Friday, March 16, 2007

Loyal to Whom? or to What?

At his blog Preludium, the Reverend Mark Harris further considers the memorandum signed in Chantilly, Virgina. [For those of you not familiar with Mark, he is an Episcopal priest, member of Executive Council, and a deputy to General Convention ... along with sundry other responsible positions.] In it, several bishops nominally in the Episcopal Church agreed -- among other things -- to submit "without reservation" to Bishop Duncan's leadership. We have previously written about that memorandum here.

In this latest essay, Mark connects the meeting and memorandum revealed in the Pittsburgh lawsuit to the one about which Bishop Schofield spoke so cryptically at the latest convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Quoting here from Mark's essay:

In my post I noted that the found document, which purports to be a "Response to the Global South Steering Committee," seems to be the same document referred to in Bishop Schofield's deanery talks. I have since recalled and found Bishop Schofield's address to the Diocesan Convention where he first named the bishops at the Virginia meeting: "John Chew, Archbishop of Singapore; Drexel Gomez of the West Indies and the Caribbean; Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, South America; and three Archbishops from Africa, including Peter Akinola of Nigeria as Chairman."

Bishop Schofield then states,

"These outstanding leaders took it upon themselves to meet with 10 of us dioceses in Virginia last month, and there they asked three things of us:

1) What were we prepared to give up in order to achieve unity among ourselves?

2) A single spokesman to be elected by us to speak for all the orthodox.

3) Submission to their authority and --as a demonstration of that – flexibility to allow them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to prepare a way for us to live in a separate ecclesiastical structure which would eventually provide a way home for many Anglicans who had left The Episcopal Church for conscience sake, and many individuals and parishes that had been isolated in hostile dioceses to be part of the world-wide family of the Anglican Communion."

According to Bishop Schofield 10 dioceses were represented. Who where [sic] they?

Mark then seeks to calculate how many of the "Camp Allen bishops" or "Windsor bishops" have already acceded to Bishop Duncan's leadership. This is a significant question, inasmuch as the primates' Tanzania communiqué suggest that group should direct the arrangements for a Primatial Vicar.

If Mark is correct, then many of those bishops have submitted "without reservation" to Bishop Duncan. By contrast, no bishop in the Episcopal Church makes such a submission to the Presiding Bishop. Our bishops make a declaration of loyalty to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this church -- not to an individual.

This gets curiouser and curiouser (or would that be curialer and curialer?) all the time.

Go read Mark's essay, and see what you make of it.

Lisa Fox
for The Episcopal Majority


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