Sometimes it helps to look back at the Egypt from which our fathers were delivered.
TEC further demonstrated disdain for the Windsor Report and the Communiqué from Dar es Salaam. Both documents called for an end to legal wrangling. As we know, each of the bishops of TEC, including the bishop formerly of TEC, who have looked to the Southern Cone for primatial oversight, received thinly veiled threats of legal action from the Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori back in October and November.
Further legal action appears to be forthcoming, since TEC will oppose the actions of each bishop and diocese seeking to realign with the Province of the Southern Cone. In the words of Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, Canon to the Presiding "Bishop," "In this way the Presiding Bishop is reaching out with open arms once more to those bishops contemplating realignments for their dioceses, while also warning them of the consequences should they choose to follow through with their proposed actions."In the course of this “reaching out with open arms,” Schori has written threatening and bullying letters to each of the bishops looking to the Southern Cone.
Demonstrating even further how she “reaches out with open arms,” in a series of hostile maneuvers beginning shortly after the Epiphany, Schori attempted to inhibit both Bishop Schofield and Bishop Duncan, and proceeded to threaten Bishop Iker with an ecclesiastical trial.
Her first shot was aimed at Bishop Schofield, and had the necessary support of the three senior bishops of TEC if one of their bishops is to be inhibited. It reads in part: "I hereby inhibit the said Bishop Schofield and order that from and after 5:00 p.m. PST, Friday, January 11, 2008, he cease from exercising the gifts of ordination in the ordained ministry of this Church; and pursuant to Canon IV.15 I order him from and after that time to cease all 'episcopal, ministerial, and canonical acts, except as relate to the administration of the temporal affairs of the Diocese of San Joaquin,' until this Inhibition is terminated pursuant to Canon IV.9(2) or superseded by decision of the House of Bishops."
This produced a quick replay in support of Bishop Schofield from his archbishop. "As of December the 8th, 2007 Bishop John-David Schofield is not under the authority or jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church or the Presiding Bishop. He is, therefore, not answerable to their national canon law but is a member of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone and under our authority. Un fuerte abrazo. ++Greg.” The Diocese of San Joaquin stated on its website: “The Episcopal Church's assertion that Bishop Schofield has abandoned the communion of this Church is an admission that The Episcopal Church rejects the historical Anglican faith. This is why the Diocese of San Joaquin appealed to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America for emergency and temporary protection.”
Taking their stand with the Anglican Communion against the innovations of TEC, the San Joaquin statement continues, “How is it that over 60 million Anglicans worldwide can be wrong and a few hundred thousand in the American Church can claim to be right?” In response to a misleading announcement by a public relations firm, the Diocesan statement continues: “There is no confusion on the part of the Bishop of San Joaquin or the clergy, people, leadership, and convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin of their status.”
Also, on January 11, Schori attempted to inhibit Bishop Duncan for, as ENS, the official organ of TEC “reported,” having “abandoned communion of Episcopal Church” according a “Title IV Review Committee.” Bishop Duncan responded: “Few bishops have been more loyal to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church. I have not abandoned the Communion of this Church. I will continue to serve and minister as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh." This attempt to inhibit Bishop Duncan failed, since Schori was unable to obtain the support of the three senior TEC bishops. But, it could mean that instead of having to answer to the HOB in March, he may be facing his trial in September, before the scheduled Diocesan Convention of 2008. Bishop Jack Iker said it is “tragic and deeply disturbing’ that Bishop Schori would move against Bishop Duncan before Pittsburgh took ‘any final decision’ to separate from the Episcopal Church.”
Bishop Iker informed The Living Church on Jan. 15 that he received a letter from Schori threatening him with disciplinary action. “Unlike her November letter, it did not imply a charge of ‘abandonment of the communion of this church’, but it said that I would be liable for charges of violation of my ordination vows if I continue ‘any encouragement of such a belief’ (i.e. that parishes and dioceses can leave The Episcopal Church).” In other words, because Bishop Iker does not consider a line from an old memo (by a staffer for former Presiding Bishop Griswold) as equal to the Canon Law of TEC, he is being accused of spreading a false belief. “I lament your belief,” Schori wrote, that those “with your theological position are being systematically eliminated from positions of leadership and influence. If they are disappearing, it is by their own decision and at their own hands.” About Bishop Iker’s concern that TEC would file lawsuits, Schori claimed that such a fate would be self-inflicted. “Depositions and lawsuits have no substance if there has been no violation. Fear of same is probably not rational if there is no basis for same.” In other words, in clear violation of the Windsor Report, Schori further risks schism from the most of the Anglican churches in the world by using legal action to enforce her version of Christianity. Also, she calls any deviation from her opinion a “violation.”Well, we Continuers know why we are not in TEC and other post-Anglican sects (like the Church of England). This is no time for "I told you so" to those who took a little longer to see the truly hopeless state of that cult. They are trying to break free, and we ought to pray for their full deliverance. We must pray that all of them will see the truth about Holy Orders, and about the full inheritance of the Catholic Tradition.
And, we must pray that after the smoke clears, they will persevere along with us, and that attention will be turned to our mission as the Church.