Sunday, August 3, 2014

TEC Changes Mind Re South Carolina?

According to this report it appears that TEC thinks it is okay "to disobey the order of the church for the sake of the orders of the church." Surely they have South Carolina in their mind ...

28 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm not sure, Peter that any loyal member of TEC would agree with you that the debacle of South Carolina's schism was in any way equivalent to the movement that brought to birth the ordination of women as priests.

One was an act calculated to strengthen TEC, whereas the S.C. action has only weakened their parent Church. I see very little consonance between the two actions.

I guess a lot depends on your personal point of view, though.

Peter Carrell said...

The point is, Ron, that TEC is showing inconsistency about what it thinks is good order and what isn't, and it is showing inconsistency about order breakers it will pursue for justice and those it won't.

It might be kinder to South Carolina if it remembered its own history!

Kurt said...

Oh please, Peter. There is no equivalence whatsoever. A few women committed ecclesiastical civil disobedience in a denomination in which they were committed to minister to protest their status as women. They were open about their beliefs. The schismatics in South Carolina lied about their intentions and then suddenly left same denomination, grabbing as much of the family silver as they could on their way out the door.

In spite of the recent crowing by some con-evos on this page, ultimately property issues will be settled by the Supreme Court of the US which is highly unlikely (given its history as well as its composition) to side with any schismatics. Even the Roman Catholic members of the SCOUS are well aware that there are any number of Roman parishes in liberal parts of the nation who would love to leave and join TEC or ELCA and take their property with them . Conservative or not, they are not likely to set any such precedents.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt
The question in both cases is about the order of the church. SC has consistently argued that it wishes to remain faithful to the order of the Anglican Communion even as TEC moves away from that order. (Yes, of course, TEC argues that there is no common order re sexuality, it can make up its own mind, etc).

Inter alia the question has arisen about whether TEC is a hierarchical church or not, with specific reference to property. It does seem strange that TEC would argue it is hierarchical when it is unwilling to style it's leading bishop, Archbishop!

By contrast in our church where our three primates are Archbishops (though once upon a time we wavered and our primate was called the Presiding Bishop), we are not hierarchical re property: diocesan property is diocesan property, not national property. Only parish property is 'hierarchical' as it is held in trust by its diocesan trust board.

carl jacobs said...

Kurt

The title for church property is held by the dioceses in the RCC. So there is no ambiguity. TEC wanted to control the property but it didn't want to risk demanding every parish sign over title to the bishop - for the very practical reason that the parishes would have rebelled. And that would have been the end of the matter. So TEC tried to create a trust without consent of the deed holder by some fast arm-waving around canon law. That is the problem TEC is having in the courts.

All TEC has to do is adopt the Roman model. Then there is no trouble in law.

carl

Pageantmaster said...

Kurt says:
"The schismatics in South Carolina lied about their intentions and then suddenly left same denomination, grabbing as much of the family silver as they could on their way out the door"

While this is often claimed by TEC supporters and its leaders, I have read the reports from all sides about the trial that has just taken place. Contrary to that statement, the evidence before the Court including from Bishop Lawrence was that he had tried to keep the diocese in TEC right up until the Presiding Bishop in breach of her own rules attempted to remove him. Had she not done so, the diocese would probably still be in TEC. Kurt's statement has no basis in the facts presented in court that I have read about.

But TEC's leaders appear to regard their own rules and canons as due the same authority and respect as they consider Scripture to have. The rubber hits the road when they come up against courts with proper rules of evidence and which do not treat rules and authority with the same contempt and base their decisions on facts, not spin.

So far, from what I have read, the Supreme Court of the United States, notwithstanding requests from different parties in different cases, has shown no inclination to take any of these cases on appeal, or to reconsider the last ruling it made in the Jones case in favour of neutral principles being applied to these cases.

Father Ron Smith said...

" we are not hierarchical re property: diocesan property is diocesan property, not national property. Only parish property is 'hierarchical' as it is held in trust by its diocesan trust board."
- Dr. Peter Carrell -

So, Peter, are you suggesting here that the Nelson Diocese of ACANZP could, if it so wished - in accord with its dis-satisfaction with our parent Church - move out from under, taking the property with them? Seems a wee bit disturbing to me, and not very 'Anglican'.

I wonder what General Synod would take to that situation?

Peter Carrell said...

No diocese is talking about leaving our church. The question is simply one of enquiry: what property or trusts does our a General Synod control?

I think you will find that at the most it is the St John's College Trust Board and the General Church Trust.

