(Mark McCall)—South Carolina: Upholding The Church’s Discipline By Upholding The Constitution

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the allegations now being made against Bishop Lawrence is that the decision by the Diocese of South Carolina to continue to adhere to the prior Title IV canons rather than adopt the controversial new revisions constitutes abandonment by being an open renunciation of the discipline of TEC. Last March Alan Runyan and I published an article that undertook a careful examination of the history of TEC’s Constitution as it relates to clergy discipline. We started at the beginning in 1789, but gave particular attention to those constitutional revisions in 1901 that the drafters of the new Title IV claim “profoundly changed” the constitutional allocation of authority in the church. That article provides conclusive proof that the Constitution as now in effect allocates authority for discipline of priests and deacons exclusively to the dioceses except for appeals.

This issue has been much debated in the history of TEC, and our article contains a detailed examination of that history. But throughout those years of debates, the result was always the same: disciplinary authority remained with the dioceses. Our article provides compelling proof that the revisions to Title IV are unconstitutional. It cannot be a renunciation of the discipline of the church to uphold that discipline as specified in the Constitution by resisting unconstitutional encroachment on the diocese’s exclusive authority....

Read it all (and make sure to go and read the full original article to which it links) [emphasis his].

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

13 Comments
Posted October 18, 2011 at 7:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. wmresearchtrianglenc wrote:

A very well-done and useful explanation of why the Title IV proceedings underway involving Bishop Lawrence should be abandoned (to use a word that has an appeal is some church quarters these days) immediately. The key point is that the reasoning for the “big change” advocates is so thin, even superficial, that it shouldn’t hold up under serious legal scrutiny and simply doesn’t reach first base. Mr. McCall’s analysis touches all the bases and I believe if my legislation professor is still alive he’d appreciate reading the analysis and give it high marks.

October 18, 1:18 pm | [comment link]
2. billqs wrote:

Since Bishop Henderson’s revelation yesterday that they had the allegations against Bishop Lawrence *before* Title IV changed, I think it’s not a stretch to see the timing of this as a way to “force the issue”-  basically, by timing they have manufactured a crisis where one would not have occurred had they dealt with these allegations when the universally recognized Title IV was still in place.

October 18, 1:35 pm | [comment link]
3. AnglicanFirst wrote:

There seem to be three well followed and almost ‘sacred’ adages at play on the part of the TEC leadership:
a.  “Whatever advances the revolution [agenda] is moral, whatever opposes the revolution [agenda] is immoral.”

b.  “The ends justify the means.”

c.  “Those who support [don’t go along with] the revolution [agenda] are the enemies of the revolution [agenda].”

I am not using these adages lightly and open-minded students of much the political history of the world’s nations over the past 100 years or so cannot deny their effective application in the past or their current modern validity in certain circles.

October 18, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
4. drummie wrote:

If I am not badly mistaken, if accusations or charges or complaint or whatever you will call them were made while the last set of canons for chapter 4 were in effect, they should be the canons used as well as the same disciplinary board or committee and the old rules of procedure and evidence.  In civil courts if an offense occurs prior to a change in statute, and charges are made, then the old statute as well as its punishments apply. Not doing that makes a change in direction in midstream and in civil courts it would not work. If this is not followed, then you can change the rules as you go along and convict just about anyone of anything.  Not that I would put that past KJS and her pit bull.  I think this is an example of how equitable this investigation will be, Wonderland revisited.

October 18, 5:22 pm | [comment link]
5. wmresearchtrianglenc wrote:

I think I’m naive about more than I realized, since, when I think of the number of bishop-members in the ongoing proceeding, I’ve expected at least a few to have read some of the fairly large number of critiques/analyses/comments relating to this procedure and the many controversial underpinnings, issues, events, etc., that relate. And it seems very reasonable to expect some resignation or other bailing out to be in process or at least to have been announced, since there is already major “appearance” issues, and, of course, that’s without knowing many more matters that could be discovered through legal process.

October 18, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
6. Jill Woodliff wrote:

Regarding the idea that the crisis might be manufactured:
I’m no insider and certainly don’t know what is going on.  At the grass roots level, though, folks all across the theological spectrum are squeamish:
—They believe Lawrence was trying to stay, not leave.
—Litigation is a poor witness for the church.
—They find the estimated amount of money TEC has spent on litigation (twenty-two million dollars) to be obscene.
—They are dismayed by the secrecy of TEC’s bookkeeping, the liens on the endowments, etc.
—They fear that the deposition of Lawrence would trigger a litigation bloodbath, with no one benefitting except the attorneys.
—Given the lack of jurisdiction of the Dennis Canon in South Carolina, they are wondering who is stirring up this hornets’ nest and why.

October 18, 8:08 pm | [comment link]
7. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Litigation is a poor witness for the church

Yes, but just as we have RINOs [Republicans in name only], so we also have CINOs [Churches in name only].  Since they have not listened to Paul on sexuality, throwing out the teaching on Christians suing Christians is nothing.

It is appalling; I pray God will have mercy on all of us.

October 18, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
8. trimom wrote:

#5- you ask a good question. Does anyone know the chatter on the House of Deputies list serve? #6- is this where you are getting your info? I’m pretty insulated here in SC and would love to know what is being said by revisionists in hostile dioceses.

October 18, 9:37 pm | [comment link]
9. Jill Woodliff wrote:

#8, I’ve simply had personal communication with a handful of people, from two dioceses, and have been surprised that the progressives and orthodox are saying the same things.  Don’t know what HoD list serve is saying.

October 18, 11:50 pm | [comment link]
10. Sherri2 wrote:

As to litigation being a poor witness at the church - at a time when so much attention is being focused on wasteful spending and profligacy in general, a church, of all things, spending so much time, money and energy on lawsuits against fellow Christians seems utterly irresponsible, offensive - I can’t find the right word. What a senseless waste of money given in good faith to support the work of the Lord.

October 19, 10:40 am | [comment link]
11. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Right on, Jill (#6).

Thanks for listing the absurdities so conveniently.  This insanity makes no sense at all.  Except to the cabal running TEC these days.  Lord, have mercy.

David Handy+

October 19, 10:45 am | [comment link]
12. little searchers wrote:

So is Jerry Lamb our wonderful bishop retired from Northern California in line to be the new rump bishop as he was in San Joaquin?

October 20, 1:20 am | [comment link]
13. Cennydd13 wrote:

God help you if he is!

October 20, 11:42 am | [comment link]
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