One consequence of TEC's deposition of the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan---surely overlooked in the "prayerful" rush to judgment---is to confirm that The Episcopal Church is not a hierarchical organization.
How did that happen? I shall explain.
TEC is now forced to regard the see of Pittsburgh as vacant. And who can fill the vacant see? The Presiding Bishop? No. The House of Bishops? No. The House of Deputies? No. General Convention? No. The Executive Council? No. (I shall call all of these together "the usual suspects.")
Answer: Only the clergy and parishioners of the Diocese of Pittsburgh can.
That's some hierarchy. Were this the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope or a Cardinal would have a new bishop in the office on Monday.
Or consider this: who has the power to call a diocesan convention in Pittsburgh, now that there is no diocesan? Any of the usual suspects? No.
Answer: Only the Standing Committee of the Diocese, acting as the Ecclesiastical Authority when there is no bishop, can call a diocesan convention.
Again, that's some hierarchy.
Now consider the plight of the plaintiffs in the Calvary Church lawsuit. They no longer have a defendant---the "Bishop of Pittsburgh" is no more. Brought about by their own doing. What they have left are the Trustees of the Diocese, as well as some (but only some) of the members of the Standing Committee (who in fact are no longer on the Standing Committee!). So they cannot obtain any order from the court that would be effective to cause the diocese to do anything, until they cause the new members of the Standing Committee to be substituted in as defendants. Will a court be sympathetic to plaintiffs who have brought about the situation that requires them to ask for leave to bring in new parties? If it were my court, I would tell them that I am no referee, and that they should stop playing games.
I would also tell them that if their Church is as "hierarchical" as they say it is, they should simply bring in the next rank up in the hierarchy---and who would that be?
As I say, that's some hierarchy.
AKMA reminds us that it is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. (Aside: For those so inclined, there is even an entire Pirate Eucharist [Excerpt from the Credo:
. . .Far us and far arr salvation
he opened the hatch o’ heav’n
and dropped into the hold:
by the pow’r o’ the Holy Ghost
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made a swabbie.
Fer arr sake he was keel-hauled by that scurvy dog,
and was sent t’ Davy Jones’ locker. . . .]
complete with a "Pirate Gloria" which you can download from this page and listen to, if you have Windows Media Player. Or, if you're in Sacramento, you can go to an actual Pirate Eucharist service this evening at 5:45 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral. But I digress.)
So I would think that the response of those in TEC who are running this farce, when they find out that they have just demonstrated with their actions the utter lack of any hierarchy in their structure, would be in keeping with the occasion: