Monday, October 6, 2008

They Don't Know When to Quit!

I apologize in advance for what will be another post bashing the liberals' lack of logic. Those of you who have had enough of that topic can simply click here. For the rest of you die-hard logic lovers, please read on . . .

They just don't know when to quit! Part of the problem has to be that since they don't know how to use logic, they have no way of telling when they have lost the argument.  So, let's wade on in (I have added the bold, for emphasis):
A correspondent who prefers to remain anonymous, but whose credentials are those of a canon lawyer, has sent me the following note concerning the Province of the Southern Cone and its reception of dioceses outside its territory.
Now this is rich, truly rich, coming from this particular blog. Has its author just forgotten that he put up a post last spring which was felicitously titled: "Who the Hell Wrote the Undisclosed Memo?" Or has he decided simply to overlook what he said in that post, such as this:
So we have a memorandum which is not offered for public scrutiny, authored by an unknown "international lawyer" for a group of concerned bishops, whose concern does not extend to having us know who they are, circulated to bishops and certain well placed correspondents, and not otherwise made public by any bishop in the course of nine days. We might well ask, "What the hell is going on here?"
. . . 
Perhaps their lack of confidence is actually in their arguments, since they seem unwilling to let the world see the [authors?], know who they are and who commissioned them to write.
Well, never mind; apparently anonymous legal opinions are just fine when they support the liberals' point of view. Let's examine just what the opinion says:
. . . They [the Province of the Southern Cone] cannot, under their own rules, accept a diocese from outside the territory listed in their constitution. Nor can they do so within the norms of Anglican Canon Law.
Now, this is interesting. There is a little problem in that the Province has not formally "accepted" the Diocese of Pittsburgh into its territory, and has only given it "temporary emergency shelter" until a new Province in North America is formed---but we will let that go. What interests me is the assertion that even such a temporary and emergency arrangement is said to violate "the norms of Anglican Canon Law."

And pray, tell: Just where might those "norms" be found? Would they be found, perhaps, by looking at the example of the extraprovincial Episcopal Church of Cuba, which has not one, but---count them---three Metropolitans to which it is subject? What did the "norms of Anglican Canon Law" have to say about that arrangement, and if what the Southern Cone is now doing is against those norms, why were they silent on the case of Cuba?

Or again: what gave The Episcopal Church the authority to take under its wings the various dioceses of Central America, who have only recently made themselves into a separate Anglican province? 

"Norms of Anglican Canon law?" Certainly---I'll have a few of them myself, thank you.

But wait---the full depth of liberal logic is not yet on display. For next we have this point:
On top of that, there is no way under generally accepted canonical principles that they can receive and license a bishop or other cleric who has been deposed, or who has voluntarily relinquished his or her orders in the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada (or elsewhere, of course).

The Global South howl that Gene Robinson is not just a bishop in the Episcopal Church, but in the Anglican Communion, and they are correct to say that, though I don't personally understand why they are so distressed about it. But it equally holds that deposition or relinquishment of orders has effect throughout the Communion, and not simply locally within one Province. Ergo, Robert Duncan is simply not a bishop, and this is true not only in the Episcopal Church, but throughout the Communion. He cannot be licensed as a minister of word and sacrament in the Anglican Communion, and any Province that purports to do so has stepped completely outside the bounds of Anglican canonical norms."
This is liberal doublespeak at its very finest. "The Global South howl that Gene Robinson is not just a bishop in the Episcopal Church, but in the Anglican Communion"??? Maybe that is what you think, Mr. Anonymous Canon Lawyer, but I assure you it is not what the Global South knows. Was Gene Robinson received at the Lambeth Conference this last summer? Then how can he be considered a "Bishop in the Anglican Communion?" (And, to make matters worse, you liberals--who "don't personally understand why they are so distressed about it"---were warned that he would not be so recognized, but you went ahead and consecrated him anyway.)

To top that, you proceed to "depose" a validly recognized Bishop of the Anglican Communion, who was received this summer at Lambeth, for supposedly "abandoning" that very same Communion. (If he had not abandoned it in August 2008, what precisely did he do between then and September 2008 to abandon it? Ah, I see, the logic of it escapes you.)

