Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Action on Bishop Duncan

ENS yesterday released a story that the Title IV Review Committee has agreed that Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan has abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori informed Duncan on January 15 of the certification and sent him a copy. Her letter told Duncan that she sought the canonically required permission from the House's three senior bishops with jurisdiction to inhibit him, based on the certification, from the performance of any episcopal, ministerial or canonical acts. "On 11 January 2008 they informed me that such consents would not be given at this time by all three bishops," Jefferts Schori wrote.

The three senior bishops whose consent would have been required for inhibition are Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, Peter Lee of Virginia, and Don Wimberly of Texas.

As Episcopal Café observes, this is similar to the charge against Bishop Schofield; but without the senior bishops' consents, Bishop Duncan cannot be inhibited. The House of Bishops will act on the abandonment charge at their next regular or special meeting after the 60 days for recanting has elapsed as per the time limits in Title IV Canon 9.2. If a majority of bishops eligible to vote then agree with the charge, the Presiding Bishop deposes him.

The full report of the Title IV Review Committee is available here. Members of that committee are Upper South Carolina Bishop Dorsey Henderson (committee chair), Bishop Suffragan David C. Jones of Virginia, Bishop C. Wallis Ohl Jr. of Northwest Texas, Bishop Suffragan Bavi E. Rivera of Olympia, Bishop James Waggoner of Spokane, the Rev. Carolyn Kuhr of Montana, the Very Rev. Scott Kirby of Eau Claire, J.P. Causey Jr. of Virginia, and Deborah J. Stokes of Southern Ohio.

In her letter to Bishop Duncan, the Presiding Bishop acknowledged that action on his inhibition cannot be taken until 60 days have elapsed. She wrote in her letter to him: "I would, however, welcome a statement by you within the next two months providing evidence that you once more consider yourself fully subject to the doctrine, discipline and worship of this Church."

In a statement posted on the Diocese of Pittsburgh site, Bishop Duncan offered a brief response to the news, saying, “Few bishops have been more loyal to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church. I have not abandoned the Communion of this Church. I will continue to serve and minister as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh."

Father Jake has dug a bit more deeply into the canons and inhibition documents. Go over there and read more. Mark Harris also offers analysis at Preludium. Count on Mark to be careful and generous.

The photo at right is of Bishops Duncan and Iker at the August 2007 consecration in Nairobi of bishops to serve in the United States.

A story posted today at The Living Church reveals that Fort Worth bishop Iker also received a letter from the Presiding Bishop on January 15.

Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth informed The Living Church on Jan. 15 that he has received a second letter from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori threatening him with new disciplinary action.

“Unlike her November letter, it did not imply a charge of ‘abandonment of the communion of this church’, but it said that I would be liable for charges of violation of my ordination vows if I continue ‘any encouragement of such a belief’ (i.e. that parishes and dioceses can leave The Episcopal Church),” Bishop Iker said.
It only stands to reason that bishops Duncan and Iker are receiving similar attention by the Title IV Review Committee.


Blogger Chris said...

I've sent you three e-mails over the last two or three weeks without a reply. Are you there?

1/20/2008 6:41 PM  

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