Province IV Bishops Seek a Meeting with South Carolina Bp. Lawrence

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The full text of the letter follows below the fold

December 5, 2011

The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence
The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
126 Coming Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29413

Dear Mark,

I write to you following the regular annual meeting of the bishops of Province 4, gathered this year in Memphis, Tennessee. We missed you and understood your need to stay at home and close to your diocese.

The meeting covered a variety of topics: the Denominational Health Plan; the beginning of a search process for a new dean of the School of Theology at Sewanee; the upcoming Provincial Synod in June and the General Convention in July; ministry to retired clergy and their families; Daughters of the King; a prison ministry network in our province; ongoing concerns about the sin of racism in our world and church; and immigration, among other topics.

We also considered, with some concern, recent publicly reported actions regarding quitclaim deeds given to parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina. Since we have had no direct communication from you regarding these reported actions, we determined that it is our duty as bishops of this province to address these concerns in direct communication with you, as Jesus exhorts his followers in Matthew's Gospel (18:15-20), and in accord with our ordination vows regarding the unity and governance of the church. What we seek in the coming weeks is a face-to-face meeting with you and and a representative group of your fellow Bishops Diocesan of Province 4 in order to have a clarifying conversation and to address the concerns raised among us:

A. We have heard and read reports that you have given a quitclaim deed to each congregation in your diocese. Is this true? If this report is true, under what canonical authority did you proceed? Did you involve the Standing Committee and are the members of the Standing Committee in accord? Who signed the deeds? Would you provide a sample copy of a deed and the letter of explanation that accompanied it?

B. In order to better understand your action, the Bishops of Province 4 gathered in Memphis respectfully request that you meet with several of your fellow Provincial Bishops Diocesan in Charleston, or elsewhere if you desire, to discuss what has been noted above. We make this request in a spirit of collegiality and fellowship as well as out of concern for the people of the Diocese of South Carolina and concern for the well-being of The Episcopal Church.

I have contacted you earlier today by telephone and shared with you the content of this letter, as well as seeking a date in the very near future for our proposed meeting. I will send you an email and hard copy of the letter. I am also releasing this letter to Episcopal news organizations today after our conversation.

Faithfully yours,

Dan

Clifton Daniel, 3rd
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina
Vice President of Province 4 of The Episcopal Church



(Please note if necessary you may find a pdf version there--KSH).



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* South Carolina* TheologyPastoral Theology

94 Comments
Posted December 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Connie Sandlin wrote:

I fail to understand how this is any of the business of the other bishops in Province IV or elsewhere.  Anybody besides me think this is another effort to oust +Lawrence?

December 5, 7:53 pm | [comment link]
2. driver8 wrote:

Presumably preparatory for another trot through the disciplinary canons.

December 5, 8:14 pm | [comment link]
3. tjmcmahon wrote:

“Bishop Mark, if you do not bring us a shrubbery, we shall say say “Ni!” at you again…”

December 5, 8:34 pm | [comment link]
4. Ralph wrote:

#1, shame on you!

I’m certain that all they want to do is fill him in on their discussions of their “concerns about the sin of racism,” and maybe buy him a beer or two. Then they can take the quitclaim deed template back to their own dioceses, so that they also can liberate their own parishes.

December 5, 8:53 pm | [comment link]
5. Henry wrote:

You are certainly correct, Connie!  Prayers continuing for +Lawrence and the Diocese of S.C.

December 5, 8:53 pm | [comment link]
6. c.r.seitz wrote:

Sounds like the exoneration by the Disciplinary Board was embarrassing to some of the Province 4 Bishops. I notice they agree to come to Charleston. Perhaps this is a teaching moment for them. What is the percentage of Dioceses that have accession clauses? How many to both Constitution and Canons? How many have a State Supreme Court effectively voiding the Dennis Canon? Do they know what a ‘quitclaim deed’ actually is, and what its significance in this instance genuinely is? South Carolina obviously has a strong Standing Committee and legal counsel. Let them also be present.

Perhaps seek an assurance that +CFL will be present, and invite a visitor from another Province to take notes—+Dallas or +W-LA.

December 5, 8:57 pm | [comment link]
7. Eastern Anglican wrote:

Bishop Mark to Bishop Clifton,

“NUTS!”


OTOH its good to see these bishops concerned about unity.  Irony off.

December 5, 9:00 pm | [comment link]
8. Kendall Harmon wrote:

That didn’t take long.  So much for the Episcopal Church giving space….

Two notes.

First, this is pastorally destructive. Bishop Lawrence is trying to hold the diocese together and they have encouraged BOTH the people that want the Bishop gone as soon as possible AND those who want to leave now (or sooner) in one fell swoop. Thanks.  Really helpful—NOT.

Second, it is dripping with hypocrisy.  Quoting the bible? Oh my.  And Matthew 18 even? Hmm. So did they follow the steps in Matthew 18…well, ur, no.  They met and had a discussion about Bishop Lawrence without him present (would any of them want the same treatment), oops, Jesus doesn’t talk about that [and what’s with the prooftexting anyway..oh, never mind].

There is no doubt the answers to these questions are knowable via the public record anyway—why ask them in this hostile way?

A very sad display and another self-destructive step.

December 5, 9:04 pm | [comment link]
9. wildfire wrote:

#8
And Matthew says to keep the admonition private in the first instance yet the first thing they do is make the letter public.  Transparency is good, but citing Matthew 18:15 when making something public is a bit rich.

December 5, 9:16 pm | [comment link]
10. Ralph wrote:

As noted elsewhere, I’m taken aback by the juxtaposition of “...our duty as bishops of this province to address these concerns in direct communication with you, as Jesus exhorts his followers in Matthew’s Gospel (18:15-20)...” with “I am also releasing this letter to Episcopal news organizations today after our conversation.”

It’s as if this bishop hasn’t read or thought about Scripture. Ah - Wikipedia lists him as a VTS man with no earned degrees past the MDiv.

Maybe someone else wrote it for him.

December 5, 9:30 pm | [comment link]
11. Sarah wrote:

Not to worry, Kendall—most of the bishops of Province IV have never been all that good or interested in actually reading and interpreting Scripture that much anyway; using Scripture accurately is all a novelty to them.  Their being unable to actually follow something as simple as Matthew 18 is completely unsurprising to those of us who have them for our bishops.

December 5, 9:32 pm | [comment link]
12. David Hein wrote:

What authority does a province have?

No. 6: good suggestions

No. 8: agreed.

No. 7: I take your point, but comparing Bp Clifton to the Nazis at the Bulge is a bit much.

No. 9: really.

