Daily Archives: February 24, 2011

A Suicide, a Last Request, a Family’s Questions

The words came up on Alicia Duerson’s cellphone as blithely as text messages typically do, but this one was different: her former husband, the former Chicago Bears star Dave Duerson, asked her to donate his brain for research.

She texted back and heard nothing, then called their son, Tregg, who was just ending his workday as a bank analyst in Chicago. They called again and got voice mail.

The next and last message they received from Dave Duerson was meant for them, their family and perhaps all of professional football. It was written in his hurried hand, repeating his text message in case it had not been received, and found in the South Florida condominium where he placed a gun to his chest and shot himself to death last Thursday.

“Please, see that my brain is given to the N.F.L.’s brain bank.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sports, Suicide

Dallas Target: Texas Resident Arrested on Charge of Attempted Use of Weapon of Mass Destruction

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested late yesterday by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.

The arrest and the criminal complaint, which was unsealed in the Northern District of Texas, were announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; James T. Jacks, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas; and Robert E. Casey Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Dallas Field Division.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism

Fallen Christ Church Cathedral Spire a symbol of city's heartbreak

An Anglican priest, the Reverend Wally Behan, who normally lives in Christchurch but is caretaking a Sydney church for six months, said he had been shocked by television footage from inside the cathedral.

”The whole place is like a bomb hit it but when you look up to the steeple now, you see the sky, and all that’s come down.

”[Before the quake] you’d look across the skyline of Christchurch and there’d always be the cathedral, always the steeple of the cathedral sticking up wherever you’d look. Now, that’s gone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ

(AFP) Le Carre gifts archive to Oxford's Bodleian library

Spy author John le Carre is to give his literary archive to the world famous library at Oxford University, his “spiritual home”, it was announced on Thursday.

The collection contains family papers, photographs, letters and manuscripts, including drafts of one of le Carre’s best known novels, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.

The author said he wanted to give the material to the Bodleian Library at the prestigious university where he studied, rather than sending it to an American institution.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Education, England / UK

(ENI) Libyan Christian clergy vow to stay on amid violence

Christian clergy in Libya said they have no intention of leaving the country, where several days of protests and retaliation by government armed forces have left hundreds of people dead.

“We feel we belong here with our sisters who are giving their services in social centres. Their work is so much appreciated by the Libyans here and often finds support and appreciation,” Rev. Daniel Farrugia, a senior Roman Catholic priest at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Tripoli told ENInews on 22 February.

He said the leaders were safe as well as the church structures, with the church’s life in the mornings being almost normal, although many foreigners were leaving the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Libya, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Vanguard) Nigeria Archbishop Okoh speaks to CANA now being part of ACNA

The Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), says the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), is no longer under the jurisdiction of Nigeria….

“We are not interested in territorial ambition; our main reason for going to America was to provide for those who were no longer finding it possible to worship in the Episcopal church.

“A new structure has been put up in the U.S. which is ACNA.

“CANA now belongs to ACNA even though they still relate to us;but essentially it now belongs to Anglican province of North America,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Nigeria

Queenstown vicar ”˜shocked’ at collapse of Christ Church Cathedral

Huge quake damage to the landmark Christ Church Cathedral was particularly shocking for one Queenstowner.

Local Anglican vicar David Coles was the cathedral dean for six years before an 18-year stint as Bishop of Christchurch.

“I spent good years of my life in there ”“ Joy and I were married there in 2001, I was ordained as a bishop there, so it’s a pretty important place for us.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ

(NPR) Spiking Oil Prices: Time To Worry Yet?

Watching the price of oil go up these days is a little like watching a river rise. At what point do we need to get the sandbags? When should we sound the warning horns? What is flood stage?

On Wednesday, the main U.S. oil contract hit $100 a barrel before retreating to $98.10. That was the highest price in more than two years.

Of course, prices could always go down. But with increasing global demand and widespread unrest in the Middle East, it’s possible that the price of fuel ”” by the barrel and by the gallon ”” will continue to rise. And when the price of oil rises, the price of just about everything else ”” driving, heating, shopping, eating and more ”” starts to move up too.

