Daily Archives: June 30, 2012

The Presiding Bishop is at it again – 9 TEC bishops this time

Bishops Edward Salmon, Peter Beckwith, Bruce MacPherson, Maurice Benitez, John Howe, Paul Lambert, Bill Love, Dan Martins and James Stanton charged for supporting the Constitution of The Episcopal Church

Two Breaking stories – read them all:

Anglican Ink: Bishops Salmon, Beckwith, and MacPherson charged with misconduct: Charges filed for endorsing brief filed by the ACNA Diocese of Quincy

Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against three bishops of the Episcopal Church under the provisions of Title IV for having endorsed a legal pleading filed in the Quincy lawsuit.

On 28 June 2012, the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., former Bishop of South Carolina and Dean of Nashotah House seminary, the Rt. Rev. Peter H. Beckwith, former Bishop of Springfield, and th Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana received an email from the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews stating that the charges had been leveled against them.

The bishops have not been informed what canon they violated. But they appear to be accused of violating the canons for having filed a brief in opposition to the national church’s motion for summary judgment in the case of the Diocese of Quincy v. the Episcopal Church.

The 16 Dec 2011 Judge Thomas Ortbal of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Adams County, Ill., dismissed the claim that as a “matter of law” the Episcopal Church was a hierarchical entity with dioceses being subordinate to the national church. The judge rejected the motion for summary judgment brought by the national church against the breakaway Diocese of Quincy and set the matter for trial. Read more

Anglican Ink: Seven more TEC bishops charged with misconduct: Support for ACNA pleading is grounds for discipline complaint alleges

Seven bishops have been charged with misconduct for having endorsed a friend of the court brief prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute in the Diocese of Fort Worth case.

On 28 June 2012, the Rt Rev Maurice M. Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas, the Rt Rev John W. Howe, retired Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev Paul E. Lambert. Suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Rev William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt Rev D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt Rev Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas were informed they had been charged with misconduct.

The bishops have not been notified with violation of the canons they have committed, but Bishop Matthews’ notice refers to the pleading they endorsed in the Diocese of Fort Worth case presently before the Texas Supreme Court.

In an amicus brief filed on 23 April 2012 the seven bishops and three scholars from the ACI ”“ the Rev. Christopher R. Seitz, the Very Rev. Philip W. Turner, and the Very Rev. Ephraim Radner — argued a Tarrant County, Texas trial court misconstrued the church’s constitutions and canons by holding that the Episcopal Church was a hierarchical body with ultimate power vested in the General Convention. Read more

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Allan Haley comments on the aggressive action taken against 9 TEC Bishops on the Eve of GC 2012

Stalinist Tactics Deployed to Silence ECUSA Bishops in Court
Needless to say, these “charges” should never have made it past the Intake Officer, and would not have done so without the implicit approval of the Presiding Bishop herself.
For Canons IV.5.4 and IV.5.5 state in part as follows (note that in the case of charges against bishops, Canon IV.17.2 (c) provides that “Bishop Diocesan” shall mean the Presiding Bishop):
[blockquote]Sec. 4. Upon receipt of such information, the Intake Officer may make such preliminary investigation as he or she deems necessary, and shall incorporate the information into a written intake report, including as much specificity as possible. The Intake Officer shall provide copies of the intake report to the other members of the Reference Panel and to the Church Attorney.

Sec. 5. If the Intake Officer determines that the information, if true, would not constitute an Offense, the Intake Officer shall inform the Bishop Diocesan of an intention to dismiss the matter. If the Bishop Diocesan does not object, the Intake Officer shall dismiss the matter…[/blockquote]
Bishop Matthew’s email does not notify the bishops that he is dismissing the charges. To the contrary: he states that he will “initiate a disciplinary process according to Title IV Canon 6 Sec. 3 & 4 …”. Those Canons spell out the offenses for which clergy may be charged, and would be irrelevant if the charges were being dismissed. Consequently, either Bishop Matthews wanted to dismiss the charges, and the Presiding Bishop objected; or else Bishop Matthews truly believes the charges may constitute an offense under the Church canons, and so he is proceeding with his investigation.

But just what does it mean to say that ECUSA is or is not “hierarchical”? In legal proceedings, such a statement is called a “conclusion of law”, reached after an inquiry into all the relevant facts. Attorneys and judges differ all the time over conclusions of law, and so it is fair to say that what the law will conclude on a given set of facts is a matter of opinion. And that is why the bishops filed their various affidavits and brief: ECUSA had given its opinion to the judges in each case that it was “hierarchical,” and the bishops simply wanted to give the contrary version of that opinion.

After all, it is for the judges ultimately to decide which view is more correct (or to modify their holding to yet another version, if they are so inclined). That is what judges are paid to do. So how can the Episcopal Church (USA) possibly charge someone with discipline for expressing an opinion? Such a right is guaranteed to everyone in America by the First Amendment.

