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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The revisions to the disciplinary section of the Canons ("Title IV") proposed at Anaheim in 2009 lived up to Bishop Jefferts Schori's prediction: with very little time to consider their sweeping nature, and with no line-by-line comparison of what was being changed made available to them (contrary to what the Canons themselves require), the deputies enacted changes the full scope of which no one -- not even those who had labored for years to draft them -- grasped. The extent of the disciplinary powers over other bishops alone which the new Canons give to the Presiding Bishop transform her -- in contrast to what tradition and ECUSA's Constitution say -- into a full-fledged metropolitan. Consider just these points (see this paper for the full details):
* Currently, if the Presiding Bishop wants to bring charges against another bishop, she has to send a written presentation of just the facts, without any editorializing, to an independent "Title IV Review Committee" consisting of bishops, clergy and laity. Under the new Canons, the Presiding Bishop is empowered to refer, "in any form", information about any offense she thinks "may" have been committed to an "Intake Officer", whom she alone appoints.
* Currently, the Title IV Review Committee screens and evaluates each potential charge against a bishop. Under the new Title IV, the Presiding Bishop, along with her appointed "Intake Officer", have two out of the three votes on the "Review Committee" which now screens the charges.
* Currently, the Presiding Bishop may inhibit a bishop only if the Title IV Review Committee decides to present charges, and only if a majority of all the members of the affected diocesan Standing Committee consent. Under the new Title IV, the Presiding Bishop may act alone, and out of the blue, to inhibit a fellow bishop (the word "inhibit" has been replaced by the term "place restrictions on the exercise of the ministry" of a bishop).
* Currently, any inhibition is "temporary", and is "an extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly and limited to preventing immediate and irreparable harm to individuals or to the good order of the Church." Under the new Title IV there are no such limitations on its use -- restrictions may be imposed for any duration, and for any reason(s) the Presiding Bishop, in her sole judgment, thinks are sufficient.
Please read it carefully, follow all the links, and read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Identity Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Theology Ecclesiology
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