Not only that, but you expect the rest of the Anglican Communion apparently to respect your House of Bishops' blatant and willful---and despicably hypocritical---distortion of the canonical language, Mr. Anonymous Canon Lawyer. I have news for you: they aren't buying it

Is your respect for canon law so little that you can be told that the language means one thing when used to depose a Bishop, but means exactly the opposite when counting the vote of a parish that decides to leave? Shame on you, sir. 

And the Rev. Mark Harris, because he shares the same disrespect for language and logic, goes along with Mr. Anonymous Canon Lawyer:
The fact that the PSC has received him as a bishop in spite of his deposition says only that they and he do not believe that he ever ceased being a bishop in the Anglican Communion. It appears that they are wrong.

Well, there it is.
Yes, indeed. There it is.


  1. While I of course disagree with much of what you said, I have one particular contribution that hopefully corrects a misconception... you say,

    "Or again: what gave The Episcopal Church the authority to take under its wings the various dioceses of Central America, who have only recently made themselves into a separate Anglican province?

    The Episcopal Church did not "take under its wings" various dioceses. The missionary work of the Episcopal Church included the establishment of missionary districts or dioceses in several countries and in cooperation with the CofE the expansion of work begun by them. These diocese were until very recently dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

    They were formed under the authority of the canons of TEC which provide for the formation of missionary dioceses (and formerly missionary districts) in places where there was no Anglican jurisdiction.

    They joined together to form a new Province and in doing so became separate from the Episcopal Church although they continue to receive funding from TEC as they work at becoming financially autonomous. That joining took place using guidelines provided by the ACC.

    BTW, the difference between a source that asks to be anonymous and one that is named, but about whom nothing more is known is considerable. In the first instance the reader can either decide to trust me, as poster, or not. In the second the reader has what seems to be information (the name of the author) but the name by itself is not useful unless recognized.

    I apologize for not being able to cite the author, but the information seemed valuable as it stood. I have confidence in the source.

    You have challenged me to return to the author and ask again if I can cite him by name. Otherwise, your criticism has some (but only some :-) ) merit.

  2. If Mark Harris wants to get all technical;. Southern Cone received Bishop Duncan after the vote, but before KJS imposed the sentence. That these are two descent events is to my mind clear. KJS made a point that she was not going to impose the sentence until after she talked to Bishop Duncan.

  3. Thank you for that good-natured response to my criticisms, Mark Harris. Of course The Episcopal Church sent missions to Central America, found many who wanted to be Christian there, and helped them plant churches, eventually grow into dioceses, and now form their own province. That is church-building at its best---but it is also, given the fact that there is no leadership within the Church which those reorganizing can recognize, the same process that the Southern Cone is now assisting, with its oversight and that of the GAFCON Primates. There is every much a need for organizing and church-building in the disaffected dioceses today as there was in Central America.

    The fact that TEC can say one thing to its Bishops and something completely different to the courts tells me that there is no fixed law to which the Church is any longer subject. One day it reads the canons as necessary to keep the property (for later sale, but not to ex-Episcopalians), and the next day it reads the canons to say the vote to depose Bishop Duncan succeeded, when in point of fact it failed.

    A church with that kind of respect for the law needs intervention from outside provinces, in my view, to call it to account. It certainly does not behoove such a church to invoke the "norms of Anglican canon law" when it tramples those norms underfoot every passing day.

    We shall have to agree to disagree, Father Harris. But I wanted you to know that I respect you for many of the things that you write (it is only because of that respect that I feel compelled to call you, too, to account from time to time when you let logic escape you :-)). Thank you again for your response.

  4. For the record, Bishop Duncan is still waiting for that elusive phone call from the Presiding Bishop. She still hasn't made it.

  5. Mrs. Duncan, thank you so much for visiting here and leaving that comment. It would appear that the private face of TEC is not all that different from its public one.

    Please know that in this time of in-between, and while the picture is still forming, you and your husband are foremost in our thoughts and prayers.

