Anglican Curmudgeon: The Bishop Stacy Sauls Memorandum Refuted (I)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it carefully and read it all.

Update:
By request, here is an apparently working link to the full text of the Sauls' memorandum. PDF File here

You can also read the document and Brad Drell's commentary over at Brad's blog should you have trouble opening PDF files. Here's Brad's blog links:
Sauls memorandum
Brad's commentary

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts

30 Comments
Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Cennydd wrote:

What I personally think of this memorandum isn’t fit to print.

May 29, 10:15 am | [comment link]
2. ACNApriest wrote:

I am not sure that anyone who is unbiased has even the slightest doubt that things have been done poorly in regards to the deposition of Cox and company.  The question kendall, is what can actually be done?  What do you think will be done?  Could the PB really be deposed for this?  If so what would that solve?  Could this event be a turning point for those working the inside strategy?  Is it merely a question of process? 

commoncausepriest

May 29, 10:58 am | [comment link]
3. Adam 12 wrote:

This analysis is brilliant and most helpful. I am starting to wonder through various happenings and resolutions if there isn’t a distinct movement in various dioceses to distance themselves from doings organized by 815. Unlike her predecessors, Jefferts-Schori has been a political activist with teeth, and I can’t help but wonder if her actions are taking their toll.

May 29, 10:58 am | [comment link]
4. Undergroundpewster wrote:

#3 What kind of teeth? The kind that drain blood and create a race of the living dead?

May 29, 11:45 am | [comment link]
5. Nikolaus wrote:

That would be my guess, Pewster.

May 29, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
6. stabill wrote:

Kendall and elves,

How can one make any sense out of Anglican Curmudgeon’s commentary without first having a chance to see Bishop Sauls’s report?

Please place a copy, or make a link to, the Sauls report on the front page.

Thanks.

May 29, 12:04 pm | [comment link]
7. evan miller wrote:

#1
What I personally think of its author (my former bishop) isn’t fit to print.

May 29, 12:08 pm | [comment link]
8. Chancellor wrote:

Stabill (#6), there’s a link to the full Sauls Memorandum in the first paragraph of the previous post at the Curmudgeon’s site. So that there is a link in this thread as well, here it is.

May 29, 12:55 pm | [comment link]
9. w.w. wrote:

#8 Chancellor:

Oops. Document not found at the episcopalcafe website…???!!!

Hmmmmm.

w.w.

May 29, 1:34 pm | [comment link]
10. w.w. wrote:

#8 - Your link was incomplete. Here is the full one:

Link to PDF

Apologies for clicking the Submit button too soon on my previous.

w.w.

May 29, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
11. Dilbertnomore wrote:

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 - KJV

“The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” St. John Chrysostom

May 29, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
12. Chancellor wrote:

w.w., I can’t get your or my earlier link to work.  Let’s try this one.

May 29, 4:17 pm | [comment link]
13. The_Elves wrote:

Hi all—not sure what’s up with the problems posting the link.
Brad Drell has the full Sauls Memorandum over at his blog:
Here’s that link

Brad also has commentary on the memo:
Here

May 29, 5:26 pm | [comment link]
14. stabill wrote:

Elves (#13),
The posted tiny url is OK.

Oh!  And now I see there’s a good working link on the front page.  Thanks.

Brad Drell’s version of the Sauls report is a low quality html copy of the original pdf.

Drell’s analysis begins by criticizing the fact that the memo comes from an HOB committee rather than an HOD committee and ends with a comment that the report should be discounted because Bishop Sauls interprets Scripture badly.  Really!?!

May 29, 6:17 pm | [comment link]
15. stabill wrote:

Of course, some will say every article on the canon stuff should be discounted because, regardless of the side it takes, the person who wrote it began with his conclusions and worked from there to the analysis.  In fact, all of the analyses say this about the analyses coming from the opposite side.

Seriously, Sauls makes more sense than Curmudgeon.

May 29, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
16. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

stabil (#15),

You’re entitled to your opinion.  But I think you’re totally wrong.

Bp. Sauls reminds me of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland.  “Sentence first.  Trial afterwards.”

I admit it.  I have nothing but utter contempt for the Bp. of Lexington.

