authority of a presidential administration with which I am in profound disagreement. I actively seek for its removal...but I certainly do not believe I am being compelled to conform to its beliefs in the meantime.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 19 March 2008 at 9:24pm GMT

Pat,

Good to note that we can agree on the first point.

I believe in any case that your original qoute is actually supposed to be the reverse: "I like people, it is individuals I can't stand" (I think originally from Kierkegaard but I can't now confirm it). That is, we can easily affirm our love for people in general but to love the actual person right now accross from me is another matter.

When it comes to faith and church life it is not quite that simple, you say: "If the situation is merely, 'I permit others in this diocese to do X, I believe it is proper to do X; if you do not, I will not act upon you in either direction,' that is not pressure or compulsion." The person who has power and control in the important matters (including the dispostion of finances or whether you will be able to excercise ministry in particular ways etc) certainly exercises pressure or power over another. Women in the work setting I think have known this for some time. There may be assurance from the boss of "no pressure" but if the perspective is to advance "you fit in" and do certain things then who will deny there is real "compulsion?" And note that in this case there was no alternative oversight granted in accord with request and the intent of the primates.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Thursday, 20 March 2008 at 9:10am GMT

Ben:

Maybe it's different in Canada, but in the USA no parish rector in the Episcopal church is dependent upon his bishop for employment or advancement. He is employed by his parish, not the diocese. Even his parish cannot dismiss him without cause--and, in most cases, cause is defined as something more than doctrinal disagreements (usually it's moral or financial misfeasement).

Yes, the priest requires a license from the local bishop...but absent outright defiance, I am unaware of any parish rector who has had his license yanked. (There's one case I know of in my diocese--but in that case, the rector refused to accept a ministerial visit from the diocesan bishop, or from any other bishop chosen by him. That's outright defiance, IMO.) Nobody's been denied a license--and hence a living--merely for a disagreement about particular doctrines or practices. In a church as diverse as ours--where liturgical practice extends from Sydney's nearly congregationalist mode to the highest "smells and bells" Anglo-Catholic--how else could we survive?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 20 March 2008 at 10:21am GMT
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