Flood level may be closer than we think.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Egypt, Energy, Natural Resources, Libya, Middle East

(First Things) Douglas Farrow–Blurring Sexual Boundaries

The proposed addition of “gender identity and expression” carries that transformation even further by suppressing the binary logic itself. Backers of these bills often make no attempt to disguise this. “One of the great myths of our culture,” insists the Canadian Labor Congress, “is that at birth each infant can be identified as distinctly ”˜male’ or ”˜female’ (biological sex), will grow up to have correspondingly ”˜masculine’ or ”˜feminine’ behavior (public gender), live as a ”˜man’ or a ”˜woman’ (social gender role), and marry a woman or a man (heterosexual affective orientation). This is not so.”

The standard notion of sex, then, must be replaced by the more malleable concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity. And I do mean must. Here in Quebec a recent government white paper promises to wipe society clean of both homophobia and heterosexism””that is, of any “affirmation of heterosexuality as a social norm or the highest form of sexual orientation [and of any] social practice that conceals the diversity of sexual orientations and identities.”

What this will mean in the long run for the legal protection of women remains to be seen, of course, but we can’t have it both ways. Sex cannot serve as an effective legal marker for discrimination if its binary nature dissolves into fluid sexual subjectivities. In that sense, these bills constitute unfriendly amendments to the civil and criminal codes they purport to refine or perfect.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(RNS) Budget Cuts Target the Poor, Faith Groups Say

Get ready for more undernourished infants, dangerously cold homes and disease-stricken communities in developing countries if proposed federal budget cuts become law.

That’s the message coming from left-leaning religious advocacy groups, who’ve been rallying supporters and blanketing Capitol Hill since budget debates kicked into high gear last week (Feb. 14-18). Declaring budgets to be “moral documents,” they’re prodding lawmakers to honor their respective faith traditions by sparing poverty-related programs from the cost-cutting axe.

But efforts to save funding are meeting resistance””not only from number crunchers, but also from others with different views of what constitutes moral budgeting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Senate, The U.S. Government

Long-Term Medical Care Needs Changes, Obama Administration Officials Say

One of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s legacies in the new health care law, intended to allow the chronically ill and people with disabilities to continue living in their homes, is too costly to survive without major changes, Obama administration officials now say.

Republican lawmakers, who have vowed to repeal the health care law, cite the administration’s acknowledgment as yet another reason to do so. But the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, says the law gives her plenty of authority to make the necessary changes to the program without Congressional action.

To make the program viable, Ms. Sebelius said, she is considering changes in the eligibility criteria, including employment and earnings requirements, to ensure that only active workers may enroll. She also said she favored adjusting premiums to rise with inflation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The U.S. Government

(Guardian) Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Assange has been fighting extradition since he was arrested and bailed in December. He has consistently denied the allegations, made by two women in August last year.

Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, delivered his ruling at a hearing at Belmarsh magistrates court in London. It is unlikely to be the end of the matter, however, because an appeal is expected, which would delay the final decision until the summer at the latest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Sweden

In New York State A School Topples Hurdles to Learning

It is lunchtime in the cafeteria of the Henry Viscardi School in Nassau County, and two eighth graders are doing what boys their age do best: batting insults back and forth.

“Get off my case,” Jalen says.

“If you had a case, I’d get off it,” a classmate replies.

“You’re weird,” Jalen retorts. “No, you’re weird.”

It is a scene that could unfold on any given taco Tuesday in any school cafeteria, save for one crucial difference: Jalen has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak; his testy remarks come not from his mouth but from a machine called a DynaVox, mounted on his joystick-controlled wheelchair.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Health & Medicine

A.S. Haley–Rushing to Judgment: a Spurious Defense of Title IV (Part I)

Before taking up their memorandum in detail, however, I want to put some of the matters involved into a proper perspective. Some of what I will now say may come as a surprise to those who are unacquainted with how ECUSA came into being….

First proposition:

General Convention is not the “supreme” (highest) authority in the Church — it never has been, and (unless the current liberal takeover is perfected) never will be….

