When asked how Bishop Robinson had communicated his renunciation to her, Bishop Jefferts Schori cited a statement he had given to the New York Times on January 12, in which he was reported as saying that he was "horrified" at how "specifically and aggressively Christian" the prayers used by Episcopalians at past inaugurals were, and that he was determined that the nation should not be led in "Christian prayer". "Ever since the recent case of Bishop Iker," said the Presiding Bishop, "we have agreed that statements to the press are the same as statements to this Office."
Asked whether Bishop Robinson's statement had been sufficiently explicit a renunciation for purposes of the Canon, Bishop Jefferts Schori pointed out that he had also delivered a non-Episcopal prayer in front of many thousands of witnesses. She said that in front of that many people, he invoked "the God of many understandings." "While Gene obviously feels that is his God, a 'God of many understandings' cannot serve as the Episcopalians' God," she clarified. "That would be an awfully small box in which to put the God that we acknowledge."
Bishop Jefferts Schori also added that at the request of her Advisory Council, she had waited until Bishop Robinson had actually gone ahead with his prayer before signing the certificate of renunciation. "Although those of us watching the ceremonies did not see the prayer, and those in the crowd could not hear what he said, we understand that Gene in fact did invoke his God in front of all those people, and he also did not say or do anything to identify himself as still a Bishop in the Episcopal Church. Besides, as I understand it, he and his supporters made such a complaint about not being seen or heard that they managed to get the Inaugural Committee to put pressure on HBO to rebroadcast his prayer tomorrow before the inauguration itself. So that just clinched it for us," she concluded.
Asked if the deposition of Bishop Robinson was intended to ease her anticipated difficulties at the upcoming Primates' Meeting in February, Bishop Jefferts Schori responded: "No comment."
The Office of the Presiding Bishop made available a copy of the certificate of deposition, which may be viewed here.
(UPDATE 01/19/2009: ENS is informed by the Office of the Presiding Bishop that the previous link is to a certificate used in the parallel case of another former Episcopal bishop, and that the original of Bishop Robinson's certificate will be made available as soon as it has been
manufactured Photoshopped adapted. Until then, they ask that we make do.)
---New York, Jan. 19, 2009 (Episcopal Nonsense Service---compiled from reliable sources)