Comments: more on the Duncan case

Never heard of +Wallis, but the others voting nay have all been very active and vocal on the anti TEC side. Since several years or decades.

No surprises. But it's instructive to see how few they really are...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 20 September 2008 at 6:41am BST

The new sheriff is indeed in town and she will shoot all who threaten her. This is a massive exercise in bullying. Now all the world can see how utterly graceless is this presiding bishop and her pack of ???? who will gladly do what ever they can to annihilate anyone who speaks out against them let alone oppose their plans. Thank God for the 39 who refused to go along with this sham.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Saturday, 20 September 2008 at 1:15pm BST

Mr. Montgomery calls the actions of the House of Bishops and the Presiding Bishop "bullying," yet there is no criticism from Mr. Montgomery of the schismatic bishop, formerly of the Episcopal Church, who violated his vows and the canons of the church.

Robert Duncan certainly had the right to personally leave the Episcopal Church, just as I have that right and Mr. Montgomery has that right. But when Robert Duncan announced his intended "reaffiliation" then he was effectively no longer part of the Episcopal Church, and the House of Bishops simply recognized the reality and severed Robert Duncan from official status within the Episcopal Church, declaring the See of Pittsburgh, accordingly, vacant.

That is not bullying, Mr. Montgomery; anything other than that action would have been improper, delusional, and cowardly abandonment of the vows of all of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Saturday, 20 September 2008 at 5:21pm BST

Of more moment (possibly) than Ian Montgomery's frothings:

Retired Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone Colin F. Bazley writes directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury with a list of interesting demands:

"I write, therefore, to ask that you take immediate action in suspending the Episcopal Church from any further participation in activities of the Anglican Communion and in calling a meeting of the Primates to give formal recognition to a new Province in North America, as desired by the Common Cause Partners Federation. At that meeting the Primates must give guidance as to the future conduct of the Episcopal Church so as to enable it to return to the full fellowship of the Anglican Communion."

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/16324/

What I find most interesting in the above:

1) Bishop Bazley's belief that the Archbishop of Canterbury has the personal power to suspend the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion.

2) His belief that the Primates have the unilateral power to impose a Covenant on the Communion churches.

3) His belief that the Primates have the unilateral power to recognize former bishop Duncan's Common Cause Partners as the sole Anglican Province in North America and impose conditions for membership in the Communion on its churches. (Of course, belief #3 contradicts belief #1.)

What I find most saddening:

1) None of the above beliefs are true. These various "Instruments of Unity" (or whatever they are calling themselves these days) simply do not have these powers.

2) Nevertheless, it appears to have been a widely shared belief among the extremist right in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere that the various Instruments did have such powers and could use them if they wished to put the extremists in power.

3) Thus, from the beginning, the success of the extremists' coup d'eglise has relied on the use of powers the Instruments don't have.

The Instruments have repeatedly declined to exercise their nonexistent powers. But each time they have declined, the extremists have threatened schism. Slowly, the extremists have been sliding off that cliff, and now we are getting a schism, probably complete by Christmas, for the most bizarre reasons I can imagine. It is as if Archbishop Akinola had refused to go to Lambeth unless Canterbury levitated him there. (And even that would have been easier to fulfill -- there have been claimed miracles of levitation, but whenever a person or group has acted beyond their powers, their acts have been null and void.)

Posted by Charlotte at Saturday, 20 September 2008 at 5:24pm BST

Hmmm. Whether this was legal and proper or not, I'm trying to decide whether anything was actually gained by TEC by doing this. The diocese is going to withdraw anyway, Duncan can now wear the martyr's hat, PB and the rest look like overbearing bullies, and now there is a new issue in the mix, i.e., whether this was legally and properly done.

So, now Duncan is no longer bishop in TEC, the Standing Committee will take the diocese out anyway, and Duncan (no longer a TEC bishop) can't be blamed for the act. And, they will be taking him back on as bishop after the deed is done.

Overall, it seems to me that TEC would have been in a better position if they had left off until after the diocese withdrew with Duncan at the helm. After all, it is not as if they are avoiding any lawsuits with this.

