Dan Martins on the Deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, I am dismayed that Bishop Duncan has taken several actions that he has....

But the bulk of my sadness and anger is reserved for the Presiding Bishop and those who have attempted to buttress her course of action. No, I'm not a lawyer and I've never played one on TV. But I do read and write English with a modicum of fluency. I know what lots of words mean. I can diagram sentences. And I can spot ambiguity from a mile away. There is nothing ambiguous about Canon IV.9. That the HOB's lawyer-bishops cast aside common sense in order to "find" ambiguity that they could then resolve in favor of the Presiding Bishop's desires is to their shame. So … shame on them. As a result of their work, the best hermeneutical tool for understanding the polity and discipline of the Episcopal Church these days is, alas, Alice in Wonderland, where words mean only what those in power say they mean.

I am also sad and angry—well, mystified might be a more accurate term—at the tunnel vision of the HOB majority. It is actually doing harm to their own cause. Before they took on the Duncan matter, our bishops took some time to bask in the afterglow of the Lambeth Conference, wherein they made lots of new friends and reached deeper levels of mutual understanding with their episcopal peers from other provinces. So it is incredible to me that they cannot see how their action in deposing Bishop Duncan is likely to be interpreted abroad as a pre-emptive purge of an annoying colleague, convicting a man for what he thinks and plans rather than for what he has done (shades of the film Minority Report), yet another example of TEC's "progressive" juggernaut steamrolling all opposition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Polity & Canons

7 Comments
Posted September 26, 2008 at 7:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Creighton+ wrote:

Interesting….I made the Minority Report comparision Sun day….I was stunned that so few had seen the movie and did not know what I was talking about!

September 26, 8:08 am | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

The HoB illegally deposed +Duncan because it is in full panic mode over the dioceses that it is about to lose and because it knows, deep down, there is nothing it can do, canonically, to prevent it.  So, in a desperate act of shooting the most guilty-looking guy at hand, it did so to +Duncan.  Unfortunately for this lawless band of pseudo-clerics, most of the Communion does not seem to respect its act and will go on recognizing +Duncan as bishop of DioPitt.

September 26, 11:03 am | [comment link]
3. Irenaeus wrote:

“The HOB’s lawyer-bishops cast aside common sense in order to “find” ambiguity that they could then resolve in favor of the Presiding Bishop’s desires”—-Fr. Martins

Worse than that. They cast aside integrity. Their “reinterpretation” of the rule is an Outright Lie.

September 26, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
4. writingmom15143 wrote:

what i see most clearly in the Presiding Bishop’s actions with Bishop Duncan is the same thing that struck me from a comment she made at Lambeth…(and please forgive me if i don’t have the names or details correct) when the Archbishop of Canterbury shared the news that there would be more acceptance of female priests and bishops (sorry…i know the basics…not the specifics)  i know that was a monumental statement…and the Presiding Bishop’s first reply was in reference to her disappointment/concern that the decision took so long…no thought about what it meant for the Archbishop and the other clergy to be at that place…no consideration of what it meant to them as a body of believers…

and i saw so clearly that the Presiding Bishop was not concerned about the Truth…she was only concerned about being “right”

September 26, 2:57 pm | [comment link]
5. MargaretG wrote:

This passage also stood out for me:

Of this much I am fairly certain: The picture will get darker and more confusing for orthodox Anglicans in the U.S. before it gets lighter and clearer. I can’t even in all honesty bring myself to say something encouraging like “This is the darkness just before dawn.” The truth is, things can, in fact, get a lot darker than they are now. We can pretty much count on that happening. It is a time for letting go of expectations, not with pollyannish nostrums that a deus ex machina will rescue us, but with a willingness to be conformed to the shape of the cross.

September 26, 7:35 pm | [comment link]
6. Brian Vander Wel wrote:

Ought we be so surprised that the ones who claim to see ambiguity in “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another” (Romans 1:26-27) ALSO claim to see ambiguity in “a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote, shall give its consent” (Canon IV.9.2)? We ought not be surprised at such consistent misreading.

Neither ought we fear it. It a perspective that is as clearly anti-LOGOS as any can be. Which means that it cannot stand and will not stand, but will be utterly burned by the purifying and all-consuming fire of God.

September 26, 9:24 pm | [comment link]
7. Eutychus wrote:

Thank you Dan Martins for your well balance approach.
Again I say AMEN!
Yet, Dan you glossed over a burning question/desire in my soul.
That is a desire to stay in The Episcopal Church and at the same time be/remain a Christian.
The fact that I listed “TEC” before “t” shows that there is either a deficiency in my faith OR my attachment to this branch of the church, I don’t know…
Do I love the “Anglican/Episcopal Experience” more than Jesus?
I’m in earnest here.  This is my struggle. 
Although we Anglicans are “Catholic” in our faith, we are not Roman Catholic.
And as products of the Reformation at what point does it be inconsistent to remain in an increasingly obstinate and heretical branch of of the church?
Where should the faithful draw the line?
It would be an obvious question (for me) to ask a person, “How can you be a Christian a work for Plan Parenthood?  In the same way it’s becoming an increasing obvious question, “How can you be a Christian and be an Episcopalian?”
In Christ,
Your fellow faithful Episcopalian.

September 27, 7:51 am | [comment link]
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