Comments: further reports on Bishop Schofield and San Joaquin

Taking a wait and let's see stand, given how fast Schofield and others are trying to move, might communicate an ecclesiastical authority discernment paralysis in the face of Schofield's moralisms. Part of the hard, wedge-driving success of the conservative realignment campaign so far is that its leaders deeply love to force narrow, and often conservative winner takes all, choices upon people. It’s easy to feel paralyzed. Do I wanna go straight to hell? Or do I wanna be exactly like nothing but a conservative realignment believer? Ah, are those my only choices?

Nobody knows this better than the fav target groups? - queer folks, progressive believers, and women? One targeted rather gets the impression, well realignment believers have to do this to us because they believe their God is always doing it to them?

Quite understandable.

Nevertheless, an organized plan of conservative Home Invasion against historic Anglican leeway is clearly well under way. Narrow and conform all those spaces - institutional, ethical, theological, doctrinal - within which other non-conservative Anglican believers - even, gasp, those other other folks, non-conservative inquirers - could exist in common prayer, that is the going ticket. We are told that such space is impossible. A closed (penal?) understanding of gospel must rule all.

Maybe this SC is as happy as Schofield always was, standing at a properly puritannical distance from all those other sorts of TEC believers who cannot be recognized in their heart of hearts as brothers and sisters. This note of distance towards all those other non-conservative folks lingers. I’m not at all sure that this SC believes we all really still live together, diversely, on the same planet. I doubt that this SC can stand to rub shoulders with me downtown at the Fresno soda fountain.

Why else talk like you are bound to follow Schofield wherever he leads, until somebody makes it canonically impossible to do so. Carefulness noted, then. The rest of us take it for the time being, you believe your hands are tied. Rather convenient that you adopt a careful stance which gives you this out. Prop up Schofield by default, as if you still had no wider ecclesiastical authority call that mattered beyond him. You know, to those other folks whom Schofield was so content to leave behind him, still inside TEC?

Otherwise, why keep letting Schofield collapse and carry off all diocesan spaces within which such believers typically have existed?

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 4:02pm GMT

Dr. Primrose's comment, currently the final one on Mark Harris's site, hits the nail firmly on the head when he cites the precedent of 1976 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich.

"In that case, the diocese removed and defrocked a bishop, who then sued the church, claiming that he was the true bishop. The lower courts found that the bishop’s removal and defrocking were improper because the proceedings against the bishop were not in accordance with the church’s constitution and canons. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, held the civil courts were constitutionally barred from deciding matters of internal church governance."

While one hopes that TEC's process against Schofield was conducted in accordance with its canons, and that if errors were made they will be corrected, so far as the civil courts are concerned, this is irrelevant since "the civil courts [are] constitutionally barred from deciding matters of internal church governance".

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 4:20pm GMT

I'm confused. Didn't the standing committee in San Joaquin approve and vote in favor of Schofield taking the diocese to Southern Cone?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 5:38pm GMT

With all due respect to Mr. Eaton, the regularity or irregularity of the House of Bishops' action is in the eye of the beholder. On the other hand, Bishop Schofield's action in announcing his departure to the Province of the Southern Cone was unequivocal. And, having entered one province he could only be acting to depart another. Bishop Schofield's explicit resignation as Episcopal bishop of San Joaquin would have been a nice formality, but no more. The essential fact of his separation was already accomplished. The members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin already had a vacancy to fill. Their choice not to recognize the vacancy was a de facto recognition of the authority of Bishop Schofield of the Southern Cone - a recognition that could only have meaning if they followed him. Their temporizing should be recognized for what it is: stalling.

As for the canonicity of the deposition of Bishop Schofield: while folks want to make arguments, it seems fascinating to me that folks so willing to accept the authority of one bishop wreak havoc with those canons by pretending a diocese could be separated from the national Church that had authorized and created it in the first place, should then challenge the authority of a majority of bishops with jurisdiction to interpret them.

Who indeed is to interpret the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church? The General Convention. And between General Conventions? The Executive Council has authority to act on behalf of General Convention. So, the Chair of Executive Council and her Chancellor felt this was an appropriate action. The House of Bishops meets between General Conventions. The Parliamentarian of the House of Bishops, both a Bishop and an attorney, felt this was an appropriate action, and those bishops present agreed. They acted consistently with other recent depositions of bishops. So, who else's interpretation is there to seek?

Posted by Marshall Scott at Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 5:52pm GMT

drdanfee questioned "Why else talk like you are bound to follow Schofield wherever he leads, until somebody makes it canonically impossible to do so."

Isaiah 54:11-15 "“O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing..."

Isaiah 30:10-16 "They say to the seers, “See no more visions !” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things,prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message ,relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall... that collapses suddenly... It will break in pieces like pottery... the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’Therefore you will flee!..."

Or, to quote the vernacular, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out".

The covenant of peace applies to ALL creation and all peopleS of all nationS - it is a colourful and diverse Creation. Of course, those that despise this earth and its occupants are welcome to a nice little heaven separated from the rest of Creation.

John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy". Of course they are fleeing TEC, TEC's theology exposes the bankruptcy of their own. Their theology is no longer grounded in the Torah and they worship an idol to suit their own contrivances.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Sunday, 23 March 2008 at 6:34pm GMT

You may want to add Bishop John W. Howe's letter to the three most-senior bishops (including his old friend Bishop Peter James Lee of Virginia) that might blow the socks anyone who thinks that the deposition of Schofield is a done deal. He charges that the HOB did not follow the canons when Bishop Schori attempted to depose Bishop Schofield - a very serious charge. He has now written to the Bishop-lawyers in the House.

The letter is here:

Here is the text:

My Dear Brothers,

I need to say how totally disappointed and disgusted I am that not one of you has even acknowledged my post, let alone responded to it.

I have no illusions that the outcome of the despicable vote to depose John-David and William will be reversed, but AT LEAST we might want to obey the canons.

I have moved my concern to the Bishop-lawyers of our House, and I have a small degree of hope that they might be willing to take on an issue that you are obviously not willing to confront.

I recall that another person of influence washed his hands of a difficult matter on this same weekend some years ago.

Warmest best wishes for a glorious Easter,

The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida

Posted by BabyBlue at Monday, 24 March 2008 at 12:56am GMT

BB, check the 1976, 7-2 US Supreme Court decision to which I cite a reference above. The decision states: "We hold that the inquiries made by the Illinois Supreme Court into matters of ecclesiastical cognizance and polity and the court's actions pursuant thereto contravened the First and Fourteenth Amendments."

It's a done deal.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 24 March 2008 at 1:26pm GMT

Here's the note I left on the Standing Comittee's site. Since all posts must be moderated, it'll be interesting to see if it gets approved.

"So, you’re stuck in a corner where you have to assert that the bishop is still the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and you haven’t come into power as the Ecclesiastical Authority remaining in the diocese. That must be a lonely place. By your own spin, you can’t do anything at all. By your lack of activity, you become increasingly irrelevant."

Posted by ruidh at Monday, 24 March 2008 at 4:06pm GMT
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