Andrew Carey: A dangerous move by the Americans

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Defenders of the Presiding Bishop claim that by her actions she has merely deprived him of a licence in the Episcopal Church. But surely the whole point is that after the deposition of Bob Duncan last September, Bishop Scriven’s ‘licence’ was revoked. No, in fact it looks like Presiding Bishop Schori is attempting something much more sweeping here.

The Anglican Communion Institute again comments: “The Presiding Bishop’s action has profound consequences for TEC’s status as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and its communion with the Church of England.” Her Declaration of Removal touches upon the ‘ordinations’ conferred on him by the Church of England, not by The Episcopal Church, and therefore she is going down a very dangerous road by pretending to have the authority to pronounce on them. Furthermore, by prohibiting a bishop in good standing within the Church of England from ministering in The Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Schori is opening up the way for a diplomatic row.

Bishop Scriven, no doubt, will be laughing about this bizarre overstep by the Presiding Bishop, but the ramifications of this move should be examined further by English canon lawyers. It seems that The Episcopal Church is claiming to have an authority that it does not. And that, after all, is the root of the problem in the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

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

Posted January 31, 2009 at 1:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Chris wrote:

is it too much to hope this issue will be discussed at the Primates meeting?  Given +++Rowan’s tendency to avoid conflict and confrontation (which of course serves to exacerbate things), I’m not holding my breath…..

January 31, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
2. tjmcmahon wrote:

Glad that Mr. Carey has picked up on this, and wonder what his Dad might think about it.
Whether it is discussed at the Primate’s meeting or not (beyond a whispered “Kate, this has all been quite embarrassing for me.”), one feels certain that it will draw some unofficial (and perhaps official) attention at Synod.  Personally, I rather like Mr. Carey’s suggestion that it be referred to the canon law experts in the CoE.  There should be, at the very least, a clear statement from the CoE on whether Bishop Scriven has indeed renounced his ordinations, as stated rather rudely by the PB of TEC.

January 31, 5:08 pm | [comment link]
3. Dan Crawford wrote:

The Episcopal consistently claims an authority it does not have, nor ever had.

January 31, 5:09 pm | [comment link]
4. BabyBlue wrote:

Wasn’t it Archbishop George Carey that consecrated Bishop Scriven in the first place?


January 31, 5:28 pm | [comment link]
5. Cennydd wrote:

I think it goes without saying that KJS has “stepped in it”  this time, and she might not come out clean.

January 31, 5:45 pm | [comment link]
6. BMR+ wrote:

Andrew Carey repeats uncritically the ACI assertion that at Bishop Duncan’s “deposition” Bishop Scriven was no longer a bishop under the jursidiction of the Episcopal Church.  I don’t believe this to be case. 

By the canon, +Henry could have served as Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh without having been received into the Episcopal Church and without being seated as a full member of the House of Bishops, but in fact he was received into the Episcopal Church, seated in the House, and assigned a number in the American succession—#980.  At that point he was as much an Episcopalian as he would have been had he been baptized, confirmed, and thrice ordained in this Church. 

When Bishop Duncan was “deposed” Bishop Scriven, by canon, ceased to be Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh.  But he continued to be a bishop of this Church, near as I can tell, until the Presiding Bishop’s odd and ill-advised and perhaps intentional misreading of his letter prompted her to accept his “voluntary renunciation” of his orders (an action that might have been appropriate had +Henry been departing for, say, Rome, but that makes no sense at all in his move to Oxford).

What I understand the PB’s backpedal to be—that her action only affects Bishop Scriven’s canonical standing in this Church—is certainly true.  Bishop Scriven was—so far as he knew!—an “unrenounced” Bishop of the Episcopal Church, in good standing, when he re-entered the ministry of the Church of England in Oxford at the end of December.  Nothing in the canons of the Episcopal Church prohibits clergy of the Episcopal Church from serving in other Churches with which we are in Full Communion, “dual citizenship,” as it were.  In his service first in England, then in Argentina, then Spain, then England again (as suffragan for Gibralter and Europe), Bishop Scriven had already moved back and forth between Anglican jurisdictions several times.  A man of world mission, carrying a handful of ecclesial passports.  What Bishop Henry and Catherine might best have expected in reply from Bishop Jefferts Schori, in my opinion, would have been a Bon Voyage card—and, nicely, a word that should Bishop Henry ever wish to return and be called to return to an episcopal ministry within the Episcopal Church, seat #980 would be there for him.