I just taught a class in which we discussed the life and ministry of Bishop Noble Cilley Powell (1891-1968). Wow, have times changed. It’s almost incredible. I know that many today think TEC is better than it was in Powell’s day, and in some ways I suppose it is. But, in the main, I don’t see it.

December 5, 9:36 pm | [comment link]
13. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

My, you can tell by the drafting that Goodwin Proctor have been busy for their mistress - is it right that Daniel Clifton is on her council of advice acting the stooge?

It is what it is.

But just look at all these bishops lining up to dump on their neighbors at her call.  What a bunch of &^%$#$#@#$$, just like Tobias Haller who I have read raging and fulminating on the blogs calling for this for over a week.

(Amended slightly—ed.)

December 5, 10:45 pm | [comment link]
14. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Hmmm…interesting that the only reference is verses 15-20 of Matthew 18, which open with “‘If another member of the church sins against you…” That seems to assume that they are already presuming he is guilty of sin, and yet none of those bishops seemed to worry about the part, ‘go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.’ They’d just assume talk amongst themselves and then gang up on him.

But the more telling thing is what verse the good bishop fails to include. The very next verse, 21-22, says, “Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven.”

Likewise, that chapter ends with the Parable of the Unforgiving Slave who is forgiven an enormous debt and then won’t forgive a fellow slaves very minor debt. ‘And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

I think these bishops might want to read that section and read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the meaning of those verses before casting stones and assuming sin.

December 5, 11:01 pm | [comment link]
15. seminarian wrote:

I personally think this bishop has it all wrong.  Their vows are not to guard the unity and governance of the church, but as the BCP states: 

You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the
Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of
the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and
deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all
things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the
entire flock of Christ.

There is a huge difference between governance and discipline!!!

December 5, 11:05 pm | [comment link]
16. jamesw wrote:

If this report is true, under what canonical authority did you proceed?

Uh, gee, maybe the same one that permitted the former bishop of Nevada (now PB) to accept a pedophile as priest from the RCs, and the same one that permits so many TEC bishops from approving and offering “open communion”, and the same one that permits TEC bishops from setting aside the BCP rubrics and approving “same-sex marriage” liturgies.

Really though, this is an empty question - no canonical authority is required for a bishop to exercise authority within his diocese.

This does suggest that the PB was *not pleased* with Lawrence’s recent exoneration.  Perhaps Henderson and some of his fellow bishops may be rounded up, charged with “counter-revolutionary activities” and sent to the gulag.

December 5, 11:25 pm | [comment link]
17. jamesw wrote:

Kendall:

You say:

they have encouraged BOTH the people that want the Bishop gone as soon as possible AND those who want to leave now (or sooner) in one fell swoop. Thanks.  Really helpful—NOT.

And might this be precisely what their goal is?  And that this goal comes straight from 815?  Chilling to think so, but it strikes me as the most probable answer.  It is quite obvious to anyone that the PB stirred up the recently dismissed charges.  She failed there, but is still looking to stir up trouble.

December 5, 11:35 pm | [comment link]
18. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Oh my…...*huge sigh*..... this stinks to highest heaven.

December 5, 11:59 pm | [comment link]
19. Connie Sandlin wrote:

#14:  Excuse me?  Sin??????  What is +Lawrence’s “sin”?  Oh, yeah, not kowtowing to Schori and her agenda.

December 6, 12:52 am | [comment link]
20. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“First, this is pastorally destructive. Bishop Lawrence is trying to hold the diocese together and they have encouraged BOTH the people that want the Bishop gone as soon as possible AND those who want to leave now (or sooner) in one fell swoop. Thanks.  Really helpful—NOT”.

I am not negating the frustration or other emotions this may invoke, but this does not surprise me. 

Thank you, jamesw, for noting that a bishop is sovereign in his own diocese.  But for this transparently perverse attempt at pot-stirring and troublemaking, the dizzy headhunters who think they’re subtle really should BUTT OUT. 

When does the group plan to meet with she who allowed a pedophile to serve in her diocese? Would they care to discuss the “legality” or ethics of that? 

Thank you, Pageantmaster, for calling them what they are.  Traditional Anglicans in America live with this insanity every day, whether in the moment or just around the corner.  I’m relieved to know there are men out there who inhabit their own skin rather than residing in someone else’s Dixie cup. 

Continued prayers for SC and her united front.

December 6, 3:41 am | [comment link]
21. trimom wrote:

Boy, does this letter assert what is important to TEC and her bishops. You can bless same sex relationships, hire pedophiles, ordain gay clergy all within your diocese with impunity but if you DARE mess with the property, may God help you because all hell will break loose. Call me cynical, but when the disciplinary board gave +Lawrence a reprieve, I just KNEW it was because they thought they could nail him with the quit claims. Pitiful, isn’t it, when a simple layman can guess the all powerful TEC authority’s endgame?

December 6, 9:17 am | [comment link]
22. Ann McCarthy wrote:

I think he should respond kindly. Saying that after giving their conversation some thought, and in light of this public letter, that he is thrilled to hear that they are seeking to learn about how to issue quitclaims in their own dioceses.  Thrilled to hear that they want their dioceses to also be held together by the bonds of love in the faith, rather than by any fear that the diocese is going to come in and wrench the church a parish has worshiped in for decades away from them. And that he’d be overjoyed to teach them how to act given the authority they have, as he does, as diocesan bishops.

And since they mentioned Matthew 18, he’d really enjoy sitting down and discussing the fullness of that chapter - the themes of discerning sin, addressing it, and forgiving those who repent of it.

December 6, 10:02 am | [comment link]
23. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Ann McCarthy, EXCELLENT ideas, all! Alas with Allison, his wife, recovering from a back injury and then surgery at home, I think he has more important things to do than try to teach other bishops. I could see extending an invitation to Mere Anglicanism in January 2012. That way these bishops would meet not one faithful bishop but many. Not to mention the many faithful priests and laity who attend Mere Anglicanism. Just sayin’.....

December 6, 10:20 am | [comment link]
24. Dr. William Tighe wrote:

As a suggestion, particularly a propos on St. Nicholas Day, I might suggest that Bishop Lawrence emulate that great bishop, as a frequently-omitted verse of an Eastern European popular hymn records:

To the tune of “O Kto, Kto:”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch79whyEwwQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaySP—97wc&feature=related


Arius
Heretic most hated
Spread the lie
Our Savior was created
Hearing of his fall from grace
Nicholas hit him in the face
Holy Father Nicholas.

December 6, 10:47 am | [comment link]
25. Mark Baddeley wrote:

I wonder if the right thing to do here is to respond in kind. Write a public letter querying their application of Mat 18, asking why only the bits of vow that relate to unity are being upheld, and clearly answer the two questions in the letter. Publish the letter on the Diocesan website and ‘release it to Episcopal new organizations’. Enough of this stupidity of progressives sleazily quoting scripture and using pious rhetoric while stacking a meeting of investigation, and reasserters going along. Respond in kind - call them on what they’ve done, and make the response as formal and public as their request was.

