Church of England Newspaper: Call for review after trial ‘flouted Church rules’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The procedures laid out in Title IV, Canon 9, sections 1 and 2 (the abandonment canon) to depose a bishop state that after the Title IV review committee issues a certificate of abandonment the Presiding Bishop "shall" "forthwith" notify the accused. The Presiding Bishop then "shall" seek the consent of the three senior bishops with jurisdiction to inhibit the accused bishop, and trial "shall" take place at the "next" meeting of the House of Bishops.

At a March 12 press conference Bishop Schori outlined the procedural history surrounding the Cox case. She said the Title IV review committee had "certified [Bishop Cox] several years ago. ... before her time." She added, however, that "it was never brought to the House of Bishops for action."

She then said she "did not send it to the three senior bishops" and the House of Bishops "did not consider it in September" at their meeting in New Orleans with the Archbishop of Canterbury due to the "the press of other business." Several minutes later, Bishop Schori said she wanted to "clarify" her earlier statements. She said she had been "unable to get the consent of the three senior bishops last spring. That’s why we didn’t bring it to the September meeting" of the House of Bishops.

Contacted after the press conference, one of the three senior bishops, who declined to be named, stated he had never been asked by Bishop Schori to consent to Bishop Cox’s suspension. The Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, Mr David Booth Beers, declined to address the issues surrounding Bishop Cox’s case in a March 15 statement released through the Episcopal Church’s press office. However, he stated that his "position" was that there had been a legal quorum to depose the two bishops on March 12.

Canon lawyer, retired Bishop William Wantland of Eau Claire told CEN the deposition of Bishop Cox was "void" for failing to achieve the required "majority vote of all bishops entitled to vote" and because the "canonical procedure was simply not followed."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons

Posted March 27, 2008 at 7:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. sophy0075 wrote:

I am reminded of what attorney Joseph Welch said to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the witch-hunting hearings of the 1950s:

“Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

March 27, 9:20 pm | [comment link]
2. Sir Highmoor wrote:

I will make a safe prediction. The ABC will take no action.

March 27, 9:23 pm | [comment link]
3. Grandmother wrote:

Why is it just Bishop Cox?  Are they so sure they had enough to depose +San Joaquin? 
Of course the debacle of the letter with all the mistaken information would serve to put the stamp of “disapproval”, but still wonder about +Schofield.

Inquiring Grandmother wants to know…

Gloria in Sc

March 27, 9:37 pm | [comment link]
4. Robert Dedmon wrote:

This is a descent into Chaos.

March 27, 9:42 pm | [comment link]
5. TLDillon wrote:


March 27, 10:08 pm | [comment link]
6. TACit wrote:

Well, yes, #4, it is chaos, and was always going to be.  This regrettable state of chaos was foreseen by the small group of Anglican faithful who met at St. Louis in 1977 and took steps to maintain Catholic ORDER.  It isn’t called ‘order’ for nothing, after all. (I needed nearly 25 years to notice this, so am hardly intending to say ‘told you so’ here.)
The tragic state of today’s ECUSA seems a testimony to our American inclination to experiment.  In the realm of things spiritual, experimentation is not the way that God brings his new creation into being.

March 27, 10:39 pm | [comment link]
7. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

Sir Highmore: What action could the ABC take?

March 27, 10:53 pm | [comment link]
8. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

They are clearly working themselves deeper into the mire.

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.

The Rabbit.

March 27, 11:17 pm | [comment link]
9. robroy wrote:

I think that Sir Highmore was thinking that it is members of the Anglican Communion that is doing the investigating because this is being reported in the Church of England Newspaper.

But he is correct in that the ABC will not revoke Bp Schofield’s invitation with the clumsy, brutish manipulation and disregard of canon law. How offended he must be, remembering the invitation to the September HoB meeting was to familiarize him with TEO “polity.”

