Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bishop Irish of Utah

At a diocesan meeting last weekend, Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish presented a written report on her experience of the House of Bishops meeting in Texas. She expresses full support for the bishops' three "mind of the house" resolutions, and provides some additional "color" on the meeting. Click here to read her 8-page report.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori reported to the bishops on her meeting with the primates in Tanzania. Bishop Tanner recounts one section of that report:

The document [i.e., the communiqué being drafted in Tanzania] was quite positive in fact until the last night when it all began to go downhill. The penultimate version of it included a comment about respect for the Episcopal Church, whereupon the primate of Nigeria rose to say he had no respect for the Episcopal Church, so that clause was removed.

As have some other bishops, Bishop Irish seems amazed to learn that coordinated forces have been at work to subvert and even supplant the Episcopal Church. Writing about the "letter to the church" that the bishops issued at the end of the Texas meeting, she says:

The message includes a brief mention of our task force on property disputes. . . . The verbal report on property was far more extensive and devastating than the little paragraph on it suggests, however. The chair of that task force read out many of the secret memos circulating among the Network and/or Windsor bishops who have a calculated strategy to take over the property of the Episcopal Church. It is a devious and destructive plan . . . .
Later in the report, she mentions the presentation made by the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner. It is perhaps telling that she notes not his role in the Anglican Communion Institute, but that he "is on the Board of the Institute for Religion and Democracy [IRD], and [sic] ultra conservative group pressing for a U.S. theocracy among other things."

It appears the linkages among the IRD, the American Anglican Council, the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, and other "Common Cause partners" has finally been heard by the bishops. And it is high time, after all the work that work done over the course of the past four years by writers like Jim Naughton at the Daily Episcopalian , the blogger "Father Jake," and the authors of Hard Ball on Holy Ground (reviewed here).

Bishop Irish's report includes several other observations and anecdotes that we have not seen elsewhere. Read the entire document here.

At the Utah meeting, Bishop Irish distributed a memorandum the Diocesan Chancellor prepared on the constitutional and canonical issues arising from the primates' communiqué. Click here to read it. Particularly noteworthy is this point in the chancellor's memorandum:

The Presiding Bishop is our Chief Pastor and Primate, elected by the General Convention with limited authority. The PB may delegate certain authority to positions created by the Executive Council, but may not delegate jurisdiction, and any delegation may not be usurped by an outside entity [i.e., by the proposed Pastoral Council].
This is the first legal opinion we have seen regarding the question some have asked, namely: Could the Presiding Bishop unilaterally accede to the primates' scheme for a Pastoral Council and Primatial Vicar? According to the Chancellor, the answer is "no."

1 Comments:

Blogger Weiwen Ng said...

Bishop Irish: Later in the report, she mentions the presentation made by the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner. It is perhaps telling that she notes not his role in the Anglican Communion Institute, but that he "is on the Board of the Institute for Religion and Democracy [IRD], and [sic] ultra conservative group pressing for a U.S. theocracy among other things."


To be fair, her comment is not 100% accurate. Howard Ahmanson, a major funder of the IRD, does advocate for a theocracy. he no longer considers it essential to stone people for violations of God's law, but he is a theocracy kind of guy.

I don't think the IRD as an organization is looking to enforce a theocracy. certainly, nothing on their Anglican Action page mentions anything about a theocracy. the Anglican Action section of the IRD is mainly devoted (so they say) to reforming and renewing the Episcopal Church, and advocating a new "Social Witness Policy," "based on biblical principles and the Anglican tradition."

Now, a UMC pastor who describes himself as a "theological conservative" has spoken harshly about the IRD's actions in the UMC. his film accuses the IRD of corrupting the UMC's social witness. I am no fan of the IRD. however, I just don't think the "theocracy" comment of Bishop Irish's is accurate.

4/08/2007 8:13 PM  

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