Second proposition:

As formed in 1789, and as continued in existence ever since, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America is a voluntary confederation, and not a forever indissoluble union, of dioceses….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Conflicts, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthais

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, most holy, most loving, infinite in wisdom and power: Teach us to reverence thee in all the works of thy hands, and to hallow thy name both in our lives and in our worship; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 131

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Mercenaries Stream Toward Tripoli as Qaddafi Digs In

Thousands of African mercenaries and militiamen were massing on roads heading toward Tripoli on Wednesday to reinforce the stronghold of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi as rebels protesting his 40-year rule claimed to have taken control of cities closer to the capital, witnesses said.

The week-old uprising that has swept Libya now appears headed for a decisive stage, with Colonel Qaddafi fortifying his bastion in Tripoli and opponents in the capital saying they were making plans for their first coordinated protest.

“A message comes to every mobile phone about a general protest on Friday in Tripoli,” one resident there said, adding that Colonel Qaddafi’s menacing speech to the country on Tuesday had increased their determination “100 percent.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Libya, Politics in General, Violence

An ENS Article on the recent Anglican Parish-Episcopal Diocese Settlements in Pitt. and Va.

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

Two Peoria, Illinois, churches hope to desegregate Sunday mornings

Zion Baptist Church on Sunday was loaded and hot, nearly every pew full.

This by itself is not unusual for a Sunday, but seeing white and black worshippers sitting side by side was a little different.

“(First Baptist Church) Pastor (Tom) Bayes and I had talked about how Sunday mornings were one of the most segregated times in America,” said Pastor Samuel Duren of Zion Baptist. “We don’t feel like that has to be that way, and so we decided to join the worship services.”

Zion Baptist, a predominantly black church, and First Baptist, a predominantly white church, are separated by only a few blocks, but the two had never really come together until recently.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Living Church) South Carolina Episcopal Diocese Revises its Constitution

The Diocese of South Carolina’s 220th convention has revised six articles [PDF] of its constitution, distancing itself from canon-law revisions approved by General Convention in 2009.

The revisions met the required two-thirds majority for a second consecutive meeting of the diocesan convention, and the diocese’s constitution is now revised.

South Carolina was the first diocese to challenge major revisions to Title IV of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons, which regards ecclesiastical discipline.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons

Former Edmonton bishop safe in Christchurch

Edmonton’s Anglicans are being asked for prayers, not dollars, in the aftermath of an earthquake in New Zealand that damaged the Christchurch cathedral and left hundreds of people trapped under rubble.

The disaster area is the home of Victoria Matthews, former bishop of Edmonton’s diocese who is currently the archbishop of Christchurch. Matthews and her staff are safe and working in a “surreal” situation, supporting people affected by the tragedy, said Jane Alexander, who succeeded Matthews as Edmonton’s bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ

Alan Runyan and Mark McCall–Title IV Unmasked: a reply to Our Critics


by C. Alan Runyan and Mark McCall

In September 2010, we published an article demonstrating that the new Title IV disciplinary canons enacted at the last General Convention are unconstitutional and unwise: unconstitutional because they infringe on the exclusive rights of dioceses to institute courts for the discipline of clergy and give the Presiding Bishop metropolitical authority over other bishops; and unwise because they deny basic due process rights to diocesan clergy. Now, five months after our article was published, three participants on the task force that drafted the new title have published a paper responding to our analysis. Our critics address only the constitutional questions in the two parts of their paper. No response is offered to our concerns about the abrogation of basic due process rights in the new canons. Those concerns remain, but this reply addresses only the arguments made by our critics.

I Clergy Discipline Is the Constitutional Prerogative of Dioceses

Our original paper demonstrated that the establishment of courts for the trial of diocesan clergy has been the exclusive prerogative of the dioceses since TEC was organized. The new Title IV eviscerates this constitutional allocation of authority by determining virtually all aspects of clergy discipline, leaving the dioceses with no responsibility other than appointing diocesan personnel to bodies defined and regulated by the general canons.

