BB NOTE: Dr. Philip Turner writes today of the recent actions of the Presiding Bishop. He writes that Katharine Jefferts Schori “is trying by the creation of an unchallenged precedent to expand the powers of the Presiding Bishop and in so doing convert the office into that of a Metropolitan. Such a move amounts to a sea change and runs directly contrary to the original constitutional purpose of having a Presiding Bishop rather than an Archbishop.”
Here’s more from here:
The decision not to greet the Pope is I grant a prudential one that must, sadly, be judged imprudent. More serious is her aggressive interpretation of the Constitution and Canons of TEC in the cases mentioned above. In each instance, either the Presiding Bishop does not understand the Constitution and Canons of TEC or she is trying to expand the power of her office in a way contrary to the clear meaning of the Constitution and Canons and without due authorization by the General Convention.
The most serious of the irregularities concern her interventions in the Diocese of San Joaquin. As one commentator has stated in a private communication, though in the cases of Bishops Cox and Duncan the violations on the part of the Presiding Bishop pertain to individual Bishops, those with respect to the Diocese of San Joaquin “subvert the governance of an entire diocese and go the heart of TEC’s polity as a ‘fellowship of duly constituted dioceses’ governed by bishops not under a metropolitan or archbishop.”
The specific violations laid at the feet of the Presiding Bishop are reasonably well known so I will list briefly only a few. In violation of Articles IV and II.3 of the Constitution and in repudiation of her duty under Canon I.2.4 (a) (3) she refused to recognize the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin. In violation of Article II.3 she appointed representatives and vicars in the Diocese of San Joaquin. Without the consent of the House of Bishops as required by Canon IV.9.2 she deposed Bishop Schofield. In violation of Article II.3 and the applicable canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin, she convened a convention. Contrary to the plain sense of Article II.3 and Canon I.2.4 (a)(6) she consulted with clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin and, finally, she appointed a provisional Bishop in violation of Article II.3 and Canon III.13.
This is quite a list, and it concerns very fundamental aspects of TEC’s polity-a form of polity, incidentally, to which the Presiding Bishop has herself on many occasions made reference as a constraint upon her freedom to act. If she has failed to understand that her actions are in fact irregular, she needs at a minimum to seek more adequate advice. If, however, these actions have been taken with the knowledge that she is reaching beyond the limits imposed by TEC’s Constitution and Canons she is trying by the creation of an unchallenged precedent to expand the powers of the Presiding Bishop and in so doing convert the office into that of a Metropolitan. Such a move amounts to a sea change and runs directly contrary to the original constitutional purpose of having a Presiding Bishop rather than an Archbishop.”
At a minimum, the House of Bishops, or members thereof, ought to register a formal objection to these highly questionable moves. They do indeed threaten to subvert the way in which TEC’s dioceses are governed, and they do indeed strike at the heart of TEC’s polity as a ‘fellowship of duly constituted dioceses’ governed by bishops not under a metropolitan or archbishop.”
The process by which Bishop Cox was deposed provides but further evidence of a serious threat to the orderly governance of TEC that TEC’s Bishops ought not to ignore. Again, the accusations of irregular procedure are well known so I will list them briefly and only in part. The Presiding Bishop failed to seek the inhibition of Bishop Cox as required by Canon IV.9.1. In pursuing the inhibition, the Presiding Bishop failed to gain consent to inhibition by senior bishops as required by Canon IV. 9.2, and she failed to give requisite notice. Moves such as these in fact create new procedures for deposing bishops-procedures that remove the procedural protections afforded to a charged bishop. Finally, the Presiding Bishop deposed Bishop Cox without the required consent of the “whole number of Bishops entitled to vote” as required under Canon IV.9.2. and explained in Article XII of the Constitution.
Noting the extent of these irregularities it is hard to avoid the conclusion that they demonstrate a pattern of willful violation. One must conclude that in this case the Presiding Bishop does know what she is doing. What she is doing is attempting to change the way in which TEC is ordered and governed without the requisite action of General Convention. One can only hope that the Bishops who are responsible for TEC’s good order will not acquiesce in what must be understood as a radical change in the powers of the Office of Presiding Bishop that is ultra vires.
Read the whole thing here.