But, I'm willing to be enlightened. As a lawyer, I'm just trying to figure out how they analyzed the matter and decided on this as their best course of action. And, please, no comments on how this was the "right" thing to do whether it was good tactics or not. Or, if you must, save them until after you have given some discussion of the practical benefits vs. detriments of this move.

Steven

Posted by Steven at Saturday, 20 September 2008 at 6:04pm BST

Good gracious, the Hyberbole Fairy is going to have to replenish the stock under a lot of Drama Queens' pillows tonight. "Martyr!" "Bully!" "Shoot!" "Annihilate!"

It's quite to give one indigestion... :-X

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 21 September 2008 at 1:10am BST

The Living Church's relentless SPIN is growing evermore tiresome. "News Analysis: Curial Powers Expanded": that would be a find headline . . . IF we were talking about the Draft Anglican Covenant!

But no: this is just a further TLC exercise in PB/democratic-majority of the HofB-bashing. For maintaining the canons AS THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN (though yes, GC can do its part to clarify them. Always room for improvement, IMO!)

"It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 'The Living Church'": the joke has more and more truth, w/ each passing day...

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 21 September 2008 at 1:23am BST

Steven,

Among those of us in Pittsburgh who support TEC, there is some dispute about the wisdom of deposing Duncan now. Duncan’s (disingenuous) position (seen in filings in the Calvary lawsuit) is that diocesan convention is responsible for “realignment,” not him. The implication is that, if he is innocent now, he will be innocent after the vote. I assert that he is guilty now, and neither a “yes” nor a “no” vote will change that. Deposing Duncan now means that (1) is will assuredly be deposed, and (2) the remaining diocese—Duncan cannot properly remove the diocese from the TEC—can be acknowledged promptly by the general church.

There are very many Episcopalians in Pittsburgh who want nothing of Duncan’s “realignment.”

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Sunday, 21 September 2008 at 12:30pm BST

TEC seems to be a continuous rich source of evidence for the inability of Liberals, having grasped the levers of power, to conform to either Christian orthodoxy or orthopraxy...

Expect further moves to annihilate those who have rejected liberal apostasy and have offended against the gospel of human autonomy!

Posted by davidwh at Sunday, 21 September 2008 at 11:33pm BST

"Expect further moves to annihilate those who have rejected liberal apostasy and have offended against the gospel of human autonomy"

And how brutal we are! We wait until someone leaves and then confirm that he has left. Makes you shiver, doesn't it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 22 September 2008 at 8:44am BST

"TEC seems to be a continuous rich source of evidence for the inability of Liberals, having grasped the levers of power, to conform to either Christian orthodoxy or orthopraxy...

Expect further moves to annihilate those who have rejected liberal apostasy and have offended against the gospel of human autonomy!"

Oh, my! First, this applies even better to conservatives, as is manifestly obvious to everyone who doesn't buy into the myth of the Poor Persecuted Faithful. The bit about "offending against the Gospel of human autonomy is a particular hoot! We Christians believe in the holiness of the community, after all. Free will is important, of course, but it must be exercised in the context of the ecclesia. It's the Kingdom of God, not the Republic of God, He is there when "two or three are gathered together", even our God is a community. And what could be a grosser violation of some concept of human autonomy than deciding making a myth that people on the other side of the planet who have never demanded you do as they do, are somehow forcing something down your throat and persecuting you, and you have to neither make them comply with your ideas or cut all ties with them?

Posted by For Elms at Monday, 22 September 2008 at 12:26pm BST

Erica, you may not have noticed but Pittsburgh is going to decide whether or not to leave on October 4, 2009 ! The canon-misusing "deposition" by a divided court was a preemptive strike. Presumably to try to open the door for a stopper on the diocesan convention, a purported removal of the elected standing committee etc etc. so as to give TEC's burgeoning legal dept extra arguments in court.. I propose the new Episcopal slogan "TEC WELCOME - SUE!"


Ford, I was thinking of what some in the loop expect TEC to do at GC 2009 - to impose liberal heteropraxy on the few orthodox parishes and dioceses that by then remain in TEC. How could you possibly tolerate any more what you have labelled as "sexism" and "homophobia"?

Posted by davidwh at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 12:37am BST

I am deeply saddened by this action. It shows that those leading TEC are unable to come together and resolve differences. To look for someone to blame is meaningless as all are to some degree at fault. We as the parishioners caught in the middle. Can any of us feel good when this happens in this branch of Christ's Holy Catholic Church.