The primary argument made by our critics is that while Title IV would have been unconstitutional during the first century of TEC’s existence, the 1901 revision of TEC’s constitution “profoundly changed” the allocation of authority and “as a result of this change General Convention is now constitutionally free to legislate in the area of clergy discipline.” What was the profound change that gave the General Convention these sweeping powers for the first time? Prior to the 1901 revision the relevant article read as follows:

In every State, the mode of trying Clergymen shall be instituted by the Convention of the Church therein.

After the revision, it now reads:

Presbyters and Deacons canonically resident in a Diocese shall be tried by a Court instituted by the Convention thereof.

According to our critics, the simple change in language from “mode of trying shall be instituted” to “tried by a court instituted” completely reversed the traditional constitutional allocation of responsibility for clergy discipline. Our critics cite no evidence that such a dramatic change in constitutional governance was intended by the 1901 revision, which was not limited to this article, but was instead a comprehensive re-write of the entire constitution to add greater clarity.

If the apparently minor wording change were the profound reversal of constitutional authority claimed by our critics, one would expect legislative history articulating that significance which would otherwise be obscure. Our critics cite none, only a common dictionary. One would believe that White & Dykman, as a part of their discussion about the many rejected attempts that had been made to limit diocesan authority over the discipline of its clergy, would have noticed this “profound change” if it had been made. They did not because such a reading is simply wrong.

In fact, the legislative history points conclusively in the other direction. The joint commission initially charged with developing a proposed revision produced a draft that would have made numerous substantive revisions to TEC’s polity, including (i) introducing a supremacy clause making General Convention (which was to be renamed “General Synod”) the “supreme legislative authority in this church”; (ii) giving General Convention “exclusive power to legislate” in certain broad areas of church life, including ordinations and the creation of dioceses; and (iii) requiring that no diocesan legislation “contravene this Constitution or any Canon of the General Synod enacted in conformity therewith.” Among the provisions the joint commission proposed to change was the one on clergy discipline. It proposed giving the new “General Synod” precisely the sort of sweeping powers our critics now claim the 1901 revision granted General Convention:

Sec. 2. The General Synod shall also have power to enact Canons of Discipline, and exclusive power to enact Canons defining the offences for which Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons may be tried, and determining the penalties”¦. (Emphasis added.)

When these proposals were submitted to the following General Convention in 1898, those granting new and enhanced authority to the General Convention were rejected. In the revised constitution that passed its first reading in 1898 and was finally adopted in 1901, the proposal for a supremacy clause was rejected as was the proposal to give General Convention the authority to enact “Canons of Discipline” and exclusive power to define clergy offenses and penalties. Instead, the provision reiterating diocesan responsibility for these matters was retained and restated.

If any inference is to be drawn from the change in wording in 1901 it is that the authority of the dioceses was broadened, not narrowed. Giving the dioceses the authority to institute courts, with the system of administration of justice inherent in that concept, is the way comprehensive authority is described in constitutional language. Consider the simple provisions in Articles I and III of the United States Constitution giving Congress the authority to constitute courts””“The Congress shall have power”¦to constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court” and “such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Would anyone argue that Congress does not also have the authority to determine the mode of trying, procedural matters and all other inherent aspects of judicial administration?

It must be emphasized that the new Title IV not only specifies the offenses and penalties concerning diocesan clergy””a power the 1898 convention rejected””it also specifies the nature of the diocesan courts, their names, their composition and their detailed procedures. The only role for the dioceses is to rubber stamp what the General Convention has dictated and to appoint the mandated personnel. This evacuates the constitutional language preserving the prerogative of the dioceses to “institute” courts for trying clergy of any meaning. It is tantamount to Congress sending the President the name of one and only one person it will confirm as justice to the Supreme Court while claiming it is preserving the President’s constitutional right to appoint the judiciary.