December 6, 10:48 am | [comment link]
26. wildfire wrote:

Commenters at the Lead, especially Jim Naughton, have concluded that it was the Diocese of South Carolina that made this letter public.  Have they even read it? Especially this concluding sentence:

I am also releasing this letter to Episcopal news organizations today after our conversation.

December 6, 10:59 am | [comment link]
27. Frank Fuller wrote:

Has anyone done work on previous instances where deeds were distributed to the parishes in other dioceses?  I understand this was done in the 1930’s in some dioceses that found themselves in danger of bankruptcy, as a defense in order to exclude the parish properties from that process.  (That might not be entirely irrelevant to the 2010’s before we’re done, either!)  Certainly the Dennis regime of nationalization might affect how that was done, or who might have a say in declaring it, but the move is not without precedent.

December 6, 11:04 am | [comment link]
28. Undergroundpewster wrote:

Time to pray for the whole Church, ourselves, the accused, and the accusers.

December 6, 11:11 am | [comment link]
29. tired wrote:

“We have heard and read reports that you have given a quitclaim deed to each congregation in your diocese… under what canonical authority did you proceed?”

Better question: under what canonical authority does the Bishop of Eastern Carolina interrogate the Bishop of South Carolina?

rolleyes

December 6, 11:56 am | [comment link]
30. Connecticutian wrote:

I’m not sure the requests deserves serious consideration, but looking ahead a bit…  Wouldn’t it seem a reasonable argument that the Bp and the Diocese were actually exercising (not neglecting) their fiduciary duty?  If the properties are *really* held in trust for the (national) Church, and that national church may be facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit (the B. Parry issue), doesn’t the quitclaim help to shield those properties from being sold to pay the PB’s settlement?  (Tongue in cheek)

December 6, 11:59 am | [comment link]
31. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Ok, quoting Scripture?  I’ll quote some, too—in essence, why the masses abhor a good example.  Hat tip to the blogger who referenced this the other day from the “Forward Day by Day” series; he noted book, chapter and verses, but not the actual text.  From 2 Peter 2: 

“9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

 

  Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions,[e] while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves[f] of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

December 6, 12:13 pm | [comment link]
32. David Keller wrote:

#27, 30—The Dennis Canon DOES NOT apply in South Carolina. Our Supreme Court has already ruled it is unenforceable.  Therefore, Bp. Lawrence, essentially, did nothing of any legal import by giving quit claim deeds to the churches, because the porperty is not now and never will be held in trust for 815. To my knowledge there is nothing in the DSC Canons which attempts to create a trust interest, so Bp. Mark just complied with a duly rendered decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court.  Somebody might want to mention this minor fact to the 4th Province bishops.

December 6, 12:38 pm | [comment link]
33. cseitz wrote:

Isn’t the objection, #32, that the SC Supreme Court’s decision applied only to the sui generis case of a colonial church? And that Dennis has not been thrown out altogether?

This is not a view I hold. It is simply a question for those legal minds who might help us to fathom why all this isn’t a fool’s errand on the part of Province 4 Bishops, in strictly legal terms.  If the Bishop is just tidying up the legal reality before him, then it is hard to know what a failed canonical duty might look like.

December 6, 12:52 pm | [comment link]
34. Militaris Artifex wrote:

[9] wildfire,

You write:

…citing Matthew 18:15 when making something public is a bit rich.

Beyond being rich it is revealing of just how unconscious is the author of the letter, and presumably those others for whom he purports to write. And, most likely, so may be the statement from its author which you cite at your comment [25].

It is quite clear that “Dan” sees himself as a paragon of virtue, uprightness, and punctilious adherence to the laws, statutes, and Scripture, but demonstrates either that he is less than fully literate, less than fully cognizant of the requirements of the quoted pericope, or both, and, quite simply, a poseur as an Επίσκοπος.

I am aware that, as Christians, we are to pray for our sinful brothers, but the current class of intellectual and theological clowns who dominate the membership of the TEC HoB make that a trying challenge.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

December 6, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
35. Thomas Allen wrote:

Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to leave because I’d go berzerk?
Well, you left me anyhow and the days got worse and worse and now you see I’ve gone completely out of my mind.

And They’re coming to take me away Ha Ha
They’re coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha
to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time, and I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats
and they’re coming to take me away ha ha

You thought it was joke and so you laughed, you laughed when I had said that losing you would make me flip my lid, right? You know you laughed, I heard you laugh, you laughed, you laughed and laughed and then you left, but now you know I’m utterly mad.

And they’re coming to take me away Ha Ha
They’re coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
They’re coming to take me away ha ha…

December 6, 1:12 pm | [comment link]
36. Sarah wrote:

RE: “under what canonical authority did you proceed?” . . .

Sure wish that Bishop Lawrence and his chancellor would issue a helpful fact sheet for the good bishops so that their parishioners could begin requesting that they do the same.

It would be a great service to us all!

December 6, 1:13 pm | [comment link]
37. wildfire wrote:

#33, Martial Artist,

There is a famous story about the 1958 World Series between the (Milwaukee!) Braves and the Yankees in which Hank Aaron come to the plate holding the bat the wrong way—with the trademark facing the catcher, Yogi Berra.  Yogi pointed out to him that it should be facing up so he could see it.  Aaron said nothing but hit the next pitch for a home run.  When he touched home plate he said to Yogi “I didn’t come up here to read.” 

I suspect that captures the mood of the Province IV bishops. 

But one other Yogi saying might also be relevant.  “If you don’t know where you’re going you will wind up somewhere else.”

December 6, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
38. Militaris Artifex wrote:

[1] Connie Sandlin,

The reason you fail to see

“…how this is any of the business of the other bishops in Province IV…”

is that you have not drunk of the Most Precious Kool-Aid from the chalice consecrated by the PB. Had you done so, you would see the logic with crystal clarity, despite the fact that you would then be in a hallucinogenic state.

If you want to understand further, consider the demonstrable incompetents putting themselves forward as the GOP’s great conservative hopes for the office of the Presidency (I think here most particularly of Romney, Gingrich, Bachmann, Cain, and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Perry and Santorum). They desire the power to mend the nation and the economy, but they do not even understand the nature of the problem. Ergo, they mouth platitudes and slogans rather than informing us of the moral principles which undergird their thought processes. And the one candidate who does tell us what his principles are, and has even published a concrete budget proposal for instantiating those principles in the first year of hte next term, is ignored or ridiculed by people who neither publicly display, nor publicly discuss, their own guiding moral principles.