Posted by JPR at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 12:50am BST

Steven's martyr complex is showing. The only problem here is that his alleged 'martyr' one-time Bishop Duncan, walked into the fire without his protective clothing. One has to learn that to play with fire is to risk buring one's fingers.

Former Bishop Duncan's hubris has allowed him the painful, but only to be expected, denouement that has come about - not just at the hands of TEC's Primate alone, but at the hands, and with the agreement, of two-thirds of the House of Bishops.
And to entertain the possibility of the ABC's intervention in this matter (as attempted by a former Primate of the Southern Cone in his recent leeter to Archibshop Rowan) is to fly in the face of reality. In fact the suppliant's successor, Gregory Venables, is surely in danger of having his own Communion credentials removed - because of his piracy in the domain of other provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Any attempt to form an alternative Provincial Church in North America (or elsewhere for that matter) by dissident bodies ought to be met with complete embargo by the next meetings of the Primates and the ACC.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 5:24am BST

"Ford, I was thinking of what some in the loop expect TEC to do at GC 2009 - to impose liberal heteropraxy on the few orthodox parishes and dioceses that by then remain in TEC. How could you possibly tolerate any more what you have labelled as "sexism" and "homophobia"?"

I'm sure the first "threat" is real to you, Steven, most delusions seem perfectly real to the deluded. Even if it were true, so what? Seriously. Do you think Christ gives us the victory or not? Even if evil Godless liberals were to take over the Church (I know, you think it's happened already) and demand that Scriptural interpretation be determined by societal trends, what would it matter? Do you honestly think God will allow the Gospel to be destroyed? During the Persecution of Diocletian, nearly every bishop and priest was in prison or dead, but we're still here. Have faith, my brother! I know this persecution myth is romantic and all, no-one loves a good rebel song better than me, but come into the light old man, if we believe what we say we believe, what possible threat could there be to us? And your second question reveals a lot. You don't know how to treat with respect and Christian love those who disagree with you, and whose position you find not merely wrong, but even evil.

Posted by Ford Emls at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 11:46am BST

Ron+ is dead on. Bob Duncan could have stopped his deposition with a reassurance of his commitment to TEC (which he swore an oath/vows to uphold and protect). Bob Duncan did nothing to reassure the HofB's of his commitment and surprise, surprise, he's gone. I live in Pittsburgh and I've had to deal with Duncan. For those who think the poor Orthodox are being relentlessly hunted being a liberal in Pittsburgh isn't exactly a picnic. We're systematically forced out of parishes (I was a member for 38 years, since a baby). Mr. Millard, prominent in the Pittsburgh Re-Alignment is a specialist at pushing moderate/liberals who don't subscribe to his point of view.

Please, the orthodox anglicans can stop the martyr act now!!!

Posted by bob in swpa at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 3:56pm BST

As someone who does not always agree with Bishop Duncan's view but respects him very much as a pastor, a leader, and a servant of God, I'm honestly amazed at the hypocrisy we're seeing in TEC these days.

On the one hand, the diocese of New Hampshire is welcome to vote as it pleases in electing its bishop, at the cost of global relations -- that's ok, because it's a principled stand. On the other hand, the diocese of Pittsburgh is essentially forbidden to follow the leader it has elected, because it's at odds with TEC's "majority" position.

On the one hand, folks argue that Duncan has left the church and should be deposed; on the other, the diocese had not yet voted to leave.

On the one hand, Bob Duncan as an individual stands accused of leading his diocese out of TEC despite the fact that it would not have happened without a majority vote from the people of his diocese; on the other hand, the presiding bishop credits the HOB with choosing as a community to depose Duncan despite the fact that she urged and signed the deposition itself.

It's a troubling time to be an Episcopalian, and I really do wonder if the focus will ever get back to basics: the work, word, and wonder of Christ himself.

Posted by K at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 8:21pm BST

This story is getting a bit out of date. However, the fact is that Bishop Bob Duncan is getting only half-hearted support from other conservatives. Certain elements of the press would love this to be a big story.