Thus, our critics’ reliance on an artificial distinction between “mode of trying ”¦shall be instituted” and “tried by a Court instituted” to carry the burden of overturning a century of well-defined constitutional jurisprudence””which even they acknowledge””is in the end misplaced. And any lingering doubt on this front is removed by considering the remainder of the current constitutional provision:

Presbyters and Deacons canonically resident in a Diocese shall be tried by a Court instituted by the Convention thereof; Presbyters and Deacons canonically resident in a Missionary Diocese shall be tried according to Canons adopted by the Bishop and Convocation thereof, with the approval of the House of Bishops; Provided, that the General Convention in each case may prescribe by Canon for a change of venue.

The provision making the disciplinary canons of Missionary Dioceses subject to the approval of the House of Bishops underscores the unconstrained authority of regular dioceses in this area. And if the constitution permits the General Convention to make detailed provisions for the establishment and procedures of diocesan courts, an explicit proviso on change of venue would not be necessary.

A second argument made by our critics is that the constitutional objection was waived in any event when no objection was made to the former Title IV following its passage by General Convention in 1994. But the constitutional analyses made then, if any, are legally irrelevant now for two reasons. First, South Carolina and other dioceses consented to the 1994 canon by voluntarily enacting it as part of diocesan canon law. Any diocese is constitutionally free to adopt disciplinary canons proposed by the General Convention. To decide whether or not to do so is the constitutional prerogative of the diocese. It can exercise that prerogative either by acceptance, as South Carolina did in 1994, or by refusal, as it has just done now.

In any event, the failure previously to make a constitutional objection, even if true, is utterly irrelevant legally to the issue of a statute’s constitutionality. There is often a significant period of time when the unconstitutionality of a statute goes unrecognized. Indeed, whenever a court finds a legislative act unconstitutional it is true by definition that a majority of the legislators themselves had previously thought the act constitutional. And there are well known cases in which the Supreme Court itself had previously upheld the constitutionality of statutes it was later to strike down. As everyone knows, Brown v. Board of Education overruled a similar case, Plessy v. Ferguson, that sixty years earlier had found segregation statutes constitutional. Similarly, Lawrence v. Texas overruled a Supreme Court case decided only seventeen years earlier when it ruled state sodomy statutes unconstitutional. So whether a constitutional objection has been raised to a prior canon is totally irrelevant to the legal analysis of the new Title IV. It is settled law that unconstitutional acts are void ab initio (“as if the law had never been passed”) and it does not matter when that conclusion is first reached.

II The Authority of the Presiding Bishop

The second part of our critics’ paper is devoted to defending the unprecedented expansion of authority the new Title IV would grant to the Presiding Bishop. For the first time in TEC’s history the Presiding Bishop would be able to exercise archiepiscopal or metropolitical authority over other bishops. As we pointed out in our original paper, this was accomplished by a seemingly technical definition near the end of a detailed set of canons, the effect of which was not publicly recognized until after General Convention had passed the new Title IV. In a very precise way, the Presiding Bishop is made the bishop of other bishops with the same disciplinary authority over those bishops that they have over their clergy.

Our critics do not deny that this provision would give the Presiding Bishop authority to issue pastoral direction to another bishop, to suspend or inhibit a diocesan bishop “at any time” without consent from the Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese, and to become the primary authority in determining whether disciplinary charges should be brought and prosecuted against other bishops. None of these powers has ever been given to the Presiding Bishop in TEC’s two centuries of existence.

Our critics do not dispute this fact, but argue that the new powers are constitutional because the Presiding Bishop’s authority is essentially unlimited under the constitution: “None of these provisions [referring to the Presiding Bishop] contain any language limiting the authority of the Presiding Bishop.” Their argument is twofold: first, that the constitutional limitation in Article II.3 on bishops acting within the jurisdiction of dioceses without the consent of the Ecclesiastical Authority does not apply to the Presiding Bishop; and second, that the constitution permits additional “duties” to be given to the Presiding Bishop by canon.

The prohibition on acting in any diocese without the consent of its Ecclesiastical Authority has been part of TEC’s constitutional governance in almost identical language since its first constitution was adopted in 1789. It now reads as follows:

A Bishop shall confine the exercise of such office to the Diocese in which elected, unless requested to perform episcopal acts in another Diocese by the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof, or unless authorized by the House of Bishops, or by the Presiding Bishop by its direction, to act temporarily in case of need within any territory not yet organized into Dioceses of this Church.

