Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bishop Lamb Confirms Lack of Quorum to Elect Him

Bishop Lamb has finally provided proof that there was not a sufficient quorum of clergy canonically resident in the Diocese of San Joaquin who were present at the "Special Diocesan Convention" which was held in Lodi a year ago March 29. Today he acknowledged that last Friday and this Tuesday, he signed certificates with the intent of deposing 61 clergy in the Diocese for having "abandoned the Communion of this Church" in leaving to follow the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield and his Diocese out of ECUSA. (H/T: VirtueOnLine.)

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?


  1. Mr. Hayley,
    Can this be used in the court case that we are in at present? I mean can his own words and actions be used against hem and ECUSA in court when the time comes?
    TL Dillon
    Fresno, CA

  2. TL, we will have to wait and see what the court issues as its final ruling on the matters now pending before it. Depending on how the court rules, and how the issues are left to be presented, this evidence could be relevant, or the court might refuse to go into it. I hope that it does agree to consider this evidence---it makes such a mockery of ECUSA's claim to be the one following the canons, while those who leave (it claims) are breaking them. In this matter, the shoe is clearly on the other foot.

  3. Thank you Mr. Hayley. I read your site weekly and being a Daughter of the King on the Bishops Chapter here in Fresno we ladies have been holding you and our own Chancellor Rusty V.R. as well as our Bishop John-David in our daily prayers that God will see you all through the legalese of this case and for God's utmost protection and guidance. I just find this statement coming out now instead of before rather curious. As if he knew that saying anything or doing anything before now would hurt them so I can not help but think that they do these things with strategy....I hope that the judge will consider this evidence.
    Thank you again for all you do and are doing and may our Lord bless you greatly.

  4. Thanks, not just for the Covenant link, but also for the link to Religious Intelligence found through Covenant. in case you missed it, U.P., go here:

  5. Dear Mr. Haley,

    < sarcasm >

    Strange as it may seem, one is left to ponder where are the defenders of all things TEC, Frs. Weir and Woodward, when there is a (purported) TEC bishop accused of having promulgated an untruth. One would have thought they would already have donned their rhetorical armor, mounted their chargers, taken up lance and shield and hied themselves hither, post haste, to the defense of Bishop Lamb.

    Oh, well [he said, yawning]. Perhaps they were pressed by more urgent matters.

    < /sarcasm >

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  6. "a murder of crows, a scold of jays, a sneak of weasels".

    Personally I prefer a "granfaloon of bishops."

  7. Mr. Haley,

    While your math is correct, let's be honest about this. The clergy who were absent at the Special Convention no longer considered themselves to be clergy of the Episcopal Diocese. Your suggestion that no meetings can be held without some of these clergy being presnt would mean, if accepted, that these clergy could hold hostage the Diocese that they have left. Was the election of the Provisional Bishop irregular? Of course, but I don't see thjat the remaining Episcopalians in the Diocese had any alternative.

  8. Father Weir, I am simply holding those who remained in ECUSA to the same canonical standard that they are applying to Bishop Schofield and the priests who joined him.

    It is ECUSA, +Lamb and those under them who maintain that Bishop Schofield was "deposed" by a vote of the House of Bishops where there was less than a quorum present required by the Constitution and Canons for the deposition of a bishop. Bishop Schofield offered to resign his seat in the House, but the HoB in their wisdom declined to accept that, and insisted they had to depose him. But they did not follow their own canonical procedures in doing so.

    Again, it is ECUSA and Bishop Lamb who are claiming that the vote by the Diocese to disaffiliate was uncanonical and illegal, and that on that basis, they are the rightful claimants to all of the Diocese's property. Yet they did not hold a canonically-called convention with a canonical quorum of clergy present to elect the one they claim is +Schofield's lawful successor.

    Those remaining most certainly had an alternative: they could have reorganized as a new diocese (for which there would have been no canonical requirements for notice and a quorum, since they would not adopt a Constitution and canons until after they had organized) and applied for admission to General Convention like every other new diocese.

