Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Antinomian ECUSA

ἀνομία (iniquity)

Below is a letter from the Bishop of South Carolina in the Episcopal Church to their CEO (some call her the Presiding Bishop). I am posting it here as an example of what happens when a religious body turns its back on God and his laws. The result is that they abandon their own laws as well, not in favor of freedom, but in subjection to tyranny. Just as the chaos of anarchy produces dictatorship as a swift reaction, religious anarchy produces authoritarianism. The liberalism of ECUSA (or TEC, as it is now "called") has finally produced a new role for the office of Presiding Bishop- Litigator in Chief.

The lawlessness of the Episcopal Church, in the matter addressed below, is very simple. It is the lawlessness of tyrants over those who have no longer any genuine polity, having thrown off the shackles of law and order. Those shackles are the lowest common denominator of human behavior, a poor substitute for charity and simple consideration. Even so, those lowest of restraints have room under them for snakes to sliver.

The irony is that this comes from the same demented woman, Jefferts-Scori, who said this, back in January:

"It would be easier to let U.S. conservatives secede to join another Anglican province without a fight, but I don't think that's a faithful thing to do. Episcopal leaders are stewards of church property and assets, protecting past generations' legacies and passing them on to future Episcopalians. Allowing congregations to walk away with church property condones bad behavior. In a sense, it's related to the old ecclesiastical behavior toward child abuse, when priests essentially looked the other way. Bad behavior must be confronted."

Aside from such obvious facts as, the people who left their money and built those properties deserve to have faithful Anglicans as the beneficiaries (instead of modern ECUSAns of the Jefferts-Schori type), the method of propaganda is striking. Guilt by association was a major tool for Herr Joseph Geobbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister, when stirring up antisemitism. These Nazi tactics are now the tactics of Jefferts-Schori. Goebbels associated all Jews with Bolshevism, and Jefferts-Schori associates all "traditionalists," who want to keep parish property for fellow believers, with child abusers. And, by associating the CEO with Nazis I have proved that two can play at this game.

Of course, the shoe does fit over part of her foot. She is a tyrant, and tries to run roughshod over any Canon Law that gets in her way. This antinomian streak cannot last forever, because when she has to face the Lord Jesus Christ, she will find that he has no respect for her position. And, that even if her full House of Bishops agreed, no votes will matter when they try to depose him.

Diocese of South Carolina Protests Presiding Bishop’s Failure to Follow the Canons

March 27, 2008

The Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop

The Episcopal Church Center

815 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Dear Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori:

We, as the Standing Committee and Bishop of South Carolina, write this letter to strongly protest what we recognize as a failure to follow the Canons of our Episcopal Church in the recent depositions of Bishops Schofield and Cox. We respectfully request that you and the House of Bishops revisit those decisions, refrain from the planned selection of a new bishop for the Diocese of San Joaquin, and make every effort to follow our Church Canons in all future House of Bishops decisions.

We believe that deposition is the most severe sanction that can be applied against a bishop.. Consequently, it is most important that both the letter and the spirit of the Canons be followed. In this instance, it is clear that the canonical safeguards in place were not followed.

Under Canon IV.9.2, the House of Bishops must give its consent to depose a bishop under the "abandonment of communion" canon. ". . . by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote." The Constitution of the Episcopal Church, Article I.2, states in pertinent part that "Each Bishop of this Church having jurisdiction, every Bishop Coadjutor, every Suffragan Bishop, every Assistant Bishop, and every Bishop who by reason of advanced age or bodily infirmity . . . has resigned a jurisdiction, shall have a seat and vote in the House of Bishops."

Due to amendment, Canon IV.9.2, at various times, required consent under these circumstances consisting of " . . . a majority of the House of Bishops," ". .. . a majority of the whole number of bishops entitled . . . to seats in the House of Bishops . . . " and " . . . by a majority of the whole number of bishops entitled to vote." The language of the Canon has consistently required that a majority of all bishops entitled to vote, and not just a majority of those present at a meeting, must give their consent to the deposition of a bishop. Although the language itself is clear, the definition contained in Title IV is even more specific. Canon IV.15 specifically provides that "All the Members shall mean the total number of members of the Body provided for by Constitution or Canon without regard to absences, excused members, abstentions or vacancies."

