House of Bishops to hear complaints from Fort Worth and Quincy on 6 July 2012

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A letter accusing nine bishops of disloyalty to the Episcopal Church and violation of its canons is scheduled for discussion on 6 July 2012 during a closed session of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops meeting at the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons

Posted July 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. APB wrote:

Is it possible that the HoB realizes what a disaster this would be if not stopped?  Stay tuned.

July 6, 3:02 pm | [comment link]
2. Blue Cat Man wrote:

My fear is that the majority of the bishops don’t care.

July 6, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
3. Ralph wrote:

Although the meeting will be in “closed session,” there’s no way that it can be kept a secret. Recordings will be made. They, and transcripts, will leak out on the Internet.

This kind of filthy laundry must be hung out to dry in full sunshine.

Hopefully, things said will be considered “discoverable” in litigation.

And, if the PB successfully makes a declaration of hierarchy without backup from the Constitution and Canons, and contradicting the vote of General Convention 1898, then her assumption of power in accordance with the principles of Mein Kampf will be complete.

God forbid!

July 6, 3:30 pm | [comment link]
4. dwstroudmd+ wrote:


Show trial.


July 6, 3:38 pm | [comment link]
5. David Keller wrote:

#3 and 4—Before I read your comments I was thinking maybe GC 2015 should be in Neuremberg!

July 6, 3:48 pm | [comment link]
6. Ian+ wrote:

You’ve got it all wrong, folks. She’s gonna have ‘em all breathe deep and cross the floor to embrace their adversaries in reconciliation.

July 6, 3:53 pm | [comment link]
7. Blue Cat Man wrote:

David, I hope TEC is long gone by then! God Forbid this “organization” remains intact much longer!!  I hope those bishops with phones will have them on record! Let us call it what it is - a witch hunt.  Lord have mercy!!!!

July 6, 3:53 pm | [comment link]
8. Blue Cat Man wrote:

Ian+ Thanks for the laugh!! Hahahahaha!

July 6, 3:55 pm | [comment link]
9. Sherri2 wrote:

Even Title IV, which does away with all pretext of justice, is not good enough for them? Not fast enough, not biased enough? Not kept dark enough?

July 6, 4:17 pm | [comment link]
10. SC blu cat lady wrote:

#9, Sherri2, Seemingly not.

I truly wonder what will happen in the House of Bishops. Could be some very nasty stuff going down. Since it will be behind closed doors no one will know until it is over.  Geesh and the Diocese of South Carolina is accused of being “secretive” by The Episcopal Forum and SC Episcopalians simply because minutes of every committee meeting are not published. How is this going to be explained?

July 6, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
11. Sherri2 wrote:

It doesn’t have to be explained.  What “we” (TEC) do is OK, no matter what it is. No rule of law exists for TEC.

July 6, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
12. tjmcmahon wrote:

Well, last week everyone was wondering about the timing of the release of the charges just a few days before GC- now we know why.  For the expressed purpose of having this “hearing” during GC. My suspicion is that the PB would not have allowed things to go this far if she didn’t think she had enough bishops in her pocket to get her own way.
Whether the purpose of the exercise is to depose the bishops, or to establish hierarchy as the central principal of TEC and make the PB into a “pope” to rival the Borgias, or to put Ms. Wells loyalty oath into canon law (or some combination of the above), I don’t know.

Ohl and Buchanon appear more familiar with the charges than the accused bishops, which implies either they were the instigators (although one assumes they would have let others be the signatories, since they are involved in the court cases), or Bishop Matthews gave them more information on the charges than was given to the accused- and either of those two scenarios is very troubling if correct.

July 6, 4:43 pm | [comment link]
13. jamesw wrote:

Someone managed to smuggle a video of the HoB proceedings out.

July 6, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
14. Sherri2 wrote:

All of the above, TJ? Could they depose the standing bishops like this? “Show trial” is misleading. It implies an audience for a pre-determined “result” - TEC is drawing the curtain over this.

July 6, 4:56 pm | [comment link]
15. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Sherri2, If memory serves me correctly, yes the House of Bishops has deposed bishops before. It was not done according to the canons back then. Have no fear, it won’t be done correctly this time either.  Yep, this time it is closed door session. As TJ mentioned, it could be one of more of those possibilities.  I seriously doubt it will be just “discussion” over polity as they claim. But once it is over, I bet it will be known very quickly what happened.

July 6, 5:20 pm | [comment link]
16. Sherri2 wrote:

I meant 9 at once at General Convention. Surely that’s a first, even for TEC?

July 6, 5:37 pm | [comment link]
17. Brian from T19 wrote:

jamesw, LOL!

July 6, 5:38 pm | [comment link]
18. Brian from T19 wrote:

But wouldn’t this be procedure under Title IV (I am opposed to this action!) As I understand it, once charges are presented, the HOB meets and votes.  Am I wrong on this?

July 6, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
19. c.r.seitz wrote:

The HOB has no role designated in the letter of Title IV (which is of course under its own anticipated revisions at GC given its problems).

The HOB discussion has its own apparent lifeline and does not transpire because something in Title IV calls for it. This is an emotional and slightly incoherent effort of provisional bishops. How will it fare? We shall see, now that their brief is in the public domain.

July 6, 5:45 pm | [comment link]
20. tjmcmahon wrote:

Sherri2,  I doubt that the HoB could waive enough of its own procedures to actually depose anyone this afternoon, but they could set the process in motion (if I remember correctly) and call a special meeting for the purpose.

