Monday, August 18, 2008

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton has put up on her blog what she says is a leaked copy of an email sent by the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to an undisclosed recipient. [UPDATE 08/20/2008: The email is genuine, and was sent from Bishop Duncan to the Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, who is a member of the Windsor Continuation Group. Since it contains a critique of their preliminary Lambeth observations, Bishop Lillibridge asked Bishop Duncan for permission to forward it to the WCG, which Bishop Duncan granted. It was then leaked by someone in that Group, or on its staff, to liberals for their purposes as openly stated by Susan Russell below. So I shall not change any of my criticism leveled against the liberals for their sneaky attempt to discredit Bishop Duncan in advance of the September HoB meeting in Salt Lake City. Rather, to his credit, Bishop Duncan's forthright avowal of authorship, and of the genuineness of the letter, shows us why he wrote it, and how his willingness to back his views, even if his enemies could seek to use them against him, is a measure of his character. Those who participated in this scurrilous episode for their own short-sighted ends look puny in comparison to his moral strength. And that, mind you, not the systematic abuses of the canons by the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori et al., is what is the sign of a real bishop! Honi soit qui mal y pense.]

Apparently now private emails are to be added to the type of "evidence" to be adduced in favor of the charges that Bishop Duncan has "abandoned the communion of this Church" that will be the subject of an invalid resolution to depose him at the House of Bishops meeting in Salt Lake City in September. (I have explained in detail what is invalid about the resolution to depose in an earlier post.)

If the email is genuine, it certainly contains no surprises. Bishop Duncan is straightforward in discussing what is the matter with the Windsor Continuation Group's call for three moratoria: on further ordinations of non-celibate gay or lesbian bishops, on further blessings of same-sex unions, and on cross-border interventions by bishop. The email supposedly says:
The WCG proposes "cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction." There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.

The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine.

The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to "freeze" the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church.

The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped -- constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.

The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the "holding tank" whose stated purpose is eventual "reconciliation" with TEC or the Anglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)

The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam.
That there is no moral equivalence between the first two moratoria and the third is indeed a fact that was recognized in the Windsor Report and again by the Primates meeting at Dromantine. So, there is nothing new there.

That the process of separation cannot be "frozen" is also a given. As the quotation above states, the Constitution of the Diocese of Pittsburgh requires a second vote on any proposed change once a change has first been proposed and approved at an earlier convention. So the vote on October 4 will go forward regardless of anything TEC, the WCG, or anybody else, for that matter, does (but see below). And in that vote, which will be secret, Bishop Duncan will have only one ballot to cast, along with everybody else. (See this post by the Rev. Mark Harris on why anyone's secret vote should not be used as evidence of "abandonment"---for once, I am in full agreement with the Rev. Harris.) Thus there is nothing in this statement that should be offered in support of the resolution to depose, either.

The third and the fourth reasons given in the statement quoted above are also simple assertions of fact, and have nothing to do with any personal intentions or thoughts of Bishop Duncan on "abandoning communion."

So let us review the significance of this post by the Rev. Kaeton (which I understand she also forwarded to the entire House of Bishops/Deputies list). A purloined email is instantly, via the Internet, circulated to all of Bishop Duncan's colleagues, without any assurances that it genuinely originated from Bishop Duncan, since the Rev. Kaeton is unable (or unwilling) to disclose how she came by it, or who was the original recipient. It is accompanied by this personal insinuation:
I find myself scratching my head and asking why anyone who claims that his deposition (rumored to be on the agenda for discussion at this September's HOB's meeting), is "unfair" would be putting this kind of stuff in email dated August 11 which can - to wit - be so easily reproduced and distributed.
That is precisely the point here, Rev. Kaeton: it has been, thanks to you, "so easily reproduced and distributed," but without the kind of thought or analysis that would show how unrelated its content is to any of the trumped-up charges that will be used as the basis for an illegal resolution to depose. Instead it is offered in the hope (Susan Russell is even more explicit about this) to convince even more members of the House of Bishops to join Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and the rest of her lemmings in jumping off yet one more legal cliff: one more violation to add to her catalog of violations of the Constitution and canons to date---surely an unenviable achievement that has never been before equalled, and with God's help will never be approached again.