Do you really think that the Church Property Trustees of our diocese think they are beholden to General Synod?

CPT was created by this diocese sticking its tongue out at a General Synod!!

Father Ron Smith said...

". SC has consistently argued that it wishes to remain faithful to the order of the Anglican Communion even as TEC moves away from that order."
- Dr. Peter Carrell -

Here again, Peter. It all depends on what you mean by the word 'order'.

If you are talking, for instance, about ministerial 'orders', I can't see where TEC is in any way different from, say the Church of England or, indeed, ACANZP.

What other degree of 'order' are you suggesting TEC differs on from the rest of us in the Anglican Communion except the GAFON lot?
But THEY have already distance THEM-selves from being an integral part of us anyway, with their iconic 'Jerusalem Statement' - pretending to be more Anglican than the Mother Church of England.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Consecrating a bishop who was in a sexual relationship with a man who was not his husband is an interesting way of 'ordering' life in the church. Encouraging bishops to make decisions about pastoral liturgies for blessing relationships contrary to the canons of the church (while invoking those same canons when diocese sought to leave ...) is an interesting way of ordering church life. If that accords with the wider Communion's way of doing things, it would be good to see the evidence.

Father Ron Smith said...

" the evidence before the Court including from Bishop Lawrence was that he had tried to keep the diocese in TEC right up until the Presiding Bishop in breach of her own rules attempted to remove him. Had she not done so, the diocese would probably still be in TEC."
- Pageantmaster -

Another case of "what I read is my primary source of information". I wonder, Pageantmaster, if you have only read publicity put out by the schismatic diocese and its bishop?

There are other - wider - sources, that tell a very different story. That Lawrence knew what he was doing before he was drafted in to lead the South Carolina diocese -the second time around. He was accepted on the undertaking that he would not lead the diocese out of TEC. Now, am I right or wrong?

Pageantmaster said...

Fr Ron Smith says:
" I wonder, Pageantmaster, if you have only read publicity put out by the schismatic diocese and its bishop?"

If Fr Ron had read my comment above carefully he would know that I had read the reports of the trial from the different parties. By that I mean Diocese of South Carolina the plaintiffs and the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and SC Episcopalians as well as to some extent ENS and Fr Mark Harris. Alan Haley has been comparing the reports from the Diocese and ECinSC.

I am unaware of any other 'wider reports' from anyone who was in attendance, but if Fr Ron knows of any do let me know.

"Lawrence knew what he was doing before he was drafted in to lead the South Carolina diocese -the second time around. He was accepted on the undertaking that he would not lead the diocese out of TEC"

Again Fr Ron should identify the sources he claims and what authority they have to be taken seriously. It is correct that Bishop Lawrence gave undertakings to observe canons and doctrine binding upon South Carolina and its bishop and as he gave evidence did not intend to take South Carolina out of TEC.

Given the consistent and unlawful attempts by the Presiding Bishop of TEC to oust Bishop Lawrence, the Diocesan Convention put in place protection to deal with a situation where the Presiding Bishop did try to take over the diocese and remove Bishop Lawrence.

Unable to contain herself, the Presiding Bishop made a further attempt to remove Bishop Lawrence, even as he was negotiating with her doing his best to stay in TEC. She purported to remove him from office, and in doing so triggered the protection for the diocese it had put in place. The Presiding Bishop herself through her own intemperate actions 'disassociated' the Diocese from TEC. So the answer to Fr Ron is that he is incorrect.

The breaches of the rules of TEC committed by the Presiding Bishop in her purported removal of Bishop Lawrence and her triggering of dissociation are detailed in Alan Haley's article here:
http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/new-level-of-repression-signaled-by.html

The evidence also is that in trying to remove Bishop Lawrence, the Presiding Bishop did not complete the process the canons of TEC require of puttting the matter to the full House of Bishops.

As usual, she cut corners, and thinking she would never be challenged and having got away with deposing umpteen bishops [including the English Bishop Henry Scriven, something the Church of England paid absolutely no attention to] and hundreds of priests, she did the same again and abused the canons she herself is required to follow.

Pageantmaster said...

If I might just comment on assertions by Fr Ron to Peter+ in the comment above the last one addressed to me:

Fr Ron says:
"What other degree of 'order' are you suggesting TEC differs on from the rest of us in the Anglican Communion except the GAFON lot?"

My understanding is that communion in a church means that we share three things: common doctrine; recognition of one another's orders, and inter-communion of sacraments including attendance at holy communion and recognition of baptisms and confirmations.