    But that would not have allowed them to come into court claiming they were the old diocese in continuing form.

    They can't have it both ways. If they are the old diocese, then they have to follow its canonical procedures. Instead, they are in fact a new diocese, since they acted without proper notice or a quorum, while they pretend to be the old one. They hope the court won't take notice of their irregularities, but my point is that any Episcopalian who can read and do simple math can see that what they did was illegal and irregular.

    If ECUSA has devolved to the point where its "only alternative" is to proceed in disregard of its own Constitution and canons, then what's the point of having them? Just to follow when it's "convenient" to do so, and to ignore otherwise?

    You may find that acceptable behavior, but please understand that as one who has devoted a good part of his life to the Church and its canons, I cannot countenance it. Shakespeare has a character (in Henry VI, Part 2) who says: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." As far as its canons are concerned, ECUSA might as well be doing just that---the canons are only convenient to cite when it can follow them, and when it would be too hard to follow them, then just dispense with them, and make it up as you go along. That's a recipe for anarchy.

  9. Fr. Weir, my children were hungry and I stole a loaf of bread. I had no alternative. (Sniff.)

  10. Mr. Haley,

    We will have to let the courts decide about property rights. You have heard my argument before, i.e., that once Bishop Schofield and others chose to leave ECUSA they could no longer claim to be part of an Episcopal diocese. It might have been better for the remaining Episcopalians to wait until the dust settled before they moved ahead, but I continue to believe that their actions were reasonable. I do wonder, however, who was hurt by their actions.

    As to other question about stealing bread to feed one's starving children. Illegal, of course, but in certain circumstance, it would not be immoral.

  11. Dear Mr. Haley,

    Well, my earlier comment was apparently a bit premature. Of course, now that I have read Fr. Weir's two comments, I can only observe that there seems to be a parallel between his reasoning and what the Catholic Church defines as vincible ignorance, namely ignorance which the person exhibiting it could remove by "by applying reasonable diligence." Of course, the topic is ratiocination not action, so this is not precisely ignorance as used in that context.

    This latter aspect leaves me at a loss to describe what appears to me to be a case of the good Father knowing in advance what conclusion he wishes to arrive at and then excluding from consideration any factual evidence which does not support said conclusion. Not knowing the state of Fr. Weir's mind, I am unable to decide whether this instance is vincible or invincible. Nevertheless, it does make dialogue difficult, if not pointless irrespective of the category to which it belongs.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  12. I appreciate Keith Töpfer's reference to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in his comments. It ismy understanding that he is now a member of that Church, so his recourse to its teaching is to be expected. What might be the actual state of my ingnorance or the state of my mind is, quite obviously, not something on which or anyone else, including me, can make a valid judgment. That being said, I can only state again what I have before. It is my belief that Dioceses of ECUSA have no right to secede and that when a Diocesan Convention votes to secede that has no validity, except as a statement of the convictions of the members. I respect those convictions and hope that those who decide to leave ECUSA will find new faith communities which nurture them. I have already conceded that the actions of the Special Convention did not appear to conform to the canons, but the task of sorting that out is the responsibility of the appropriate authorities within ECUSA. I suggest that the quorum question is not as clear as Mr. Haley asserts. It seems reasonable to me that a quorum could be defined as a percentage of those clergy who have not declared themselves as no longer belonging to ECUSA. The absence of those clergy from the Special Convention may be an indication that they did not see themselves as having any right to attend. The argument can be made that these clergy viewed the Special Convention as not a valid meeting of the Diocese, but that brings us back to the real issue, which is not about quorums, but about which Diocese is the legitimate Episcopal Diocese.

  13. Father Weir, if the Episcopalians in San Joaquin had been content to elect Bishop Lamb and to go on with their lives, the way Bishop Schofield and his Anglicans tried to do, we would not be having any of this dispute.