In fact Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Episcopal Church have done the right thing. It'll put a stop to some of the madder factions. Very few would want to go down Duncan's path into an alliance with the oddest of companions who don't really have anything in common except a hang-up about sexual matters.

There'll be noisy protestations such as from the Diocese of Sydney, but I assure you they won't follow Duncan into the wilderness. He's not so much a martyr as someone who has made a rather silly political miscalculation.

Try http://anglicansonline.org/communion/nic.html for a list of Anglicans not in communion with Canterbury. There are lots of them all proclaiming exclusive truth and quite forgotten by most of u. Before long poor Bishop Bob will be joining them.

Posted by penwatch at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 9:09pm BST

"Please, the orthodox anglicans can stop the martyr act now!!!"

But where would be the fun, not to mention the comforting self righteousness, in that?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 9:44pm BST

bob in swpa,

Should you not have put your words 'orthodox anglicans', in your previous post, in parenthesis?

One of the real problems of the present claims by the dissident asserters is that they are in some way more 'orthodox' than those who have chosen to remain part of the Body of Christ in TEC. To allow the dissenters to arrogate to themselves this entirely imaginary capacity for orthodoxy is surely to fall in with the mistaken idea of their remaining part of the Anglican Communion - as recognised by, and relating to, the original Province of Canterbury.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 5:22am BST

K:

It's a question of vows and canons. New Hampshire, in electing Gene Robinson, violated no vows or canons. Bob Duncan, in leading his diocese out of TEC (and he IS leading it, the proposal was his), IS violating vows and canons. The comparison is ludicrous.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 11:32am BST

K
"On the other hand, the diocese of Pittsburgh is essentially forbidden to follow the leader it has elected, because it's at odds with TEC's "majority" position"

Anyone can leave, thousands do every day!
What they can't do is take the family silver with them.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 11:40am BST

If it's simply a matter of vows and canons -- nothing more, as you imply -- then the presiding bishop has a problem on her hands. She failed to secure the commitment of the three senior bishops to inhibit Duncan, which is a necessary step in the process. She failed to notify Duncan himself of the charges against him until the inhibition process has failed -- how is that in keeping with the rules? She notified the HOB five days before the vote that last week's meeting would not only be to discuss events at Lambeth, but also to vote on Duncan's deposition -- knowing he'd be absent due to a long-scheduled three-day clergy conference in his own diocese, and also knowing there would be substantially less than the canonically mandated majority of eligible bishops attending the meeting. She has interpreted Scripture, the canons, and the future of the church in her own way.

Duncan, whether you (or I) agree with his position or not (I'm not a conservative and wouldn't follow him out of the church myself), has upheld his vow to be faithful to Christ and to his people. TEC is a democratic strain of the Christian church, like it or not. Votes are taken on church matters all the time, in accordance with the guiding rules and canons of the church. Dioceses in TEC have the authority and the right to make their own decisions, just as the HOB does. And if a majority of the diocese wants to leave, that's canonically acceptable.

By the way, it's not (yet) about taking the family silver in this case -- the diocesan vote hasn't happened yet. The presiding bishop and HOB put the cart before the horse here, leaving little room for compromise or discussion. For all the talk of Duncan singlemindedly pursuing a path of departure, the presiding bishop made her mind up long ago, too. There are no winners here.

Posted by K at Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 2:58pm BST

"One of the real problems of the present claims by the dissident asserters is that they are in some way more 'orthodox' than those who have chosen to remain part of the Body of Christ in TEC."

Which is laughable when you think that they have abandoned the traditional definitions of 'orthodoxy', that being mostly Evangelical, their tradition goes back no further than the Reformation, and that in the Jerusalem statement signed recently, they could not affirm three of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Christological statements of which have always been the definers of 'orthodoxy'. How they can call radical innovations in the understanding of authority, sacraments, and Christology 'orthodox' while raising marriage and sexuality to the level of the Trinity is beyond me. I doubt Athanasius, regardless of what he thought of gay people, would have considered them 'orthodox'. But, they are true to tradition on one point. For 1700 years the word 'orthodox' has meant selfrighteous justification in the manner of "we're right and you're wrong" and they continue to use it in that fashion.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 6:34pm BST

Thanks Pat ON, right on target.

