Sunday, December 09, 2007

San Joaquin Diocese leaves the ECUSA cult

Here is an item that may be of interest (and that certainly comes as no surprise). From Episcopal life Online as reported Dec. 8th

Delegates attending the 48th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday, December 8, overwhelmingly voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone...Although the move makes San Joaquin the first diocese in the nation to complete a legislative process seeking separation from the Episcopal Church, [Bishop John David] Schofield predicted that more dioceses will follow. Flanked by Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan and Bolivia Bishop Frank Lyons from the Southern Cone province, Schofield told a gathering of reporters December 7 that the consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003 was merely a "flashpoint" for those who had had "enough because of the liberal theology of the Episcopal Church."

"Those who want to remain Episcopalians but reject the biblical standards of morality, the ultimate authority of the Bible, and the biblical revelation of God to us in His Son the only savior of mankind, will in the end be left solely with a name and a bureaucratic structure," he said.

During an exchange of letters prior to convention, Jefferts Schori had advised Schofield that approval of the constitutional changes would "implicitly reject the Church's property and other canons."

Regarding the diocese's intention to affiliate with the Southern Cone, she said: "If you continue along this path…it will be necessary to ascertain whether you have in fact abandoned the communion of this church, and violated your own vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church."

...If Schofield is considered to have abandoned the communion of the church, he would have two months to recant his position. Failing to do so, the matter would be referred to the full House of Bishops. If the House were to concur, the Presiding Bishop would depose the bishops and declare the episcopates of those dioceses vacant. Those remaining in the Episcopal Church would be gathered to organize a new diocesan convention and elect a replacement Standing Committee, if necessary.

An assisting bishop would be appointed to provide episcopal ministry until a new diocesan bishop search process could be initiated and a new bishop elected and consecrated.

A lawsuit would be filed against the departed leadership and a representative sample of departing congregations if they attempted to retain Episcopal Church property.

Always the lawsuit. That's a very important part of the religion business in the cult known as The Episcopal Church. Notice that Bishop Schofield has not presented this move as a knee jerk reaction to the Homosexualist heresy. He sees that heresy in its context as the latest phase of a long fought battle, the newest chapter in the story of Revisionism. He is right, and more chapters lie ahead. No doubt the day will come when such heresies as Interspecies Union Blessing will the burning issue, and the conservative Episcopalians will insist that it is time to draw the line. By then Same Sex Blessing will be seen as an adiaphoron, and discussion of that issue will be banned on most threads at a new conservative and "orthodox" blog with a name like "Hold fast that which is good," or something like that.


Tregonsee said...

The only real question is whether the legal actions, both secular and ecclesiastical, already prepared, and will be put in motion immediately, or after the holidays. There is not much Christian kindness in TEC these days.

Anonymous said...

I'd bet on action being taken immediately, based on my personal experience with TEC during the Accokeek debacle: The Diocese of Washington's legal hit squad was making filings as soon as the courthouse doors were opened after the post-9/11 lockdown. (I think that was the same day on which -Jane Dixon was presiding over the national memorial service at the Washington Cathedral.)

Fr Samuel Edwards, SSM

Anonymous said...

Surly THAT is the story of Anglicanism since it's creation. Toughs, like my mothers family, who never abandoned Tradition, are the only real orthodox Christians. Come and join us, heaven will rejoice! Inquire at your closest 'Roman' Catholic Church.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Right. There have never been any scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, certainly none that have anything to do with lust.

William Tighe said...

If you will follow this comment and ensuing comment thread

you will see that there are already those pseudo-orthodox TECites who are claiming that the affiliation of +Ackerman, +Iker and +Schofield with +Duncan and "Common Cause" demonstrates that they are not all that fundamentally opposed to WO, after all.

John A. Hollister said...

I think it is unquestioned that the Common Cause Partnership to which Prof. Tighe referred is, in fact, patient of women's "ordination". So there is necessarily a serious question raised when any church group affiliates itself with the CCP.