That communion which means that a province makes a bishop not only for that province but also through mutual recognition for the whole Communion also gives rise to duties and responsibilities. If a province makes someone a bishop who is a scandal to other provinces or makes rites which put in doubt the mutuality of doctrine and sacraments, then the result is to 'tear the fabric' of that Communion. 22 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion are out of or in impaired communion with TEC as a result of TEC's actions; other provinces which have followed TEC such as Canada are in the same position. It is much wider than the GAFCON Provinces, and includes most of the Global South who constitute the majority of the Anglican Communion.

Fr Ron says:
"except the GAFON lot?
But THEY have already distance THEM-selves from being an integral part of us anyway, with their iconic 'Jerusalem Statement' - pretending to be more Anglican than the Mother Church of England."

The Jerusalem Statement [to which I am not a signatory] merely tracks the doctrine provisions set out in Canons A1 to A5 of the Canons of the Church of England, our doctrine canons. No more, no less.
https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/churchlawlegis/canons/section-a.aspx

As for "distancing themselves from us", I am not sure the extent to which Fr Ron speaks for, or believes himself to speak for the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, but the Communion provinces out of communion or in impaired communion with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada are far wider than GAFCON and probably represent 80-95% of the world's Anglicans in the Communion, so there is a something of the tail wagging the dog to suggest that the majority of the world's Anglicans have distanced themselves from the Communion.

What is the first lesson from all this? Sadly it is that when one member province decides it is going to do whatever it wants and ignore the other members of the family and break the bonds between them, it is all too human for that member to blame the others for the consequences which flow from its behaviour.

As Rowan Williams put it, if you are going to be prophetic, you have to be prepared to live with the consequences.

From TEC's actions have flowed its isolation and its breakup, not to mention its attendance figures diving towards the ground increasingly rapidly.

Consider what has happened among Anglican provinces in the last 30 years: Rwanda up from 161 thousand in 1970 to 700 thousand now; Sudan up from 300 thousand in 1970 to 2.2 million; Uganda up from 1.28m in 1970 to 8.58 million; and most extraordinary of all Nigeria which had 2.9million Anglicans in 1970 and now has 18 million.

TEC managed in that period to decline from 3.2 million members in 1970 to 1.8 million [with 500 thousand to 600 thousand in church on a Sunday, if that].

Where does the future lie for us?

Kurt said...

“It does seem strange that TEC would argue it is hierarchical when it is unwilling to style it's leading bishop, Archbishop!”—Fr. Carrell

It may “seem strange” to those of you Down Under, just as some of your customs—those of Sydney in particular—seem strange to us. Nevertheless, to many other Anglicans throughout the world, having a non-archbishop as head of the province is perfectly normal. For example, the leading bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church has always been called the Primus—they have never had an archbishop, either. As in numerous other areas, we Americans were influenced by the Scots.

When American Anglicans reorganized our denomination after the Revolution, some consideration was given to the title and position of the leading prelate of the land. It was thought that, in a republic, archbishop smacked too much of monarchical privilege. Therefore, the senior bishop of the American church was termed Presiding Bishop (just as our secular executive is termed the President). For many years the PB (who was just the senior bishop of the House of Bishops, and not elected as s/he is today) simply presided at the General Convention. Later on he was “elevated” to “the Most Rev.” to place him (her) on a par with the archbishops of other provinces. Today, there are a number of other provinces who are led by non-archbishops.

Pageantmaster and other sympathizers of the American schismatics can whistle in the churchyard all they want; the fact is that these property cases can, and will, be brought to the Supreme Court of the US if that is what it takes to restore our property to us. There may be years more of litigation, perhaps many more years. But, ultimately, TEC will prevail. I have no doubt about it, and most legal beagles I have talked to about this have no doubt about it, either. Obviously there are some lawyers who say otherwise (there always are, even in open-and-shut cases since that's how they earn their livings), but I’m confident of the ultimate result.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Father Ron Smith said...

".. the Communion provinces out of communion or in impaired communion with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada are far wider than GAFCON and probably represent 80-95% of the world's Anglicans in the Communion, so there is a something of the tail wagging the dog to suggest that the majority of the world's Anglicans have distanced themselves from the Communion." - PAGEANTMASTER -

So, here we are again, playing the numbers game. The people moving for insistence on their doctrinal 'orthodoxy' meme in GAFCON, are mostly bishops and archbishops - who may not actually represent the constituency they claim amongst the laity in their countries.

