Over at his blog Preludium, the Rev. Canon Mark Harris asks the question at the start of the trial in South Carolina today: "What part of the ordination vows did Mark Lawrence not understand?"
The question is a facile one -- easily stated, but not simple to answer. Ostensibly the question refers to the oath of conformity taken when one becomes a bishop. As I explained in this post long ago, the oath of conformity to the Church replaced the oath of conformity to the Crown when PECUSA broke off from the Church of England, and could no longer recognize Britain's monarch as its head.
But the oath of conformity was not the chief oath made in the ordination process, as I also explained in that post. Ever since 1550, every Anglican/Episcopal ordinand on both sides of the Atlantic has vowed "to minister the Doctrine and Sacraments, and the Discipline of CHRIST, as the LORD hath commanded, and as this Church ... hath received the same, according to the commandments of GOD", or words to the same effect. (The current version has it this way: "Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them?")
Now, then, let us return to Canon Harris' question. As he himself appears to recognize, Mark Lawrence eventually was forced, by the course of events leading toward same-sex marriage in ECUSA, to choose between "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church" and "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received it" (my bold emphasis).
And from whom did this Church receive the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ? Why, from the Church of England. And from whom did the Church of England receive it? From the Roman Catholic Church. And from whom did the Roman Catholics receive it? From the original Church going back to the Apostles.
Note that the celebration or blessing of same-sex unions forms no part of the "doctrine, discipline or worship of Christ" as so received by ECUSA. Instead, it is a manufactured doctrine, one fashioned for the sake of the times. Indeed, its present implementation within ECUSA involves a serious violation of the very Canons which Mark Lawrence and all the bishops in ECUSA swore to uphold and obey upon their ordination, as I pointed out in my last post.
So I put his question right back to the Rev. Canon Harris: Just what part of their ordination vows did James R. Mathes, J. Jon Bruno, Mark Andrus, and Marvil Thomas Shaw III, SSJE, not understand?
As the old saw has it, "You pays your money and you takes your choice." The bishops I just named chose same-sex unions over the Canons and the Rubrics of the BCP. Bishop Lawrence chose the doctrine and discipline of Christ over the false doctrine (and associated phony discipline -- phony, because it is abused in order to advance false doctrine, as many posts here have detailed) of the Episcopal Church (USA).