In the end the PB’s action will have no real effect upon Bishop Scriven’s life and ministry.  As a bishop in the Church of England his ministry in the wider Communion—and, indeed, his ministry in the Episcopal Church, as he may be invited from time to time to return to the U.S. for some SAMS-related activity—will be recognized fully, and he will be able to function episcopally in all ways that any bishop, domestic or in-communion, may function, with reference to the appropriate canons having to do with the permission of the local ecclesiastical authority. 

The real damage in this episode has been to the Episcopal Church itself, as the Presiding Bishop has communicated now what can only be interpreted as a disregard of our own canons (as a way to “send a message,” I believe, to those like Bishop Scriven who have expressed support or even sympathy for those who have felt the need to separate from the Episcopal Church—and as a word of disrespect for our Communion relationships. 

Bruce Robison

January 31, 5:48 pm | [comment link]
7. Susan Russell wrote:

And another school of thought is that it’s the Primates claiming an authority they do not have that is a root cause of the problem in the Anglican Communion.

January 31, 5:53 pm | [comment link]
8. William Witt wrote:


Indeed.  Heaven forbid that bishops of a worldwide communion should act like . . . bishops of a worldwide communion!

January 31, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
9. Already left wrote:

“In the end the PB’s action will have no real effect upon Bishop Scriven’s life and ministry.” Just like her actions to everyone else she deposed had no real effect. Or Jon Bruno’s on the So. Ca. priests who were already under another authority.

Is this all for the drama of it?

January 31, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
10. mugsie wrote:

#7, Susan, I think you made a moot point by stating “it’s the Primates claiming an authority they do not have that is a root cause of the problem in the Anglican Communion. “

What you said here is EXACTLY what Katherine Jefferts Schori has done with Bishop Schriven. She has no authority to “renounce” his “orders”, however she seems to think she does. Like your statement just said, yes, this does indeed cause problems in the Anglican Communion.

However, it began much earlier than this. TEC has claimed authority to rewrite doctrine, reject the authority of Scripture, and ordain as bishops those who other provinces in the communion simply do not agree with. A decision so phenomenal as to ordain a man who is openly homosexual as bishop, even though the rest of the communion (at their last Lambeth meeting) said NO, we don’t approve of that, was definitely overstepping authority and forcing the entire communion into a total state of chaos, which still has not even come close to being resolved.

I personally don’t see other primates overstepping their authority. Yes, a few have opened their arms to cries for help from dioceses in TEC that can no longer allow their congregations to remain subjected to such false teaching as has been coming out of TEC. It’s the RESPONSIBILITY of the shepherds to protect their flocks. The bishops who’ve cried out for help and accepted protection from provinces outside TEC have been making every effort to PROTECT THEIR FLOCKS. No, they may not have it all right. No human does. However, they are being courageous enough to stand up for those they are commissioned to protect. I can only applaud them for their courage. Jesus is watching. He knows what they are doing. It’s up to him to judge them.

Back to authority, the Bible commands us to obey the authority of those leading us here on earth, EXCEPT when it goes against God’s commands. In my opinion, protecting a flock from false teaching is very good grounds to go against a worldly authority.

Romans 13:1     Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Romans 13:2   Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Luke 4:4     But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
Matthew 5:19     “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches [them,] he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 15:9   And in vain they worship Me, Teaching [as] doctrines the commandments of men.’ “
Matthew 19:17   So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one [is] good but One, [that is,] God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
John 14:15     ” If you love Me, keep My commandments.
John 14:21   “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John 15:10   “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Jesus did not nail the 10 commandments to the cross as so many like to think. He came to fulfill them, and to expand on them.

Those primates who answered the cries for help from dioceses in TEC were abiding by God’s commandments. They were protecting the sheep, and loving their fellow man. They were doing no harm to anyone. Like Jesus said, “by their fruit you will know them”. I can clearly see the fruit of TEC these last years. It’s shown me clearly that TEC has lost its way and been heavily deceived by satan. I, and many others, have taken God’s direction to stay away from such people lest I be drawn into the fire.