  6. An excerpt from a longer paper on the history of the PECUSA presence in El Salvador, chosen to show important changes post WW2 in the C.A. area, through naming the four most foundational bishops. It should be noted that the subject first officially came up in PECUSA in 1859:

    "The second half of the 20th century witnessed a rapid succession of jurisdictional realignments of the Anglican-Episcopal Churches in Central America. In 1947 jurisdiction for Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua was transferred to the American Protestant Episcopal Church (hereafter referred to in this review as the Episcopal Church) of the Panama Canal Zone, from the Anglican Diocese of British Honduras, which retained jurisdiction over Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. (1,8)
    Ten years later, in 1957, the Episcopal Church was given jurisdiction over all of Central America, with the exception of British Honduras. (ENS#98-2149)(1,8) This resulted in the creation of the Episcopal Missionary District of Central America (consisting of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua). This District was distinct from the Episcopal Missionary District of the Panama Canal Zone, as well as separate from the Church of England Diocese of British Honduras. (8)
    It was at this time that the Episcopal Missionary District of Central America, under Bishop-in-Charge David E. Richards, with headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica, undertook plans to begin ministry to Spanish-speakers. This included raising an indigenous church staffed by native priests. (1,8) As a consequence of this, by the mid-1980’s, the Episcopal Church in Central America had incorporated native ordained and lay ministers conducting services in Spanish. (1)

    It was not until the 1960’s that ECUSA decided to begin active development of the Episcopal Church (as distinguished from an Episcopal Missionary District) in Central America. (1) This was manifested by the creation in 1968 of 5 separate dioceses from the Episcopal Missionary District of Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. At that time, Rt. Rev. G. Edward Haynsworth was elected Bishop of Nicaragua (including jurisdiction over El Salvador); likewise Rt. Rev. William C. Frey became Bishop of Guatemala (with jurisdiction over Honduras). Later, in 1979 the Diocese of Costa Rica was granted autonomy from the Episcopal Missionary District of Central America. The following year Rt. Rev. Cornelius Wilson became the 1st Bishop of the Diocese of Costa Rica. (1)"

    The entire article can be found here.

  7. The thing that really startled me about that PRELUDIUM blog entry was this quote from the anonymous correspondent:

    Ergo, Robert Duncan is simply not a bishop ...

    I think that this tells us something about the reliability of this correspondent's "information." Even the Revisionists (all of them I have spoken to on this issue) admit that once God makes someone a bishop (or priest or deacon, for that matter), that can never be undone.

    The worst that could be said about +Duncan (had the deposition been valid) would be that he is a bishop without license to act (e.g., sacramentally) as a bishop.

    In light of that level of ignorance on the part of the anonymous correspondent, I think I can be forgiven for doubting the rest of what he/she said as well.

  8. A.S.Haley, there's so much illogic around. How about the illogic where the Rev. Mark Harris says that a bishop of ECUSA is a bishop of the whole Anglican Communion and then will go along with saying that leaving (or even "thinking about leaving") to join the Southern Cone (in the AC) is abandoning the communion of the church. Last I checked, the ACC didn't depose Victoria Matthews for leaving the ACC and going to ACNZ. Presumably she doesn't consider herself subject to the discipline of ACC any more. Maybe ACC has a different notion of communion? Or what about Bishop Scriven who is leaving TEC to return to CofE? He said so publicly. Oh the nonsense!

  9. I meant to highlight another section which is important to the historical and canonical credibility raised by Harris in rebuttal:

    "In 1947 jurisdiction for Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua was transferred to the American Protestant Episcopal Church (hereafter referred to in this review as the Episcopal Church) of the Panama Canal Zone, from the Anglican Diocese of British Honduras,"

    I have to check it out but the implication of the author is of an entire jurisdiction handed over to one PECUSA diocese. Of course, it makes sense to have a diocese of Panama since it was at that time flying the US flag.

    But more importantly, the comment needed to be underscored that there was no vacuum of Anglican province from which to create a PECUSA missionary district ("where there was no jurisdiction"). There certainly was a jurisdiction : C of E.
    The plain reading of Curmudgeon could be taken as incorrect in the sense that certain specific PECUSA dioceses outlined by national borders came into existence out of a Missionary District (more like a District Chaplaincy to ex-patriots).
    But the reality, still, contra Harris, was that PECUSA DID take under its wings (if you will) an entire C of E jurisdiction under the aegis of the C of E Diocese of British Honduras. The trick here is to see that the greater focus was exactly on embassies and expatriots, and that the demand for indigenous ministries came later (about the time clergy were being kidnapped).

    For another day is the argument if there were not two Provincial interests and activities, then, in the same area of Central America.