Our critics’ argument is that this prohibition is inapplicable to the Presiding Bishop. Citing no authority, they claim that “it is apparent that the original intent of Article II, Section 3 was not to apply to the Presiding Bishop.” They then argue that because she is not elected “in a diocese” and therefore has no jurisdiction, her jurisdiction must be unlimited. But our critics leap to the wrong conclusion that lack of a jurisdiction means that the Presiding Bishop must instead have unlimited or universal episcopal jurisdiction. As the remainder of Article II.3 makes clear, the more sensible reading of the constitution conforms to TEC’s historical understanding of its polity: the lack of diocesan jurisdiction means that the Presiding Bishop cannot act in any diocese without the consent of its Ecclesiastical Authority. See Dawley (the Presiding Bishop “exercises no direct pastoral oversight of a diocese of his own, nor does he possess visitorial or juridical powers within the independent dioceses of the Episcopal Church”).

Read as a whole Article II.3 indicates that the Presiding Bishop is in fact explicitly bound by this prohibition on acting within a diocese without consent. Bishops, including the Presiding Bishop (at the “direction” of the House of Bishops), can act outside their own jurisdiction even when authorized by the House of Bishops only in “territory not yet organized into Dioceses of this Church.” (Emphasis added.) If the Presiding Bishop can constitutionally act in unorganized territory only at the direction of the House of Bishops, she can hardly be constitutionally authorized to act “at any time” in a duly constituted diocese with a recognized Ecclesiastical Authority, which the logic of our critics’ argument requires. The effect of making this article inapplicable to the Presiding Bishop would be to create an office with universal episcopal jurisdiction. No reading of Article II.3 or TEC’s history permits this conclusion.

Our critics’ second argument is that the Presiding Bishop’s authority is constitutionally unlimited because Article I.3 permits the General Convention to prescribe new “duties”:

The term and tenure of office and duties and particulars of the election not inconsistent with the preceding provisions shall be prescribed by the Canons of the General Convention.

But this provision quite precisely permits the specification of “duties” by canon, not the creation of additional authority, a distinction that is well recognized in the law but not by our critics, who move seamlessly in their discussion between the concepts of “authority” and “duties.” As the earlier discussion of the proposed but rejected 1901 revision makes clear””in its proposal for new “powers” for General Convention””TEC’s canonical jurisprudence follows the law generally in drawing a distinction between “duties” and “powers” or “authority.” A primary legal duty of an officer such as the Presiding Bishop is to take action only within the scope of her actual authority. And the General Convention would be constitutionally prohibited from specifying duties for that office if there were no constitutional authority to perform them. Had the drafters of the constitution intended the surprising result that additional authority going beyond that specified in the constitution could be created by canon they would have said so, but they did not do that when referring to duties.

Even if the dividing line between duties and authority could be blurred in some circumstances, it would be unreasonable to so in an attempt to make such a significant change as to give the Presiding Bishop what amounts to metropolitical authority. Under the constitution, the basic provisions for the government of the Church belong in the constitution, not the canons.

Nor does the title “Chief Pastor and Primate” added by canon in the late twentieth century confer any such authority. Indeed, when the language “and Primate” was added in 1982, the legislative history indicates that this change was titular in nature with no intention to expand authority or confer archiepiscopal jurisdiction. In fact, the original proposal before the 1982 General Convention was to substitute “Archbishop” for Presiding Bishop. According to recent commentary prepared at the request of the current Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies, the rejection of the original proposal demonstrated that there was “no inclination to even bestow the image of metropolitical authority on a Presiding Bishop.” Even adding the title “Primate” was controversial in the House of Deputies, which eventually concurred, “but only after considerable debate as to whether or not ”˜Primate’ was a slippery slope towards a feared and unwanted metropolitical authority in the Office of Presiding Bishop.”

