Comments: More on the South Carolina disciplinary case

What to make of this? +Waldo, not in any way related to the diocese of South Carolina except by geographical proximity, presumes to uphold the virtue of "fellow laborer" +Lawrence against questions raised by the second bishop's lay flock. Princes of the Church, unite!

Posted by John Donnelly at Thursday, 20 October 2011 at 3:26am BST

"I know him to be a loyal and faithful minister who seeks to raise valid and serious questions as to the theology, polity and structure of the Episcopal Church."

Oh brother. OK, I'll say it: where's Waldo? O_o

*****

I'll just repeat what I said two weeks ago: ***I trust the process***. This the same TEC which (rightly or wrongly) confirmed Lawrence in the first place. Not a kangaroo in sight! [You might try Sydney for those. ;-/]

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 20 October 2011 at 5:31am BST

"I have difficulty understanding why matters that are arguably legislative and constitutional in nature should be dealt with in a disciplinary context."

You flout the rules, you may be disciplined. Why is that difficult to understand?

Posted by badman at Thursday, 20 October 2011 at 8:15am BST

"Princes of the Church, unite!"

Yes.

Unfortunately, even with women's episcopacy, the miter-wearing crowd remains an Old Boy network.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 20 October 2011 at 9:11am BST

Keeping his diocese on an even keel, I suspect. By Southern standards Columbia is a very liberal city and Waldo was elected two years ago quickly and with a good majority, but there are strong, conservative congregations in the north of the diocese. If Sarah Hey, who is a congregant in the Upper SC diocese, runs a thread of this, it will be worth watching.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 20 October 2011 at 10:51am BST

All this talk of kangaroo courts is so unfair to a peaceful species.
And yes there are plenty of kangaroos in the diocese of Sydney, especially on the southern fringe.

Posted by obadiahslope at Thursday, 20 October 2011 at 9:37pm BST

"I have difficulty understanding why matters that are arguably legislative and constitutional in nature should be dealt with in a disciplinary context."

This is akin to asking, "Because I broke the law, why should I be punished?"

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 20 October 2011 at 9:54pm BST

I don't think +Waldo's point is being properly registered.

He is saying that the constitutionality of Title IV is contested, and so ought to be dealt with as such. I suspect his view is held by a good number of other Bishops. Even Mark Harris of Preludium has spoken of 'serious questions' and has suggested a review at General Convention 2012.

"Because I broke the law, why should I be punished?"

+Waldo is saying 'the law' is under a cloud in this particular case. A view not just his own.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 21 October 2011 at 2:16am BST

"+Waldo is saying 'the law' is under a cloud in this particular case. A view not just his own."

Then Bishop Lawrence's actions should be viewed as "civil disobedience." The key to civil disobedience is that the actor takes the punishment for his offense, in order to demonstrate the problem with the law in question.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 21 October 2011 at 11:17am BST

I'm having a little trouble understanding why so many people seem to have such a twist in their knickers. Here's the deal, as I understand it: Some members of the Diocese of South Carolina (who therefore have standing in such things) have formally filed a complaint against Bishop Lawrence alleging violations of the canons. Whether or not there is any merit to this complaint is yet to be determined, and in fact is not the point at this stage. Title IV requires that the complaint be investigated. That seems to be what is happening, and so far that is all that is happening. If someone in a diocese were to file a complaint against a bishop of that diocese alleging sexual abuse of children (THAT IS NOT THE CASE HERE!), we would properly expect the provisions of Title IV to be implemented immediately and with vigor. (Failure to respond in such cases in the past have caused many churches and many people much damage.) The allegations against Bishop Lawrence are much less serious, but the process is the same. Let it run. To assume that the Disciplinary Board for Bishops will not do its job properly would be slanderous. It's common in civil cases for advocates on both sides to attempt to try the case in the press and the media, rather than in the courtroom. This makes for very bad law. Let's all just shut up and let Bishop Henderson and the DBB do their job.

Posted by Bill Moorhead at Friday, 21 October 2011 at 1:55pm BST

That makes no sense whatesoever.

Civil disobedience is 'against the law,' with the acceptance of punishment.

+Waldo is saying the 'law' in this case is itself not a law, is unconstitutional, is contested etc.

