An ENS report on Bishopsgate

Posted by The_Elves

Diocese of Fort Worth Communication Director Katie Sherrod told ENS July 1 that she could not comment on the reports of a Title IV complaint being lodged against the seven bishops because, due to the confidentiality of the proceedings, she had no information.

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Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. c.r.seitz wrote:

The ENS logic appears to be:
1. complaints are received by an Intake Officer
2. if they are complaints against the mere filing of an amicus brief by Bishops of TEC, they might well be processed and a polite letter sent back
3. instead we learn that disciplinary proceedings have been initiated
4. this is communicated to the parties in question
5. TEC has said nothing official about the disciplinary proceedings being OK’d by IO and PB, and that is salutary
6. but the apparent decision by those charged to make public a highly dubious disciplining notice, issued just before GC begins, is questionable behavior

So everyone is supposed to keep quiet about formal decisions to move forward with disciplinary phases of Title IV, rather than the IO and PB politely saying the complaints have no real foundation and letting that be the end of it. This is the revised Title IV we are all supposed to be enthusiastic about.

July 3, 2:25 am | [comment link]
2. c.r.seitz wrote:

“Title IV.6.3-4 says the process begins when the intake officer receives any complaint, after which he or she “may make such preliminary investigation as he or she deems necessary, and shall incorporate the information into a written intake report, including as much specificity as possible.”

ENS report stops its recitation of the Title requirements at this point. If the IO had also stopped here, it would all be water over the dam and irrelevant and nothing would have come of it. ENS fails to report that instead, the IO has initiated disciplinary proceedings. It does acknowledge earlier in the piece that these proceedings will ensure in two weeks time. GC is beginning as we speak.

July 3, 2:32 am | [comment link]
3. c.r.seitz wrote:

Make that, “in the next few weeks.” It might also have been noted that such a decision to proceed with discipline was not necessary according to Title IV; or obvious, given the complaints; or at this specific time, for the notification as such. Instead its main theme seems to be, ‘why did the information get into the public domain’?

July 3, 2:37 am | [comment link]
4. SC blu cat lady wrote:

#3, I agree with what you have written, Dr. Seitz.

Why did the information get into the public domain?  Or perhaps the question is how. Surely the ENS knows the answer to either question. The publicity of these complaints may not have happened if Bishop Matthews had sent an actual letter to each bishop using one of a couple other options like US Postal Service or Fed Ex or something similar. Notice that the article admits that Bishop Matthews sent the bishops e-mail(s).  There is the key. It is so easy to send on an e-mail to another person.

July 3, 8:27 am | [comment link]
5. Creighton+ wrote:

#4, It is appropriate for sitting Diocesans and Suffragan Bishops to notify their Standing Committees when an allegation is made against them or an investigation is begun against you.  The Standing Committee is the Council of advice to bishops and they need to know.  However, there is no way these allegation nor the investigation will remain unknown.  It is best to be clear and transparent and to do what you can to blunt rumor and gossip before it takes off.  Thus, it is those who have been notified who have released this information publicly and it is good they have done so.  However, nothing can prevent speculation as it takes off at the speed of light.

I am praying for all under investigation and for those who are considering these allegations.  It is sad it has gone this far and it is obvious it should not have been accepted by the Intake Officer.  If the Intake Officer wanted to reject the allegations as groundless or not meeting the requirements of an investigation, the Presiding Bishop has the authority under the New Title IV Revisions to over ride the judgement of the Intake Officer.  Of course, this is only speculation (as I said one cannot prevent speculation) and the new Title IV does not allow for transparency or due process.  Truly, the current Title IV needs to be rejected or seriously corrected.  Nor does it matter where one stands theologically.  As we see in this case, all one has to do is disagree with the current prevailing position of the Presiding Bishop and/or her Chancellor and one has violated the Discipline of the EC.  This is sad indeed.  As we also see, those who have opposed the Presiding Bishop are finding that it is useless to do so.

As I said on Twitter and is reminiscent of Star Trek:  We are the Episcopal Church.  Resistance is futile. 

Lord have mercy on us all.

July 3, 9:24 am | [comment link]
6. c.r.seitz wrote:

Sorry, #4 my comments were likely too compressed.

The idea that the main story is about a confidentiality problem is just nonsense. It doesn’t matter how the story got into the public domain. If someone leveled a frivolous charge at me, inside of an already unconstitutional Title IV, with anonymity for complaintants and also for the decision making to proceed with disciplinary process, I’d not stay silent.

July 3, 10:23 am | [comment link]
7. Undergroundpewster wrote:

#5 Creighton+,


Wasn’t this all predicted in the blogosphere when we were critiquing the Title IV changes while they were still just proposals?


July 3, 12:07 pm | [comment link]
8. Creighton+ wrote:

Yes, it was.  The Diocese of SC made this clear in their refusal to embrace the Title IV and why they would not do so.
Now, we know how prophetic the blogosphere was! grin

July 3, 12:14 pm | [comment link]
9. Publius wrote:

If memory serves, the new Title IV also applies to laypeople. By TEC’s logic, if a layperson supports one of the bishops charged, why can’t somebody file charges against them too? Heads up, Standing Committees! Incoming…

July 3, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
10. Creighton+ wrote:

Title IV addresses misconduct of clergy and not the laity.

July 3, 3:25 pm | [comment link]
11. MichaelA wrote:

If this kerfuffle causes Katie Sherrod to take her attention off the TEC budget, and stop criticising 815’s highly unorthodox methods for ramming through an alternative budget, then KJ Schori will be well-pleased.

July 4, 5:14 am | [comment link]
12. Creighton+ wrote:

I see this as both a strategic diversionary tactic as well as an attack on Orthodox Bishops who have a different point of view than the current Presiding Bishop and her chancellor.  There is a power struggle within the theological liberals in the EC as to who will hold the reins of control.

July 4, 9:27 am | [comment link]
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