Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori targets conservative remnant in the House of Bishops

The Presiding Bishop
Fresh from charging the conservative South Carolina diocesan bishop Mark Lawrence with abandonment and attempting to take over his diocese, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schor turns her attention to the remnant of conservative bishops still in the Episcopal Church, reportedly charging them with fraud, financial misconduct and failing to inform on their fellow bishops  who held opinions on church order contrary to her own.  

Note the names :

  • The Rt Rev'd Peter H. Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield retired
  • The Rt Rev'd Maurice M. Benitez. Bishop of Texas retired
  • The Rt Rev'd John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida retired
  • The Rt Rev'd Paul E. Lambert, Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of Dallas
  • The Rt Rev'd William H. Love, Bishop of Albany
  • The Rt Rev'd D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana retired
  • The Rt Rev'd Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield
  • The Rt Rev'd Edward L. Salmon, Jr, Bishop of South Carolina retired
  • The Rt Rev'd James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas.

The list reads like a Who's Who of the primary leadership of conservative bishops over the last twenty years, in fact the remnant who courageously remained in the Episcopal Church.  

They are being charged with violating:
Canon IV.3.1
(a) knowingly violating or attempting to violate, directly or through the acts of another person, the Constitution or Canons of the Church or of any Diocese;
(b) failing without good cause to cooperate with any investigation or proceeding conducted under authority of this Title; or
(c) intentionally and maliciously bringing a false accusation or knowingly providing false testimony or false evidence in any investigation or proceeding under this Title. 
Canon 4: Of Standards of Conduct
Sec. 1. In exercising his or her ministry, a Member of the Clergy shall:
(c) abide by the promises and vows made when ordained;
(e) safeguard the property and funds of the Church and Community;
(f) report to the Intake Officer all matters which may constitute an Offense as defined in Canon IV.2 meeting the standards of Canon IV.3.3, except for matters disclosed to the Member of Clergy as confessor within the Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent;
(g) exercise his or her ministry in accordance with applicable provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the Church and of the Diocese, ecclesiastical licensure or commission and Community rule or bylaws;
(h) refrain from: (6) conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; or (8) any Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Clergy.
And possibly: IV.4.Sec.1(h)(2): holding and teaching publicly or privately, and advisedly, any Doctrine contrary to that held by the Church.

This action of charging these bishops with such severe violations comes after Bishop Schori herself faced a vote by the House of Deputies this summer to sell her headquarters and her home at 815 Second Avenue in New York City.  Later modified by the House of Bishops at General Convention, she is still facing directives from General Convention to restructure the Episcopal Church as it faces massive financial shortfalls and attendance drops from dioceses all over the country.  

In addition, Bishop Schori has faced opposition to her budget proposals, causing the former House of Deputies President, Bonnie Anderson, to come armed with her own budget at a  meeting of the Executive Council of the Episcopal prior to General Convention.  The Executive Council was unable to agree on a budget and Bishop Schori showed up at General Convention and presented her own budget to the the triennial gathering in Indianapolis this past summer.

The crisis of restructuring the budget has split progressive coalitions that have long held a public face of unity while shepherding through innovations on marriage and ordination that has caused a severe "tearing of the fabric" in the worldwide Anglican Communion.  With that coalition alarmed by the possible implementation of a hierarchical structure in the reorganization, it is no wonder that she and her staff would take aim at those conservatives who also take the position that the Episcopal Church is not hierarchical in structure in a more Roman Catholic tradition, but rather consists of dioceses in a democratic General Convention.  She cannot attack her own constituency and it is doubtful at this juncture that her critics in the House of Deputies will be inclined to defend this list.

Her actions and attitudes in regards to her hierarchical view of the structure of the Episcopal Church has caused some longtime political allies to be openly critical of her leadership, with rifts becoming so deep that would cause the Presiding Bishop and the House of Deputies President to show up at an official meeting of the Episcopal Church with separate budgets.  The House of Deputies President later threw in the towel.

Read more about her charges against those who have stood for a historic view of the Episcopal Church and who also exercised their freedom as Americans to sign an amicus curiae brief - an action that has caused this present Presiding Bishop to to take such actions that must cause the founders of the Episcopal Church, born in revolution, to turn over in their graves.

Read it all here.


Kevin said...

Wow ...

Sad ...

Her actions get stranger ever year.

rwk said...

It will be interesting to see where in the Canons this action is found to be impermissible. We know the answer is,"It's wherever the Presiding Bishop decides it is." When the PB was elected, I as a life-long Episcopalian conservative stood up in front of my congregation and pleaded that we pray for her. I thought she could bring reconciliation. I was right about the former and I was dreadfully, awfully, terribly wrong about the latter.

Dale Matson said...

this is starting to remind me of this.

RalphM said...

Dale Matson - but the difference is that almost all the officers left on the ship of TEC are copies of Bp Queeg...