Well, if it is not opinion in the case of the Episcopal Church (USA), then is it a matter of Church doctrine? Is the polity of the Episcopal Church (USA) truly a “doctrinal” matter?

It does not matter if it were, because then the following provisions of Canon IV.17.7 would apply:
[blockquote]Notwithstanding any provision of this Title to the contrary, no proceeding shall be brought under this Title against a Bishop in which the Offense alleged is violation of Canon IV.4.1(h)(2) for holding and teaching, or having held and taught, publicly or privately, and advisedly, any Doctrine contrary to that held by the Church unless a statement of disassociation shall have first been issued by the House of Bishops as provided in Canon IV.17.7 (a) and thereafter the consent of one-third of the Bishops qualified to vote in the House of Bishops has been received to initiate proceedings under this Title as provided in Canon IV.17.7 (b).[/blockquote]
Needless to say, no such “statement of disassociation” has been issued by the House of Bishops. Thus Bishop Matthews cannot be treating the bishops’ alleged offense as a matter of advocating false doctrine.

That takes us back to expressing a matter of opinion. One searches in vain through the new Title IV for any offense that consists of expressing an opinion at variance with the leadership of the Church. The loosest of all the provisions is for engaging in “conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy”, and if it is “conduct unbecoming” to disagree with the position that ECUSA is hierarchical, then a considerable number of clergy in the Church would have to be charged.

The idea, of course, is ridiculous on its face. And that is why these “charges” against these bishops should never have made it past the Intake Officer. In fact, if the Presiding Bishop did approve the bringing of these charges, then she herself should be charged under the provisions of Canon IV.3.1 (c):
[blockquote]Sec. 1. A Member of the Clergy shall be subject to proceedings under this Title for: (c) intentionally and maliciously bringing a false accusation . . . in any investigation or proceeding under this Title.[/blockquote]
(Emphasis added.) These charges are certainly intentionally brought, because it takes, as noted above, the concurrence of the Presiding Bishop not to have dismissed them in the first instance. And are they “maliciously” brought as well?

Those who know the history of the Presiding Bishop’s disregard for the canons will have no hesitation in answering that question.

Read it all

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The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

(Reuters) Islamist President says Egypt won't reverse course

Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Mursi opened his first public address after his inauguration on Saturday with the words “God is greatest, above everyone” and pledged to keep the country on a democratic course after Hosni Mubarak’s fall.

He spoke at Cairo University to ordinary people, politicians and generals. He told the latter they were now free to take their troops back to barracks to focus on national security.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

[Washington Post] Randy Barnett : We lost on healthcare but the Constitution won

The legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, which I advocated as a law professor before representing the National Federation of Independent Business as a lawyer, was about two huge things: saving the country from Obamacare and saving the Constitution for the country.

On Thursday, to my great disappointment, we lost the first point in the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 ruling to uphold the health-care law. But to my enormous relief, we won the second. Before the decision, I figured it was all or nothing. But if I had been made to choose one over the other, I would have picked the Constitution.

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[Washington Times] NAPOLITANO: Roberts unleashes vast federal power

The logic in the majority opinion is the jurisprudential equivalent of passing a camel through the eye of a needle. The logic is so tortured, unexpected and unprecedented that even the law’s most fervent supporters did not make or anticipate the court’s argument in its support. Under the Constitution, a tax must originate in the House, which this law did not, and it must be applied for doing something, like earning income or purchasing tobacco or fuel, not for doing nothing. In all the history of the court, it has never held that a penalty imposed for violating a federal law was really a tax.

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[Reuters] Egypt's first Islamist president takes oath

Addressing the “Muslims and Christians of Egypt”, Mursi promised a “civil, nationalist, constitutional state”, making no mention of the Brotherhood’s dream of creating an Islamic order.

Mursi promised to work for the release of Omar Abdul Rahman, a blind Egyptian militant cleric jailed for life in the United States over a 1993 bomb attack on New York’s World Trade Centre.

That seemed to signal an intention to carve out a more independent line towards the United States, which provides $1.3 billion a year in military aid in support of Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Mursi has said he will respect his country’s international obligations, an oblique reference to the treaty.

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[New Zealand Herald] Anglican debate on gays risks splitting church

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[Dominion Post] Wellington's new Anglican Bishop ordained

People crowded the aisles and craned their necks from all angles to see Wellington’s new Anglican Bishop ordained today.

About 2000 people packed Wellington Cathedral to see Justin Duckworth installed as the capital’s new bishop.

……As someone who has always shied away from the mainstream church, Mr Duckworth acknowledges he would not have been on many people’s list of likely contenders but believes he now has a mandate to shake things up.

“I’m just there to help them do that. I think we recognised that we needed to, in some sense, re-engage with younger generations and work out how to make sure that the church doesn’t die in the next few generations. It is a little bit of pressure but it is also a lovely generous thing.”

Read it all and check out the 3 News video report here

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A Prayer for Saturday 30th June 2012

Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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A Reading for Saturday 30th June 2012

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:1-11

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