The explanation is to be found in both Scripture and in the writings of an English Catholic journalist/publisher, John Dahlberg, Baron Acton, especially the following:

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Look upon the behavior of the HoB and see if it does not fit that mold for the majority of its members.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

December 6, 1:28 pm | [comment link]
39. cseitz wrote:

#37—priceless.

Was it Lou Holtz who said, ‘He who tries to get even will never get ahead’?

December 6, 1:28 pm | [comment link]
40. jay 33 wrote:

David is right, the Dennis Canon in all likelihood voided any diocesan claim to parish ownership.  The court (rather broadly I might add) said “It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another.”  Unless the diocese had actually held title for any particular parish the Dennis Canon would never apply.  In other words you must place it into a trust, you cannot just declare one.

December 6, 1:29 pm | [comment link]
41. Militaris Artifex wrote:

[37] wildfire,

I do tend to be of the opinion, which is likely apparent from the comment to which you replied, that Yogi’s second cited quotation is the one most aptly describing the fate awating the PB and her clique of episcopal sycophants, possibly in more senses than they have begun to imagine.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer
___________________
“The common belief that whisky improves with age is true. The older I get the more I like it.”—[Ronnie Corbett]

December 6, 1:35 pm | [comment link]
42. Militaris Artifex wrote:

[39] cseitz,

As to the possible Lou Holtz quote, I am not familiar with it. I always preferred one I heard, but recall not where:

I don’t believe in getting even. If one can’t get ahead, why bother.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

December 6, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
43. wmresearchtrianglenc wrote:

This is an apparent deputation-type visit that wasn’t even arranged with impressive style. Each of these diocesans has legal counsel who would tell them in about a flash that there’s no particularly feature local to Province IV about quitclaim deeds—a quitclaim deed is a rather uncomplicated instrument that that would mean pretty much mean the same thing and have the same effect from Alaska to West Virginia (and points in between). Thus, the real question is why are these local diocesans joining in what appears to be another attempt to advance, at all costs, what could be described as “political correctness”? It’s high (or even low) time for the leadership to recognize that not everyone who isn’t in 100 percent agreement with the leadership on 100 percent of issues affecting the church somehow lacks the requisite intellectual ability to do the right thing. The deputation might actually benefit from examining the reasons why in their areas—many of which have experienced some significant population growth in recent years—might grow to the extent that the diocese of South Carolina has grown.

December 6, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
44. jamesw wrote:

There are two possible ways to look at canon law vis a vis the authority of a diocese and its bishop.  Either one, the diocese and its bishop has ordinary authority to exercise discretion, except that they cannot violate canon law, or two, the diocese and its bishop can only exercise discretion when explicitly authorized by canon law.

Assuming the first proposition, the question is where is the canon that forbids dioceses from making their own decisions as to properties?  Did the Diocese of SW Virginia violate canon law when the bishop “permitted” a parish to set up an “arms length” holding company to own its new building, so as to circumvent the Dennis Canon?  Did the Diocese of LA violate canon law when a diocesan official agreed in writing to exempt some property from the reach of the Dennis Canon (as a condition to the person donating it to his parish)?  Would a diocese that required all of its parishes to sign over the title deeds to the diocese be violating canon law?  There is no canon that lays out a mandatory property ownership model for TEC.  The diocese is simply creating its own system of property ownership to respond to its own internal situation.

Assuming the second proposition, then TEC clearly has a lot bigger fish to fry then Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina.

Were I Mark Lawrence, I think that I would politely decline to discuss anything.  My thoughts are that TEC knows very well that there isn’t a canonical violation here, and they are simply using some of their stooges to troll for incriminating statements.  As Kendall has pointed out, these bishops could quite easily answer their stated questions on their own.  Thus, this letter has a duplicitous purpose.

December 6, 2:05 pm | [comment link]
45. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Kendall (#8),

I LOVE IT when you allow yourself a little freedom to express your own opinion here, which I wish you’d do more often. 

To me, it’s the ENS report on this letter by +Daniel that is far more ominous than the letter itself.  And there, the ENS pointedly stresses that the quitclaims weren’t included in the “ORIGINAL” (my caps) charges or accusations leveled at +Lawrence.  That practically screams that the Disciplinary Board is going to revisit the whole matter, or at least they should, from the ENS standpoint.

Yes, Kendall, this letter by +Daniel shows the incredible irony in the earlier letter by +Henderson, where he took the liberty of adding his wish that SC show ample “free space” within the diocese for those of other views than the orthodox majority.  Almost weekly we are treated to more and more evidence that the cabal running TEC these days intends to leave no “free space” for biblical and classical Christians within TEC.  The liberty they desire only extends in one direction.

Thanks, Kendall.  Please take the gloves all the way off next time.

David Handy+

December 6, 2:46 pm | [comment link]
46. David Keller wrote:

#33—Dr. S, I haven’t read the case in a while but I think #39 is correct. My impression when it came out was they were looking a general T and E law and said you can’t create a trust unless the property owner explicitly agrees. It can’t be done even by saying you accede to the Constitution and Canons of TEC.

December 6, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
47. c.r.seitz wrote:

This is what we understand in general as well.

I just wonder why the Bishops don’t go to the effort to understand the situation on its face, unless they don’t want to know the factual situation itself, but rather the take on that from the Bishop and Standing Committee. I’d say if one is in possession of the facts, that goes a long way even against people with improper intent. Indeed, it can backfire if people are poorly informed or are seeking to ‘catch one out.’ That’s why this is a bit of a gambit so far as the Province 4 Bishops are concerned. Ask the wrong question and you might find the answer biting back.

December 6, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
48. Cennydd13 wrote:

I have a suggestion for those bishops:  Get your Prayer Books out, read the rubrics concerning your ordination and consecration vows, and then publish an essay…....all of you…....on what those vows actually mean to you. 

My own view of those vows is that they either mean what they say, or they don’t, and if you think they do, then you need to re-think your positions and atone for them, or if you don’t think they mean what they say, then you need to resign your holy orders.  Immediately. 

This may sound a bit harsh, but it’s high time somebody told you gentlemen the truth.

Think about it.

December 6, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
49. jay 33 wrote:

This letter had more intended recipients than just the bishop of SC.  Anytime you call somebody to say “hey, I am about to send you an ugly letter” it is because somebody else wants you to write it.  In this case I think the simplest explanation is that these bishops in the Deep South are worn out from answering questions from their parishioners both liberal and conservative about gay marriage, ACNA, property disputes, SC, and general TEC malaise and they probably are not real pleased that in the same week the disciplinary committee decides not to go forward the DIOSC announces quitclaim deeds. It makes their jobs that much harder.  While I greatly respect Dr. Harmon it is hardly the various bishops’ responsibility to look up the public records and provide an explanation to their flock for why the Bishop of SC did what he did.  They would rather let him speak for himself.