    The Episcopalians in San Joaquin, however, were not content to keep their own properties, churches and endowment funds, and to get on with their worship. Whether they were manipulated into it or not, the fact is that the national leadership wanted to make an example of Bishop Schofield and his Diocese, because they were the first to leave the Church (in this day and age). So Bishop Schori personally picked Bishop Lamb for them, because he did not like what +Schofield had done either (he had tried to depose +Schofield himself). Led by these two bishops, the Episcopalinas in San Joaquin stepped into a lawsuit which is currently consuming their entire contributions, and requiring a massive subvention of the national Church to maintain.

    Even if you as an Episcopalian believe that dioceses cannot leave the Church, what the Episcopalians in San Joaquin have done under the goading of these two bishops is very un-Christianlike. They have no congregations sufficient to fill or maintain the church buildings they seek. The money they demand was not contributed by them, but by the people who believed in supporting Bishop Schofield. All they have done, like the dog in the manger, is to ensure that no one can have access to it (while the lawsuit is pending).

    And yet you say: "It seems reasonable to me that a quorum could be defined as a percentage of those clergy who have not declared themselves as no longer belonging to ECUSA." Well, it would be perfectly reasonable to say that---if you were not trying to start a lawsuit in which you claim to be the canonically elected Bishop of San Joaquin who is entitled to take all of the property belonging to those who disagree with everything you stand for.

    Once you come into court and claim you are the president of Ford Motor Company, you had better be able to prove that you were lawfully installed in that position, or you will be thrown out of court. This is Bishop Lamb's problem. Under his own canons, he was not properly installed. He has to resort to a legal subterfuge, and change the rules in midstream: "Oh, well, those clergy who did not attend no longer could count as a quorum". Well, who says they couldn't? Only Bishop Lamb, who needs them not to count in order to consider himself elected. That is circular reasoning.

    This is a game of "heads I win, tails you lose." The majority votes to change its affiliation, and allows the minority to maintain the affiliation and keep all their property. Then the minority says: "Thank you very much, but now that you've left, we want all your property, too." It is frankly about the most un-Christianlike thing I have ever heard.

    And when, to support this position, you have to make up new rules, and ignore the ones that you claim to live by, then I lose all respect for the position that is being defended. Why bother with notice or quorums at all? Why not just be blunt and say: "We're ECUSA, and the courts have always deferred to us, so now just be nice and hand over that property, or we'll go into court and put another notch in our belt."

  14. Father Weir, you continue:

    "The absence of those clergy from the Special Convention may be an indication that they did not see themselves as having any right to attend. The argument can be made that these clergy viewed the Special Convention as not a valid meeting of the Diocese, but that brings us back to the real issue, which is not about quorums, but about which Diocese is the legitimate Episcopal Diocese."

    No, Father Weir, the dispute is not about "which Diocese is the legitimate Diocese." It is about whether there is a legitimate Episcopal Diocese who can come into court and claim to be a legitimate Episcopal Diocese without having gone through the legal steps necessary to organize as one.There is a legitimate Anglican Diocese, we know that. We know that because they followed the exact letter of their Constitution and canons in everything that they did, by an overwhelming majority of votes---and they continue to follow their Constitution and canons today.

    But this other group is too good for that---they are Episcopalians, and so get to ignore their own canons whenever it is more convenient for them to do so. "Oh, well, it doesn't really matter, because no one was around to object." Well, there were objections presented at the Convention that a quorum was lacking, but the Chair overruled the objections. So what is one to do when a group that lacks a legal quorum insists that it has a right to meet and to decide things anyway?

    I'll tell you what you do: anything they decide is a nullity, so you ignore what they have done for the nullity that it is. Until they try to sue you, that is. Then you are entitled to prove how they failed to have a quorum under their own rules. There is no exception in those rules for "clergy who have declared themselves no longer members of the Episcopal Church." The proper procedure under the canons in such case is first to inhibit, and then to depose, those clergy before saying that they are no longer canonically resident in the Diocese, and so no longer can count towards a quorum.

    Why is it, then, that Bishop Lamb wants to follow the latter procedure, but not the first? Does he claim they are "no longer members of the Church" for purposes of a quorum, but they are still members of the Church enough to have to depose them, anyway?

