Friday, October 21, 2011

It's becoming transparently obvious there has to be a better way

ADU is one guy and a laptop so you will understand my admiration for the Anglican Communion Institute which is fabled (or derided, depending on who you are) as four guys and a laptop: such resources. Besides which, the ACI guys which I have met are way brighter and more learned than I am. Anyway, they are on the case in respect of the plot thickening in respect of TEC's move against the Diocese of South Carolina.
Here, in a very recent post (H/T two commenters to a recent post of mine) the ACI step by step outlines the events in the plot, with appropriate referencing to verifiable statements, conjoined to dates. There is nothing here which looks good: it does not look good for TEC as a transparent organisation innocently going about its business until one day, out of the blue, a set of complaints against +Mark arrive. No it looks a bit different to that. It certainly does not look good for +Mark: it looks like the plan is to accuse, try, and sentence him for abandonment in a process which looks like he does not have the right to appeal the judgement.

Of course, objectors here can object that the ACI is spinning this like a top. OK: let's have the facts in their case which are wrong?

My interest in the matter from far away: let's remember that the theology of +Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina is pretty much the theology of the moderate conservatives of the Communion, of people such as myself, of fellow evangelicals in ACANZP, in Australia, in the C of E, and in countless places in Africa, South-East Asia and so forth. If TEC cannot find a way to live with this theology in harmonious conversation but is going to resort to law to deny its existence to whom is our allegiance as fellow Anglicans? With those who share our faith and practice, or with those who resort to law to squeeze that faith and practice out of existence?

There has to be a better way to deal with this situation than through canons - as the Bishop of Upper South Carolina, Andrew Waldo, has suggested.

There is also a mystery here: are there no other bishops in TEC going to come forth to support +Mark and the Diocese of South Carolina?

UPDATE: Wow. Curmudgeon is the researcher par excellence on the nuances and details caught up in the imbroglio that is unfolding. Read here and weep for the number of bishops and laity who will sit in contradiction over +Mark. It's like the Sadducees making up the jury for someone who is on trial for believing in the resurrection!


Father Ron Smith said...

"ACI Brighter and more learned than you are, David? Maybe. But wiser?

You agree with ACI that TEC is not transparent. That may be true. This cannot, however, be said of ACI - they are too transparent - kicking against the pricks with their disregard for liberals in the world-wide Communion. What will they do when ACNA loses all its claims against the mother Church,TEC? Will they come back to Mummy with tails between their 8 corporate legs?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I am delighted that you recognise that TEC may not be acting transparently.

I would be more delighted if you could and would recognise that ACI is (a) working for the good (i.e. union) of the Communion, and (b) is working within and for the good of TEC. All the writers for the ACI are (as far as I know) members of TEC (and NOT of ACNA).

It doesn't worry me too much, but I would be slightly delighted if you called me "Peter" as that would help distinguish me from my cousin "David"!

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter & David; my profound apologies for mixing you up on this thread. My most recent remark - ACI - was to Peter, not David. - But then, Peter obviously knew i referred to him.

Peter Carrell said...

Apology accepted, Ron!

Pageantmaster said...

Fr Ron. As far as I can see, South Carolina considers the latest Title IV canons to be an overreaching by the Presiding Bishop of the role she is assigned in the Constitution of TEC, and without historical or legal authority. What do you do when canons and constitution conflict? This is the point of the carefully argued and supported pieces from the ACI. I don't think one can dismiss either what Allan Haley or ACI say as based on some bias but need to consider what they write on the merits of the case they argue.

It is curious that one is seeing on both sides of the Atlantic an attempt to take power to the central bureaucracy. It is because they do intend to stay in TEC I imagine that South Carolina are defending the polity of TEC against the intrusions of an increasingly papal and controlling Presiding Bishop. This is much the same complaint that TEC makes against the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Communion - and it is no coincidence that many of the charges laid against +Mark Lawrence, and presumably other Communion Partner dioceses next in line, are based upon the support the diocese of South Carolina has given to the Anglican Communion and in particular the support given to the Anglican Covenant. How bizarre is that?

No I am afraid it won't do to just say "One hopes for 'due process' to take care of the situation in South Carolina in a way that confirms the true reality of the affair" as you posted previously. All the signs are that the process has been designed specifically to get +Mark Lawrence and others and to cow everyone to the will of the PB and her burgeoning bureacracy and money burning litigation factory. No instead one has to consider before accepting the process:

1. Is the new Title IV process brought in at the insistance of the PB an overreach over the constitutional position of TEC's dioceses;

2. Is the process of the new Title IV process fair and in accordance with recognised legal principles for fair trials; and

3. is the process of the new Title IV process in fact being applied fairly in this case? That is fair in appointments, conflicts of interest, following even the rules of the new Title IV canons and the other canons of TEC and fair as a legal process?

More and more problems with the Title IV process being applied to South Carolina are being raised, without good answer. I have already given my concerns about the process of Secret Denunciation [as used by the Inquisition] in this respect and the information coming out is at odds with the assertions of Bishop Dorsey Henderson. If you are interested, I wrote about the problems here:

[Just as a matter of record Fr Ron, as far as I know ACI does not advocate for ACNA. What I have read from them relates to those dioceses remaining in TEC and in particular the Communion Partner dioceses, against whom the claims of abandonment for supporting the Anglican Communion, meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury and supporting the Covenant appear to be generically targeted as shown in the complaint against South Carolina.]