And that clearing that up ought to be the first business. That view is not one held only by a moderate/liberal Bishop. It is held more widely and in the light of the +ML case, will gain increasing traction in the HOB and public eye.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 21 October 2011 at 8:22pm BST

The way one determines whether a law is constitutional is to challenge it, usually by breaking it, and then having your day in court. That is the essence of civil disobedience.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 21 October 2011 at 10:34pm BST

This is not some long-standing law or long-accepted more, like, 'Blacks ride in the back of the bus.' It is a new canonical regulation, now held to be problematical, only used twice (only once on a fast-track abandonment effort). A prominent Executive Council member says many have 'serious questions' about it.
You don't 'test' something like this by 'civil disobedience.' As +Waldo urges, you treat it on terms proper to a constitutional matter and review it, change it, alter it, get it right and get better consensus about its logic and fairness.
(Leaving to the side that we are Christians and using civil examples of acts of 'disobedience' against one another is a poor witness).

Posted by c.r.seitz at Saturday, 22 October 2011 at 1:13pm BST

Pat -- just to clarify. If +ML is held to have broken this 'law' (via your 'civil disobedience' example) he will most assuredly not 'have his day in court.' He will be charged with having abandoned the communion of the church and inhibited and eventually excised from the ecclesial rolls. It is not even particularly clear that by the route chosen he even appears to defend himself. It certainly is not required by any canon or process.

But the previous post is more relevant in matters of simple logic re: status of Title IV as contested. We are not as a Church in the place of being 'civilly disobedient' with fellow Christians, but should in this case, following +Waldo, assure the constitutionality and fairness and transparency as first-order matters. That is +Waldo's point.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Saturday, 22 October 2011 at 2:10pm BST

So, to all who have responded, what should we do with Title IV in the meantime? Simply ignore it? Treat it as non-existent? It is, currently, a part of the canons of the church.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 22 October 2011 at 9:50pm BST

I have to say that I am absolutely fascinated by the defenses being offered by Mark Lawrence’s supporters. He failed to gain the necessary consents to his first election as bishop because of many troubling statements he made to the effect that he would leave TEC over gay/lesbian ordination and marriage. Then he walked it back and received consents but many remained troubled and unsure of where he truly stood.

Then, after being elected, he leads his diocese into passing diocesan canons and issues statements that clearly state that they are in disagreement with TEC, will not pay any monies to TEC, won’t use the name “TEC”, won’t follow the canons of TEC that they find objectionable, support those who have already left TEC and find them admirable, and I could go on.

And suddenly Mark Lawrence is being portrayed as a benign, helpless, righteous victim of the vicious Title IV committee and a vindictive, evil Presiding Bishop, who will not rest until they drive his conservative, traditional, orthodox kind from TEC so they can continue to abandon Christ and the gospel, as Mark Lawrence puts it.

After watching the small remnant of arch-conservative TEC members leave and create ACNA out of whole cloth it seems very prudent and Christian to hold doubt about the honesty of Mark Lawrence’s claims that he no longer wanted to leave TEC and take much valuable property with him to Nigeria or the Southern Cone or GAFCON or whatever is the current leader in exlusionary groups.

Title IV was changed precisely to deal with such an occasion. Everyone knew that when it passed General Convention. Acting like this is some abnormal, unjust persecution is the ultimate in hypocrisy on the part of the reasserters.

Posted by Priscilla Cardinale at Saturday, 22 October 2011 at 10:00pm BST

They are even describing Lawrence as an evangelical (Carey in the CEN).. but Lawrence was Anglo-Catholic from the Anglo Catholic ghetto of San Joaquin. In fact the presiding bishop bent over backwards for him, and even withdrew her right to consecrate him.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Sunday, 23 October 2011 at 8:25am BST

1. You need to go to school a bit on the Diocese of San Joaquin and also +Mark Lawrence.
2. There is no 'right' of the PB to consecrate, hence, the presence of the Province Bishop in her place. You can rest assured that if there had been a 'right' she would have been there.

One more instance of how TEC is not a hierarchy, except at the level of the diocese itself.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 23 October 2011 at 3:26pm BST

I think the characterization of Lawrence as an "evangelical" is quite accurate (the first & I believe so far only graduate of Trinity School for Ministry to be made a bishop). Certainly the Diocese of South Carolina (which elected him -- twice) can by no means be described as Anglo-Catholic. The fit in San Joaquin seems much more likely to be the dissident mindset that hates the established church rather than "churchmanship" (I apologize for the now apparently sexist word, but I don't know of a better at the moment).
And I agree completely with Priscilla Cardinale on Saturday, 22 October at 10:00 BST.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Sunday, 23 October 2011 at 4:39pm BST

"One more instance of how TEC is not a hierarchy, except at the level of the diocese itself."

