Statement from the Communion Partner Bishops on the South Carolina Situation

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

Posted November 15, 2012 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Next, the Windsor Bishops, as soon as they ascertain which way the wind blows!

November 15, 10:28 am | [comment link]
2. Undergroundpewster wrote:

Are they suggesting that TEc not follow its rules just this once, pretty please? TEc has never played by the rules until now. They should expect the HoB to lower the gavel this time.

November 15, 10:56 am | [comment link]
3. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

From the fact that several retired bishops are included as signatories, it appears that the CP bishops made a serious effort to include as many bishops as possible.  Hence the omission of some names we might expect to find here seems significant.  For example, my esteemed mentor in the Diocese of Albany, +Dan Herzog (retired), is not among the signers.  Also glaringly absent is +James Stanton of Dallas, etc.  In such cases, could these omissions amount to a tacit signal that they perceive this weak letter as a futile gesture, a protest that exemplifies the common phenomenon of “too little, too late?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m glad to see as many signers as there are.  In particular, I’m heartened to see that +Lillibridge, +Jacobus,and +Little are among them.  But this sort of feeble protest isn’t nearly enough to stop the out-of-control train that is TEC these days.

My biggest complaint about the CP bishops’ complaint is that it seems to suggest a rough moral equivalence between the actions of the DBB and the resulting actions of the DSC in automatically withdrawing from TEC.  Both are said to grieve the CP bishops, but they fail to indicate that the actions of the DBB are FAR, FAR worse.  It’s all too similar to the old canard that when the GS primates violated provincial boundaries by accepting oversight of churches and dioceses that fled TEC that this was supposedly as bad as the grossly unbiblical actions of TEC in espousing blatant heresy and immorality.  As if the moratoria agreed upon by the primates in Tanzania were equally important.  The reality is that they never were morally equivalent.

And the same is true in this case.  Bottom line: the defensive actions of the DSC are fully justified, contrary to the impression given by this letter.  With all due respect, to me, this letter still smacks of denial.  These noble and honorable bishops still indulge in the fool’s hope that reconciliation and genuine dialog are possible within TEC.  Sadly, they aren’t.

David Handy+

November 15, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
4. Cennydd13 wrote:

And they never will be, as long as Liberals remain in charge.

November 15, 12:17 pm | [comment link]
5. off2 wrote:

Can’t figure out how to cut and paste from the stmt, but, ~” the action of the board seem to have derailed a good faith attempt by the PBess~” .  Please. That’s up there with the Easter Bunny.

November 15, 1:12 pm | [comment link]
6. Karen B. wrote:

#3, I don’t know the whys or wherefores of the signature question, but I would think it better not to read too much into those who appear to be missing.  It could well be that the signatories are those who were able to participate in a Communion Partners meeting this week.  I remember seeing something about a meeting on +Dan Martins’ blog…  speculation about the bishops who didn’t sign is probably not particularly fruitful.

Definitely a lukewarm statement.  But that’s not a surprise given that a few of the bishops listed have shown some serious signs of waffling of late, (re: the SSB resolution at GC2012, for instance, and whether or not SSBs will be authorized in their dioceses.)  The phrase “lowest common denominator” comes to mind.  This is sadly probably the strongest statement this group of bishops could agree to.

Maybe some of the stronger orthodox bishops wrote something more supportive to +Mark and diocesan leaders personally?  One can hope.  As of now, I think only +Martins and +Love have released any public statement on the matter?

November 15, 6:10 pm | [comment link]
7. Karen B. wrote:

Speaking of +Dan Martins, here’s an interesting new post on the South Carolina situation at his blog:

November 15, 6:16 pm | [comment link]
8. Karen B. wrote:

Wow!  Sarah’s comment on that thread I just linked on +Dan Martins’ blog is FANtASTIC.  Must reading.  So I’m going to take the liberty of posting it here.  It fits well not only with Bp. Martins’ latest blog post, but also as a response to the Communion Partners’ letter above.

  I disagree with the moral equivalence implied in this post. The Presiding Bishop is following a now well-worn and recognized path—a systematic process for eliminating another enemy and replacing conservative leadership with her chosen apparatchiks. The Diocese of South Carolina was brazenly attacked by those currently in power in The Episcopal Church and its leadership has acted in appropriate self-defense in order to protect the diocese from obliteration by the revisionist activists currently in charge at the highest levels of our church. I support them in their defending their diocese from complete destruction.