David Handy+

May 29, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
17. Bill Matz wrote:

It may be in Part II, but the use of “whole number” necessarily refers to more than just those at the meeting or it is superfluous, and it is improper to assume that anything is superfluous.

May 29, 8:06 pm | [comment link]
18. stabill wrote:

NRA (#16)
Why utter contempt?

May 29, 10:21 pm | [comment link]
19. stabill wrote:

Bill Matz (#17)

... the use of “whole number” necessarily refers to more than just those at the meeting or it is superfluous, and it is improper to assume that anything is superfluous.

Because it’s required to be an action of the House taken at a meeting of the House, the whole number of bishops entitled to vote is the number of bishops present who have vote, provided there is a quorum.  The use of “whole number” is not superfluous.  Its effect is that the number of yes votes must be larger than the sum of the number of no votes and the number of abstentions.

May 29, 10:32 pm | [comment link]
20. Dilbertnomore wrote:

Stabill, with all due respect, regarding your inability to empathize with the utter contempt I and others hold certain TEO brass, I think my comment at #11 covers it for +Sauls, +Schori, +Bruno and a several dozen others of like ilk.

May 29, 10:32 pm | [comment link]
21. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

stabill (#18),

It’s not so much this particular feeble attempt at justifying the indefensible.  It’s what I perceive as the complete lack of integrity with which he has conducted his oversight of the diocese the last several years.  For instance, it’s pretty well documented that he tried to place spies in conservative churches to report back to him.  He shamefully treated a conservative woman priest, Alice Lindsey.  And much more…

David Handy+

May 29, 10:51 pm | [comment link]
22. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Drell’s analysis begins by criticizing the fact that the memo comes from an HOB committee rather than an HOD committee . . . “

Not it didn’t—Drell pointed it out as “extremely significant.”  I agree—it is significant.  Not certain how that is a criticism.  Readers may certainly draw their own conclusions as to whether it is important that the House Committee on Constitutions and Canons did not issue the report but that instead the little memo was issued by the Sauls Property Committee.

RE: “. . . and ends with a comment that the report should be discounted because Bishop Sauls interprets Scripture badly.”

No it doesn’t.  It doesn’t say “that the report should be discounted” in the least for that reason.

Drell points out that Sauls’s . . . interesting . . . “interpretation” of the canons is remarkably similar in style to Sauls’s interesting “interpretation” of scripture.  The fact that they are parallel and similar in their poor quality and speciousness doesn’t at all mean that the report should “be discounted.”  The report should be discounted because it is wrong. 

But it’s always nice for readers to have pointed out for them just how strikingly similar a progressive’s handling of one document is to his handling of another document.

May 29, 10:57 pm | [comment link]
23. stabill wrote:

NRA (# 21)

For instance, it’s pretty well documented that he tried to place spies in conservative churches to report back to him.

This is hard to evaluate without more information.  For example, if a bishop receives a complaint from members of a parish, one would expect that he might send someone to observe.

In fact why say “spies” rather than “observers”.  And why say “tried to place” rather than simply “placed”?

May 30, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
24. stabill wrote:

Sarah (# 22),

But it’s always nice for readers to have pointed out for them just how strikingly similar a progressive’s handling of one document is to his handling of another document.

So progressive is bad?  (Ronald Reagan: At ___ progress is our most important product.)

Seriously, aren’t there one or more progressive figures in the New Testament whom you admire?  And in that context who are the “reasserters”?

Bottom line: it’s an ad hominem comment.  Your post does not actually deal directly with the report.

May 30, 12:11 pm | [comment link]
25. evan miller wrote:

#24
Yes, these days, “progressive” is bad.  Always.  Progress, on the other hand, is objectively good, though the term is often used when it really means “change”.  And change can be either good or bad.

May 30, 12:23 pm | [comment link]
26. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

stabill (#23),

I chose the loaded, derogatory word “spies,” because it was done surrepticiously.  Just as the old Soviet KGB planted “informers” or spies in Protestant and even Russian Orthodox churches to gather incriminating evidence against “troublemakers.”