Jude 1:8-14
  8 Yet these false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams, live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at the power of the glorious ones. 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse Satan of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” (This took place when Michael was arguing with Satan about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people mock and curse the things they do not understand. Like animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and they bring about their own destruction. 11 How terrible it will be for them! For they follow the evil example of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they will do anything for money. And like Korah, they will perish because of their rebellion. 12 When these people join you in fellowship meals celebrating the love of the Lord, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are shameless in the way they care only about themselves. They are like clouds blowing over dry land without giving rain, promising much but producing nothing. They are like trees without fruit at harvest time. They are not only dead but doubly dead, for they have been pulled out by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the dirty foam of their shameful deeds. They are wandering stars, heading for everlasting gloom and darkness. 14 Now Enoch, who lived seven generations after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Look, the Lord is coming with thousands of his holy ones. 15 He will bring the people of the world to judgment.
He will convict the ungodly of all the evil things they have done in rebellion and of all the insults that godless sinners have spoken against him.”
16These people are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like. They are loudmouthed braggarts, and they flatter others to get favors in return.

17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you, 18that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to enjoy themselves in every evil way imaginable. 19Now they are here, and they are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They live by natural instinct because they do not have God’s Spirit living in them.

20But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit. 21Live in such a way that God’s love can bless you as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. 22 Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need to show mercy, but be careful that you aren’t contaminated by their sins.

January 31, 8:46 pm | [comment link]
11. Cennydd wrote:

Susan Russell, sooner or later, The Episcopal Church is going to find themselves ostracised by the rest of us in the Communion.  It may take ten or twenty years, but it WILL happen.  Therefore, may I suggest that you use your not-inconsiderable influence to prod your Presiding Bishop and General Convention into formally removing themselves from the Anglican Communion, since your Church is, for all intents and purposes, a communion of its own; The Episcopal Communion?

January 31, 9:33 pm | [comment link]
12. tjmcmahon wrote:

bb (#4) I’m thinking your question was probably rhetorical, but in case it was not, you are correct, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey consecrated Bishop Scriven. (Hence my reference to Andrew Carey’s “Dad” in my #2)

January 31, 9:47 pm | [comment link]
13. tjmcmahon wrote:

I really hate it when I am dense, but for the last few days, I think I have been.  I may have just figured this out.  It seemed to make no sense for KJS to depose Bishop Scriven a week before a Primates meeting, but a really good reason occurs to me.

Could it be she wants the Primates and the ACC to pass a rule prohibiting a Primate (or group of Primates, or majority of the Primates) from deposing bishops (or declaring sees vacant, or otherwise officially “not recognizing”) in another Province? At the current time, I am wondering if there would not be considerable support among the Primates to declare sees vacant in New Hampshire and perhaps a couple in California.  Not to mention all the faux bishops of faux dioceses.  Or let’s say the ABoC floated the idea of some sort of derecognition of bishops who violated the moratoria (he already doesn’t recognize the bishops of “foreign” churches in the US, this would only level the playing field). Could it be that what she wants is a rule within the Communion that would make any such intervention in another province impossible?  Short of breaking Communion altogether.  In essense, this would get the primates to pass the rule she wants passed, thinking that they are limiting her outrageous behavior.

January 31, 10:06 pm | [comment link]
14. Chris wrote:

#13, I don’t think the Primates want to spend their time micromanaging ECUSA by declaring apostate sees vacant, rather (I would hope) they want to disassociate themselves with ECUSA completely.  Much more effective don’t you think?

January 31, 10:28 pm | [comment link]
15. dumb sheep wrote:

Is KJS still hanging around 815?  I accepted her Renunciation of Orders weeks ago.
Dumb Sheep.

February 1, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
16. chips wrote:

My guess is that Susan Russell only cares about the Anglican Communion to the extent that it moves forward the GLBT movement.  To the extent it hinders same she sees it as an obstacle and a foe.  I wonder if I joined the DNC could I destroy it from within and deter it from its real purpose(s) to further my own narrow agenda.

February 1, 7:29 pm | [comment link]
17. nwlayman wrote:

Don’t believe anything, no problem.  Same sex marriages, NO PROBLEM.
Step on Canterbury’s toes?  Oh you got a PROBLEM NOW!  What a joke.  Transatlantic joke.  The bishops who have no faith in God stepping into each other’s yards.  There’s the basis for Anglicanism.

February 1, 8:57 pm | [comment link]
18. seitz wrote:

Fr Robeson—can you please indicate what the upshot of your comment is? You have made it more than once and seems very important to you. Are you saying that the PB defrocked a Bishop in good order in TEC, and that this is more egregious than her defrocking an Asst Bishop whose Diocesan colleague was deposed, leaving him without jurisdiction? I frankly don’t know that it matters very much, but perhaps I am misunderstanding your quibble with Carey and ACI. Epiphany blessings.

February 1, 9:13 pm | [comment link]
19. libraryjim wrote:

Post 19—see post 16, as so say most of us.