    No matter which way one analyzes it, one cannot get around the fact that the rules are being bent to serve an ulterior purpose. It is not pretty, and it is not Christian.

  15. Dear Fr. Weir,

    First, just to be abundantly clear, my intent was not to make a judgment as to what might or might not be "actual state of (your) ingnorance or the state of (your) mind." I apologize if that was not clear. I did state that the question was one "of ratiocination(,) not action." Nor did I intend any judgment about your state of mind, but rather was addressing the arguments you have put forward in support of your beliefs. Again, I apologize for any offense that may have resulted from my failure to have stated that as clearly as I might have done. My comment was solely addressed to the logical coherence of your written words in support of your view, as is the content of the present comment.

    To be precise, and I recognize that Mr. Haley's last replies do imply the following, but I think it may need to be stated more directly. You stated that "it seems reasonable to me that a quorum could be defined as a percentage of those clergy who have not declared themselves as no longer belonging to ECUSA." As far as it goes, that is a reasonable and rational statement. The problem in its application in the current lawsuit is in that conditional construct "could." A quorum could be defined as one. But it isn't so defined in the C&C of the Diocese.

    At the core of the problem that your observation encounters in the real world, as opposed to any other hypothetical world, is that the court must deal with how a quorum is defined as specified in the C&C of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Because those clergy who had voted with the majority had not been deposed, nor given a letter dimissory, nor gone to be with the Lord, they are still valid clergy of DioSJ insofar as the C&C are concerned. Our opinions on that are irrelevant. The letter of the C&C governs the adjudicator. This is true whether or not you, I and Mr. Haley all agree in toto about how they should have been written, or what actions should have occurred, or partially agree or split two vs. one, or each disagree with both of the other two.

    So my difficulty in discussing this with you has always been what I might charitably characterize as "wishful thinking" on your part. Rather than addressing the actual language of the governing legislation (i.e., the C&C of DioSJ), you seem determined to base your argument on some other governing principles which do not include that language. I have always found it exceedingly difficult to reach any sort of understanding, let alone agreement, with another person when I am discussing "what the regulation, rule or statute says" and the other party, or parties, are discussing "what the regulation, rule or statute ought to say." If we were discussing the former, there still might be difficulties in getting agreement on the most likely meaning of the words (sort of like Biblical exegesis, no?), but at least we would be starting from a common, and the relevant, point of departure.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  16. I will, after these comments, quit the field, as it seems to me that our real disagreement is over the central question of which Diocese is legally the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. If, as I think, it is not the Diocese of Bishop Schofield, then the defense of the assets of the Episcopal Diocese is quite legitimate. IMV, those assets do not belong to those who have left, but it will, sadly, be up to a court to settle the matter. What, of course, was of more immediate concern was how to continue on with the life of the Episcopal Diocese after the departure of the Bishop and a large number of clergy and laity. Given the polity of ECUSA, the official recognition that the clergy had abandoned the communion of ECUSA, a fact which is not in dispute, was a challenge. Who had the authority to do it? And if it wasn't accomplished, the Diocese would be hampered in its efforts to move ahead. I cannot claim that the path chosen was the best, but I would welcome suggestions about other alternatives from anyone who agrees that Episcopal Dioceses cannot secede.

    It again seems to me that the argument being made that the Diocese is not playing by the rules is an odd one when made by those who have left the game.

    Finally, I would remind Mr. Haley that whatever the character of the Diocese which is led by Bishop Scholfield, it has yet to be recognized by Canterbury as a Diocese within the Anglican Communion, and it might never be given that recognition.

  17. Father Weir, thank you for commenting. However, I have to remind you that the Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes bishops, not dioceses. In that regard, he recognizes +John-David Schofield as a bishop in the Anglican Communion through his affiliation with the Province of the Southern Cone, but he does not recognize +V. Gene Robinson as a bishop through his affiliation with ECUSA.

