Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mizz. Schori's kangaroo court

Or, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Or, the symbolic nature of symbolic symbolism
Or, an empty gesture.

From Virtue Online:

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church today voted to "depose" two bishops related to the Anglican Communion Network. The bishops are the Rt. Rev. John David Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Rt. Rev. William Jackson Cox, retired Bishop Suffragan of Maryland. Before the action was taken, both bishops had come under the care of another province of the Anglican Communion, rendering the action of the House of Bishops a symbolic, but essentially meaningless, gesture.

"This is a bit like saying 'you can't quit, you're fired!'" said the Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton, Chief Operating Officer for the Network. "It will have no practical effect on the ministry of these two godly leaders, but instead makes crystal clear the scorched earth policy that the current leadership of The Episcopal Church intends to prosecute against those who can not in good conscience follow them out of the Christian mainstream.""There is no question that both Bishop Cox and Bishop Schofield remain bishops in the Anglican Communion and will continue in ministry. We at the Network are thankful for their willingness to witness for the truth of the Gospel and fully intend to support them in their ongoing ministry," he added.

Also from Virtue Online:

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, a member diocese of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America, was disappointed by today's decision of the Episcopal House of Bishops but he was not surprised by it.

"It is a shame that the disciplinary process of The Episcopal Church has been misused in this way," Bishop Schofield said in responding to the news that the Episcopal House of Bishops voted to depose him. "The disciplinary procedures used by the House of Bishops, in my case, were intended for those who have abandoned the Faith and are leading others away from orthodox Christianity, as held in trust by bishops in the Anglican Communion - and which The Episcopal Church had previously upheld also."

"The question that begs to be answered by the House of Bishops," said Bishop Schofield, "is, why bishops who continue to teach and publish books that deny the most basic Christian beliefs are not disciplined while those of us who uphold the Christian Faith are?" He added, "At least I am in good company. It is a privilege to know that I am standing along side of one of the outstanding theologians of our time, J. I. Packer, who is under similar discipline by the Canadian Church and who, also, has placed himself under the authority of the Southern Cone."

"I have not abandoned the Faith," Schofield observed. "I resigned from the American House of Bishops and have been received into the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Both Houses are members of the Anglican Communion. They are not - or should not be - two separate Churches. It is the leadership of The Episcopal Church that is treating itself as a separate and unique Church. They may do so, but they ought not expect everyone to follow teaching that serves only to undermine the authority of the Bible and ultimately leads to lifestyles that are destructive."

"The fact remains," Schofield observed, "that a canon law specifically designed to protect the people of God from wrong teaching and schismatic movements has been used in a clumsy way. I do not think it is a coincidence that the canon that was used, was the one that involves the least due process. The decision to act against me was not made by the House of Bishops as a whole. It was made behind closed doors by a small review committee and, only then, presented to the larger body for an 'up or down' vote."

The bishop added, "Tragically, what drives this action of The Episcopal Church is neither the Christian Faith nor the Communion they say I have abandoned. In the end, it appears as though the real motivation behind all of this is the use of raw power and coveting property. If this is so, then any attempts by The Episcopal Church to seize our property directly ignore Saint Paul's warning not to take a fellow Christian to a civil court. [1 Corinthians 6:1-8]"Bishop Schofield resigned from the House of Bishops as of March 7, 2008. "I am still an active Anglican bishop, and I continue to be the bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin," Bishop Schofield affirmed. 12,
March 12, 2008
The Rt. Rev. John David Schofield
4159 East Dakota Avenue
Fresno, CA, 93726, USA

Dear Bishop John David,

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has called us to faithfully represent Christ in a difficult time in history. To bear faithful witness to Christ, however costly for us, is less of a price than that which must be paid by those who deny His saving grace.We are deeply honored to have you as Bishop and your Diocese as full members of the Southern Cone. We will continue to proclaim the Gospel together as brother bishops. May God richly bless you and give you peace.

Yours in Christ,

The Most Rev. Gregory J. Venables
Primate of the Southern Cone


John A. Hollister said...

Marsupial jurisprudence, indeed, and at its very finest, too.

The irony of this proceeding is that Ms. Schori has, by this means, established a principle that, had she thought it through, was not at all what she wants to uphold before the public.

By "sanctioning" Bp. Scofield in this way, and upon this ground, using this particular Canon based upon "the communion of this Church", T?C's House of Bishops has declared officially that a person who is in communion with the Province of the Southern Cone is not in communion with T?C. In other words, T?C has effectively stated -- implicitly but inescapably -- that it itself is no longer in communion with the rest of the Lambeth Communion.

What Abp. Venables and others of like mind should now do is to insist that, in the face of this declaration, Abp. Williams withdraw all Lambeth Conference invitations previously extended to T?C bishops. (Of course, he won't do that, being a spineless worm, but making the demand would underline publicly and unmistakably the position into which T?C has now put itself.)

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

I'm just back from reading about the clown-show known as the HOB on SFIF and T19. That always makes me feel like I need a good bath. I feel sorry for anyone who is hurting, but Bishops Cox and Schofield could have saved themselves all this grief by doing the right thing in 1977. The subsequent history has not been easy on either side of the street. But it is so nice in the Continuum to enjoy the luxury of discussing things like textual criticism and problems of translation, issues where friends may differ tartly, knowing full well that it really isn't a "salvation issue" (pardon the SFIF cliche). Seriously, we Continuers should consider ourselves blessed not to be a part of that cesspool.
Laurence K. Wells

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I do not regard Archbishop Venables as a "spineless worm." I think it has taken courage to stand up to TEC and the ABC.

Albion Land said...

Fr Hart,

The worm referred to is Williams, not Venables.

Sandra McColl said...

I suppose it was nice of Dr Tintenfisch-Schori and her pet wallabies to shut the door after them.

John A. Hollister said...

Apologies, Fr. Hart, and thank you, Albion Land. My syntax was less than crystal clear but, yes, it was Rowan Williams I was calling a "spineless worm".

Now that I think of it, however, that may be unfair to a blameless and useful species. Williams is neither of those things.

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

Wish I knew where to find it again. Some years ago I read a long poem that ran through all the nonsensical and harmful things done by the human race, as seen through the eyes of one of our garden friends, that ended by quoting Scripture.

...and for this thing I am thankful, that ...

"I am a worm and no man."


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Somebody has questioned the accuracy of our stock photo of the CEO of TEC. It sure looks like her to me. But, I won't say what sort of envy accounts for her shade.

Sandra McColl said...

Don't be bashful, Fr Hart. We all know that Frau Dr Tintenfisch-Schori is envious of the Bishop of Rome's ability to play the piano.