March 27, 11:29 pm | [comment link]
10. Larry Morse wrote:

The canon appears to be clear and Schori must be aware of this. The question then is “Why would she flout the canon is such an obvious way, since she was well aware of how many people would be watching?” What could she possibly expect to gain?
  Given such an obvious dereliction of responsibility, who has the power to punish Schori? Who is she actually responsible to? Larry

March 28, 1:21 am | [comment link]
11. TACit wrote:

Great question, #10.  To whom, indeed?  It’s a particularly vexing question for those who have stepped outside catholic order.

March 28, 1:27 am | [comment link]
12. Athanasius Returns wrote:

The current TEC ruling elite have stepped outside of catholicity altogether, TACit.  You are correct.  How these folks can weekly recount the Nicene Creed, particularly the affirmation of belief in one holy catholic and apostolic Church with any shred of credibility whatsoever is a mystery.  Flouting the canons lays waste to order.

March 28, 4:41 am | [comment link]
13. gppp wrote:

Speaking of the Creed, I wonder what parts Vicky omitted from his own recitation this Easter, or if he even opened his mouth at all.

March 28, 6:56 am | [comment link]
14. Larry Morse wrote:

I would still like to know what she has to gain? She’s not stupid; she must be aware of the risks. I cannot believe that she has simply chosen to ignore canon law because she has no use for it and doesn’t care if anyone knows or not. If that is the case, why pretend otherwise? Larry

March 28, 8:45 am | [comment link]
15. Doug Martin wrote:

There is an appeal process.  If the good Bishops deposed believe they have been treated wrongly, they should appeal.  Absent an appeal, they must be in agreement that the disciplinary actions taken are properly executed and appropriate and they are accepting the consequences of their actions.

March 28, 9:58 am | [comment link]
16. Bill Melnyk wrote:

I say get rid of every last bishop and be done with them all.

March 28, 10:33 am | [comment link]
17. TLDillon wrote:

Bill Melynk,
I think you would make a great Baptist! In fact, I can envision you in one of those mega churches with the huge video feed screens for those in the nose bleed section! You’d be the bomb! smile

March 28, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
18. off2 wrote:

#15 Doug Martin.

Would you please cite the appeals process you mentioned. It was my understanding that there was no appeal from such decision by the HoB. Thank you, Bill Stickney

March 28, 12:05 pm | [comment link]
19. phil swain wrote:

Doug Martin, it appears to me that the appellate review(IV.6) to which you refer is applicable to IV.5 trials.  Of course, Cox and Schofield were not tried pursuant to IV.5, but were deposed pursuant to IV.9.  From my quick perusal of the canons I do not see an appellate procedure for IV.9 actions.  Perhaps you can enlighten us.

March 28, 12:27 pm | [comment link]
20. JDunlap wrote:

Doug Martin,
Were I one of the Bishops in question I would feel no need to appeal a judgement made by a church that has no jurisdiction over me.  I’m sure they feel a sadness at the pettyness and vindictiveness of the whole thing, but no need to respond to such an empty gesture.  I would say that this is an issue for those within TEC.  And only those that care about the integrity of church governance and canon law.  A smaller number, it seems, than all of us would hope.

March 28, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
21. robroy wrote:

“Absent an appeal, they must be in agreement that the disciplinary actions taken are properly executed and appropriate and they are accepting the consequences of their actions.”

The issue is not the bishops, but rather the rest of the bishops in the crosshairs of KJS. Bp Schofield has moved on. Bp Cox tried to avoid bringing shame on the church by resigning. But an organization that calls itself a church ought to be concerned with honesty, integrity, and justice. Yes, I know that is asking a lot of the TEO.

