Monday, January 14, 2008

StandFirm: Katharine Jefferts Schori's Video Deposition Now Online

Here are some highlights from the depo as seen in court that concluded the Virginia churches case regarding the Virginia Statute 57-9 . You can see the entire video depo that was shown as part of the November trial in Virginia here at StandFirm.

This is the part that was very troubling regarding the Primates Dar es Salaam Communique. This is particularly important because, as we learned from the Primate of the West Indies and chair of the Covenant Draft Committee for the Anglican Communion, everyone in the room at Dar es Salaam was asked specifically by the Archbishop of Canterbury if they agreed to the Communique and everyone in the room said yes. You can read more about that here. In this commentary, the Canon Gary L'Hommedieu writes of a meeting with Archbishop Drexel Gomez at a clergy conference in the Diocese of Central Florida:

His next illustration was the real shock. He explained that at the recent Primates' Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Archbishop of Canterbury had broken the usual precedent of decision by consensus and required each of the Primates to stand and declare whether or not he (or she) agreed to the text of a Communique that contained the Primates' shared commitments for the future. Each of the 34 Primates said "yes" to the Communique. The American Primate, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, said "Yes, but I'll have trouble selling it" to her fellow American bishops.

The point is, as Archbishop Gomez stressed, she said "Yes." She could have, but did not, issue a minority report. When she returned, and when the House of Bishops Convened in March, Jefferts Schori claimed she had only consented to present the text of the Communique to her bishops. She took no responsibility for agreeing to it. One of the conference participants recalled she had claimed that "she never signed it." Archbishop Gomez cut in: "None of the Primates signed it." The Primates' Communiques are never signed. Their verbal responses are taken at face value. The Presiding Bishop's public statement that she hadn't signed it would appear to be a deliberate misrepresentation of the process.

One of the diocesan clergy stood in stunned amazement, and fluttering with emotion said he didn't realize the extent to which we had been lied to. Bishop Howe stood, and with equal emotion insisted that the Presiding Bishop may very well have believed that she was agreeing to deliver the message and not that she was agreeing to the content itself, and that we should be very careful not to infer that she was lying.

Archbishop Gomez interrupted the Bishop: "Sir, that was not the question she was asked by the Archbishop." Presumably the lady Primate had been quite convincing, so that the members of her house had the same picture as the rest of us as to how agreements were expressed in Dar es Salaam.

The clergy of Central Florida reacted as if they had heard about the Primates' Meeting for the first time. This tiny detail made the prior accounts of the Meeting seem like hearsay. A fog had lifted. The Archbishop's message about a breakdown of trust was not simply a political tactic, used to weaken the position of an adversary. It was shockingly real. It was not a "tasty morsel", the kind which titillates gossipers. The response was shock and grief.
Here is what the Presiding Bishop says in her video deposition under oath - though it took a while:

You can see more of the Schori Deposition here at StandFirm.


Kevin said...

Tragically, she is shrewd. She handles herself better than my supervisors have done in their depositions. Equal as tragic is there seems missing the innocent as doves part.

RSchllnbrg said...

AS I recall, and this is just from memory, there is a verse somewhere in Scripture that says, "Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Everything else comes from the Presiding Bishop ..." Of course, there may be some in the room who disagree with this.

Anonymous said...

It is really SAD when a person who wears a clerics collar has SO MUCH trouble answering a quesion honestly and equivocally. You're supposed to be a Bishop for goodness sake! Speak the truth and speak it w/clarity!

Anonymous said...

Did the PB ever actually answer the question, or did she persist in her sophistry?

Reprebus Dewi said...

I take exception with the claims that she did not answer the questions posed to her. Check the transcript if you would like, but I count at least thirty simple "yes/no" answers from ++KJS. She also answers all of the questions regardless of the objections from her counsel. Perhaps you just don't like her answer?

I'm sure existing biases on the overarching issues affect your (and obviously my) interpretation, but there is an appropriate perspective to apply; please remember this is a deposition. She is being asked very pointed questions with the intent of establishing the claims of the CANA congregations. She is (justifiably or not) on the defensive. Her clarification of questions and detailed answers are not dissembling, but appropriately guarded to protect herself and TEC.

Which is another important point; ++KJS is not just representing herself, but rather all of TEC. What answer should she give to personal questions like those about her book? It's entirely possible in TEC, and the AC as a whole, (where democratic principles apply) for her to have personal opinions which are distinct from the larger church.

Her investiture as Presiding Bishop was, blessedly, not for her ability to give court depositions. Anyone familiar with depositions, polygraphs, or other forms of testifying can tell you that a person's demeanor and language, while critical in swaying juries, are horrible indicators of truth. In fact, the most comfortable are those who lie habitually, while the least comfortable are frequently those telling the truth.

But, while we're on the subject, I thought I'd point out that the representatives for Truro and The Falls Church were surprisingly hostile and even disrespectful... at least IMHO.

-Reprebus Dewi

Anonymous said...

It's not going above and beyond to answer a question that your lawyer has objected to in a deposition. Her counsel stated her objections for the record and they may be ruled upon later by a judge. However, in a depo, the person being questioned still must answer after the objection has been lodged. And the question I'm referring to her answering reluctantly was the one where the counsel wanted to know if SHE agreed w/the commique and she repeatedly offered up the opinions of "many in the room." He finally got an answer (it was "no") but boy did he have to work for it.

Anonymous said...

She is a very duplicitous woman. She says she has to bring things to the HOB, and other times decisions have to be made by GC but when it comes to suing or making decisions about what Diocesan Bishops can do especially with property issues she has the sole authority and neither thhe HOB or GC has anything to say about it.

Anonymous said...

In the parts of the interview not shown at SF were there any other tidbits like we saw?

Anonymous said...

bb, I know the video dep is more fun, but nothing from the 2nd set of briefs?