  In regards to the Presiding Bishop’s “willingness to step back from the brink if Bishop Lawrence offers a refutation of the charges of abandonment within the 60 day canonical time frame”—that is laughably and transparently obvious, tactically. The Diocese of South Carolina has made clear their belief that the Title IV revisions are in direct and flagrant violation of the Constitution and thus unacceptable. It is a pity that other diocesan Standing Committees have not publicly recognized this as well. But the fact is that if Bishop Lawrence refutes those charges he is acknowledging and validating a set of canonical changes that violates the Constitution and there is no reason for a diocese’s leadership to do such a thing.

  What I can’t understand is . . . why would any bishop want a Diocese to act in such a way that would utterly destroy it? I can’t conceive of a reputable and credible set of leaders doing such a thing, in the face of the deliberate and calculated efforts of our current leadership.

  In a larger context, the Diocese of South Carolina caving on this particular issue merely delays the inevitable. If it’s not this issue, it will be another. For ultimately—since the foundational worldviews and respective gospels are antithetical and mutually opposing between the two groups within TEC—those two groups will divide. Intrinsically communion-dividing acts and theologies have been enacted, promoted, and forced upon others, and the inevitable consequence of those intrinsically communion-dividing acts are that the two groups will not ultimately reside in the same organization together.

  The consequences of the chasm between the two groups will occur now, or later. But they will occur. Eventually, The Episcopal Church will encompass the revisionists, and the rest will be gone. It can happen tomorrow, or ten years from now. But happen it will.

  I support the Diocese of South Carolina taking such steps as it can to protect itself now so that the institution of that diocese can continue on, long into the future, detached from The Episcopal Church.

  Sarah Hey, an Episcopalian
  3:44 PM

[Sarah, please forgive me if I have overstepped by posting your comment here without your permission, but it needs to be WIDELY seen and heard!!! - Karen.]

November 15, 6:24 pm | [comment link]
9. MichaelA wrote:

I can’t comment on the signing issues raised by Fr. Handy, but the rest of his post seems to on point:  I greatly respect the Communion Partner bishops for standing up for orthodoxy for so long in TEC, but their letter does appear to concede some moral equivalence between the actions of Dio South Carolina and of TEC.

I do appreciate their courage over many years.  They are no doubt conscious of the many orthodox TEC congregations under their care.  But surely in the medium term it is obvious that this will not be allowed to continue - the same pressure that has been brought on South Carolina is already starting to be placed on them - witness the bizarre charges in relation to filing of the amicus brief.  So I hope they and their standing committees, clergy and congregations are making appropriate preparations for that day when 815 comes a-knocking.

November 15, 7:06 pm | [comment link]
10. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Karen B.,
You may well be right that we shouldn’t make too much of the surprising omissions about the signers, but I still find the absence of some CP bishops puzzling.  Oh well, all will become clear soon enough.  But I’m glad you cited Sarah’s insightful and forceful comment at length.  It packs quite a punch, as usual.  And I note that she too finds fault with any suggestion of moral equivalence between the biblically faithful, defensive actions of the DSC and the faithless, deceptive, aggressively hostile actions of the TEC leadership.

Likewise, thanks to MichaelA (#9) for his kind words about my post.  I note in particular that he also highlights this pseudo-equivalence issue.

Upon further reflection, I’m reminded of the famous saying attributed to the American patriot Benjamin Franklin at the Continental Congress that declared independence from Britain, “Gentlemen, we must hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.”  Alas, the fine CP bishops seem to be in denial that unless they hang together with the admirable DSC and take a stronger, bolder stand similar to that of the fearless +Mark Lawrence, they will indeed hang separately.  Keeping a lower profile won’t delay their execution very long. 

Bottom line: I know it’s a highly provocative analogy, but you can’t negotiate with terrorists.  And the current leadership of TEC are simply religious terrorists.  Only instead of using suicide bombers like fanatical Muslims, they use lawsuits, twist or ignore church canons in the most blatant fashion, and employ all sorts of underhanded, unethical tactics.  As we’ve seen over and over again.  To their deluded minds, it appears that “the end justifies the means.”

David Handy+

November 16, 5:33 pm | [comment link]
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