Similarly, it is my understanding, subject to correction by those who know more, that the Lambeth Communion's Province of the Southern Cone permits or tolerates women's "ordination". In any event, it is certainly satisfied with remaining in full communion with African Provinces that practice that aberration, so whether it commits this internally or merely adopts and ratifies it by the inexorable logic of intercommunion, the sad fact is that, regardless of what the Diocese of San Joaquin itself may say, its move from T?C to the Southern Cone addresses only one of the current urgent problems, and that is the issue of homosexualism.

In other words, San Joaquin has not in fact established itself as a truly "traditional" organization but merely as a revisionist one with heterosexual leanings.

The principal novelty in this situation is simply that, for the first time, it will now be a Diocese that is litigating with T?C rather than a mere parish. Whatever arguments T?C may make about parishes' being the creatures of the Province, historically there can be little doubt that the Province is the creature of its constituent Dioceses and that fact MAY -- I stress the "may" -- make some difference in the ultimate outcome.

Any time one goes to court, one is rolling dice, so be prepared for an adverse outcome.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

fIf life were fair Schofield could remain in ECUSA and the imposters would all cross the Tiber.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Hollister's comment brings to my mind the interesting problem of the vague definition of "the Anglican Communion." Is it simply a communion of distinct churches? If so, how is one Province affected by the heresies of another Province? Witness the Nigerian Anglican congregations in the United States that have been separate from the Episcopal Church for quite a long time, and still receive their episcopal visitations from Archbishop Akinola.

But, if so, what is all this talk of things that affect "the larger Church?" as quoted today by the terribly confused husband of one Fr. Radner, Dr. Ephraim Radner.

From the fact that ABC, Archdruid of the Vacant See Williams, has proposed a covenant for the whole AC, we can assume that it has not really been pulled together into a "church." You do remember that covenant idea in the news last June? About it he told a source (whom I cannot name) that the result would be that he (++Williams) would not be "able to keep the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion." Of course, those days seem to be over.

Nonetheless, does the presence of priestesses in New York compromise the integrity of Archbishop Venables and his Province? Like most officially Anglican things, the answer is a definite maybe.

Alice C. Linsley said...

It is unhelpful to speculate about whether Bishop Schofield stands in the catholic tradition. He does. That he also stands with Protestant Anglicans in this uncharted sea doesn't change the reality of his catholicity. It does however underline the necessity of Anglicans coming back to catholicity in all its richness.

American Episcopalians really have almost no historical perspective. For example, I recently attended a prayer meeting with some Anglican women and was questioned about my views on the Blessed Virgin Mary. When I explained that Anglicans have venerated Mary for centuries, the women were shocked.

Anonymous said...

I have known John-David Schofield for more than 20 years and have attended multiple retreats with him. Prior to ECUSA's acceptance of his election as Bishop, he was required to break ties with a Roman order of religious. He is Catholic throughout his chubby body and soul. The decision of his diocese is without a doubt a well-reasoned move complete with legal advice.

The Rev'd W E Bauer (EMC)

Albion Land said...

The following is from Fr Bob Jones, ACC Diocese of the South, who is experiencing posting difficulties:

I keep thinking about Archbishop Haverland's excellent but uncomfortable article some months ago about "pseudo-Anglicans," those folks who adhere to a patchwork Anglicanism that accepts some developments but rejects others. For example, Canon Hollister puts it well when he describes some jurisdictions as accepting the attempted ordination of women to the priesthood. According to Archbishop Haverland, there are many different iterations of this phenomenon. Some hold to the 1979 BCP but reject the rest, some hold to the new Baptismal covenant while others don't, and some like everything up to the election of Gene Robinson.

Some people might say that Anglicanism is by its very nature something of a patchwork and they would probably be right. But there is, I think, a true Anglicanism, and that is an Anglicanism that grounds itself in a solid Catholic faith, one that is based on fidelity to the Councils of the undivided church; that holds to the traditional worship forms that have been laid down in Anglicanism, less some of the ambiguous texts that are symptomatic of the aforementioned patchwork; and, most importantly, is faithful to the command of our Lord that only men can be ordained to the sacerdotal priesthood.