December 6, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
50. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Jay,
I think Kendall+ was referring to the many documents already on the Diocese of SC website. I too have found many of the questions asked of the diocese from various people utterly ridiculous because if any reasonable person even takes a brief look at the website, many of the answers are there. The diocese is not trying to hide anything. In fact, just the opposite. Yet, the accusations continue even when the answers to the very questions that are asked are already known. How dumb is this?????

For example, how stupid are some people that they can’t be bothered to look up the name of the current president of the Standing committee? Instead they use the name of the immediate past President. That is a really glaring error ....... unless it was intentional. Get it??? Some of the things asked of the diocese are just a waste of time because the answer is already known.

December 6, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
51. SC blu cat lady wrote:

David Keller,
Agreed. The SC Supreme COurt has ruled the Dennis Canon is unenforceable in this state. I consider this a “belt and suspenders” move. The Supreme Court decision is the “belt” and should be sufficient to nullify the Dennis Canon in SC, however the quit claim deeds are the “suspenders” that could be enforced if the Supreme Court decision was ever voided. I hope that made sense.

December 6, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
52. RalphM wrote:

While I’m confident the Bishop Lawrence will need no help in drafting a reply, I would like to be so bold as to suggest Matthew 12:34 to serve as the salutation.

RalphM

December 6, 4:41 pm | [comment link]
53. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I love to find times when I agree with Dr. Seitz, and I’m happy to say that I wholeheartedly agree with his #39 about the quotation of the famous Yogi Berra by wildfire in #37 being “priceless.”

Which reminds me of another famous Yogi Berra one-liner:
With regard to attempts to silence or remove +Lawrence, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

So sad.  But oh, so predictable.

David Handy+

December 6, 4:42 pm | [comment link]
54. jay 33 wrote:

SC blu cat lady:
I don’t really think this warrants all the excitement this is generating.  All the Province IV bishops are asking him to do is to show his work, just like my algebra teacher did thirty years ago.  The folks in SC act as if everybody looks at this stuff and knows all the ins and outs, they don’t.  You can’t really just say it is on the website you can read it there.  All he has to do is say:
Dear All: Whether I like it or not Chief Justice Toal of the South Carolina Supreme Court wrote in 2009 that an “entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another.” The Diocese held no titles to parishes that received quitclaim deeds.  A previous chancellor had recorded the Dennis Cannon in every county in our diocese.  In an effort to aid parishes, quitclaim deeds were issued that merely cleared up what was already true, the Dennis Canon will not be enforced by our courts. 

That doesn’t seem hard.

December 6, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
55. Connecticutian wrote:

Jay, I don’t know if difficulty is a factor; it’s meddling.  Your algebra teacher had authority over you, the Province IV bishops don’t, and shouldn’t act as if they do.  I do hope that Bp. Mark will counter disrespect with respect, and ill manners with graciousness.  But I don’t think he “should” do any particular thing to meet their expectations in this matter, and I think it’s wrong to expect that he “should” just because it may be easy enough or because the people in some other dioceses’ pews are curious.

December 6, 5:59 pm | [comment link]
56. bettcee wrote:

Jay, post 49, I could understand this letter if I thought that the Bishop who wrote this letter was honestly seeking enlightenment from Bishop Lawrence but I have a hard time believing that this letter was simply sent in the hope that Bishop Lawrence would do their homework for them.
If this was simply a request for information, why was it issued publicly and why did they include this last line in the letter: “I am also releasing this letter to Episcopal news organizations today after our conversation”?

December 6, 9:45 pm | [comment link]
57. dave7 wrote:

#28 was the best response posted to this thread thus far: “Time to pray for the whole Church, ourselves, the accused, and the accusers”.

December 6, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
58. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Reply to comment #56.

bettcee,
My evaluation of the letter is that it is an artful pretext to create what will appear to be a legitimate request for a meeting with Bishop Lawrence.

Such a meeting could then be used to start what will appear to be a collegiate dicovery process that then can be used, with the weight of the authority of the Region IV diocesans acting in synod, to start a heavyweight effort to ‘rein in’ Bishop lawrence and the orthodox majority of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Such a collegiate diocesan effort will avoid the anonymity of a secret accuser from within the Diocese of South Carolina, which, public-relations-wise, will be much more palatable to the rest of ECUSA.

December 7, 12:19 am | [comment link]
59. DonGander wrote:

One idea that I am overwhelmed with is the fact that a bishop or archbishop has sole control over finances. Good grief, is this the not the hole that TEC fell into?? Where did the idea of separating temporal and spiritual authority in the Church go? When did we lose it?

Did not the Apostles say, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables”? So AB Murphy is acting as auditor/treasurer and ministering the Word of God? Is he greater than Saint Peter?

Don

December 7, 1:31 am | [comment link]
60. DonGander wrote:

Sorry, post # 59 is placed in an incorrect thread. Entirely my fault. Sorry.

December 7, 1:52 am | [comment link]
61. Lapinbizarre wrote:

South Carolina Episcopalians’ website states, without comment, that a meeting is scheduled for December 14th.

December 7, 8:03 am | [comment link]
62. NoVA Scout wrote:

I think it unwise and futile for the Bishops to issue this “invitation.”  In particular, the publicity and distribution surrounding the letter indicates some posturing that we could all do without.  I can’t see any good coming of it.  If a particular Bishop in the Province is concerned, why not pick up the phone and have a chat?

But, re some of the comments in the thread: Isn’t the effect of a quitclaim deed to surrender whatever rights the issuer might have had?  If so, this goes beyond the Dennis Canon to a wholesale divestment of any interests the Diocese might have in parish property.  That seems a very radical move and one not likely to have a calming effect within parishes.  It would seem to invite a great deal of jockeying within parishes for majority control around particular issues.  If I can get a majority fired up over women’s ordination, we can not only leave, but we can take the building.

As No. 33’s query points out, I thought the ruling in SC was fact-limited to the situation in one particular parish.  If so, the surrender of whatever rights the Diocese might have in properties throughout the Diocese, would be something more than a mere acknowledgement of the South Carolina court decision with regard to a particular parish.

December 7, 9:59 am | [comment link]
63. Dan Crawford wrote:

A gathering of bishops around another bishop? I am reminded of the story told by a good friend which explained why three bishops surround one about to be consecrated bishop. They join in removing the new bishop’s spine.