Whether I agree or not with Southern Cone Bishop Duncan, or probably have a mixed approach to what he preaches, that was not the cause of his sustained deposition.

His violation of his ordination vows, along with sometimes silly and sometimes slightly sly efforts to fool and confuse us about what he was really doing in his attempts to steal assets that belong to all of us in trust together, is the key smoking gun canonical deposition point.

A theological and ethical point, too, since it is a very odd conservatism or self-proclaimed orthodoxy indeed which preaches that it alone is allowed to steal and bear false witness in God's name - especially so long as it is targeting its fav enemy groupings like the people it identifies as liberal believers, or queer folks, or modernity in the abstract and general.

That the Southern Cone should go along with Duncan raises doubts about them, too, since bonding with liars and thieves, even if they properly and strictly repeat the creeds in the most self-regarding conservative or new orthodoxist manner while keeping their fingers crossed to ward off ethical discernments of their own realignment campaigning, cannot be the way forward for global Anglican church life?

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 8:03pm BST

Lionel:

Thanks for your response. I got a couple of others that seemed to be reacting to someone else's post rather than mine. Your post doesn't give any type of detailed analysis, but it is certainly deeper than anything else received.

Steve

Posted by Steven at Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 9:01pm BST

"Anyone can leave, thousands do every day!
What they can't do is take the family silver with them."

Sure they can, Erika. Want proof? Just take a trip to London and visit Westminster Abbey, or go to Canterbury and visit the cathedral, or go to Edinburgh and have a look at St. Giles, or go to...well, you get the point.

The one thing we really have to be grateful for is that the ones who don't get the silver still get to walk away with their head firmly attached to their necks!

Listen, we Christians have a long history of transferring property in our disputes. It won't all go one way. TEC has plenty of money and lawyers who love nothing more than a good lawsuit. Orthodox dissenters (and there will be many more) also have lots of the same. States will weigh in and courts will make judgments. Some will go one way while others will take a different direction. The only winners here, however, will NOT be the people with the money, but the "cosmic powers of this present darkness" and "the spiritual forces of evil" as millions of people watch the church fight over money.

Lord, have mercy.

Posted by Joe at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 2:18am BST

"She (The Primate of TEC, Bishop Katherine) has interpreted Scripture, the canons, and the future of the church in her own way." - K, on wednesday

And, by the same token, has not the deposed ex Bishop Duncan done precisely the same, - i.e. - Interpreted Scripture, the canons, and the future of the Church, in his own way? Only, in his case; with less guidance, authority and wisdom?

Speaking of his schismatic actions; one might say that these are hardly in accord with either the orthodoxy or orthopraxy that Duncan and his mentor Bishop Venables arrogate to themselves. Outright schismatic action (taking the initiative to split from the TEC branch of the Anglican Communion) has, unfortunately for those who have taken this course, inevitable consequences; one of which is to have their departure duly noted by the process of excommunication - from the Body they have deserted at their option!

If they should repent of their hubris, it may well be that they might be received back into the Church which they have taken leave of. But I'm not too hopeful of this happening.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 3:12am BST

Joe
I'm not saying that people haven't been taking the family silver with them, but it hasn't usually been done with the blessing of those they stole from.

The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey are a powerful reminder of what happens.

I'm not even saying that +Duncan was necessarily wrong (although I personally believe he was). What I'm saying is that it is completely naive to expect TEC not to respond.

You know, it's almost funny how evangelicals are absolutely fanatical about the law when it concerns the sex lives of other people, but believe that it should absolutely not apply to them when it's about something they disagree with.

Don't like the TEC Canons? Work towards changing them. Breaking them and expecting TEC's blessing to boot is naive at best.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 10:45am BST

"it's almost funny how evangelicals are absolutely fanatical about the law when it concerns the sex lives of other people, but believe that it should absolutely not apply to them when it's about something they disagree with."

Actually, Erika, in the right setting, it's absolutely hilarious.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 1:16pm BST

Sure, we conservatives have our hypocrisy. No denying it. But come now, you have to admit that TEC has been playing fast and loose with the canons as well. The whole bit about "eligible" to vote vs. "present" is played one way when a bishop is about to be deposed (without trial!) but the exact opposite point is made BY THE SAME PEOPLE when they are arguing about votes taken at Virginia churches (see http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2008/09/hypocrisy-thy-name-is-david-booth-beers.html ). What do you call that?