March 28, 1:33 pm | [comment link]
22. TLDillon wrote:

#20 JDunlap,
If you ae the JDunlap from San Joaquin that is a board member of Remain Episcopal, then I am not surprised by your statement above. By not having these bishops appeal KJS & the HoB’s violation of TEc canons would play right in to your hands. I pray they do appeal it for nothing else but to show that even though TEc has no jurisdiction over them because they are in another Province, it still needs to have attention brought to the heavy handiness of those in question and save other bishops like MacBurney from their tyranny. If someone came after me illegally against rulesor laws, even though I moved to another state, trust me…I woul appela and defend my position.

from the elves: this poster is located in the the Northeast of the US. Please take care in making assumptions. .

March 28, 1:37 pm | [comment link]
23. JDunlap wrote:

Nope.  I have no desire to “Remain Episcopal” (though I hope for a day when TEC will repent and return to orthodoxy… I’d come back for that!).  I live in N. Virginia and go to Truro Church (and love it!).

I appreciate your desire to see justice done in this situation and I’m eager for it too.  I’m just not sure how you can appeal something that has no force or effect on you without acknowledging that you are under the jurisdiction of TEC.  I think the folks who need to stand up for Bishops Cox and Schofield are those within TEC who live under TEC canons and who recognize that TEC actions were fraudulent.

March 28, 1:52 pm | [comment link]
24. Robert Dedmon wrote:

Are you quoting Sir Walter Scott who is quoting
Robert Burns?

March 28, 6:38 pm | [comment link]
25. R. Eric Sawyer wrote:

re: an appeal—
I would think that an appeal would be desired in the case that the HOB had rendered a decision which one believed flawed, and thus should be reversed.
The situation here is that the HOB did not vote to depose, and thus there is no decision to be reversed. Pb KJS et. al. acting, on the basis of a flawed count, as if such a measure passed does not change that.

March 28, 7:24 pm | [comment link]
26. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

#24, Actually, these two lines derive not from Robert Burns, but from Sir Walter Scott’s (1771-1832) epic poem “Marmion” (1808), Canto VI, Stanza XVII. You can read those lines in their full context here (scroll down to stanza XVII):
The Rabbit.

March 28, 11:11 pm | [comment link]
27. TLDillon wrote:

My apologies if I offended. But there is a J. Dunlap here in the Diocese of San Joaquin that sits on the Remain Episcopal Board and has been very instrumental in some things that have not been so kind!
I agree that those bishops within TEc need to take a stand on this botched deposition of both my bishop, John-David and Bp. Cox. It appears that So. Carolina’s bishop has done that, but it seems a bit too late. Why is that when someone finally makes a stand it always comes late? I mean tomorrow is the “Special Convention” here in Lodi and they will press forward, then what? Something should have been done along time ago and in regards to this fiasco, the faithful bishops, if there are more than one, needed to come forward long before the day before the “Special Convention” IMHO!

My prayers with you and all in Truro!

March 28, 11:57 pm | [comment link]
28. JDunlap wrote:

No offense taken at all… just a mix up that is easy to clear up.

It does seem that many bishops are finding it hard to stand up for your bishop and Bishop Cox.  But thanks be to God for Bishop Lawrence.  Perhaps others will take courage from his faithfulness.

I still pray for Bishop Lee (VA)... who knows what our patient and merciful God might do?

I’ll be sure to pray for you and all in the Dio of SJ this week.  The Lord be with you.

Jon Dunlap

March 29, 1:08 am | [comment link]
29. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

What can you do with an organization that believes it is subject neither to God’s law, nor man’s?

You can only affect it when it enters your jurisdiction.  The secular courts could take notice of the lawlessness of TEc and refuse to apply any alleged internal church rules to property disputes.  The ABC and the Anglican Communion have control over whom they recognize as being in communion with themselves.  They could exclude TEc.  But, you can’t stop TEc from running any kangaroo court (apologies to my Aussie friends) they choose to convene.

March 29, 3:15 am | [comment link]
30. Milton wrote:

Comment deleted by elf as an ad hominem attack against another commenter.Since this is repeat, commenter is warned.

March 29, 2:56 pm | [comment link]
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