- cseitz, on Sunday -

Then, Christopher, why the title 'Presiding Bishop'? What does Bishop Katherine preside over, if not the TEC Constitution? Are you saying that TEC is only a collection of dis-afilliated dioceses? Then how does it manage to coordinate its significant mission at home and overseas?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 24 October 2011 at 3:08am BST

Dear Mr Smith

In the history of PECUSA, the bishop who presided over the General Convention proceedings was the oldest or longest serving Bishop. The Bishop was a diocesan and remained a diocesan. The only 'national church' legal entity is the DFMS, which, because it receives funds, needs by NY Law a Council.
In time, the Presiding Bishop was voted into this office by fellows. Still, this PB remained a Diocesan. Only 50-60 years ago did the PB relinguish a diocese and yet the Constitution made very clear that the PB had no metropolitical authority. Hence, no 'right' to enter a diocese much less consecrate. The PB can visit a diocesan once in ten years and the diocese can restrict it to that.
The PB does not 'preside' over the Constitution (whatever that might indeed mean). She doesn't preside over 'dis-affiliated dioceses' (there are no such things). She presides at General Convention. Dioceses are not 'dis-affiliated' entities. They are dioceses, with canon laws, mission strategies, conventions, Bishops, executive councils and standing committees.
The only 'diocese' that the PB retains is the convocation of churches in Europe (chaplancies numbering about 8). The PB routinely gives that role to a retired bishop who serves as suffragan, though at present Pierre Whalon is the Bishop in Europe.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 24 October 2011 at 2:19pm BST

C Seitz is not completely accurate concerning the role of the PB in consecration of bishops. While not exactly a "right" it is a responsibility, and the canon (I.2.4.b) states that the PB "shall... take order for the consecration of bishops." This does not mean the PB must personally serve as chief consecrator; but that the process is under the control of that office. Canon III.11.6 makes this even clearer: "the Presiding Bishop
shall take order for the ordination of the Bishop-elect either by the Presiding Bishop or the President of the House of Bishops of the Province of which the Diocese for which the Bishop was elected is part, and two other Bishops of this Church, or by any three Bishops to whom the Presiding Bishop may communicate the testimonials." The PB clearly has the "right of first refusal" and overall charge of the process.

The PB also (I.2.4.b) "shall... Visit every Diocese of this Church for the purpose of: (i) Holding pastoral consultations with the Bishop or Bishops thereof and, with their advice, with the Lay and Clerical leaders of the jurisdiction; (ii) Preaching the Word; and (iii) Celebrating the Holy Eucharist." There is no provision for a diocese to keep a PB from carrying out this mandate. The Constitutional "confinement" of bishops to ministry in their own dioceses (Article II.3) clearly does not apply to the PB, who resigns diocesan authority upon election.

Finally, Pierre Whalon was elected Bishop in Charge of the Churches in Europe, not "given" that office by the PB.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Monday, 24 October 2011 at 6:15pm BST

T Haller is not exactly right in what transpired.

The PB did not have first right of refusal in SC. She was not invited. +Daniels was invited as Province rep. He attended, as did the PB's chancellor. The PB's office objected to the presence of +Winchester (C of E) but their objection was moot.

I clearly indicated that the PB could visit a diocese with invitation. No one need invite more than once every ten years.

Yes, Bishop Whalon was elected. He serves at the pleasure of the PB, whose diocese it is. These are minor points.

Major points:

The PB is not a metropolitan.

The PB does not preside over a Constitution.

The PB does not preside over dioceses.

Dioceses are not 'dis-affiliated.' Dioceses are legal entities, with canon laws, Bishops, mission imperatives, etc.

There was no 'national church' until middle of last century and there may be a greatly reduced one in future, given financial realities (see the scuffling over this at present).

Posted by c.r.seitz at Monday, 24 October 2011 at 8:07pm BST

A quick PS occurs to me in the light of T Haller's comment.