December 7, 10:05 am | [comment link]
64. tjmcmahon wrote:

Is my memory faulty?  As I recall, there were quite a few dioceses in Province IV which did not accede to the constitution and canons of TEC.  Are those bishops so two faced as to back such a letter?  How can bishops who do not accede to the constitution and canons call someone else to account for a violation thereof?
Of course, in the real Church, this is all moot.  What Lawrence has done is entirely in accord with the canons of those early councils of the whole Church that TEC supposedly acknowledges as authoritative, and therefore accedes to THOSE canons.
Satan’s road crew is certainly going to see no shortage of paving stones and lamposts for upgrading the road to Hell to Interstate standards.

December 7, 10:12 am | [comment link]
65. billqs wrote:

#62- Admittedly coming from a “birdseye view” of this situation, it appears that the quitclaim deeds didn’t go any further than clarifying the state of affairs of the parish property with regards to the Diocese in light of the Pawley’s Island ruling.  I think Jay in #54, while I don’t agree with his sentiments about this meeting being necessarily “benign”, nonetheless gives a very succinct and accurate explanation for the action taken.

There was no “wholesale divestment” of property that actually did belong to the diocese.  I don’t know for example that quitclaim deeds were sent to parishes or missions that owe money to the diocese or are otherwise dependent on the diocese for care. 

As for their being a legal question about the general applicability of the Pawley’s Island ruling to other parishes, one must remember that the ability to raise a legal question doesn’t mean that question necessarily has much merit.  In Pawley’s Island the language in the opinion uses general trust and estate law to reach its conclusion, thus implying applicability to all other parishes in South Carolina.  If the SC justices wished to limit the result to parishes that predate the founding of what would become the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States they could have used language that limited the scope of their ruling instead of stating that it was “axiomatic” that a title holder of property must explicitely agree to its placement in a trust for the benefit of another.

While some might the see issuance of these deeds to be provocative, one also has to face the fact that legally they don’t change a single fact on the ground.

December 7, 11:13 am | [comment link]
66. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Regarding these alleged “questions” to Bp. Lawrence, it would seem to me that if anyone wants a legal discourse on the Dennis Canon in SC, he/she can read the Pawley’s Island decision.  If it’s not already out in the public sector and/or on the internet, any lawyer can pull it up and print it for you. 

If I remember correctly, +Daniel’s diocese is one where, in order to get hired or answer a call there, the incoming employee or priest has to sign a paper stating they agree with the direction of TEC.  If there’s any longtimers in that diocese who have not signed such a thing, and they don’t agree with the “direction” of TEC and/or GC, then their lives might get sadly interesting after 2012. 

Can somebody tell me again—how does this brand of purging/scorched Earth resemble “inclusion”?!!  Just asking…  hmmm

December 7, 11:41 am | [comment link]
67. Jill Woodliff wrote:

There are spiritual dangers for both progressives (heresy, idolatry) and for conservatives (cold love).  I read this post with dismay for Bp Lawrence and South Carolina, but the Holy Spirit has placed the Province IV bishops on my heart. 
I say this not in cold love, but with fear and trembling.  Bishops, please step back.  Step back and walk away, for the sake of your immortal souls. 
We Americans tend to take a CEO view of the bishopric, which is skewed.  You’ve no idea of the authority your office imparts in the spiritual realm. 
You will be held to a higher level of accountability (Luke 12:48b).  Even what is subconsciously denied will be exposed (Hebrews 4:13).  In my spiritual perception, this situation has Naboth’s vineyard written all over it.  (As an intercessor, I acknowledge my perceptions are not infallible and must be tested.)  I beg you, bishops, to walk away.

December 7, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
68. Ralph wrote:

#67, Jill Woodliff. Interesting - I’m getting much the same impression - that some of the Province IV bishops are in grave spiritual danger, not only from this but also from some of the other goings-on in the national church. Surely, some of them have competent spiritual directors. Surely, some of them recognize the threat.

Those infected by the heresy of universalism might think that they have nothing to worry about. Those who read the Bible know better.

December 7, 1:56 pm | [comment link]
69. Pb wrote:

How about a meeting in SC where certain heretical views could be explained for a better understanding? I have always wondered why bishops would teach heresy and this would be a good time to learn why.

December 7, 2:15 pm | [comment link]
70. tjmcmahon wrote:

“Surely, some of them have competent spiritual directors. Surely, some of them recognize the threat.”

I’d say it is pretty obvious that any with competent spiritual directors or who recognize the threat do not support this course of action in the first place.  I’m going out on a limb here, but I think it is safe to assume that +Howe does not support this.  I suspect there are others who do not support it as well.  Perhaps Daniel went the Kenneth Kearon route and “sensed the mood in the room” in coming to the conclusion that all or even a majority want to go this route of veiled threats.  How many of the bishops supporting this letter are themselves in dioceses that do not accede to the C and C (this is fairly common in the south)? 
There is no longer any order in TEC- if there were, most of the bishops supporting the letter would have already been deposed for allowing communion of the un-baptized within their dioceses.  As bishops, they are also REQUIRED by canon law to remove from orders every priest who practices it.  They are obligated to clean their own houses before complaining about things in SC.
By the way, how about we start filing with Bishop Matthews on each of the Province IV bishops in violation of the canons?

December 7, 2:31 pm | [comment link]
71. sophy0075 wrote:

If, before this, I needed any proof that these faux clerics were Wormtongue’s bedfellows, I sure don’t now.

Praise, blessings, and continued protection for +Lawrence. He has earned his place in the annals of the Bride of Christ, as being a good and faithful servant.

December 7, 5:16 pm | [comment link]
72. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

A little on the abstract side, but it reminds me of a rather profound lesson from my spouse in a sermon; he’s a gifted speaker with an occasional nugget that comes across as a laser beam.  One could say that the prodigal, wayward son was forgiven and welcomed hospitably.  But that didn’t, and doesn’t, give the son license to drag the whole family back to the muck and pig dung and demand they call it the Kingdom of God.  Personally I don’t see that as “cold”; the hospitality is there but it cannot be twisted into a free-for-all. 

I’d agree with Jill that all our actions, prayers and thoughts can be considered “suspect” and we will not be the Ultimate Judge of our behaviors.  But, in the meantime, I cannot look at the righteous and turn away, and I prefer to choose “caviar” instead of “dog vomit”, to once again paraphrase 2 Peter 2.  And/or Romans, re:  “I will not be conformed”...You see, the Enlightened authors of Scripture got too much of it right, and too much of it is connected, for it to be wrong.  Hence why a slob like me sees no need to toss the baby out with the bathwater(or anything else) where Scripture is concerned. 

Yes, they should turn away.  Even when not considering the Spiritual perspective, their actions just don’t even make sense, unless one enjoys the role of pot-stirrer or henchman. 

And “leaders” that have any real integrity make their own dirtballs and throw them themselves, rather than getting the misdirected mob to do it.

