Friday, March 16, 2007

"wake up call" in south carolina

Fr. Mark Lawrence's election to the See of South Carolina has been declared null and void. There were apparently two problems: Fr. Lawrence did not receive the necessary number of consents from Standing Committees, and some of those that he did receive were in electronic form, where the canons specify they be written. ENS claims the latter as primary reason for the nullification of the election. See the Diocese of South Carolina's update here. This has got to be a disappointing outcome for the faithful in that diocese, and we pray God to guide them through the coming months.


texanglican said...

Actually, Father, it appears Fr Lawrence did get the necessary number of consents. The rejection was purely on the technical grounds of improper form. The canons had recently been changed to prohibit anything other than consents "signed" by the necessary Standing Committee members from counting. "Signing" has been interpreted by the PB to mean a consent must be a physical piece of paper, postmarked for the diocesan offices, with ink signatures on it, not an electronic submission. Some of the otherwise valid consents for Fr Lawrence were submitted via electronic means rather than via snail post. Hence, they were rejected. Then the principle came into play that any diocese that has not expressly consented in proper form is deemed to have rejected the candidate.(In the past, some dioceses have apparently submitted electronic consents without any problem. Now their electronic consents suddenly do not count.)

This btw gives a liberal diocese a "pocket veto" over all future orthodox candidates. They need only stall and not vote at all. So long as they never mail in a proper consent form, they can insure a candidate will be rejected.

Furthermore, PB Schori has dressed down the Standing Committee of South Carolina for not being aggressive enough in getting the signed paper consents of the other Standing Committees in on time. But only the PB's office itself actually will have any knowledge of who has sent in the PROPERLY signed PAPER consents and whose consents have been botched.

The result: in the future any Standing Committee that wants to torpedo a candidate can simply send in a faulty consent, all the while pretending that they want to be fair. Unless the PB 's office forces them to act speedily to send in a conforming, properly signed consent before the deadline, their consent will not count (though the intent of the "consenting" Standing Committee is irrelevant, of course, since all that matters is proper form).

This also gives the PB and her staff a perfect way to quietly scotch any candidate of whom she disapproves. The diocese trying to get its candidate approved can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to insure the Standing Committees of the rest of TEC are mailing in the right paper work to 815. The PB's office holds all the cards.

A wretched business, indeed.

father thorpus said...

Texanglican, thanks for the clarification. That's even more, dare I say, devious, than I thought. "Wake up call" indeed.

mmbx said...

Indeed. This is partisan politics. Not Christianity.

The Ranter said...

I think it is a good thing, and this is why. Had +KJS made a big deal about making exceptions to these rules, and allowed the consecration, then every time he made a move someone didn't like, they would be saying he never should have been a bishop. Now, if they re-elect him, it will be with their t's crossed and their i's dotted, and there will be no doubt about the legality of his consecration.
At the same time, it does suck. You gotta feel sorry for the guy.