As the House has been informed previously, in November 2007 I directed a submission by my Office to the Title IV Review Committee that enclosed materials suggesting that Bishop Duncan had abandoned the Communion of this Church within the meaning of Canon IV.9. That submission recited that Bishop Duncan had supported first readings of amendments to the Constitution of the Diocese of Pittsburgh at the last Diocesan Convention that, among other things, would delete the unqualified accession by the Diocese to the Constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. The submission also recited Bishop Duncan’s leadership of a program under which delegates to the next Diocesan Convention in October 2008 would determine whether or not to adopt a second reading of the proposed amendments to the Diocesan Constitution deleting the “accession” clause, and pass a resolution purporting to make the Diocese a member of another Province within the Anglican Communion. Further details of Bishop Duncan’s program were outlined in a second submission to the Review Committee by certain lay and clerical members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The thrust of the foregoing submission by my Office was not that Bishop Duncan had already left the Episcopal Church, but rather that he had in his episcopal leadership role taken the position that the Diocese had the option of either remaining subject to the Constitution and canons of this Church or leaving this Church for membership in another Province of the Communion; and that in that role he was encouraging the Diocese to choose to leave. The submission suggested, therefore, that Bishop Duncan, by pressing his position that the Diocese had such a choice and should exercise it by disaffiliating from the Episcopal Church, had abandoned the Communion of this Church by “an open renunciation of the … Discipline … of this Church” within the meaning of Canon IV.9(1)(i).
The Review Committee evidently agreed with that analysis and on December 17, 2007 certified to me as Presiding Bishop that Bishop Duncan had abandoned the Communion of this Church. Shortly thereafter, I asked the three senior bishops having jurisdiction in this Church, pursuant to Canon IV.9(1), to consent to Bishop Duncan’s inhibition pending presentation of the matter to the House of Bishops, but not all these bishops gave their consent.