My point is this: We should be able to come to some sort of compromise. Depending on the local circumstances, an equitable distribution of resources can and should be made. Because, let's face it, the only thing that makes divorce even uglier is when it becomes a long, protracted court battle. The money being spent on lawyers could and SHOULD be spent on mission (for both sides).

If only we had a leader who had the internal fortitude and the moral authority to bring this to a close...

Posted by Joe at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 2:35pm BST

". . . Furthermore, the Congregations did not simply schedule a congregational meeting at which a vote of those present could be taken. Instead, they went to great lengths to ensure a majority vote of all those who . . . were eligible to vote . . . ."


I leave it to others more informed on this than me to comment overall, I'd just like to point out that this in reference to CANA is a bit much. We are talking about the Virginia schismatics, after all, and if I remember correctly, a significant number of those "eligible to vote" were from other Protestant traditions with radically different ecclesiologies and theologies than the Anglican Church. Sorry, but I can't help but wonder if they would have been so eager to ensure a "majority vote of all those eligible to vote" if that number of eligible were restricted to honest to God confirmed Anglicans who were interested in staying Anglicans and not becoming Baptists in all but name. Not that there's anything wrong with Baptists, necessarily, but we're not Baptists. I can't help but think that this rather ostentatious display of "fair play" was actually just an exercise in British democracy: make it look fair, but make sure you get what you want.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 10:05pm BST

"If only we had a leader who had the internal fortitude and the moral authority to bring this to a close..." - Joe.

You already have one, Joe, and she has accomplished what you seem to require of her. What's the beef now?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 1:15am BST

Pierre Whaol and others have made the point that, given the nature and facts of the presentment against him, there was no canonical means to establish a "trial" per se.

Strictly speaking, the action was not a deposition (ie, expelling him from a place of authority in the Episcopal Church), but rather a finding that he had abandoned the communion of that Church. In other words, they didn't toss him. Rather, he tossed himself and they acknowledged that he had done so.

A bit of hair-splitting, no doubt - rather like the traditional Anglican apologia that the setting aside of Henry Tudor's first marriage did not constitute a divorce, but rather an annulment.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 5:45am BST

". . . Furthermore, the Congregations did not simply schedule a congregational meeting at which a vote of those present could be taken. Instead, they went to great lengths to ensure a majority vote of all those who . . . were eligible to vote . . . ."

This may be true in some cases.

In the case of Grace and St. Stephen's it manifestly is not.

To be admitted to the meeting, one was required to accept what amounted to a loyalty oath to the schismatic position.

In other words, if you weren't going to vote the way Fr. Don wanted, you weren't going to vote at all.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 10:01pm BST

Ford,
How would you prove that the "eligible were restricted to honest to God confirmed Anglicans who were interested in staying Anglicans and not becoming Baptists in all but name"?
There are Episcopalians born and raised in the church on both sides of the issues. Born and raised Episcopalians who think that the leaders of TEC are a bunch of heretics now, and born and raised Episcopalians who want TEC to be more progressive. Who decides who is or is not a "real Anglican/Episcopalian"? As the local rector once admitted, "We don't raise Episcopalians anymore and we don't do regular missions, our converts are mostly from other (Christian)denominations." So who makes the grade?

Posted by Chris H. at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 1:23am BST

Chris H:

I think the issue here is that many of the people who voted in those Virginia parishes were NOT confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church. They were regular congregants and contributors to those parishes, but they had never actually become Episcopalians through confirmation or reception.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 12:35pm BST

"Who decides who is or is not a "real Anglican/Episcopalian"?"