The House of Bishops will meet in Salt Lake City on September 19, and will proceed with this pre-programmed farce. The first sign of what is to come is that there will probably not be a sufficient number of retired bishops present to produce the required number of assents to deposition. The violations will thus commence when Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, as the Chair of the meeting, overrules the objection by Bishop Duncan that the House cannot vote to depose him because he was never inhibited first, as Canon IV.9 in plain English requires. The next violation will be the taking of the vote itself, and the third violation will be in the Presiding Bishop's overruling yet one more objection based on the Canon---that the requisite number of Bishops in the House are not present and voting. And the fourth violation will occur when the Presiding Bishop declares to the assembled bishops that the resolution passed---even though the lack of the required number to vote for deposition will mean that the resolution actually failed. The fifth and final violation will occur when Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori signs the certificate of deposition.

So, five new violations of the same Canon in just the space of a few days, for a new egregious record. And that will be only the beginning! For watch what the Presiding Bishop and her minions immediately will start to do in the Diocese of Pittsburgh once the deposition is announced: they will probably move against the Standing Committee and "depose" them, just as was attempted in San Joaquin. There may even be an attempt to get an injunction against the Convention's going forward with the vote on October 4, if they can find a compliant judge (see my concerns on that point previously expressed here).

The liberals will all seek to justify these cascading illegalities by saying what they have been saying of Bishops Cox and Schofield all along: "The depositions are valid, because they never showed up to object, and they had each decided to leave anyway. We're just acknowledging the realities of the situation." Even if true, what does due process mean? Why have canons at all if you cannot follow them?

And does anyone still wonder why The Episcopal Church bothers to publish the Canons, and make them available online for anyone to read? You are watching a true kangaroo court in action---run by our bishops, no less! If we cannot obtain their commitment to follow their own laws and procedures, how much less can we expect their commitment to be dutiful adherents to and teachers of the faith once delivered to the saints?

The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Episcopal Church proves by its manifold illegal acts that it is not a lawful organization any more, and thereby provides the justification for leaving it---in order not to be corrupted by even more illegalities, still to come (in the cases of Ft. Worth and Quincy). And the Rev. Kaeton and others like her circulate purloined private correspondence in an effort to drum up enthusiasm for taking yet more illegal action, so that the invasion of privacy becomes the justification for what those who will vote to depose already think they know: that "abandonment" has indeed occurred, and Bishop Duncan is guilty as charged. Well, if he is guilty, then it must be for committing a thought-crime, since nothing has happened yet on the ground. But TEC and its liberals are doing their level best to see that what they are punishing before it happens will then actually occur. And that is what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy.

[UPDATE #2 - 8/20/2008: The Reverend Elizabeth Kaeton, I regret to report, still does not get it. When she learned that the source of the leak she exploited for political purposes was someone within the Windsor Continuation Group or its staff, did she bother to tell us any more about how she came to obtain the private message, or to apologize for the role she played? No---but she puts up a new post called "Disturbing", to which I refuse to link on principle. (For the time being, you can find the link to her blog on the right, but this entire incident, and her blasé response to it thus far, might just be all the reason I need to remove the link. I try to let every viewpoint have a link here---even the atheists have their link---but there is no reason to lend support to underhandedness and subterfuge.)

[And just what is disturbing to the Rev. Kaeton? It is the fact that Bishop Duncan's article owning up to the letter used the words "liberal activists" to describe the persons responsible for the leak---"like that's a bad thing," she says. Projecting from criticism of the leak---which was a bad thing---onto a criticism of the leakers---who did violate Bishop Duncan's privacy in the hopes of scoring a short-term political gain, and so were "activists" in every sense of the word (and they for sure and certain were not "conservative" activists)---is a common liberal feint that seeks to turn criticism of an act into an ad hominem argument, and so turn the criticism back on the criticizer. It never worked in the past, and it won't work in this case.]

1 comment:

  1. I seem to recall that a certain Nigerian bishop was demonized for his statement on the incompatibility of the homosex lifestyle and Christ-like living. What he actually said and what he was reported to have said at Keaton's and Jake's blogs were quite different. That incident and this one illustrate that the homosexualist agenda is to win ideological ground at the cost of truth. TEC's leadership has been planning to oust Bishop Duncan from the beginning because it (wrongly) believes that this will be a great victory for them. That's how propagandists think.