Father Ron Smith said...

Well, Pageantmaster, thanks for your response to my last posting. However, I do not believe that the recent movement towards the impeachment of Bishop Mark Lawrence has been initiated by the Presiding bishop of TEC alone. It does take more than 'one to tango'. And Mark must have guessed what would be the outcome of his criticism of TEC.

The Diocese of south Carolina has all the hallmarks of an 'insider' using its membership to launch and attack on the parent body - in this case, TEC. This does not seem a particularly familial or even 'Christian' thing to do. If Bishop Mark has, all this time, not intended to go along with the polity of TEC he should, in all conscience, have refused nomination to a position of leadership within that body, instead of which, at his installation, he presumably gave his solemn promise to abide by the polity of TEC .

Loyalty is a charism greatly thought of in a Christian context. The lack of it, in this instance in S.C., is less than laudable, and at it's worst, a stumbling block to the Mission of Christ in the Gospel

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
You make some pertinent points in your comment. They raise questions for me such as these:

(1) To what extent does loyalty as a charism imply a 'blind loyalty' to all aspects of faith and practice as developed by a church after one has made one's allegiances?

(2) To what extent is the loyalty of a licensed leader of the church free from or bound to the loyalty exhibited by the specific body in which one is serving? (For instance, if I was the vicar of a parish which at its AGM determined to remove the word 'Anglican' from the church noticeboard, am I then bound to resign my post because I do not agree with that decision?)

(3) To what extent is loyalty required of me also required of others in the same constitutional realm? Although you are not a great admirer of him, I suggest a read of the latest post of Anglican Curmudgeon at who makes the point that if the problem re +Mark is about "accession" then other bishops in TEC also have that problem.

Bryden Black said...

For those of us who are not resident in North America (i.e. both USA and/or Canada) and are looking upon this latest constitutional wrangle within TEC/PECUSA, a word of warning: from my own attempts at ‘reading’ the recent ‘readings’ of TEC’s polity over the past 8 years when it first surfaced as a probable serious source of contention, this dispute is a rich mixture of history, legalities and sheer power. This is always an explosive mixture! Viz Libya, Zimbabwe, Panama, Afghanistan, Vietnam, & countless other ‘sites’ ... We’d be wise to treat this current conflict with profound and delicate circumspection. One resource for this - as ever, one perspective only ...! - is Radner and Turner’s collection of essays, The Fate of Communion: The Agony of Anglicanism and the Future of a Global Church (Eerdmans, 2006), which, as it happens, has been also cited favourably by Rowan Williams ... Just some thoughts folks ...

Pageantmaster said...

Fr Ron Smith

What a strange world where the decision of the Presiding Bishop and her henchpersons to go after the Diocese of South Carolina with her trademark litigation machine becomes instead the diocese attacking the parent body. The question is whether the parent body is being attacked by the Presiding Bishop and her claims to papal hegemony and overreach over dioceses.

On the lines of the question posed by Peter+ on this thread perhaps it is worth reflecting on how Christians should conduct themselves - Colossians 3:12-17:

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Brother David said...

Peter, I thought that you gave your word regarding attacks on the TEC Presiding Bishop. And yet you publish Pageantmaster's snide remarks without fail.

I have yet to see anything in the muckraking to which you lot point us regarding +SC, that there is any evidence of the things which PM claims the PB is guilty. Title 4 was passed as legislation in a large democratic body by two houses, all of the bishops of TEC present, as well as, the delegates from the respective dioceses of TEC. I see no evidence of the PB railroading something through.

Please put a stop to this and edit the posts as you are so prone to edit mine.

Father Ron Smith said...

Pageantmaster; may I respectfully return that quotation back upon your good self: If dissenters had acted according the Paul's advice here; there would have been no schism.

Bryden, I;'m glad you learned something from your 8 years of study of the situation in North America. You have not been alone. My first engagement on the issues was with the one-time more active 'Global South Anglican' blog, on which Dr.Micahel Poon was an eirenic commentator.

Peter, The ACI theologians you have recommended are not exactly my favourite commentators - engaged as they are as irritants within TEC.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
(1) On rereading Pageantmaster's comment, I agree with you: I should not have let that common go through unedited, on the grounds that
(2) language such as "henchpersons" is uncalled for in descriptions of 99.9% Anglican bishops and their well intentioned actions (the 0.1% which might warrant such language could be the rogue "bishop" of Harare!!)
(3) it is not evidenced to date that what is going on in SC is the result of a directive from the PB of TEC.

I am learning how to do this moderation thing and will try to be more vigilant.

Bryden Black said...

Yes; Ron: GSA has been quieter for quite a while. That merely displays an Asian inscrutability, may I suggest!

As for what I have learned about TEC polity: the folk of 815 love matches! Thereafter though, other creatures who happen to be caught in the grass, also get burned ...

Father Ron Smith said...

I think, Bryden, that GSA are simply playing things cool at the moment, wondering which way the African Giant will spring. depending on that there may be some decisive movement on the part of the Global South Provinces - to either back Big Brother (GAFCON) or remain loyal to the Anglican Way of 'Unity in diversity'.

One wonders whether the South East Asian Anglican Churches are ready to follow GAFCON's overtures to China, where, with the current structures, Big-World Economics seems to be trumping spirituality.
However, GAFCON probably needs the money - from somewhere.