Have you followed the famous case of big St. John’s Episcopal Church in Versailles (outside Louisville), KY?  I think the way +Stacy Sauls handled that thriving orthodox parish was scandalous.  The vast bulk of the congregation left TEC and has affiliated with the Anglican Church of Uganda.  Let’s just say there was nothing pastoral about the way +Sauls treated the leaders of that outstanding parish.  And I don’t just mean it seems to me that he was harsh and mean-spirited; it was dishonest and coercive.  It sure looks to me like he acts as if “the end justifies the means.”  Hence my comment about his deplorable lack of integrity.

But to be fair, +Sauls isn’t alone in having gained the dubious distinction of being on my list of contemptible bishops.  For instance, +Jon Bruno in LA, +Andrew Smith in CT, and +Rob O’Neil in CO would also make my short list of especially flagrant examples of detestible men who have betrayed and their sacred office and become a disgrace.

All these, and more, remind me of the ascerbic Puritan cleric who once admitted that he had come to believe in the doctrine of apostolic succession after all.  For he wryly noted that all the bishops in the C of E now appeared to him to be successors of…

Judas Iscariot.

David Handy+

May 30, 1:08 pm | [comment link]
27. evan miller wrote:

Fr. Handy is absolutely correct in his depiction of +Sauls’ conduct towards St. John’s.  It was underhanded and dishonest in the extreme.  He shared emails between himself and the vestry with his fifth columnists that the vestry was not sharing, at Sauls’ request,  with the parish at large.  We had no idea how the rector search was going, because our search committee had honored his request that it be kept confidential, until Sauls fired our vestry because he wouldn’t approve the choice of the search committee.  All along, Sauls had been colluding with his Quislings within the tiny minority of “progressive” parishioners to seize our church from us.

May 30, 1:39 pm | [comment link]
28. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

evan miller (#27),

Thanks for confirming how awful it all was at St. John’s in Versailles.  You were there and lived through it, so you know the facts and the full extent of +Saul’s treachery far better than I do.  With “friends” like the Bp. of Lexington, who needs enemies?

It reminds me of a searing line in Tolkien’s great Lord of the Ring fantasy, where Gandalf says something like this, speaking of the corruption of Saruman (IIRC), “In all our long years of war with the Dark Lord, treason has ever been our greatest foe.”

I’m well aware, of course, that in expressing my “utter contempt” for +Stacy Sauls and passing such harsh judgment on him, I run the risk of incurring God’s judgment on my own failings, which are numerous and egregious enough.  But at least I keep repenting for them (when I become convicted of them).  Alas, I don’t see any sign of repentance whatsoever on +Sauls’ part.  His conscience appears calloused and hardened, like Pharaoh’s heart in the Exodus story.  And that’s the scary thing.

David Handy+

May 30, 3:49 pm | [comment link]
29. stabill wrote:

NRA (# 28),

As you well know, Kentucky is a long drive from Albany, and I’ve not heard the St. John’s story before.  OTOH, I’m not quick to accept such stories.  Is there a responsible write-up?

Meanwhile, this is off topic.

I understand from this thread that Bishop Sauls has detractors.

But if there’s something wrong in his report, let’s have it clearly labelled.

I do think it unfair that Bishop Cox got the same deal as Bishop Schofield.  As I don’t see a way around that in the C and C, one should think constructively about canon changes that would fix it.

May 30, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
30. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “So progressive is bad?”

Yep—for conservative Episcopalians, it is. Not, of course, for progressive Episcopalians.  ; > )

RE: “Bottom line: it’s an ad hominem comment.  Your post does not actually deal directly with the report.”

Nope.  An “ad hominem” argument is an argument that attempts to state that another person’s argument is inaccurate or false based on the person who wrote the argument.

I made no such argument.  In fact I did precisely the opposite: “The fact that they are parallel and similar in their poor quality and speciousness doesn’t at all mean that the report should “be discounted.” The report should be discounted because it is wrong.”

In fact, I made no attempt to argue or debate about the document being wrong—I merely asserted that it was.  Were I to be interested in making an argument about why I think the document is wrong, such an argument would not be based on Saul’s imaginary readings of the scriptures. 

You are right in one thing.  My post does not “deal directly with the report” nor did I intend it to.

May 31, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
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