Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kangaroos Anyone?

The news that the House of Bishops voted with only a quorum present - and not the voting membership of the House - reveals that the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops apparently did not follow the canons of The Episcopal Church in its recent attempt to depose a Diocesan Bishop with Jurisdiction, but were reinterpreted by David Booth Beers. This action, though, also reveals a troubling lack of moral and principled judgment. Not only does it now appear that the Presiding Bishop reinterpreted the canons to suit her personal agenda to remove an opponent, but also that significant moral and democratic principles were abandoned in favor of the expediency of the process.

And what does the Presiding Bishop do? She pushes her lawyer out on the plank. So it's all his fault.

To illustrate why there is a failure of principled moral and democratic reasoning in this debacle - we can imagine what would happen if the House of Representatives could impeach a President of the United States with the simple majority of a quorum. What havoc would break out - we'd be having impeachments every time the president vetoed a bill or made a speech or wore the wrong necktie. No, they must have the majority of the entire membership vote, not a quorum for heaven's sake - and that's why they call the roll (and why their votes are recorded, especially for something as severe as that). To impeach a president is a grave thing to do and leads to a trial in the U.S. Senate and finally to the removal from office.

We are now faced with something at least as serious as that in the Episcopal Church - the actual removal from ordained ministry of a seated Diocesan Bishop with Jurisdiction. What the Presiding Bishop attempted to do was impose an ecclesiastical-version of a death penalty sentence on the ministry of a Diocesan Bishop of the Church, duly elected by the clergy and laity of his diocese, by taking a simple voice vote of the majority of a quorum - not the membership entitled to vote. What is more severe than this?

As we recall, the Bishop of San Joaquin's resignation was rejected and so was not recognized by the House of Bishops. The Presiding Bishop put all her eggs into one basket. But it sure wasn't an Easter Basket.

The fact remains that the Presiding Bishop's lawyer, David Booth Beers, told her she could basically depose an opponent with the simple majority of a quorum - and then on top of that she went and did it with an unaccountable voice vote.

Kangaroos anyone?

Imagine such a thing in the United States Congress - well, I can't and thank God for that. But there is no way that the Episcopal Church House of Bishops can claim that its deliberations are based on open and free democratic principles, at least under the direction of this particular Presiding Bishop.

7 comments:

1662 BCP said...

Surely you're not suggesting that there's trouble in Paradise. A house divided unto itself...

Kevin said...

I was chastised for my cynicism once after a prayer for the Episcopal church some years ago because I was not surprised that a group that could dismiss the sexuality parts of the Bible could also just as easily dismiss being honest or honorable as well. I think it was correct for the lady to hold me to 1 Cor 13 about presuming the best in folks, but each year I seem to be proven correct that when all become relative than the the sand underneath the foundation will give way and a landslide ensues.

Rick Arllen said...

TEc certainly doesn't disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Also posted at Drell:

Beers knows precisely what he’s doing, as does the PB. The only people positioned to respond officially, the bishops themselves - should they remain silent on this obvious procedural sham - will be plainly seen as culpable and complicit, if this stands unchallenged. Lay people, those to whom these shepherds are responsible, ARE watching and taking note.

Craig G said...

Not only does it now appear that the Presiding Bishop reinterpreted the canons to suit her personal agenda to remove an opponent, but also that significant moral and democratic principles were abandoned in favor of the expediency of the process.

I'm shocked -- shocked!! -- that Mrs. Schori would do such a thing! And so are the rest of us here in the wreckage of the Diocese of Nevada...

Anonymous said...

I pray for healing in this room. Your pain is huge and I am so sorry for that. Those wish to worship outside of TEC should do so and move forward in their lives. I continue to pray for your healing.

BabyBlue said...

We are called to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. It's not about "moving forward" but following Jesus, even when we do not know where that path will lead, even if the path is strewn with tears. Those tears are precious to the Lord and for those tears we count it all joy. Christ is Risen - and there we put our trust. Hallelujah.

bb