December 7, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
73. swac wrote:

No matter how many times you proclaim it, the Episcopal Church is not heretical. We may disagree about many things but our disagreements do not approach heresy

December 8, 12:33 am | [comment link]
74. montanan wrote:

swac (#73) - I agree with you - in part.  The doctrine is certainly not heretical.  However, the universalism, the not-uncommon ‘communion of the unbaptised’ and the gnosticism practiced and/or preached and/or tolerated by bishops are heretical - in the very real definition of the word.  I urge you to work from within (I make the assumption you are within) to make these paths straight for all those who remain and those who will come seeking the triune God.  Blessings to and prayers for you.

December 8, 12:56 am | [comment link]
75. Fisher wrote:

swac, call it what you will (or not). Senior leadership has radically redefined the divinity of Jesus and the resurrection to the point that they are unrecognizable as genuinely Christian doctrines. Wise and experienced voices in the wider Anglican Communion have sounded this alarm for far too long and they are not simply proclaiming, “Heresy…heresy…heresy” as if repetition will convince anybody. There are cogent and biblically mature analyses of what passes for theological discourse in the Episcopal church these days. Yes, there are minor disagreements among us but deconstructing the truth about the nature and work of the Lord Jesus Christ is serious business and yes…some of it does (at the very least) approach heresy.  Sadly, some even hits the bulls-eye of heresy dead on.

I submit this for your consideration:
http://anglicanecumenicalsociety.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/what-do-people-mean-when-they-say-that-presiding-bishop-schori-has-denied-the-resurrection-or-the-divinity-of-christ/

December 8, 3:56 am | [comment link]
76. swac wrote:

Fisher. I read your link and came away unimpressed. It is merely a regurgitation of previous unfounded accusations and distortions. It is the echo chamber effect in action.
Who are the people in The Anglican Ecumenical Society?

December 8, 11:35 am | [comment link]
77. tjmcmahon wrote:

73- No matter how many times you proclaim otherwise, so long as the majority of the HoB preach and practice heresy, and depose or threaten those who maintain the Faith as they received it, they are a heretical organization.  There are indeed pockets of orthodoxy in TEC, but bishops who deny the Resurrection, Real Presence, the Nicene Creed, the divinity and uniqueness of Christ and other core doctrines currently lead TEC, and sit in the majority of the sees.

December 8, 1:17 pm | [comment link]
78. Cennydd13 wrote:

And the denial starts at the top…...the utmost top…....the peak of TEC hierarchy.  For proof of this, one needs only to read all of the PB’s statements…...which are not taken out of context, but are word for word…....ever since she assumed office.

December 8, 1:59 pm | [comment link]
79. Fisher wrote:

swac (#76), since by definition there can be no heresy when there is no commonly-held norm of what the Christian faith actually is, I can see why you claim that the Episcopal church is not heretical. Despite the claims of the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the 39 Articles regarding the divinity of Jesus and the resurrection, there is radical divergence within this church about what these affirmations mean. Simply reciting the creed verbatim does not make one orthodox or heretical. The personal declaration “I believe” is essential. If I can only say that “I believe” these things after a deconstructive redefinition of terms, then clearly we have lost any meaningful and functional consensus as to what our faith is truly about. After that, adjectives such as “heretical” and “orthodox” fall like dominoes into the void of non-sense.

So yes, I think you are right in saying these words: “The Episcopal church is not heretical.” So used, the adjective “heretical” has no clear sense. This leads me to wonder about what the singular word “church” in that statement could possibly mean. Somehow “the communion of saints” doesn’t quite fit anymore. Another domino falls.

I don’t wish to make offense regarding your post, but out of respect for Christ who is the Lord of the Church I must say that at some point disagreements over who Jesus is and what Jesus has done actually do rise to the level of departure. When dealing with a faith that has boundaries, it is regrettable yet inevitable that some will wander from inside to outside. That is why we test everything, hold on tight to what is good, and abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Surely this is the right thing to do.

December 8, 3:30 pm | [comment link]
80. Cennydd13 wrote:

Speaking of “I believe,” what part of “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” does the Presiding Bishop of TEC not believe or understand?  Has she been implying thatbecause of her position, she can take it upon herself to rewrite Scripture?  In all of her pronouncements since taking office, it sure looks that way.

December 8, 7:44 pm | [comment link]
81. bettcee wrote:

swac, post 73, Regardless of whether the Presiding Bishop is a heretic or not, do you think she portrays herself or her church as Christian? Do you think she is capable or willing to uphold the faith of the Christian church which she represents?
After reading her sermons and interviews and watching her un-Christian actions I get the impressions that she is not a Christian and that she is fast leading the church and its children astray from Scripture and from the Christian religion as we have been blessed to receive it.

December 9, 12:26 am | [comment link]
82. ORNurseDude wrote:

Jay (#54 ), regarding your assertion that this letter isn’t a big deal:
1. Are you aware of any other letter submitted to the Ordinary of a diocese, by the bishops in his provence, questioning the canonical authority through which he made an administrative decision?

2. Is Bp Daniel’s phone call to +Lawrence and the subsequent publishing of Provence 4’s “fraternal letter of concern” through TEc news agencies the normal way of communicating?

3. Finally, did any revisionist bishop ever receive a letter inquiring as to the specific canons from which he derived authority to allow “blessing” same-sex couples or permit open Communion? 

Apparently, bishops are permitted to make up or deconstruct theology - with impunity - as they go along…but can’t make an administrative decision (in accordance with state law), without incurring a “fraternal letter of concern” from the other ordinaries in his provence.  The EcUSA has become a theater of the absurd.

December 9, 3:06 am | [comment link]
83. jay 33 wrote:

ORNursedude:
1. not in the habit of reading every provincial letter to bishops
2. my response in 49 answers this, though I have no way of knowing what Bishop Daniel’s usual modes of communication are.  I would think picking up the phone would be normal though, as would reporting provincial activities to ENS
3. Really?  You could fill the Grand Canyon with letters, statements, resolutions, Windsor Reports, comment cards and every other form of communication transmitted to TEC bishops since Spong from parishioners to the Archbishop of Canterbury wanting to know what scriptural, constitutional, ecclesial, canonical authority allowed for same sex blessings.

I agree with your conclusion, but would add nothing will come of this, nor should it.

December 9, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
84. Robert Hopper wrote:

#9 Says: “And Matthew says to keep the admonition private in the first instance yet the first thing they do is make the letter public.  Transparency is good, but citing Matthew 18:15 when making something public is a bit rich.”

A better question might be who made the letter public.  I doubt it was the bishops of Province IV considering where the letter was published.