What Haller fails to grasp is the fundamental legal distinction between “duties” and “authority.” The legal definition of these concepts shows that they are almost opposite. According to the standard legal dictionary, a duty is “a legal obligation that is owed or due to another and that needs to be satisfied; an obligation for which somebody else has a corresponding right.” Authority is “the right or permission to act legally on another's behalf.” Authority is a right; a duty is an obligation that arises from or creates rights in others.
The PB has certain canonical duties, but those duties do not, indeed cannot, enlarge her constitutional authority. One of a fiduciary’s primary duties is always to act within the scope of his authority. Thus the PB’s duty to, e.g., visit or consecrate, is always subject to acting within her authority, which means acting within the constraints of the constitutional prohibition on acting in a diocese without the permission of the “Ecclesiastical Authority”. Note the term used.
A simple example illustrates the distinction between duty and authority. If I contract with a painter to paint my house, he has a duty to do so. I can sue him for damages if he fails to perform this duty. However, if I lock my house and refuse him entry, he does not have the authority to break into my house simply because he has a duty to paint. He lacks the authority to enter, even though he has a duty to do so. His duty is conditioned, however, on receiving permission from me to enter and he discharges his duty by taking all reasonable steps to gain that permission. The same is true of the PB’s “duty” to visit or consecrate.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 24 October 2011 at 10:23pm BST

And while I'm referring to the BCP: note the rubric "Concerning the Ordination of a Bishop" which includes this:

"When a bishop is to be ordained, the Presiding Bishop of the Church, or a bishop appointed by the Presiding Bishop, presides and serves as chief consecrator."

Enough said, I hope...

Posted by Tobias Haller at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 12:05am BST

And thus we have cseitz presenting the “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” argument. The carefully worded legalese fails to hide the outright hatred felt toward Katharine Jefferts Schori. It slips through now and again in posts here and on other blogs.

The shame and sinfulness of the diocese of South Carolina and its bishop in rhetoric about and treatment of the Presiding Bishop shows how epically they fail to rise above their prejudices in taking the higher ground.

It seems invisible to cseitz, though it glares like the sun to outside observers. The claim to orthodoxy, faithfulness, and piety wither in such light and blow away like ashes in the wind.

May God almighty have mercy on our souls and may the Holy Spirit breathe new life into all. We sure do need it in these times!

Posted by Priscilla Cardinale at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 12:53am BST

"There was no 'national church' until middle of last century and there may be a greatly reduced one in future, given financial realities (see the scuffling over this at present)".

So, Mr Seitz, as you yourself here say: This IS a National Church now (from the middle of last century). What interest has ACI in pretending there is no such creature? More interesting is the fact that ACI, which has no mandate to call itself by such a patronising title, should even try to speak for the rest of loyal members of The Episcopal Church, which is after all, THE Anglican Church in North America. It is not an Institute only but the real thing.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 10:35am BST

The comment I presented previous to the one above disappeared into hyperspace... Here it is again.

Dr Seitz, could you indicate where the language of "invitation" in which you indulge appears in the Constitution or Canons in reference to the PB? The only place I find such a reference at all is in relation to dioceses without a bishop.

Here is what the Constitution actually says:

"A Bishop shall confine the exercise of such office to the Diocese in which elected, unless requested to perform episcopal acts in another Diocese by the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof, or unless authorized by the House of Bishops, or by the Presiding Bishop by its direction, to act temporarily in case of need within any territory not yet organized into Dioceses of this Church."

As I noted before, the "confinement" in this Article does not apply to the PB, who has already relinquished office in the former "diocese in which elected," and who is not constrained in any way under this Article from undertaking the ministry of "Primate and Chief Pastor" of the Episcopal Church. The PB is "authorized" by the Canon describing the duties of that office, and contrary to your baseless assertion has the authority to carry them out. No "invitation" is required.

The fact that the PB acted with generosity to the sensibilities of S.C. is no indication she could not have done otherwise. There is a long tradition of such courtesy, but it is not a matter of Constitution or Canon.

As to the "national church" I refer any interested readers to the Memoirs of William White, which should be a strong corrective to your assertion that no such thing existed until the mid 20th century. Lacking access to that excellent resource on the thinking of those who framed the "Union" of the Protestant Episcopal Church in [not of] the United States of America, the much more convenient Ratification and Preface of the 1789 BCP, handily reprinted in the current edition, should go far to counter such a fantastic claim.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 1:51pm BST

Mr Smith

With the 'national church' that presently obtains, the PB is none of the things you assumed, not knowing what makes the polity of TEC distinctive. To repeat (none of this affected by Haller's hopeful ruminations otherwise):


The PB is not a metropolitan.

The PB does not preside over a Constitution.

The PB does not preside over dioceses.