If a church decides to break away from the Episcopal Church or any other church in communion with the See of Canterbury, which itself has abandoned these foundational principles and therefore their apostolic connection, then it is simply a matter of time before that same group is brought into the very fire from which they have attempted to extricate themselves.

This is, at least to my mind, the reason why San Joaquin's efforts are ultimately futile. To them it is important to remain in communion with Canterbury, a see that has rejected the above-noted principles. Now think about this for a moment: If Canterbury is holding positions that have historically been classified as heresy, can they be in communion with anybody? And is anybody ever benefited by seeking to remain in a union with a heretic? I think not.

Parenthetically, this is also a problem with Roman Catholic/Anglican relations. With all due respect for Roman Catholics, and my respect for that church is quite high, the continued attempts at dialogue between Rome and Canterbury is absolutely astounding to me as Canterbury and its satellite churches (I can't refer to an Anglican Communion because I think it ceased to exist long ago) have absolutely no intention of engaging in any behavior or recantation that would be necessary in bringing about a true ecumenical dialogue. Until Rome understands that true Anglicanism exists within the Anglo-Catholic segment of the continuing church and seeks dialogue with that group, then any ecumenism is a house built on sand.

I know that many will disagree with me and I'm sorry for the discomfort that my words might cause for well-meaning Episcopalians or Protestants or even contemporary Catholics. But I firmly believe this and I further believe that until disaffected Episcopalians understand that they have to cut out their problems and errors root and branch, they will not find long-term relief simply by staying in an alliance with a see that is, quite possibly, not only heretical but apostate.

Anonymous said...

A wicked thought. The Anglican Archdiocese of Sydney recently sent its formal congratulations and offer of support to the Diocese of San Joaquin. When, after the 2008 Lambeth Conference, Sydney formally implements its canon or statute establishing "lay celebration" of the Eucharist, do you think that San Joaquin will reciprocate?

poetreader said...

To Fr. Jones and others:

I'm in entire agreement, but am not comfortable with the condemnation I seem to see in comments on San Joaquin's action. Obviously tranfer from TEC to Southern Cone solves none of the theological/ecclesiastical problems, but can't we hold out the possibility that it may be a first step toward finding their way out of burgeoining apostacy and back to an authentic Catholicism. I hope so, and pray for the diocese (and others in a similar position) that it may be so.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

WJT said...

A wicked thought. The Anglican Archdiocese of Sydney recently sent its formal congratulations and offer of support to the Diocese of San Joaquin. When, after the 2008 Lambeth Conference, Sydney formally implements its canon or statute establishing "lay celebration" of the Eucharist, do you think that San Joaquin will reciprocate?

Briefly, no.

Fr_Rob said...

I agree with my friend Ed (Hi, Ed!). I think we need to be careful about condemning folks who basically want to continue practicing orthodox, Biblical Anglicanism (as they know it) but have decided, at least for now, on following a path different from the one that some of us travelled in the aftermath of the Congress of St. Louis in 1977. And in all fairness, we ourselves in the Continuing Churches have not provided exactly the most encouraging example to outsiders over the past 30 years given our fractured and exceedingly small evangelistic, parish, and infrastructure footprint.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

This gets back to whether or not the AC is a communion of churches (a term with no precedence) or a Church. The Province of the Southern Cone would be untainted by Canterbury according to one paradigm, and would be tainted by it according to the other.

Nonetheless, let's be clear in our understanding of San Joaquin, Dallas/ Ft. Worth and Quincy. Like FiF, these people are committed to the orthodox Catholic Faith. If their journey is not over, it is no reason to disparage their sincere efforts.

Albion Land said...

"This gets back to whether or not the AC is a communion of churches (a term with no precedence) or a Church."

I might humbly suggest that Eastern Orthodoxy might be considered as a communion of churches. They are autocephalous churches that are (most of them, most of the time) in communion among each other.

poetreader said...