As we understand the decision by Chancellor Beers, he interprets the language " … the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote" to mean the consent of a majority of those bishops who are present and voting. Yet if the drafters of Canon 9 had wanted to allow for the deposition of a bishop on a vote by a majority of the Bishops at a meeting, as distinguished from a vote by a majority of the whole, they clearly knew how to say that.

The Constitution, Canons and Rules of Order are replete with other instances in which the drafters knew how to articulate something other than " … the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote.". The Constitution Article I 3, dealing with the election of a Presiding Bishop, requires that such a vote be "by a vote . . . of a majority of all Bishops, excluding retired Bishops not present, except that whenever two-thirds of the House of Bishops are present, a majority vote shall suffice . . . " Unlike Canon IV.9, other Canons refer to a vote " . . . by a three-fourths of the members present" or some other "super-majority. In the Rules of Order of the House of Bishops, Rule V speaks of a vote ". . . by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting." That same language appears in Rules XV, XVIII (a) and XXIX. In short, where the drafters meant "those present and voting," they knew how to say so, and did so on a number of occasions.

It is only logical that a greater majority of Bishops should be required for involuntary separation by way of deposition than for voluntary separation by resignation. Canon III.12.8 (d), dealing with resignation by a Bishops, provides that the House of Bishops may accept or refuse a resignation of a Bishop " … by a majority of those present." Under Chancellor Beers' interpretation, it is possible for a smaller number of Bishops to consent to the deposition of a Bishop than the number required to consent to resignation of a Bishop.

Not only is this distinction of critical importance under the present circumstances, but also the question may arise again. Accordingly, and with all due respect to you and Chancellor Beers, we must respectfully request that you and the House of Bishops re-visit your decision and allow for a canonically correct vote on the depositions of Bishops Cox and Schofield and on any future possible depositions. Additionally, for the good of our Church, we ask you not to proceed with the planned election of a replacement for Bishop Schofield until the matter of his deposition can be legally and canonically resolved.

The Diocese of South Carolina demonstrated our commitment to the proper observance of The Episcopal Church Canons with two election conventions and eighteen months of Standing Committee and Bishop confirmations. Because we feel so strongly that the Canons were not followed in the depositions of Bishops Schofield and Cox, we must respectfully refuse to recognize the depositions, and we will not recognize any new bishop who may be elected to replace Bishop Schofield, unless and until the canons are followed.

Yours in Christ,

The Very Reverend John B. Burwell

President, Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

The Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence

Bishop, Diocese of South Carolina



Albion Land said...

This is amusing.

From a legal point of view, I would agree with everything said in the Burwell/Lawrence letter except the very last sentence:

"Because we feel so strongly that the Canons were not followed in the depositions of Bishops Schofield and Cox, we must respectfully refuse to recognize the depositions, and we will not recognize any new bishop who may be elected to replace Bishop Schofield, unless and until the canons are followed."

What happened here is that Bishops Schofield and Cox resigned their sees; as the depositions were a forteriori AND unconstitutional, they are also entirely irrelevant.

The only thing that is of any importance is the resignations, and the subsequent vacancies. Therefore, as long as the process for election is constitutional (and that now is something that may not be safe to assume in TEC) then there should be no reason for other bishops of the TEC not to recognise those elected.

Albion Land said...

Trying to sound clever there with a forteriori, even misspelt, and ballsing it up.

The depositions took place after the sees had become vacant by virtue of the resignations of their respective bishops and their subsequent affiliation with another jurisdiction of the Anglican Communion.

poetreader said...

Basically it comes down to the recognition that, though there are still a lot of good people who haven't escaped ECUSA, the organization has become so thoroughly corrupted that I can no longer manage to think of it as a church at all, and find myself wondering why anyone should be interested in its inner machinations.


Fr William Bauer said...

I point out that it is not only religious bodies that ignore laws after turning the back to God and His laws. The same is coming true in the United States. The idea is only more obvious in ECUSA.

Anonymous said...

Oh it's a very fine letter. Trouble is, the conservatives (I can hardly call them orthodox) in ECUSA have been drafting very fine statements for lo these many years. And what has this gotten them? VGR and KJS.
A very fine letter indeed.
Laurence K. Wells