    Nor is a listing on the AC official website the test of legitimacy. For example, the Diocese of New Hampshire is listed there, with +V. Gene Robinson as its bishop, but that did not entitle him to an invitation to Lambeth.

  18. Lawlessness and shame, or rather lack of it, are their hallmarks.

    Thanks for this post and say a prayer for the faithful here in the the diocese of Fort


  19. Mr. Haley,

    Please point me to the Archbishop's recognition of Bishop Schofield as Bishop of a member Church of the Communion. Perhaps in seeking to be brief - which is as hard for meas it seems to be for you - I write Canterbury when I should have written the Anglican Communion Office, which on its website makes no mention of a Diocese of San Joaquin in the Southern Cone. It was, after all, your assetion that there is a such a recognized Diocese within the Communion. The reognition of it on the Anglican Communion's website, has not happened.

  20. Father Weir, you may read the letter from Archbishop Venables confirming that the ABC recognizes Bishop Schofield here.

    Note that the good Archbishop states that "his exact status needs to be clarified" by the WCG, which delivered its final report at the recent ACC-14, and made no mention of his status. So it would seem that ++Cantuar may possibly be hedging his bets (sly fox that he is) until the outcome of the current litigation.

    However, the main point is that ++Cantuar invited +Schofield to Lambeth, and never withdrew that invitation, despite great pressure from +Schori and ECUSA. Meanwhile, he never extended an invitation to +Robinson from the outset.

  21. Mr. Haley,
    My church's rector (Michael+) received one of these "deposition" letters. Just to emphasize the disjointed logic of Bishop Lamb's letters:

    Michael+ left ECUSA and the Diocese of San Joaquin in Nov. 2007, before San Joaquin left ECUSA. Fr. Michael was dismissed from San Joaquin by +Schofield, who was undisputed as the one and only Bishop of the one and only Diocese of San Joaquin at the time.

    The form-letter deposition from +Lamb claimed Michael+ had several months to challenge the charges of "abandonment of Communion", and that no challenge was made. Not true. Michael+ wrote +Lamb twice to challenge not only the charge, but +Lamb's claimed authority over him.

    +Lamb did state in one letter that he "has a problem" with letters dimissory issued by +Shofield; My view is that the problem is entirely +Lamb's.

  22. Mr. Haley,

    Having made an assertion about the status of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin and been challenged on it, you have ignored that challenge and shifted your focus to Bishop Schofield's status. I have never suggested that Bishop Schofield is no longer a Bishop, only that he is no longer a Bishop in ECUSA nor the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. I do find it interesting when a lawyer presents as evidence hearsay, and I can find no official statement from the Archbishop on Bishop Schofield's status.

    The Archbishop's decision not to invite the Bishop of New Hampshire was clearly his right and I am glad that Bishop Robinson urged his brother and sister Bishops in ECUSA not to boycott Lambeth in protest over what appeared to be a politically motivated decision by the Archbishop. Of course, if the Archbishop had hoped that his decision would result in more Global South Bishops attending, his hope was unfounded. The purity of the Conference was compromised by the presence of Bishops who had consented to the election of Bishop Robinson.

    Your ignoring of my challenge brought to mind the statement of a conservative colleague after the release of the Windsor Report - that ECUSA was about to be kicked out of the Anglican Communion. It is better not to read too much into reports or Archbishop's statements in the Anglican Communion.

    As is very clear, there is yet no clarity about the status of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin or about the property rights of either Diocese.

  23. Father Weir, you are certainly entitled to declare "Victory" and quit the field, but I cannot see how I failed to meet your challenge. I stated that the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin was recognized as a legitimate diocese. You challenged me that it had not been recognized as such by the ABC. I replied that the ABC is not in the business of recognizing individual dioceses as such, but does recognize individual bishops by extending them invitations to Lambeth. I pointed out that he had invited +Schofield to Lambeth, but not +Robinson, and thus that your citing me to the AC website was meaningless. You asked for a citation to the source that showed that the ABC recognized +Schofield, and I linked you to the text of a letter from ++Venables in which he recounted the words of a message he had received from ++Williams. Whereupon you dismiss that letter as "hearsay" and declare victory, and refer to the lack of an "official" statement by the ABC.