The thing about the Orthodox, for all their autocephaly and ethnicity, is that they are bound firmly together by a common Tradition, both in Faith and in practice. One does not find Russians believing one thing and Greeks another -- and especially, one does not have legoslative assemblies in the various churches making up their own doctrine. One does not have separate churches with different definitions of who can be a priest, or of what constitutes a marriage. They are a Communion of churches in that they have even less of central orginization than does the Canterbury Communion, nut their communion is in an intense commonality across jurisdictional lines.

The Canterbury Communion might have been described that way say, 75 years ago, but, alas, no more. There is now a certain cultural bond remaining, but no bond of common Faith, no real commonality of prctice. On an ecclesiatical level it seems more like Yugoslavia, which broke apart because its common history and language was not enough in the face of strong differences of belief and practice.

The simlile may once have worked, but that was a long time ago.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon has argued that the very idea that there is more than one Orthodox Church, or that it is an association of separate churches, is a typical Western mischaracterization. Also, so has my brother, Dr. David Bentley Hart. To them, what may appear to some as a federation is really one united body, the Orthodox Church.

My question would be why the different Orthodox jurisdictions overlap, why each city can have as many as four or five Orthodox dioceses within it, much like - not the Anglican Communion - the Anglican Continuum. However, when one sees different Catholic dioceses in communion with the Pope overlap, one Latin Rite and any number of Eastern Rite dioceses, etc., a variety of Catholic jurisdictions is not limited to Anglicans.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

As you know, Christianity conformed to local cultures as it spread. Thus, each Orthodox jurisdiction is inherently ethnic, and remains so to some degree even when a given jurisdiction claims to have "Americanized" or whatever (just compare the Kalendar of Saints by jurisdiction). Orthodoxy is one Church because all jurisdictions share the same faith, regardless of ethnicity.

Anglicanism, as you know, is often charged with being as ethnic as any Orthodox jurisdiction (specifically English). There certainly are plenty of Anglophiles in the Anglican world, but whether this is true or not, Western Anglicanism does provide a culturally homogeneous worship across all English-speaking jurisdictions. If there is no ethnic divergence across jurisdictional lines, then there is no legitimate reason for overlapping jurisdictions.

It might then be suggested that Orthodoxy produce a specifically American jurisdiction and dispense with the overlap of the old ethnic jurisdictions from the old countries. This, of course, was tried with the OCA, but failed. The US simply is not ready for its own Orthodox jurisdiction. And how would one conform Orthodoxy to American culture anyway? Why would one even want to? "This week's Trisagion is brought to you by GE! 'We bring good things to life!'"

Orthodoxy served its purpose in the old countries. I do not see how it could serve a similar purpose here. That leaves the Continuum to take up Orthodoxy's role here, given its cultural fit. And in that the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions are culturally homogeneous, there is no excuse for any jurisdictional overlap.

Albion Land said...

Fr Hart,

I would be interested in seeing how Fr Reardon makes his point. I am not being dogmatic about this, but I am genuinely curious about why one could not say that there are Orthodox churches.

poetreader said...

I'd say there's a danger of talking past one another by using the same words with subtly different meanings -- all of which are legitimate definitions.

Church: the fellowship of all faithful Christians.

Church: the body of those holding the true faith in its integrity.

Church: a local congregation.

Church: a hierarchical body made up of local churches led by their bishop or bishops.

The Orthodox are one church as defined by faith and praxis, and, in this sense are not several.

However, organizationally, there certainly are separate churches, as the Fathers indicate in spealong of the church of Antiock or of Alexandria, or ...

My point is that Anglicans are indeed "churches" in the jurisdictional sense, but have ceased to be "a church" on the sense of unity of faith and praxis.
The once heralded resemblance between Orthodoxy and the Canterbury Communion has thus ceased to exist in any meaningful way, while, arguably, the complexity of the Continuum may still be spoken of in that way.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

while, arguably, the complexity of the Continuum may still be spoken of in that way.

A very significant point.