December 9, 1:25 pm | [comment link]
85. Robert Hopper wrote:

In hindsight I realize that #9 didn’t ask a question.  I should have said “A good question might be who made the letter public.”  It seems to me that it is Diocese of South Carolina that has decided to go public.

December 9, 1:59 pm | [comment link]
86. Blue Cat Man wrote:

#84, I would encourage to re-read Bishop Daniel’s letter carefully and note well the last sentence.

December 9, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
87. tjmcmahon wrote:

Clifton Daniel: “I will send you an email and hard copy of the letter. I am also releasing this letter to Episcopal news organizations today after our conversation.”
Bishop Clifton Daniel, the author of the letter, made it public by giving it to ENS (and also, apparently, Episcopal Cafe) for publication.  His uses rather poor grammar, which implies actually, that he is releasing it to the media (“I am also releasing”- present tense- ie- action being taken immediately) BEFORE mailing it to Bishop Lawrence (“I will send you”- future tense- ie- action to be taken in the future).  Probably just a grammatical error- no reason to think his education in English is superior to his theology or his manners, so it is probably just bad grammar.  Although cynic that I am, I would be interested in the time stamps on the ENS copy and the email to Bishop Lawrence.

December 9, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
88. Robert Hopper wrote:

My apology #86 ... I stand corrected.  I assumed far too much without reading the letter and based on who went public with the recently resolved disciplinary action.  It seems both sides have an affinity for this press.  This leaves a very bad taste.

December 9, 9:01 pm | [comment link]
89. rdrjames wrote:

If I could give advice to the godly bishop, I would say: “Don’t meet them them! they are not on your side for the sake of the Gospel!”
but since I’m not an Anglican anymore, I will forbear.  sounds much like the early church with warring bishops touting different Christologies, but on a smaller scale in the USA.

December 11, 3:20 am | [comment link]
90. Sarah wrote:

RE: “It seems both sides have an affinity for this press.”

Well, one side—our side—has done a rather better job in this particular instance [ie, the entirety of the attempt by the frenzied revisionist activists to punish Bishop Lawrence for his differentiation] of getting out in front of the bad guys in public communication. 

Good.

December 12, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
91. TSH+ wrote:

Pageantmaster (13) you appear to be the source of the misinformation referred to elsewhere. You state, “just like Tobias Haller who I have read raging and fulminating on the blogs calling for this for over a week.” As a matter of fact, I commented on two blogs concerning the null finding of the disciplinary board, which I welcomed as a correct decision. I also noted that if any charge were to be brought on the basis of the quitclaims it would properly fall under another category than abandonment. I neither urged nor commended such an action, but was simply expressing an opinion about canon law. My primary concern is that the canons not be abused in any disciplinary process, as I think the canons have been abused in the past along those lines.

December 15, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
92. cseitz wrote:

TSH+

1. Could you indicate what your understanding of the effect of a quitclaim is, in legal terms? (’...on the basis of quitclaims…’)
2. Do you know what the SCSC said about implied trusts, such as we find them in the case of Dennis?

December 15, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
93. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#91 Tobias Haller

I make sure of my facts before I write:

1. Last year on the HOBD listserve on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 you stated on a thread entitled “Diocese of South Carolina proposed resolutions”:

In this case, the opposite of “accede” is “secede.” The attempted privileging of the diocesan documents over those of the Episcopal Church is irregular, and if it should lead to violation of the Canons, actionable under Title IV.

This was, as you are aware, at a time when it subsequently became clear the Presiding Bishop’s office was assisting putting together an alleged case against Bishop Lawrence and the diocese of South Carolina, and your words speak for themselves as encouraging this.

2.  Following the dropping of charges against Bishop Lawrence, given the background of your call on 15th October 2010, then on 29th November 2011 on Episcopal Cafe you stated:

It is high time the church disciplinarians give up on attempt to apply the Abandonment Canon in cases where it doesn’t really apply, or circumstances other than those for which it was designed. There is a difference between disobedience and renunciation.
What needs to be looked at are Canon IV.4.1.c and g.
Posted by tobias haller November 29, 2011 10:59 AM

3. You further stated on Thinking Anglicans:

I think you are correct, Ron. The recent activity involving quit-claim will have to be dealt with de novo. However, I think it falls under a different category than abandonment, and if charged will take a different course.
Posted by: Tobias Haller on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 3:03pm GMT

So far from being a misstatement, according to your comments you have been calling for disciplinary action under the provisions of Title IV, both old and new, and most recently after the attempt under the abandonment canons failed.  You have been pushing for action against South Carolina and its bishop for over 12 months.

The animus you hold towards South Carolina is pretty clear, although like your Presiding Bishop, you don’t appear to want to be seen holding the smoking gun.  Why is that?

I read no “welcoming of the decision”, but advocating another route in the context.  It reads as more than “expressing an opinion about canon law” but reads as indeed a consistent expression of your “rage and fulmination” at the result of the abandonment process and at South Carolina and its bishop, and curiously at odds with your opposition to any discipline in the Anglican Covenant. 

Isn’t what you have written unworthy in the light of your claimed regard for Bishop Lawrence and perhaps hypocritical of you?

December 16, 12:06 am | [comment link]
94. TSH+ wrote:

PM, I posted a longer note which didn’t appear. My reference is not to the “facts” but to your characterization of these isolated comments as “raging and fulminating.” You also appear to miss the point that in all cases I am not accusing Mark Lawrence of anything, but merely stating that if (I repeat, IF) there were to be a violation of the canons it would then be actionable. My point in two of the three posts is that the Abandonment Canon was not appropriately applied, which is the finding of the Board. I’ve been on record on that topic for some time, including my opposition to earlier cases. I did not “welcome” the finding in the comments, but in fact, as I think this was a misapplication of canon law, a point on which I’ve made public statements in other cases, too.

I think you are overreacting. Saying a few things a year apart—even were they clearly worded as definite charges—hardly constitutes “pushing for something for twelve months”! And in neither case was I pressing for action, but only observing the course that might be taken, as a point in canon law. I do not in fact think any canon has been violated at this point.

Finally telling me I think something I don’t, or meant something I didn’t intend will hardly persuade me to agree with you, when I know my own mind better. If I expressed myself poorly in these very short comments, I’m sorry to have given the wrong impression. But I think it an unfair characterization to portray these passing comments as “leading the charge” or “raging and fulminating.” Believe me (or not as you choose) but if I really wanted to press a cause against Mark Lawrence I would do more than make three passing comments over the course of a year!

So I do not accept your charge of unworthiness or hypocrisy. I think you misunderstood both what I said and my intent in saying it. For any fault of expression on my part that led to that misunderstanding, I am sincerely sorry.

December 16, 5:53 pm | [comment link]
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