In accordance with the institutional hierarchical aspirations of the GAFCON Churches - whose bishops claim a far higher status than any of their clergy, let alone the Faithful laity - it is a fact that the bishop's word is law, on matters most of the laity know little about, and are not encouraged to overcome what might well be traditional taboos against homosexuality.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Consecrating a bishop who was in a sexual relationship with a man who was not his husband is an interesting way of 'ordering' life in the church." - Peter Carrell -

Are you suggesting, Peter, that if the Bishop concerned had actually married his Same-Sex partner, it might have been a better way of ordering things in the Church?

Peter Carrell said...

I am suggesting that TEC would have had a stronger case to present to the rest of the Anglican Communion if that were so. What the Anglican Communion would have made of that is another question.

Paul Powers said...

Kurt, I wouldn't bet on the US Supreme Court taking any of the Church property cases. The last time they did was in 1979, and they have declined to do so in any of the more recent cases, both where the state courts ruled in favor of the national denomination and where they ruled in favor of the departing congregation.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
TEC(USA) would have a stronger case to present to the rest of the Anglican Communion,if:
a)It had not cast aside, it's Constitutional Doctrine and started preaching heresy;
b)Continued to hold a Faith consistent with the teachings of the Apostles and the Church Fathers and,so had remained both
Catholic and Apostolic;
c)Had maintained the Lambeth
Moratorium.
Until the Presiding Bishoop and her ilk will repent of their failings and of leading the Church into disrepute;they have nothing to offer the rest of the Communion other than an example of how to fail.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Until the Presiding Bishoop and her ilk will repent of their failings and of leading the Church into disrepute;they have nothing to offer the rest of the Communion other than an example of how to fail." - G.W. -

For Glen's information the TEC Presiding Bishoop (sic) would not have any power on her own to do what you accuse her of. And, in any event, he ius presuming that all of us in ACANZP think as he does on this issue.

Also, perhaps G.W. did not know that the GAFCON people were not innocent of breaches against the A.C. Moratoria. Intentional Piracy in TEC and the A.C. of Canada was one of them. More lately, the piratical appearance of A.M.i.E. (GAFCON surrogate) in the Church of England's heartland - another instance of 'lack of order'!

I think, Glen, you will have to do a lot more catching up on the reality of schismatic activity on the part of the GAFCON Churches in order not to make more gaffes!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Glen
I am lacking energy to moderate a series of comments in which the recent history of the Communion is played out from two different perspectives.

It would be helpful if there could be recognition that simply turning up to meetings does not make one a good Anglican, and that staying away from meetings does raise questions about commitment to being Anglican, since being Anglican does include turning up to meetings ...

Kurt said...

Well, Glen, time will tell, of course. In any event, many of us in TEC are thankful that we are finally rid of those people. In progressive circles we no longer have to “explain” them to associates. And I’m sure that they are happy that they will no longer be embarrassed in redneck circles with “the woman question” and “the gay question” hanging over their heads. Separation is unfortunate, but ultimately beneficial to both parties. Sometimes divorces are necessary.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Father Ron Smith said...

"Alan Haley has been comparing the reports from the Diocese and ECinSC"
- Pageantmaster -

I hope you're not relying on 'Curmudgeon' for an unbiased opinion on these matters, Pageantmaster.

Mr Haley happens to be a lawyer, who has a vested interest in representing his clients who include the schismatic Bishop of S.Carolina. He is also an outspoken supporter of ACNA and the GAFCON secessionists.

Paul Powers said...

The impression that I get from Mr. Haley's blog is that he doesn't represent any of the parties to the South Carolina lawsuit, so he would have no "vested" interest in its outcome.

Father Ron Smith said...

The term 'vested interest', Paul, may refer to other than monetary matters. Ideology is involved here. Just read a few more of his posts.

Paul Powers said...

In American English, "vested interest" suggests some sort of pecuniary interest. I accept that it may not have the same connotation in British or Kiwi English. If you mean he favors one side over thenother, you're right. And so do you, except it's the opposite side. And so do I. However, as far as I know, none of our lives is likely to be directly effected by the final outcome, whatever it is. So to say that any of us has an interest in the outcome seems a bit of a stretch.

Father Ron Smith said...

I understand the leaning towards a financial interest in the U.S. understanding of the word 'vested', Paul. We in Aotearoa/N.Z. are not so legally/financially bound-up.

For us, in ACANZP, the word 'vested' might just refer to the how we dress for celebrating the Eucharist!

Paul Powers said...

I see the confusion, Fr. Ron. Unlike their counterparts in England and in some Commonwealth realms, US American lawyers don't vest when they appear in court.