    Shall we review?

    1. It is a fact that the ABC invited +Schofield to Lambeth, and never thereafter withdrew the invitation (as he had reserved the right to do).

    2. It is a fact that Archbishop Venables made public in a letter to Bishop Schofield that ++Canterbury still recognized him as a bishop in the Anglican Communion, and that ++Canterbury never challenged or contradicted that statement.

    3. It is a fact that ++Canterbury never invited +Robinson to Lambeth, and when +Robinson asked to be allowed to meet with the HoB at Lambeth, he was again refused.

    4. It is a fact that ++Canterbury stated at Lambeth that he "hope[d] for assistance from the Windsor Continuation Group"on the "issue" of +Schofield's "exact status . . . on the basis of the general norms of Anglican Canon Law", but that the WCG does not yet appear to have made any recommendations in that regard.

    5. It is a fact that the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin is (temporarily) recognized as a constituent diocese of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

    Now, I do not contend that these facts are good for all time; they are the current operative facts. Once the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin joins the new North American Province, for example, Bishop Schofield's status in the Anglican Communion will no longer be open to dispute until that province is recognized by the ACC as a province in the Communion. But I do not foresee, on the other hand, any future action by the ABC---particularly after GC 2009 in effect rips up the Windsor Report this July---that will ever make +Robinson a bishop within the Anglican Communion.

    That is called a consequence of making +Robinson a bishop, and it is something that the liberals in TEC will just have to live with.

  24. Mr. Haley,

    "Victory" was your word,not mine. You may well be reight in asserting that the Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes Bishols and not Dioceses. You assertion - "It is a fact that the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin is (temporarily) recognized as a constituent diocese of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone." - comes without supporting evidence. Who recognizes it, certainly not the Anglican Communion website and you yourself have reported that Schofield's exact status hasnot yet been clarified. All I have been saying is that it is too soon for you to declare victory - the situation is still unresolved. BTW, read again my comment about hearsay - you may read it as dismissive, but I did not mean it that way. I meant exactly what I said, i.e., we should all be cautious about reading too much into any such statement. The recognition of Bishop Schofield as a Bishop of the Southern Cone does not imply any recognition of his Diocese. Nor, would I suggest that the Archbishop's decision not to invite the Bishop of NH to Lambeth implied any lack of recognition of him as a Bishop in ECUSA. There are other explanations for that decision.

    Two other comment, these one about the future of ECUSA within the Anglican Communion. It is worth noting the attacks on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England by Bishops in the Global South. One might predict a realignment in with there are two "Anglican Communions" with ECUSA in the same one with the Canterbury. It is also worth noting that however much ECUSA is being criticized by others in the Communion, a priest from ECUSA was elected to the Communion's Standing Committee by the Anglican Consultative Council. That sounds like something of an endorsement from one of the Instruments of Communion, an endorsement of a priest who was also appointed to the Lambeth Design Team by the Archbishop. Life in this wonderful Communion is not as simple as some would like to believe.

    As you can see,in spite of my best intentions, I haven't quit the field and will probably say in the discussion, not aiming for victory, because that is not a worthy goal, but for greater understanding.

  25. One additional comment.

    I admire your confidence that ACNA will be recognized as a member Church of the Anglican Communion, but I suggest that you remember that in the fall of 2007 most of everyone was confident about who would be the majorparty candidates for president - and they were wrong. The situation in the Communion is very fluid and I would not dare to predict what will be the membership of the Communion five years from now.

  26. Danny Dolan - I think I know about the letters to which you refer. Could you please email me (check the link in my profile)? Thanks.

  27. Ah, Father Weir, you do seem to want to misunderstand me. ;>) All I have ever claimed on this blog was that the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone "recognized (temporarily)" the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin as one of its constituent dioceses. As I tried to explain, it is meaningless to speak of recognition of "a diocese" by the ABC, because he traditionally recognizes bishops with jurisdiction (through invitations to the Lambeth Conference), and not dioceses as such.