February 2, 12:20 am | [comment link]
20. BMR+ wrote:

#18 Chris: I guess the ACI / Carey argument is that the PB had no standing to “accept the renunciation of vows” of a bishop of the Church of England.  I would agree with that, of course, but I don’t think it quite matches the facts on the ground here.

My point is simply that +Henry was a bishop of the Episcopal Church, beginning with his reception in 2002, and that he continued to act as a bishop of the Episcopal Church even following the canonical termination of his appointment as Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh. 

There is nothing in the canons to prevent a member of the clergy in good standing in the Episcopal Church from serving in another Church of the Communion—and in fact it happens all the time.

My belief is that the PB’s error is related to a misunderstanding the the relationship between Churches of the Communion.  She treated +Henry’s appointment as Assistant Bishop of Oxford as though it were equivalent, say, to Bishop Duncan’s status as “Bishop of Pittsburgh of the Southern Cone.”  I believe the two situations are not canonically similar.  If the PB believes that it is not canonically possible for TEC clergy to serve outside of TEC in the wider Communion, then there are quite a few people who are going to have to “renounce their orders.”

Bruce Robison

February 2, 12:52 am | [comment link]
21. Cennydd wrote:

19   Hopper:  Malice?  WHAT “malice?”  There is none.

February 2, 3:05 am | [comment link]
22. seitz wrote:

#21—Of course he was a Church of England Bishop who had been given jurisdiction in the US. Just as he had served as Gibralter’s Bishop in Europe, and as he will be a Church of England Bishop serving in SAMS, out of Oxford Diocese. This was all very familiar to +Scriven. Not sure how this is being debated. The PB deposed a Bishop—have a look at the certificate; the language is quite clear, as it was meant to be for something so serious as this. If the idea is that she just ‘deposed’ him of his Episcopal status, then she has a faulty view of Orders. The point we have made right along. Have a look at what we have written. (I have not read Carey’s account).

February 2, 9:43 am | [comment link]
23. BMR+ wrote:

#23 Chris, I agree with you that (1) “she [Bishop Schori] has a faulty view of Orders,” given her description of her actions in this matter, and that (2) Bishop Henry was a Bishop of the Church of England in January, 2009, at the time of Bishop Schori’s action.  I agree with Bishop Schori that Bishop Henry was a bishop of the Episcopal Church beginning in the fall of 2002, when he was received into this Church (more than simply having “jurisdiction”).  His status as an Episcopalian from that point on was no different from that of, say, yours or mine.  I disagree with Bishop Schori, if she believed any action was required by her when Bishop Scriven accepted his appointment in the U.K.  Clergy in good standing of the Episcopal Church may serve in other Churches of the Communion without being deposed from their ministry in the Episcopal Church.  Absent a true renunciation of vows, which Bishop Henry’s letter wasn’t, or a Title IV deposition, Episcopalian clergy serving in other Churches simply hold a form of “dual citizenship.” 

I guess the reason this seems important to me is that I believe we may eventually need to find a settled way of dealing with geographically overlapping Communion jurisdictions in North America.  We’re not there yet, but if we do get there, there will need to be some principle of accomodation and relationship.  The emerging TEC practice related to clergy moving to other jurisdictions is I think going to establish a very damaging precedent if it isn’t challenged sooner rather than later.

So it makes a difference to me.  If we say that the PB was wrong because +Henry was never a bishop of the Episcopal Church, but instead was an “English bishop who happened to have a job in the Episcopal Church,” then I think we may be saying missing the point.  The PB was wrong because +Henry was an Episcopalian bishop and did nothing in moving to England that should have required action from her.

Perhaps going in circles here.  But that’s at least the ballpark of my concern.

Bruce Robison

February 2, 10:14 am | [comment link]
24. seitz wrote:

Your second paragraph explains in some way why you are on this track. (It is not a part of ACI’s concerns, which have to do with misuse of a canon).
This sentence is inaccurate: ‘His status as an Episcopalian from that point on was no different from that of, say, yours or mine.’ No, you are not a British citizen who was consecrated a Bishop and served in various parts of the Communion as a CofE Bishop, before coming to serve in the US as an Asst Bishop. When I served as a Priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I did not cease being a Priest ordained in this Communion in TEC. No one ever said that +Scriven did not serve as an Asst Bishop in Pittsburgh (‘never a Bishop’). So yes, ‘perhaps going in circles here’! Blessings.

February 2, 10:24 am | [comment link]
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