Saturday, September 13, 2008

Not Dark Yet ... Episcopal Presiding Bishop stands against Episcopal civility and polity in threat to remove the Bishop of Pittsburgh

It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

BB NOTE: This is still America, right?

The Rt. Rev. Bob Duncan, elected by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and serving that diocese faithfully for eleven years, is targeted by Katharine Jefferts Schori with the threat that he has abandoned the so-called "Communion of the Church" and will be stripped of his ordination and consecration authority.

In order to go forward with this threat, they must maintain that she and the majority of the other Episcopal bishops are convinced that the Episcopal Church is and will continue to be "the" Communion (not the Anglican Communion, but the Episcopal Communion) which should alarm the Archbishop of Canterbury (now we see why Schori stood with her arms folded during the standing ovation for Rowan Williams after his final presidential address). As we know, Schori was unable to convince the majority of the senior bishops to go forward with this action. She did not have the votes to inhibit Bishop Duncan back in January. So, she (with a little help from her friends) came up with Plan B.

Ignoring the counsel of Bishop Peter James Lee and Bishop Don Wimberly, she intends to use the same revisonist methods regarding the Episcopal Church constitution and canons as she uses on scripture (and her lawyers keep attempting to do in court). The canons, the law, the scripture mean what ever she wants them to mean - whatever it will do to get what she wants. Negotiation is not an option.

UPDATE: Case in point, her "reinterpretation" of asking for consent from the three senior bishops. Again, if you don't get what you want, reinterpret it to mean what you want. From the Schori Screed:

At this meeting there may be raised the question whether, under Canon IV.9, the House may proceed to grant or withhold its consent to Bishop Duncan's deposition on the ground that the three senior bishops have not consented to his inhibition. It is the position of my Chancellor, after reviewing the apparent intent of the canon and consulting several other chancellors and former chancellors, as well as the opinion of the Parliamentarian of the House, that the General Convention in enacting this canon did not intend to give the three senior bishops a "veto" over the House's right to determine whether or not a bishop who has been certified by the Review Committee as having abandoned the Communion of this Church should be deposed. Rather, that decision was intended to be made by the House. The consent of the three senior bishops, they opine, was intended to be sought only on the matter of whether or not the bishop in question should be inhibited pending the proceeding before the House, and that any ambiguity in the language of the canon should be resolved in favor of the ability of the House itself to vote on this matter. In their view, and in the language of the canon, it is my "duty ... to present the matter to the House of Bishops" regardless of whether the bishop in question has been inhibited.
Oh there's more - way more - but we'll comment on that later.

The call for civility now rings hallow from the highest rafters. Standing with arms folded while the Anglican bishops give a rousing ovation to the Archbishop of Canterbury while your fellow American bishops walk out in protest, oh yeah, that's really civil. How funny that their op-ed was release a few days before civility will be blown up entirely. Again, another indication that 815 is employing pre-HOB meetings public relations maneuvers by planting editorials in the Washington Post.

Here is the letter to the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh from Bishop Duncan.
In a letter to the House of Bishops yesterday, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made it clear that there will be a vote this coming Thursday on whether to depose me from the ministry of the Episcopal Church. The charge is abandonment of the Communion of the Church, a charge initiated by five priests and sixteen laypeople of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Much of the “evidence” in the case is put forward by the House of Bishops Property Task Force, drawn directly from the Calvary litigation. We have long suspected that a principal purpose in the Calvary litigation was to have me removed, by whatever means, before the realignment vote. Whatever the purported evidence, I continue to maintain that the House of Bishops “vote” will be a gross violation of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

There are two things I would say, and one thing I would ask.

First, whatever happens on Thursday as to my status, the Diocese will carry forward under rules long-ago established. If I am “removed,” the Standing Committee will be the Ecclesiastical Authority. Together with all the leadership presently in place, both appointed and elected, the Standing Committee will carry us through to our October 4th Annual Convention and beyond. We as a Diocese will not be intimidated or turned from our over-riding commitment, which is faithfulness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ within the mainstream of Anglicanism.

Second, I want to share with you the text of a letter I wrote to the entire House of Bishops on August 24th. It addresses my situation as yet one more manifestation of the moral collapse of the Episcopal Church in recent years. Whatever is decided on Thursday, this is a tragic moment for the Episcopal Church.

Third, I ask you to pray, to pray for me, for Nara, for all our leaders, for our Diocese and, above all, for whatever will best serve our Lord’s purposes. Today is the eleventh anniversary of my “seating” as diocesan bishop. No one could have imagined that we (or I) would be facing this unprecedented trial without a trial. But at the beginning I asked you all to pray. You said you would. As a result, God has done remarkable things with and through us all. So fear not. It is confidence in our faithful God that will carry us all through to a better day, to the other side of the vote on September 18th and the other side of votes on October 4th. I expect that God will still grant me many years of service to the people and the place I have come to love so much.

“[Because of the storm] they were frightened. But Jesus said to them: ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’” [John 6:19b-20]

Faithfully in Christ,

+Bob Pittsburgh

Here's the letter Bishop Bob Duncan wrote to the House of Bishops on August 24.

Thanks to the Intrepid Greg, you can read the entire Schori flame-out here.


Anonymous said...

BB--I'd like to read your first part, but the italics make the white on black almost painful to read.

But thanks for the Dylan; I have it playing right now.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for feedback, gator. I changed the format. At some point we'll get out of the black - but for now, we're still in mourning.


Unknown said...

Good post Mary, thanks. Praying for +Duncan, and for the remaining orthodox bishops for courage to stand boldly for Christ in the face of such evil.

Gator - I too have trouble reading the white on black here. My solution is either to copy & paste BB's text into a Word doc, or to read her posts in my RSS feeder which gives me black text on white background.

Unknown said...

Yeah, the black is intentional. One day it will change - but we're not there yet.


PS Great idea abotu the RSS feeder. I should do a post on that.

Unknown said...

Here is a list of the bishops, for whom I am praying for by name. (Note this list includes both the Windsor Bishops committed to working within TEC, as well as several bishops who have already taken a stand for realignment and support the Common Cause movement’s “outside” strategy)

+Robert Duncan, Pittsburgh (of course!)
+Keith Ackerman, Quincy
+James Adams, W. Kansas
+John Bauerschmidt, Tennessee
+Peter Beckwith, Springfield
+John Howe, Central Florida
+Russell Jacobus, Fond Du Lac
+Mark Lawrence, South Carolina
+Gary Lillibridge, West Texas
+Ed Little, Northern Indiana
+Bill Love, Albany
+Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana
+Michael Smith, North Dakota
+Jim Stanton, Dallas
+Don A. Wimberly, Texas
+Geralyn Wolf, Rhode Island

And here are three Scripture passages which I find shaping my prayers:

Prov 4:18-19

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they stumble.

Matt. 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Eph 5:8-17

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.