Well, I think that regardless how long I had been attending a Baptist church, and regardless of whether or not the congregation counted me one of them, I would not be able to vote in their congregational decision making processes without have formally joined the Baptist Church. I'd think myself dishonest, otherwise. That would mean also gaining an understanding of and assenting to Baptist ecclesiology and doctrine. We have had reported here by several people that many members of the schismatic Virginia parishes have done none of these things, and remain formally members of various Evangelical denominations with radically different ecclesiology and doctrine than we have. So, while I am not an offical pronouncer of anyone's status, Christian, Anglican, or otherwise, I would say that my personal belief is that these people are not Anglicans, and if they vote in congregational decision making processes without have formally assented to the doctrine of the Church in which they are voting, they are being dishonest. That's just a personal judgment, perhaps even sinful. I would still receive the sacrament with them, provided it WAS the Sacrament and not some lay presided bit of liturgical theatre (and no, I wouldn't consider a Baptist celebration of the Lord's Supper to be 'liturgical theatre', but if it was claimed to be an Anglican Eucharist, I would). But we ought not to confuse sacramental hospitality with acknowledgment of membership in the Anglican Church. You're welcome to receive at an Anglican altar anytime, but that doesn't mean you are an Anglican, any more than having supper at my house makes you a member of my family.

Posted by FOrd Elms at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 5:41pm BST

Erika,
One could also turn that around to, ""it's almost funny how liberals are absolutely fanatical about the law when it concerns the buildings they never paid for or touched, but believe that it should absolutely not apply to them when it's about something they disagree with."

Does that apply to the irregular ordinations of women priests before the canons were changed, or communion without baptism, or the other liberal practices that go against the canons, or do they just apply to conservatives? Liberals seem as good at ignoring canons they don't like as conservatives are.

Ford, Thank you for the clarification and my apologies for misunderstanding. My denomination only allows those to vote or hold seats on committes, etc. who have gone through confirmation/membership classes, and the other members even get to vote on whether to let them in or not, so I assumed there was some sort of parallel in TEC, being so much more formal/hierarchical than mine.
Then again, are you sure that rule/idea isn't one swept under the rug sometimes by both sides?

Posted by Chris H. at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 1:53am BST

"I assumed there was some sort of parallel in TEC, being so much more formal/hierarchical than mine."

So, not being an Anglican, why do you say:

"One could also turn that around to, ""it's almost funny how liberals are absolutely fanatical about the law when it concerns the buildings they never paid for or touched, but believe that it should absolutely not apply to them when it's about something they disagree with.""

which presumably refers to TEC? You don't know why the schismatics oughtn't take the buildings? Fine. You aren't Anglican, presumably your tradition does not have a catholic ecclesiology. Nothing wrong with that, it's just different. Why, though, conflate an ecclesiology you do not understand with your own particular opposition to "liberals" in general, and then use that position to comment negatively on a religious/political situation you do not understand? You are merely adding fuel to a fire that is not your responsibility to tend. I don't know what your denomination is, but I don't belong to it, and don't feel I have a place in feeding its internal debates. I might comment snidely from the sidelines, but I would consider that external, and not a good thing for me to do, but hey, as you can tell from here, there's some(lots of) temptations I'm not great at fighting. I'm trying not to sound all huffy and "Mind your own business" about this, but really, why add to discord when you don't understand the issues and aren't part of the group enduring that discord?

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 12:36pm BST

Chris H:

The rules for voting in parish elections/decisions vary by parish, as far as I can tell. Some require confirmation or reception, others do not. Most DO require some clear indication of membership in the parish, such as regular contributions.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 1:46pm BST

"Does that apply to the irregular ordinations of women priests before the canons were changed, or communion without baptism".

I don't know enough about the canons to judge these statements, can anyone help?

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 2:08pm BST

"Does that apply to the irregular ordinations of women priests ......ignoring canons they don't like as conservatives are."

This "liberal" doesn't like the idea of going outside the canons, I don't buy the rather romantic "Ho for the war!" attitude that claims that if "we" don't do this, then nothing'll ever change. Same applies to the consercation of Gene Robinson, actually, though that does not make the actions of the Right in any way Christian, let alone justified. Communion before baptism? Where? Is there some epidemic of non-Christians unworthily receiving the sacrament? How many unbaptised present themselves at an altar rail on Sunday morning? How would you know? Trifle alarmist, I'd say. Besides, what's worse, sharing God's Grace with someone who has never known it, and may be drawn to the Gospel as a result, or sharing it with people who have no intention of joining your Church, but are Hell bent on tearing it apart? A good number of those "communicants" who voted to take six Virginia parishes out of TEC weren't Anglican, had no intention of becoming so, and, since some were Anabaptists of some stripe, how many of them were even baptised?

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 7:41pm BST
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