No wonder Bishop Howe, who has tried beyond measure to work within the system that was once the Episcopal Church, is outraged.
Here's Dean Robert Munday, of Nashotah House on Bishop Cox:
Stocky, bald, wearing round glasses with his eyes appearing large through lenses as thick as Coke bottle bottoms, it is easy to imagine one is talking with the Apostle Paul when speaking with Bishop Cox. His voice is both warm and rich, and conveys genuine love and appreciation for everyone with whom he speaks. If an article were ever written explaining what it means to be a godly bishop, it would be incomplete if it were not illustrated by the example of Bishop Cox. Even though technically in retirement, Bishop Cox has continued an active ministry. Now age 87, he has been the Episcopal Church's oldest living bishop. It is so hard to envision him as anything but a bishop that one is surprised to hear of his early military service and that he became a civilian pilot after he was in his sixties.
Today (March 12th), the Episcopal Church's House of Bishop, acting on the recommendation of Presiding Bishop ☠ Katharine Jefferts Schori, voted to depose Bishop William Cox. What had Bishop Cox done that led to his deposition?
In June 2005, Bishop Cox ordained two priests and a deacon at Christ Church in Overland Park, Kansas, after he was asked to do so by the Primate of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi. The following month, Bishop Cox returned to Christ Church and led a service of confirmation. In April 2005, Christ Church agreed to pay the Diocese of Kansas $1 million over the next 10 years as part of a separation agreement which allowed the congregation to retain its property, and for the clergy to be relieved of their canonical obligations to The Episcopal Church. Christ Church and its clergy subsequently affiliated with the Province of Uganda.
It is important to note that Bishop Cox did not perform acts in any congregation of the Diocese of Kansas without the Bishop of Kansas' permission. He ministered to a congregation that had left the Diocese of Kansas and had been received into the Province of Uganda. Bishop Cox, as an Anglican Bishop, ministered at the request of an overseas Anglican bishop (in this case the Archbishop and Primate of Uganda) to a congregation that was under his jurisdiction.
In 2006, two bishops—the Rt. Rev. Dean Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas and the Rt. Rev. Robert Moody, Bishop of Oklahoma—presented then Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold with charges that Bishop Cox had violated the Canons of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Griswold forwarded the charges to the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee, which determined that there were sufficient grounds to proceed to trial.
Concerned that his presentment trial would be a financial and public relations disaster for The Episcopal Church, retired Bishop William J. Cox informed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on March 29, 2007 that he had left The Episcopal Church and had been received into the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, by Archbishop Gregory Venables.
Read the rest of Dean Munday's post here.
The Presiding Bishop did not accept his resignation - instead, she charged him with abandoning the communion. The irony is not lost on many.
Last time we checked, the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone is in the Anglican Communion. Or is the American Episcopal Church now a communion all unto itself? What is that we hear?
With that in mind we are reminded of Jesus' words to the crowds in the Gospel of Mark:
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."-Mark 8:34-38
God bless you, Bishop Cox. What sort of person really would declare an 88 year old retired bishop has rejected the faith of Cramer, Latimer, and Ridley? What kind of "communion" is that?
And then why try to whack him with the majority of a quorum, for God's sake? What do they fear?
The question remains: Why didn't she carry out the salacious deed at last September's House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans as the canons dictate, instead waiting almost a year after the charges were certified (the House canonically required to place the matter on the agenda lat the first meeting after the certification - which of course was New Orleans in September)? Was it perhaps to avoid a public relations disaster with all the national and international press and the Archbishop of Canterbury present to watch her carry out an ecclesiastical shove down the stairs of an elderly bishop - a man who has been a faithful bishop of the Church since she was an eighteen year old co-ed thinking about squids? Is this what has become of the Episcopal Church?
Just why does the presiding bishop and the majority of a quorum of the Episcopal House of Bishops fear this man so much?
UPDATE: Excellent post here on the numerous canonical violations committed by the Presiding Bishop in her attempt to depose Bishop Cox. Read the whole thing, as well as Dan Martins comment here.