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"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Professor Lewis Weil, Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, has stated on affidavit that the diocesan bishop is at the "apex" of the Episcopal Church hierarchy "as the apostle, chief priest, pastor and ecclesiastical authority of the diocese”…. “All of this, in the Court's view, gives a conclusive quietus to any argument about the role of review panels within the Church or whether Bishop Dixon may have had certain ecclesiastical remedies that she declined to pursue before coming to court. She is the highest ecclesiastical authority of the Washington Diocese of the Episcopal Church.
Amicus brief of 26 bishops [including then Bishop Jefferts Schori]:
“Episcopal Church governance is hierarchical and governed by canon law, as found by the District Court.”
From the Mark McCall South Carolina Affidavit:
181. Finally, in 2001 Louis Weil, like Mullin a professor at a TEC seminary, submitted expert testimony on the hierarchical structure of TEC to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in Dixon v. Edwards, 172 F. Supp. 2d 702 (D. Md. 2001). Among Weil’s conclusions were the following (emphasis added):
I am qualified to explain the hierarchical structure of the Episcopal Church, and the diocesan bishop's position at the apex of that hierarchy as the apostle, chief priest, pastor and ecclesiastical authority of the diocese….
The polity of the Episcopal Church is hierarchical. In fact, the name of the Episcopal Church itself denotes the authoritative framework of the Church, and direction in which authority flows. The concept of episcope,” from which episcopal is derived, means oversight. Oversight, within the polity of the Episcopal Church, is the responsibility of a bishop within his or her diocese.
The diocese is the jurisdictional unit of the Episcopal Church….
Taken together, the role of the bishop as apostle, chief priest and pastor of a diocese, and the ordination vows taken by every priest signify the hierarchical nature of the Episcopal Church. Within this framework, it is the bishop who is the ultimate authority on issues of ministry within his or her diocese….
In summary, the bishop is the cornerstone of the diocese. The history and liturgy of the Episcopal Church support the notion that the bishop is the ultimate authority over ecclesiastical matters within his or her diocese.
Weil’s expert declaration from the court’s public records is attached as Exhibit 3.
182. The district court relied heavily on Weil’s expert testimony in its decision:
Ultimately, however, Defendants' suggestion that the Bishop is not the highest ecclesiastical authority is contradicted by every fundamental aspect of the faith, beginning with the very word "bishop," which is derived from the Late Latin "episcopus" meaning "bishop" or "overseer," through the Greek "episcopus," comprised of "epi," meaning "on or over" and "skopos," meaning "watches”….Professor Lewis Weil, Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, has stated on affidavit that the diocesan bishop is at the "apex" of the Episcopal Church hierarchy "as the apostle, chief priest, pastor and ecclesiastical authority of the diocese”…. “The history and liturgy of the Episcopal Church," Professor Weil concludes, "support the notion that the bishop is the ultimate authority over ecclesiastical matters within his or her diocese"…. All of this, in the Court's view, gives a conclusive quietus to any argument about the role of review panels within the Church or whether Bishop Dixon may have had certain ecclesiastical remedies that she declined to pursue before coming to court. She is the highest ecclesiastical authority of the Washington Diocese of the Episcopal Church.172 F. Supp. 2d at 717.
183. When this decision was appealed to the Fourth Circuit, two TEC bishops filed an amicus brief supporting reversal of the district court decision in a brief that argued the two bishops “strongly disagree  with the lower court’s position on the authority of an Episcopal bishop.” This in turn prompted a second amicus brief by 26 TEC bishops in support of the trial court’s interpretation of TEC polity. They stated that their purpose was to respond to the arguments of the other amicus brief “because they believe that acceptance of those arguments would undermine and, indeed, would drastically alter the authority and the role of bishops in the Episcopal Church.” These amici concluded that “Episcopal Church governance is hierarchical and governed by canon law, as found by the District Court.” (Emphasis added.) Among the 26 bishops signing the second amicus brief was the current Presiding Bishop, on behalf of whom [Robert] Mullin prepared his testimony in this case. (See paragraph 3.)
184. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision by the district court, concluding that “Bishop Dixon is the highest ecclesiastical tribunal of the Church for the purposes of this dispute.” Dixon v. Edwards, 290 F. 3d 699 (4th Cir. 2002).
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