Sunday, December 9, 2012

Truth is stranger than fiction

Let's see if we can keep up with the story of the Diocese of South Carolina. It may be difficult as truth is often stranger than fiction. I will give it my best shot.

The Diocese of South Carolina as a legal, corporate, spiritual and ecclesial entity has through its legal, corporate, spiritual and ecclesial decision-making determined that it is out of sorts with The Episcopal Church, a body it preceded chronologically but to which it has given assent, prior to withdrawing its assent. In the process the Bishop of South Carolina has declared he is also out of sorts with The Episcopal Church but without formally declaring that he has renounced (in the TEC canonical technical sense of "renounced") his bishopness.

In response there was an initial play by the canons (albeit with canonical questions arising as to whether the correct canons were being invoked) to discipline +Lawrence - the canons not providing for disciplining a whole diocese. But events have moved on with ++Jefferts Schori declaring that she has accepted +Lawrence's renunciation of his bishopness. Here truth gets a little strange as the renunciation wasn't given but it has been declared to have been given by virtue of public utterances being deemed to be equivalent to formal, written renunciation.

Now events have moved a bit further: a renunciated bishop means a vacant bishopric, so a convention of the Diocese of South Carolina has been called by ++Jefferts Schori, even though it is not her canonical prerogative to do so, that being the privilege of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, which still exists. Naturally, fiction prevailing here, the Standing Committee is deemed not to exist because the entity which is the Diocese of South Carolina is deemed to have disappeared in a haze of smoke created by its decision to distance itself from TEC.

That convention, which might consist of reps of the few parishes which wish to remain loyal to TEC, will attempt to elect a bishop to be the 'real' bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Read here at Anglican Ink to get the latest low down. And here for the DSC (the real one, in law) responding to the "renunciation."

Here is my question: who is paying for all this, and who is paying for the new bishop?

Supplementary question: isn't the obvious thing to do, to conjoin the few parishes the PB is concerned for into a neighbouring diocese under an existing and indisputably real bishop? Much cheaper!

Incidentally, the PB needs to watch her back. It is not only conservatives in the States who are upset with her.


Anonymous said...

The new Schori diocese will be called the 'Diocese of Thyatira in Carolina'

Anonymous said...

"The new Schori diocese will be called the 'Diocese of Thyatira in Carolina'"

Nice. Rev 2.20 does fit the bill. Although I think the full title should be 'the Potemkin Diocese of Thyatira (in partibus fidelium)'. There is already an Orthodox 'Diocese of Thyatira' (in partibus infidelium) in the UK.