ACI: Is The Renunciation of Orders Routine?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Defenders of the Presiding Bishop are scrambling to re-interpret her extraordinary action of depriving a bishop of the Church of England of the gifts and authority conferred in his ordination and removing him from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church. For example, the group supporting the Presiding Bishop in Pittsburgh stated that “[t]his is a routine way of permitting Bishop Scriven to continue his ministry.” In the strange world of TEC, renunciation of orders has become a routine way of continuing one’s ministry.

But it is not routine. Indeed, it has not been used for those transferring from TEC to another province in the Anglican Communion until the Presiding Bishop began what resembles a scorched-earth approach to her opponents within TEC. Not surprisingly, in the past such matters have been handled by letter. One can see the evolution of the Presiding Bishop’s “routine” policy in the treatment of Bishop David Bena, who was transferred by letter by his diocesan bishop to the Church of Nigeria in February 2007. A month later, the Presiding Bishop wrote Bishop Bena and informed him that “by this action you are no longer a member of the House of Bishops” and that she had informed the Secretary of the House to remove him from the list of members. That was all that needed to be done. A year later, however, as her current strategy emerged, she suddenly declared in January 2008 that she had accepted Bishop Bena’s renunciation of orders using the canon she now uses against Bishop Scriven. In other words, if this is now sadly routine, it has only become routine in the past year.

Not only is this not routine, it was not necessary.

"This action reflects profound confusion" say the authors. Is there a better phrase to describe the common life of TEC at present? Doctrinal and Structural incoherence abound. Read it all--KSH

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Polity & Canons

4 Comments
Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Dilbertnomore wrote:

There certainly is something profound in the actions of the Presiding Bishop of TEC, but it isn’t confusion.

January 30, 9:02 am | [comment link]
2. David Wilson wrote:

What is even more profound is that the so-called conservative TEC loyalists and their apparatchiks in Pittsburgh have embraced the PeeBee’s agenda lock, stock, and barrel.  Their stated reason for staying with TEC was to be a witness to the gospel and as loyal opposition.  Since October 4 there has been no gospel witness and no opposition.

January 30, 10:53 am | [comment link]
3. Creighton+ wrote:

I appreciate the ACI rationale argument regarding the tyrannical action of the EC’s PB…it is stating the obvious of course, but it seems necessary when Diocesan Bishops and Standing Committee choose to not oppose her actions and allow them to continue.  There is no doubt at all that the current PB is violating the Constitution and Canons of TEC and should be charged as such….but it seems no one wants to admit this.

This goes way past denial….

January 30, 11:16 am | [comment link]
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