To their credit, our critics do not flinch from acknowledging the remarkable authority the new Title IV would give to the Presiding Bishop. On their reading of the constitution the Presiding Bishop already has the power “to intervene in matters within a Diocese without the consent of, and in some cases over the objection of, the Bishop Diocesan. This is not new Constitutional ground.” There is no effort to downplay or mask the sweeping nature of the new powers. They freely embrace the bestowal of broad metropolitical powers on the Presiding Bishop when even the “image” of such authority has been unthinkable until now. The question presented to the bishops and dioceses of the Church is whether they will ratify not merely the image but the fact of metropolitical authority inserted not through a proper constitutional amendment but through a technical definition buried at the end of a complex new title and thereby overturn the settled polity under which TEC has operated since its inception.


C. Alan Runyan and Mark McCall, “Title IV Revisions: Unmasked,” Anglican Communion Institute, September 2008. http://www.anglicancommunioninstitute.com/2010/09/title-iv-revisions-unmasked/
Duncan A. Bayne, Stephen F. Hutchinson, and Joseph L. Delafield III, “Title IV: Constitutional Issues,” Feb. 15, 2011.
As to those issues, the authors state, “We hope ta [sic] address those issues with which we disagree in a later paper.” Id. at 2, n. 13.
Id. at 3.
Journals of General Conventions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, William Stevens Perry, ed., vol. I, p. 100, Claremont, N.H.: The Claremont Mfg. Co. (1874).
Constitution and Canons (2009), Article IX.
Indeed one such attempt to limit diocesan authority over clergy discipline in 1874 was rejected “because it would diminish the “full and exclusive jurisdiction of the separate Dioceses” over their own courts.” White & Dykman, Annotated Constitution and Canons (1981) at 121 quoting Journal of the General Convention, 1874 at 155.
White & Dykman list the chief differences made to Article IX by the convention of 1901. The interpretation advanced by our critics of a wording change that our critics believe “profoundly changed [the] Constitutional scheme” is not listed. Id. at 122.
Journal (General Convention 1895), 648.
Allan S. Haley, Constitutional Changes, (Anglican Curmudgeon, November 2010) http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2010/11/constitutional-changes-more-on-church.html http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2010/11/constitutional-changes-opposing.html (accessed Feb.21, 2011); Journal of 1895 General Convention (1896) App. XVI; Journal of the 1898 General Convention, (1899) App. XIV.
Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S.483 (1954); Plessy v.Ferguson, 163 U.S.537 (1896).
Lawrence v.Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003); Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986).
As noted by Dawley, “ecclesiastical autocracy was often associated with archbishops. Neither the name nor the function was given the presiding officer of the House of Bishops.” Dawley, Powell Mills. The Episcopal Church and Its Work, 1955 at 107.
P. 5.
P. 7.
Dawley and others have noted that the essential element of Episcopal polity is the Diocese and its Bishop: it is the “chief unit of church life”. Id. at 114. Dioceses preceded the formation of the Episcopal Church; “Diocesan participation in any national program or effort, for example, must be voluntarily given; it cannot be forced.” Id. at 116. While the Bishop Diocesan’s independence within the diocese may be restricted by the share in church governance possessed by the Diocesan Convention or the Standing Committee, his independence in respect to the rest of the church is almost complete.” Id. It is therefore astounding for our critics to state that the Presiding Bishop already has the power that would now be usurped from Dioceses and their Bishops through these changes to Title IV.
Restatement (Third) of Agency § 8.09(1) (American Law Institute 2006). See Mike Watson, “Litigation against Disaffiliating Dioceses: Is It Authorized and what Does Fiduciary Duty Require?”, Anglican Communion Institute, September 2009, 3-4.
See Edwin A. White and Jackson A. Dykman, 1991 Supplement to Annotated Constitution and Canons 21-22 (Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society 1991). See Watson, supra, n. 17, at 6.
Robert C. Royce, Esq., The Roles, Duties and Responsibilities of the Executive Council, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies in the Governance of the Episcopal Church 10 (May 31, 2008).
http://www.episcopalarchives.org/AR2009-011-4_Roles_by_Royce.pdf p.8.

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