It was the HoB that deposed +Bob Duncan and several of the other bishops in 2007-09.  At the time there was substantial criticism over the fact that KJS unconstitutionally took the vote of the bishops who happened to be in the room, as opposed to a vote of all the bishops entitled to vote (as called for in the canons at the time).  She also used the power of the chair and violated Roberts Rules on several occasions to rule questions and motions from the floor out of order (the same tactics later used at Jamaica by the chair of the ACC and ABoC to disembowel the Covenant).

July 6, 5:49 pm | [comment link]
21. Ralph wrote:

It appears that the SSB mess might not have enough votes to pass.


If the TEC-9 could be deprived of voice, vote, and seat before A049 comes up for a vote, thus intimidating other bishops now contemplating a no vote, then it might well have a chance of passing in the HOB.

July 6, 5:55 pm | [comment link]
22. jamesw wrote:

I would guess that this is more intended to be a show of force.  Take some sort of meaningless vote, thereby demonstrating to the 9 bishops that they will be deposed if they continue down their path, then saying to them “it would be a cryin’ shame if something were ta happen to dat nice cope and mitre, ya know?  Why don’t ya just keep your mouths shut and we’ll all just forget about it, capiche?”

July 6, 5:56 pm | [comment link]
23. Sherri2 wrote:

tjmcmahon, I actually do remember how +Duncan was dealt with. Summary as that was, it seems that doing the same to nine at once would be biting off a bit much. But it also took me by surprise that they would move to address this in “open” secrecy during GC. Maybe it’s not possible to overestimate the PB’s gall.

July 6, 6:15 pm | [comment link]
24. tjmcmahon wrote:

While the Curmudgeon is, of course, correct, he was also correct on the same point in the depositions, and it made no difference.  KJS will just rule as she has before (and since the same bishops now charged acquiesced to it the first several times without bringing charges against her, precedent was established).  GC will do as it wills, and you will have the choice to comply, or stick around while they do whatever they do, or leave- same choice as the last several years.
Face facts everyone- gay marriage has been the defacto TEC standard since Tom Shaw stood up publicly and performed one, without any discipline enacted afterwards.  They are just working on getting the documentation in order and get the canons up to date with what they have been doing for 10 years.

July 6, 6:23 pm | [comment link]
25. Oreo wrote:

I have no doubt that this was planned. Granted, I am of a suspicious mind, and this smacks of being something that was very well orchestrated. I’d love a gander at the PB’s day planner to prove it wasn’t so…

July 6, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
26. SC blu cat lady wrote:

I know the live video stream from the House of Bishops is off until 11:15 tomorrow morning.  Anyone know if there was any discussion? My hope was that there was not.

July 6, 6:58 pm | [comment link]
27. Already left wrote:

Does anyone know if any of the 9 are there? If so, who?

July 6, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
28. c.r.seitz wrote:


Stanton, Lambert, MacPherson, Love, Martins.

I do not know about Salmon as Dean of Nashotah.

Howe is not there.

July 6, 8:06 pm | [comment link]
29. SC blu cat lady wrote:

George Conger has the latest over at Anglican Ink.

July 6, 9:10 pm | [comment link]
30. Ralph wrote:

Some of the accused bishops have filed a well-written reply, setting the stage for a Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.


July 7, 7:02 am | [comment link]
31. c.r.seitz wrote:

#30—one can also wonder whether the Ohl/Buchanon gambit re: ‘set the record straight’ might send a message to the Court that TEC Bishops disagree, formally. That does not help the ‘unitary hierarchy’ cause.

July 7, 7:17 am | [comment link]
32. Ralph wrote:

#31, exactly. It’s already happening. See here:

The response letter implies that TEC has pretended that there is hierarchical polity for the purposes of litigation.

Not only does the foolish and inaccurate Ohl-Buchanan letter and the carefully-written response from the accused bishops show that there is disagreement and discord, but the two letters set up the HOB to make an on-the-spot, yes-no determination on hierarchical polity, at General Convention. The TEC lawyers must be working overtime (and billing accordingly) on this, because they are perfectly aware that the only possible accurate answer is “no.”

July 7, 8:00 am | [comment link]
33. c.r.seitz wrote:

#32 I wondered when I read it whether Ohl/Buchanon had not been very prudent. In reality their letter—apart from its factual sloppiness and obvious ire—had two topics going on at once. One was: please shame the Bishops who are a threat to our self-understanding. The other was, make a declaration of our polity on the spot. I wondered if that second agenda was a bridge too far. If the Bishops have to do this, then the Constitution is manifestly unclear. Also, if the Bishops have to do this and that don’t do it 100%, then a disagreement is made manifest publically.

July 7, 8:17 am | [comment link]
34. c.r.seitz wrote:

See, here is the real agenda. It involves a kind of personal affront. But that sits rather uneasily next to the described goal of ‘setting the polity record straight’ which is a substantive matter and not one to do with reassurances, reconciliation, etc.

Ohl is quoted as saying:

For Ohl, the first goal of the request “is to bring some reconciliation into the House of Bishops” because the fact that the bishops acted as they did without at least informing either him or Buchanan was “a violation of the norms of our house.”

The other goal is to “give some indication to the people in the dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth that they have the support of the House of Bishops,” he said.

July 7, 9:26 am | [comment link]
35. Ralph wrote:

Our Anglican Curmudgeon reminds us in some detail of the 1898 General Convention:

I’d guess that the Ohl-Buchanan letter made the PB’s lawyers lose blood pressure and sphincter control, UNLESS they are 100% certain that the HOB will affirm hierarchical polity.

He has another more concise and recent post somewhere, but I can’t find it. Time to chill the beer and pop the corn as we sit back and see how our bishops and the PB’s legal staff handle this one. Nobody in his right mind would give the current PB metropolitical power and authority.

July 7, 10:38 am | [comment link]
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