Wednesday, July 27, 2005

them's fightin' words

Here goes the escalation, apace. I told you so, Beloved. But I fear this is not the end. I fear that this will provoke some further entrenchment by +Connecticut, as he has shown himself to be of a mind not to back down, but rather to ratchet up the heat of resentment and discord. We shall see. This is what puzzles me so much about the inhibition of Fr. Hansen: +Smith had to have known that measures such as these would be taken. Why therefore does he persist?

I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? (1 Corinthians 6.5-7)

Read the comments at T1.9.

27th July, A.D. 2005

A Second Open Letter to the Bishop and Standing Committee of Connecticut:

Dear Bishop Andrew and Brothers and Sisters of the Standing Committee,

Seventeen bishops, thirteen of them diocesans, wrote you on the 14th of April. We wrote you about the very public conflict between you, the Bishop and Standing Committee, and six Connecticut parishes.

In April we pled that you might turn back from this conflict. We asked whether it was not Bishop Andrew’s actions that had abandoned the (Anglican) Communion: participation in the New Hampshire consecration, ordination of same-sex partnered clergy, and refusal to allow appeal to the Panel of Reference. We called on you as Bishop and Standing Committee to turn back from continued abuse and mis-application of the Canon on Abandonment of Communion [Title IV, Canon 10] in dealing with these six parishes and their clergy.

On July 13th Bishop Andrew led a team who invaded St. John’s, Bristol, confiscated their buildings and accounts, and—without vestry consultation—installed a priest-in-charge. All of these things were done under the pretext of abandonment of communion, the Standing Committee having indicted the clergy of all six parishes on that charge on April 29th.

In our letter of fourteen weeks ago we asked whether there was not “some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops?” In the actions of April 29th and July 13th the answer you have given is clearly “no.”

Therefore, the diocesans signing this letter have determined to intervene in the case of St. John’s, Bristol—and in the cases of the other five parishes should that become necessary—with the following measures:

1) shaping of a presentment against you for conduct unbecoming [Title IV, Can.1, Sec.1 (j)] a Bishop of this Church;
2) raising legal and financial support for the six parishes in such civil suits as may be brought by or against you;
3) providing episcopal care to St. John’s and the other parishes in such ways as to give them tangible evidence that we are in full communion together, in compliance with the Windsor Report.
4) Immediate licensing of the Rev. Dr. Mark Hansen for functions within any of our dioceses to the extent he might have opportunity to function among us.

You have used the unsupportable pretext of inhibition of a faithful priest to take over an orthodox parish. The conflict we face here is about much more than Connecticut, as we advised you back in April. As we asked fourteen weeks ago: “Whatever shall we do to reverse the course of the scandal that besets us?” We would prefer to find some way other than this deepening battle, but we refuse to allow this recent aggression to go unchecked or unchallenged.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams, Bishop of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, Bishop of Albany
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Ft. Worth
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon. Bishop of South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas


Johnny Awesomo said...

Hey WB,
Big Star is releasing a new album. Get pumped up.

koenigsfreunde said...

At Pentecost 2004, he told my parish that he believed that 'those churches who don't want me to be their bishop' are just like those folks who incited +Bennison to depose Moyer+. He felt it was a deliberate move on the part of the conservatives to provoke schism.

Assuming I'm remembering correctly, this makes his inhibition even more irrational. If +Smith really believes the CT6 are part of some insidious 'right-wing' conspiracy to take over ECUSA, why charge headlong into a perceived trap with guns ablazing? The saddest part of all is his steadfast belief that he's at war with the CT6.

The Ranter said...

Both sides have acted stupidly in this. The nature of being an ECUSA priest is that you have to eat some shit from your bishop. The priests should have at least pretended to be cooperating. And the bishop should have the sense not to push issues unless he wanted a peck of trouble, which is exactly what he has gotten for himself.
Whats going on in CT is a big pissing contest... a power struggle... and now these 17 bishops have just turned up the heat.

The Rev. Thorpus said...

I have to say, I don't think this particular conflict is a "both sides have acted stupidly" sort of thing. The CT6 have given +Smith plenty of chances to handle this quietly. But above all, what the heck did he expect when he voted as he did and then participated in the consecration of Vicki Gene? It's not unreasonable to expect some tolerance out of someone who acts thus on his principles, when that action precipitates other principled action. Are bishops and liberals the only ones allowed freedom of conscience? Are the CT-6 at fault for believing that doctrine matters, and that canonical actions have theological and ecclesiological significance? Both sides have acted according to conscience, but where the bishop has acted in a rash and overbearing manner, the CT-6 have been formal, slow to act, and quick to seek consultation both within themselves and from the wider church. We could point out that both side have been committed to their values: is this stupid? Call it stubborn, maybe, but stubbornness is only stupid when it is unwarranted. Was St. Charles acting stupidly when he was martyred, or was he stubborn and principled? If the church has no place for stubborn, principled people, who are willing to give even their lives for the gospel, then it is not the church. If it also has stubborn, principled people whose principles are different from the Apostolic faith, it has a name and a procedure for such: we call them heretics and schismatics, and the leave the Holy Church. All this to say we shouldn't bash both sides for being stubborn and principled, only the side that is leaving the Apostolic faith, and that only for being heretical.