Dioceses are not 'dis-affiliated.' Dioceses are legal entities, with canon laws, Bishops, mission imperatives, etc.

Ms Cardinale:

There is a simple matter of not wanting power overrunning law. If the PB was Father Macho-man, the same points would be valid.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 2:04pm BST

To his (inadvertent) credit, T Haller may (accidentally) have put his finger on a major challenge at present in TEC polity.

The canons clearly indicate that the PB has a duty in respect of various responsibilities, but do not give her concomitantly the authority to do these. Hence a description in the BCP about an expected role the PB might exercise, which does not match the reality that the Diocese of SC did not need to invite her, but opted to let the Bishop of East Carolina fulfill the canonical duty. I suspect the word that best describes the polity that has grown up is ‘tacit.’ It works sufficiently well when certain tacit expectations are shared, in times of good will and peace.

But it breaks when it seeks to constrain or restrain from the top down. It overreaches. We are seeing this is the testy reception of the new Title IV, and its public/private stumbling.

So, e.g., we now find ourselves in a situation with the President of the HOD and others making clear their disappointment with power gathering at the top, yet this power has so gathered in part to assure the deployment of a progressive agenda. Morever, the question is now before the church whether such a latterly devised ‘national church’ is viable financially. And yet when proposals are made about how to fix it, various parties within the progressive ascendancy disagree.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 3:54pm BST

All inadvertency and accident (and snark) notwithstanding, Dr Seitz persists in proclaiming a reality based on the Bishop-elect of SC’s choice to act in ways not granted by law. I have documented the rules governing the duty and authority granted the PB (including the power of delegation) while C.S. has simply repeated his claims without any evidence from the law governing this church. I know what SC did -- but it acted in contravention of the canons and had no right not to "invite" the PB.

I will provide one further evidence of the PB's *authority* ("empowerment") to act in performance and delegation from the Rules of Order of the House of Bishops, Standing Order I:

"Whereas, by provisions of Canon III.11.6, and Canon III.11.10(c)(3)(iii), the Presiding Bishop is empowered to take order for the ordination and consecration of Diocesan and Missionary Bishops, either in the Presiding Bishop's own person or by commission issued to three Bishops; It is hereby ordered, that, in all cases of Episcopal consecrations, the place for the same shall be designated only with the consent of the Ecclesiastical Authority in whose Diocese or Jurisdiction such proposed place is; that the Bishop-elect shall have the right to designate the Preacher and the two Bishops by whom the Bishop-elect is to be presented; and that, in the absence of the Presiding Bishop, the Senior Bishop by consecration who is present shall preside, unless some other Bishop shall have been designated by the Presiding Bishop."

Note that the only say the Ecclesiastical Authority has is in the location of the event; and the only say given the Bishop-elect is the choice of presenters and preachers; and the PB clearly (I do hope this is clear to Dr. Seitz) has both the duty and personal authority to preside or designate who shall preside.

The irony in this discussion is that I do in fact agree to some extent with C.S. that the Canon on abandonment has been misapplied, and requires revision. But he is dead wrong on the issue of “invitation.”

And at this point, I rest my case.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 12:10am BST

And just what was the 'national church' of Wm White? Please do let us know. Was there an agreement of metropolitical authority? Was there an agreement to fund the PB's office? Was there an agreement to designate a single Bishop the head of an american anglican body, with 'supreme' authority? Was there an agreement to pay for national church officers? Was there an agreement that Philadelphia would be the national church headquarters? What was this 'national church' and how is it like the insinuations of our modern TEC?

It is beyond any doubt whatsoever that until the period of Henry Knox Sherrill the PB was a diocesan. The 'national church' created at that time, so as to imitate business models, was a completely new development. And it preserved the alliance of dioceses model very carefully.

And, are you seriously suggesting that the Diocesan Bishop of PA considered himself the head of a national church, in the 18th century? -- recalling that at that time the Episcopal Church was an alliance of colonial state churches only.

In any event, what about the following list is inaccurate -- for this is where Mr Smith presumed to tell us about TEC's polity. Please correct this list:

The PB is not a metropolitan.

The PB does not preside over a Constitution.

The PB does not preside over dioceses.

Dioceses are not 'dis-affiliated.' Dioceses are legal entities, with canon laws, Bishops, mission imperatives, etc.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 2:21am BST

Why am I skeptical that Mr. Seitz would take his current position re: the Presiding Bishop if the current holder of that title were a conservative male?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 2:23am BST

Pat--to repeat. ACI does not want power over-riding law, or the character of TEC. Male or female abuse of this is incidental.