    But--if Lambeth is a conference only for bishops with jurisdiction, as indeed it is, then the invitation to Bishop Schofield is truly a recognition that he is in charge of a diocese within the Anglican Communion, while the lack of an invitation to Bishop Robinson could, conversely, be construed as a statement by the ABC that he is not in charge of any such diocese.

    Consider: is there any way that the Diocese of New Hampshire currently could obtain representation in any of the councils or bodies of the Anglican Communion? No, there is not, so long as +V. Gene Robinson is its bishop. He cannot serve as a delegate to the ACC; he cannot serve on the Standing Committee of the Primates Council, and he cannot be invited to the decennial gatherings at Lambeth Palace---at least, until the Windsor Report has been superseded. The appointment which you cite is a recognition that ECUSA is currently regarded as a constituent member, but it is by no means a recognition of +Robinson's legitimacy within the AC (as opposed to within ECUSA).

    (Consider again: has there ever, in the entire history of the Anglican Communion, been a document generated by those who lead it stating that a particular "bishop" would not be recognized in its councils?)

    But I was not saying that when the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin joined ACNA that it would automatically be recognized as having membership in the Anglican Communion through such joinder --- I was saying the exact opposite: unless and until ACNA is recognized as a province of the Anglican Communion through the mechanisms provided in the Constitution of the ACC, then the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin will cease to be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion when it leaves the Province of the Southern Cone for ACNA, and Bishop Schofield could expect no more invitations to Lambeth. (Of course, he will be retired by the time of the next Conference, and so would not be eligible in any event.)

    Finally, let me commend you for your statement that what you seek is not "victory", but greater understanding. I apologize if I was too hasty in ascribing to you any different motive. Your comments here certainly contribute to that goal---and indeed, they have produced the longest comment thread there has ever been on this blog. So, please---do feel free to return and comment as you see fit.

  28. Mr. Haley,
    The future status of ACNA is still very unsure, as you have indicated. Whether or not the actual organization of ACNA will be accomplished is still in doubt, as there are some differences of opinion/conviction about the role of Bishops and about the ordination of women. The attempt to unite people who left ECUSA for a variety of reasons is challenging and I pray that it will be successful. I pray that because I have long been concerned about the isolation of congregations in the continuing bodies. For a while the Anglican Chapel in this village was the only congregation in NY under the authority of a Bishop in Florida.

    A second question is how ACNA's request to be admitted to the Communion would be handled. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York could decalre that ACNA was in communion with the Church of England, but a further step would be that of the Anglican Consultative Council in adding ACNA representatives to the list of ACC members. It is not at all certain that the Archbishops or ACC would act to recognize ACNA. Unless the decision was made to remove ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada from membership, admitting ACNA would violate the long-standing tradition of not having two Churches with jurisdiction in the same geographical area. There have been exceptions to that, most obviously in Europe where both ECUSA and the C of E have congregations, but that arrangement was agreed to by both Churches. I could be convinced that such an agreement would be a good one for North America, as it could provide some avenues for relationships between ECUSA and ACNA. Such an agreement would seem impossible until there is a resolution of all the issues arising from the unresolved question of whether or not Dioceses can secede from ECUSA and until there is a more respectful attitude towards sisters and brothers with whom we disagree. I am not optimistic about this, as I think many of my friends who have left ECUSA would not want to be in an Anglican Communion that included ECUSA.

    I think that your statement about the representation of NH in the councils of the Communion is inaccurate. You are probably right that the election of the Bishop of NH as one the ECUSA representatives on the ACC would be impossible, although I don't see any formal bar to that happening. However, the people of NH are represented on the ACC by the members from ECUSA, all of whom, if I am not mistaken, have supported the people of NH's decsion to elected Robinson. The election of Ian Douglas to the Standing Committee was not simply a recognition of ECUSA's membership, but a recognition that he has and will serve the Communion well.