Comments: CP/ACI and Pittsburgh

>>>So it is not entirely clear to me how far the CP members are distancing themselves from those who have left TEC for ACNA.

For years now the schismatic practice has been to found a hundred organizations, institutes, etc., all of which--surely by the purest coincidence, of course--consist of the same few people.

My guess is that there is no distance at all between this latest grouping and the others. Take a look at the listing of bishops--all the usual suspects are there.

And speaking of the ACI, has there been any investigation of their financial ties to Donald Armstrong? That would certainly make for some interesting reading.

Posted by JPM at Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 3:32pm BST

It seems to me a weak reed to pull out some statement from the Anglican Communion Institute in a legal proceding. There is nothing in any sense official about the Anglican Communion Institute - indeed, other than the title and a few participants hardly anything Anglican at all.

This would seem especially weak in Pittsburgh, where the case currently in court is not about the issues that led Duncan and followers to leave the Episcopal Church, but about enforcement of matters already ajudicated.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 3:59pm BST

I don't think there is much distinction between these bishops and the ones that left, if they push this 'autonomous diocese' nonsense as hard as they appear to be doing. I'll bet they would be singing a different tune if some parishes in each of their dioceses decided that they, too, were autonomous, and decided to leave for, say, the Diocese of DC.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 6:39pm BST

This theory of diocesan independence is a strange one indeed, for anyone who knows church history, or canon law. Yet it keeps cropping up.

McCall, for all his citation of history, appears to miss the obvious fact that the dioceses that went to form the Episcopal Church were seeking to enter into union with each other. Union, as used in the marriage liturgy, refers to something not intended later to be dissolved by unilateral action. (There is a provision for the release of missionary dioceses outside the US, at the action of General Convention.) That the dioceses forming TEC at the beginning existed prior to entering into union with each other is no more an indication of their continued independence following that union than it would be in marriage.

The Episcopal Church is plainly hierarchical: the Constitution and Canons provide for discipline of clergy and bishops (regardless of their diocese) for violating them. The Book of Common Prayer is mandatory in all dioceses, and may only be amended by the authority of General Convention. Bishops may only be elected with the consent of either General Convention (or in the case of elections falling more than 120 days from a session of the Convention) the majority of diocesan bishops and standing committees.

I don't know what the English canons say, but I imagine it would be relatively unthinkable for a diocese to declare itself independent.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 9:12pm BST

The official Communion Partners Bishops' Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church is now online on the Anglican Communion Institute site, 22 April 2009:

Christopher Seitz has written a 'Statement from the Anglican Communion Insitute' concerning the the publication of private emails on the Preludium site, Anglican Communion Institute site, 22 April 2009

Posted by Graham Kings at Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 10:36pm BST

"We write as'Bishops of the Episcopal Church', the Anglican Communion and the One. Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We are joined by distinguished theologians known for their long service throughout the Anglican Communion, -'Communion Partner Bishops', on the ACI web-site.

This statement of the theological 'think tank' purporting to represent ACI and the 2 Bishops listed as 'Communion Partners' seems to want to undermine the Institution of TEC as represented by the Presiding Bishop and the lawful membership of the General Convention body.

The proper platform for this sort of rhetoric is not the ACI web-site, but rather in the General Synod itself. Seditious backbiting has no place among so-called 'Bishops of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church', which has historically been governed by principles of loyalty to the Provincial Bishops - rather than to a set of puritanical conservatives bent on ignoring the accepted governance of the Church.

It is becoming obvious that the writers of this latest essay are intent on replacing TEC as the official and lawful representation of Anglican interests in North America, who are not only intent on subverting the prophetic element in the Church, but also on sequestering the property of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada in the process. The sooner their aims are brought out into the open, the better for the Anglican Communion around the world, which values the fellowship with both Provinces of the Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 11:49pm BST

I'm sure the new Diocese of Quitsburgh will be happy to include in their midst a another purist for music critique. Bobinswpa, do I hear the bells of Trinity ringing for you?

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 6:13am BST

It is quite clear in English law that a CofE diocese cannot do any of these independency things. The whole topic was explained in detail in a recent paper by Dr Colin Podmore, which curiously enough is referenced in the ACI paper at footnote 6.

The ACI official web copy does not (yet?) contain the footnotes, but you can see them by going to the unofficial PDF copy linked elsewhere on TA. I reproduce the footnote below.

Unfortunately again, the URL listed for it is not correct, the document referenced is in fact available on TA, see

M. Santer, “Communion, Unity and Primacy: An Anglican Response to Ut Unum Sint”, Ecclesiology, 3 (2007), p.
286, quoted in C. Podmore, “The Governance of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion,” Jan. 7,
2009, (accessed on Mar. 16, 2009). Dr. Podmore
notes “The diocesan bishop's powers are inherent in his office; they are not delegated by or exercised on behalf
of the diocesan synod.” (Para. 2.10.)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 8:55am BST

"That the dioceses forming TEC at the beginning existed prior to entering into union with each other is no more an indication of their continued independence following that union than it would be in marriage."

Reading this just made me realize what this all is--it's "states' rights" dressed up in religious packaging. We fought a big war about this around 150 years ago...their side lost.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 11:08am BST

Thank you, Simon. I'd downloaded Podmore's essay when it first appeared. I was also reminded of this from para 54 of GS1716:

As far as the Church of England is concerned an individual diocese has no power to issue a statement that purports to declare the doctrine of the Church and could not sign the Covenant.

The same, of course, is true of TEC, since the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Church are established only by the General Convention.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 4:24pm BST
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