Notice how explicitly the canon quoted leaves the authority in the hands of thr diocese.

The PB 'takes order for' (a duty, not an authority). Three bishops maye also undertake this duty.

The Ecclesiastical Authority (first time we've seen that word) is the Diocese.

The Bishop Elect of said authority determines preacher and presenters.

The PB if absent, etc. I was present at the consecration in SC. The PB was not present because not invited to preside. Properly, she demurred, as would any PB acting within the role of duty given him/her.

I hope this answers Mr Smith, who presumed to say the PB presided over the Constitution.'

And I am glad to hear that T Haller thinks Title IV is another false step.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 1:25pm BST

Dr. S. I have neither the time nor the interest in educating you on the history of the post-colonial church. As I said, one can read the early documents and see that far from being a mere "alliance of dioceses" the framers of the Constitution of the church saw themselves as a unitary body -- a "union" -- with central government through a General Convention (not a Primate, I acknowledge) whose actions were to be binding on all of the members, individually and severally.

You seem to be pinning all of your arguments on the PB, as if Henry Knox Sherrill had "made" TEC a national church. The church was conceived of as "national" from 1789. The DFMS was founded shortly thereafter, and incorporated shortly after that, and comprised all members of the church, and is answerable to the church through General Convention. A national office for missions dated from the late 19th century.

As to your responses to Ron Smith, I think you may be correct, but don't see how that bears on your assertions concerning the PB needing an "invitation" or on the nature of the Episcopal Church as a unitary body governed through General Convention, which are the claims I have been addressing. It is also fair to point out that the PB does in fact have several of the "powers" or "duties" traditionally accorded a metropolitan, and is the Chief Pastor of the church, and charged with overseeing the discipline of bishops.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 2:17pm BST

T Haller

No, I would not want any education on colonial church from someone with your education/training. I am quite aware of the documents and have studied them more closely than I'd like to have to admit. I am a professionally trained historian.

There was no national church as we now mean that until Henry Knox Sherill. All historians grant that. The DFMS was located in NYC. By NY law it required a Council. The PB was a diocesan until mid 20th century and did not leave his diocese for a 'national church' a la present day.

The church was not conceived as national in the 18th century. No historian would conclude that. It was a federal arrangement. No Primate. No national NY headquarters. Dioceses with canon laws, disciplinary structures, mission strategies, Bishops, Executive Councils, Standing Committees and as your canon helpfully shows, Ecclesiastical Authority.

But I am glad that these points are not in dispute:

The PB is not a metropolitan.

The PB does not preside over a Constitution.

The PB does not preside over dioceses.

Dioceses are not 'dis-affiliated.' Dioceses are legal entities, with canon laws, Bishops, mission imperatives, etc.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 6:04pm BST

PS--I also suspect when people like Mr Smith start talking about the PB presiding over a constitution (!) in the same breath as defending a 'national church' I realise this would have made Wm White's hair stand absolutely on end.

It is important that people are slowly becoming aware of how diocesan TEC is and was from the very beginning. As many have pointed out, it resembled the colonial federalism in which it was birthed. No surprise there. Shelby Foote used to talk about how prior to the Civil War people routinely said, 'The United States *are* doing X or Y.' One can see that same sense of plural federalism in PECUSA, that is, until the middle of the last century. And even then, historians are very keen to point how how careful TEC was in avoiding all metropolitical intimation or aspiration -- indeed, HK Sherrill probably got waht he wanted because he was not interested in that kind of power. Thank goodness for that.

I spent a decade in the SEC. The Primate there remains a diocesan, and decisions are made by all dioceses together. TEC is fair closer to this model historically. If your province HAS a metropolitan, moreover, as in Canada, his/her powers are very carefully circumscribed.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 6:47pm BST

BTW, Colin Podmore has recently written some good studies in comparative polity. You get a good sense of how very different a genuinely metropolitical system like the C of E (vows to Archbishops; language of 'supremacy'; not to mention no diocesan canons, etc) works as compared to TEC. He puts this down to the historical reality of states and other colonial concerns to avoid centralization.

The PB of course has 'duties'. See note above.

