Now anyone can do the math. According to the contemporary report of the "special convention" in Episcopal Life, there were just twenty-one clergy present at the meeting. Twenty-one present, plus sixty-one absent (and now "deposed"): that makes eighty-two total clergy canonically resident in the Diocese as of March 29, 2008, exactly as I reported here on April 28, 2008 in this post. Diocesan Canon III, section 3.01, which Bishop Lamb and the meeting claim to have followed, provides (with my emphasis added):
A quorum shall consist of one-third of all the Clergy entitled to seats and votes together with at least one (1) Lay Delegate from each of one-third of all the Parishes and Missions entitled to representation. If a quorum be not present at any Convention, no business shall be transacted except that of adjournment from time to time until a quorum shall be present.Quick, anyone: 81 is 3 x 27, so what would be the minimum quorum for 82 clergy to meet at a legal Special Convention of the Diocese? That's right---twenty-eight were required to be present for lawful business to be transacted on March 29, 2008.
And now we come to one, giant, glorious chicken-and-egg problem into which Bishop Lamb, the group he is leading, and ECUSA have gotten themselves. Let me lay out the logic for you:
A. Without a quorum present, Bishop Lamb was not lawfully confirmed as Provisional Bishop of the "Diocese of San Joaquin," under its own canons. (Nor was the "Standing Committee" voted on at the same meeting lawfully elected, either.)
B. Since Bishop Lamb was not lawfully confirmed in that position, he has no canonical authority to depose the 61 clergy he claims to have deposed.
C. Therefore, as far as the "Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin" claims to be a lawful diocese of ECUSA, and one that follows its own Constitution and Canons, those same 61 clergy are still lawfully canonically resident in that Diocese, and no lawful Convention, Special or Annual, can be held without at least seven of them being present.
So until the "Diocese of San Joaquin" properly reconstitutes itself under ECUSA's own Constitution and Canons (which will need to be amended for the occasion), it has no Bishop and no Ecclesiastical Authority---and no way of lawfully electing one.
As I warned in an earlier post, nothing good could come from this strategy of charging ahead without any proper basis in the canons for doing so. You are witnessing a piling on of illegality upon illegality, or what I called in that earlier post "a murder of crows, a scold of jays, a sneak of weasels".
The point is not whether a court of law will accept what ECUSA tells everyone is the case in San Joaquin. The point is that anyone with a rudimentary ability to read a canon and do the numbers can see---now thanks to the brashness of Bishop Lamb and those advising him---that it is a lie. We have once again the highly un-Christian spectacle of a bishop who is sworn to uphold the "doctrine, discipline and worship" of ECUSA and who violates that same discipline in "deposing" others for violating the same oath.
And no one in ECUSA is doing anything about this ongoing, shameful lawlessness. It is business as usual for the Episcopal Church, the Church of Enablers and Lawbreakers.
[UPDATE #1 - 05/27/2009: Since the news is coming in thick and fast today, I will use this means to update regular readers on two other topics of interest:
In the Pittsburgh litigation, it is reliably reported that Judge James listened to oral argument from all parties today at a hearing to decide whether, assuming that Bishop Duncan's diocese lawfully voted to leave ECUSA, the departure also violated the terms of paragraph 1 of the stipulation the parties had entered into in October 2005 to settle (supposedly) the case. (See this post for further information on this issue.) He concluded the hearing by setting deadlines for the parties to file supplemental briefs on the issue, which extend into July. So there will be no further news from the court on this issue for quite some time.
In the matter of filing a petition for certiorari (review) by the United States Supreme Court of the decision by the California Supreme Court in the Episcopal Church Cases, about which I reported here, I am informed that St. James parish in Newport Beach has obtained a further thirty-day extension of time within which to file, pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court. So there will be no news from that quarter for another month.
[UPDATE #2 - 05/27/2009: Wow! Is this ever a day for news---check out this recent post at the Covenant Website. Some people, at least, are getting a little tired of the decidedly unclerical behavior evidenced recently by members of ECUSA, as described on this and other blogs. Now---will anyone in ECUSA see fit to seek discipline as well against those responsible for this latest debacle in San Joaquin?