Monday, November 24, 2008

Amazingly Ironic Posting about the current problems in the Episcopal Church

The Reverend Doctor claims that it is the leadership of the Episcopal that has acted against the constitution and canons to get what you want.  He appears to be writing without the slightest tongue in cheek, hard to imagine.  The vast majority of people in the episcopal church think that iker, Duncan et. al have acted against the constitution and canons in order to get what they want.  This is such a classic case of blaming the victim.  The Episcopal Church is left to pick up the pieces in places like San Joaquin and Pittsburgh because of the unprecedented actions to the Bishops there.  The fact that there are not canons to guide the leadership of the Episcopal Church though this process shows how unprecedented and unexpected the actions of the renegade groups are  in these places.  The history reported here last week makes this exact point.  Some of the biggest proponents of leaving the church with the property never considered that an opinion 10-15 years ago.  In fact as I have written two of the renegade diocese use the canons against a renegade parish to retain control over property.

Specifically he claims:
  • Despite arguments to the contrary, TEC’s Constitution places neither the General Convention nor the Office of the Presiding Bishop in a hierarchical relation to its various Dioceses.
  • Consequently, the various Dioceses have a right (sadly now being exercised by some) to withdraw from TEC and its General Convention.
This is incorrect for two reasons.  First Article V of the constitution makes it clear that dioceses become part of the church by consent of General Convention and that in the process the canons require that they accede to the constitution and canons.  Second The absence of a provision prohibiting an action now becomes the right to take that action.  These people are the same people who have said over and over that just because you can doesn't mean you should.  This greatly confuses the state of the documents in question.  

Turner claims that there are 4 conclusions about TEC.  Conveniently none of these have to do with acceding to the constitution and canons of TEC.

In respect to the present conflicts within TEC these four conclusions are of major significance, but Mark McCall points to others that suggest further complexities.

(a) As far as TEC’s Constitution is concerned, a Diocese is permitted to organize itself as it sees fit.  It could be strongly hierarchical or it could be strongly congregational.

(b) A Diocese is not required to maintain sacramental communion with the other Dioceses of TEC or (since the Presiding Bishop has no See) with its Presiding Bishop.

(c) There is no prohibition of a Diocese entering into communion with a body that is not in communion with TEC.

(d) There is not even a requirement that the several Dioceses have a Bishop who is a member of TEC.  For that matter there is no requirement that a Diocese have any Bishop at all.  A Diocese is within its rights to be run by its Standing Committee as the ecclesiastical authority.  The Standing Committee might then invite a non-TEC Bishop to perform necessary Episcopal actions.

Turner then goes on to rehash the situations in San Joaquin and Pittsburgh.  In both cases asserting the case of people who don't want anything to do with TEC.  His final conclusion is that the only way out of this is a covenant.

The answer to these questions contained in the proposal before the Communion and before TEC is through a Covenant whereby each subjects itself to the others in a fellowship of both truth and love.  Is this not in fact a more excellent way than the sovereign assertion of authority and autonomy on the one hand or a reactive attempt to separate from erring brothers and sisters on the other? I believe it is.  I believe also that, though it will prove a way of suffering, it is a way that will lead to the development of mechanisms for the preservation of communal order in a way that the creation of new Provinces (on both the left and the right) does not.

How about people follow the constitution and canons until they leave and when they leave, they leave the assets of TEC behind if they are no longer a part of TEC.  

Bishop Whalon writes well on the problems with Turner's posting.

He correctly states that the constitution and canons assume a state of trust as its base that is not codified. This state of trust is exactly what has been violated by the renegades.

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