December 10, 2007

Quick Monday Morning Thoughts

In light of the Diocese of San Joaquin’s reputed transfer from The Episcopal Church to the Southern Cone this past weekend, I find myself wanting to write long essays on a variety of related subjects. Since I do not have time to do that just now, permit me to offer a few quick takes on the situation.

First, I am wondering why Bishop Schofield has not yet been charged with abandoning the communion of The Episcopal Church under Canon 9 of Title IV. Surely, this time, no one can argue that an abandonment charge is being misused. This is exactly the sort of circumstance for which it was designed. (The charge would be brought against Schofield, of course, for his actually leaving, not for his fomenting schism, which, though an appropriate allegation under Canon 9, is a rather more abstract one.) The Presiding Bishop warned that an abandonment charge would be the result of Schofield’s following through with his plans. It is time for +Katharine to act. In fact, it is long past the prudent time to act.

An interesting question that has been bandied about on several blogs (on Preludium, for example) is the status of the now Bishop-elect of South Carolina, Mark Lawrence. Lawrence has been canonically resident in San Joaquin, and Bishop Schofield has declared that all clergy in the diocese are in the Southern Cone. He did, however, give them the option of staying in The Episcopal Church or taking time to think about it. Perhaps Lawrence’s canonical residence is in ecclesiastical limbo at the moment, but I would argue that he should immediately declare what province of the Anglican Communion he wants to be in. He cannot be in the Southern Cone and be consecrated Bishop of South Carolina.

What really set me off this morning, was an item on The “Lead”:
“Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has not in any way endorsed the actions of the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables, in his welcoming of dioceses, such as San Joaquin in the Episcopal Church, to become part of his province in South America,” a spokesman for the Anglican Communion said.
Such a courageous declaration! The Archbishop is clearly more interested in evading personal responsibility for the current mess than he is in preserving anything that looks like order in the Anglican Communion, which has become an ecclesiastical Wild West under his “leadership.”

The big question, from my own vantage point in Pittsburgh, of course, is whether we are seeing the future of our my diocese unfolding in California. I hope not.

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