Title IV may seek to give the PB oversight of discipline of Bishops. But older Title IV left that up to Sr Bishops, and not to a PB acting alone. Hence recent inappropriate and highly contestable use of 'abandonment' good-housekeeping avenues. This led to the bizarre and nonsensical judgment that +Henry Scriven, a Bishop in good standing in the C of E, had 'abandoned the communion of this church.'

Posted by c.r.seitz at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 8:23pm BST

"I do in fact agree to some extent...that the Canon on abandonment has been misapplied."

T Haller, thank you for this opinion. Can you elaborate?

Posted by c.r.seitz at Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 12:13am BST

It seems Dr. Seitz is a professionally trained pettifogger.

He is absolutely correct that the structure of the American Church was (and really remains) federal. He is simply being silly when he tried to posit that as proof that there was no national Church. There was a national Church, structured federally. The structures have evolved over the past 220+ years. None of which changes the fact that the canons to provide a role to the Presiding Bishop in the ordination of bishops, and that the relevant standing order establishes the Presiding Bishop as the normative prime consecrator.

Instead of dealing with Fr. Haller's substantive points, Dr. Seitz tosses a bunch of chaff in the air (most of which relates to comments by another poster), hoping thereby to deflect the casual reader with the pretence of substance.

Frankly, Dr. Seitz, while I understand that the world of academic politics is generally petty and vindictive, I would expect better of someone with a chair at an institution which holds itself out to be the leading institution of Anglican theological education in this country.

In other words, Chris, I suggest you use actual facts to build an actual case. Your empty rhetoric became tiresome very early in the thread.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 1:07am BST

I suspect the response to Mr Smith about the PB and national church -- which was the comment that raised the issue -- got wrongly diverted into a topic about 'national church' as such. It sounds like for T Haller this means, a church in a nation (the USA).

The way the term was being used in my response to Mr Smith had to do with the modern idea of a national church, e.g., 815 Second Avenue and its accoutrement -- the assemblage of latterly devised national structures that now drain the budget down 50%. Hence Bonnie Anderson's concern at Executive Council.

The idea of a 'national church' on these terms in a states-rights 1789 is absurd. Unless one merely means, as T Haller may mean and Mr Smith did not mean, a church for anglicans in the United States.

Mr French, feel free to expect anything you wish.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 7:00pm BST

Fact: The Chief Consecrator in the case of +SC was not the PB. If you are saying the PB could have ridden in with assault forces and demanded a role that was her's by canon law, I believe you immediately see the difference between a duty and actual authority.

As for chaff in the air, I have seen a good deal of that to be sure.

This thread was begun by Mr Smith's assertion that the PB presided over the Constitution (I believe the usual term for this is 'dictatorship.')

I hope with all the chaff thrown up by a discussion of 'national church' people became better informed about how the TEC Bishop who Presides at General Convention is not a metropolitan, and TEC is a federation of legal entities called Dioceses, which send reps to a trienniel General Convention, which makes non-binding resolutions and spends a good deal of money.

The term 'national church' usually is taken to mean '815 Second Avenue' -- a now very expensive operation which a good deal of discussion revolves around, given financial realities.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 7:14pm BST

It is only by means most perverse that Dr. Seitz can so twist Fr. Haller's comments. At no point does Fr. Haller suggest that the structure of the American Church in 1789 was the same as the structure of the American Church in 2011.

I continue to expect that academics will conduct themselves with honesty and integrity. The deliberate twisting of another person's comments (especially by deliberately confusing them with the less well-informed comments of another person) lacks both honesty and integrity.

Now, perhaps your confusion was not deliberate. However, that doesn't strike me as the most credible interpretation.

Respond to Fr. Haller's substance or don't respond to Fr. Haller's substance. It really is no skin off my nose.

But I would appreciate it if you'd stop wasting bandwidth on this pompous pettifogging and malicious misdirection.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Friday, 28 October 2011 at 4:32am BST

"At no point does Fr. Haller suggest that the structure of the American Church in 1789 was the same as the structure of the American Church in 2011."

Glad that's settled!

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 28 October 2011 at 3:36pm BST

Speaking of PB responsibilities, one of the abuse victims from the Conception Abbey/Bede Parry affair has now published emails that put the former Bishop of Nevada in a position of obvious negligence.

It was helpful to some some serious concern and indignation surface from frequenters of liberal blogs. I hope this does not have a sell-by date. Abuse and cover up are very serious matters. While we are watching Title IV unfold, this is an important matter for Intake and review.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Friday, 28 October 2011 at 10:48pm BST
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