(Post-Gazette) Episcopal Presiding Bishop to visit Pittsburgh

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church is making a Holy Week visit to Pittsburgh, where the Episcopal Diocese split in 2008.

She will answer questions from the public Tuesday evening at Trinity Cathedral, Downtown. She also will preach and preside earlier that day in Wilkinsburg as Episcopal clergy renew their ordination vows to Bishop Kenneth Price Jr., of Pittsburgh.

“I look forward to joining the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh as we gather to renew our ordination vows,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “There is a particular solemnity about celebrating this rite in a community which has experienced division over those very vows.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Holy Week, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

17 comments on “(Post-Gazette) Episcopal Presiding Bishop to visit Pittsburgh

  1. MP2009 says:

    “which has experienced division over those very vows.”

    A dig. She’s awful.Just Awful.

  2. David Wilson says:

    KJS will be having “private discussion” with the clergy of the TEC diocese on Tuesday afternoon according to the TEC diocese website. I am sure it will be instructive.

  3. William Witt says:

    “which has experienced division over those very vows.”

    As I wrote to my former bishop, Andrew Smith, on September 7, 2003, this issue of vows is precisely the question at issue. The candidate for ordination is asked to affirm three things: (1) To “solemnly declare” to “believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation.” (2) To “be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.” (3) To “obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work.”

    General Convention 2003 placed the candidate for ordination in an impossible dilemma. If he or she affirms that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and contain all things necessary for salvation, then the candidate cannot in good conscience swear to be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church, since the Episcopal Church’s new doctrine about sexuality conflicts with the plain teaching of Scripture. If the candidate honestly swears to be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church, then the candidate cannot honestly swear to believe what he or she is required to believe about the Scriptures.

    Finally, a new dilemma arises when the candidate is asked to swear obedience to the bishop. A bishop represents not simply his or her own authority in a geographical diocese, but the entire catholic Church in continuity with the faith delivered once and for all, and maintained through historical succession from the apostles. But now that the official teaching of the Episcopal Church is no longer in agreement with the catholic doctrine of the Church about sexuality, or with the affirmed teaching of the Anglican Communion, the question arises as to whom or what the candidate is now swearing obedience. Is the candidate swearing obedience to the bishop merely as an individual? What then becomes of the affirmation that the bishop is representative of the tradition and authority of the entire catholic Church as a member of the universal episcopate? Is the candidate swearing obedience to the bishop as a representative of the Episcopal church as a denomination, and to its new teaching on sexuality, to the exclusion of the consensus of the rest of the Anglican Communion and worldwide Christendom? Then the candidate would be swearing obedience to the bishop as representative of a national Protestant sect, and not as part of the catholic Body of Christ, and would in effect be renouncing membership in the Anglican Communion. Is the candidate swearing obedience to the bishop as a representative of the Body of Christ as manifested in the worldwide Anglican Communion? But the vast majority of the bishops of the Anglican Communion are at odds with the Episcopal Church’s new teaching on sexuality, and the candidate would have to decide between loyalty to the majority of bishops of the Anglican Communion, and loyalty to the local bishop.

    Bishop Smith made it clear by subsequent actions, as has the Presiding Bishop of TEc that they understand the declarations of loyalty and obedience to be declarations of personal loyalty to the bishop as an individual and to TEc as an organization, rather than declarations of loyalty to the bishop as a representative of the catholic Church. Moreover, subsequent attempts to justify the actions of GC 2003 hermeneutically have appealed to a new enthusiast understanding of the Holy Spirit in which the Holy Spirit is understood to indwell personally and infallibly the gatherings of General Convention, giving its assembled voters authority to over-ride the clear teaching of Scripture.

    Thus, GC2003 initiated a new understanding of the sufficiency and authority of Scripture, a new doctrine of the Holy Spirit, a new understanding of episcopacy, and an embrace of a sectarian (even gnostic) understanding of the church, with a rejection of biblical authority and catholicity in any historic senses of the word.

    The crisis is indeed one of “division over vows.” Those who take seriously the vows of ordination as they are found in any literal reading of the 1928 or 1979 BCPs cannot in good conscience swear loyalty and obedience to the new General Convention church.

  4. Jeremy Bonner says:

    There’s an [url=http://www.vts.edu/canonlaw]illuminating article[/url] on the origins of the Declaration of Conformity in the online Journal of Episcopal Church Canon Law. Jonathan Gray describes how very different the form of the oath was in the Church of England from that adopted by TEC.

  5. David Wilson says:

    I beleive the ordination of a Bishop includes the addition of “the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church ‘as this church has received it'” which qualifies the oath.

  6. Br. Michael says:

    5, not exactly. The BCP does not match exactly the wording in the Canons. The question asked in the BCP contains the language you cite, but the canonical oath that is signed does not. The canonical oath is a blank check because it includes subsequent changes to doctrine even if that is contrary to scripture.

  7. cseitz says:

    Thank you #4 for that link.

  8. Cennydd13 says:

    Umm, since when is necessary for clergy to renew their ordination vows, and in particular, to one’s bishop as if you owe your allegiance to HIM, and not to Christ and His Church?

  9. MP2009 says:

    Just to clarify the initial, #1, post. I agree with William Witt and meant by posting it that it is the PB’s opinion, revealed in many different contexts leading up to Bob Duncan’s depostion, is that the troubles in Pgh had to do fundamentally with Bob not living up to his ordination vows, a position I do not think reflects the breadth and depth of the true situation, and thus she is, as I read this, getting a dig in, once again, against Bob Duncan.

  10. William Witt says:

    I appreciate the clarification provided by Jeremy Bonner’s link as well as some of the other comments. The theology of obedience required to religious superiors as discussed in the tradition (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) is also clear that such obedience is never unqualified. One can also argue, I think, that the order of the promises (1.Scripture; 2. Church Doctrine and discipline; 3. immediate ecclesial authority) reflects a hierarchy of authority and obedience.

    This does not alleviate the immediate problem, however. In a functioning church, one would not have to make choices between these three promises, especially not a choice between the authority of canonical Scripture and the authority of one’s immediate superior. Nor a choice between the national church and either the international Communion or the ecumenical catholic Church as a whole. Nor would there be need to point out that the promises are conditional, since nothing would be required that would force one to choose. In no case whatsoever should an ecclesial superior interpret ecclesial authority to mean unconditional loyalty to him or her as an individual.

    Yet all these dilemmas are “business as usual” in TEc these days.

  11. ThinkingAboutItAll says:

    Now if there is to be hierarchy, let it be “(1.Scripture; 2. Church Doctrine and discipline; 3. immediate ecclesial authority)” !

  12. Bruce says:

    I don’t know where the language in the article came from, but the renewal of ordination vows in the context of the annual Holy Week Chrism Mass is an old tradition and has continued essentially unchanged, in the form we’ve been using for many years, in both the Episcopal and Anglican Dioceses of Pittsburgh. The renewal is not made “to” the bishop, but in his presence, and the bishop renews his vows along with the rest of us. It’s a meaningful gathering, I think. David and I attended these together for many years, and I continue to be profoundly sad that tomorrow he’ll be doing so at Trinity and I’ll be at St. Stephen’s. Just a few miles apart.

    Bruce Robison

  13. Statmann says:

    I assume that this will include a gala celebration by the PB and her TEC clergy for their recent legal victory over the ACNA group. Statmann

  14. Jeremy Bonner says:

    Without presuming to speak for Bruce, I rather doubt it.

  15. Bruce says:

    I’m pretty sure that the present state of our brokenness is the result of many failures in the keeping-of-vows department on all sides. It’s a mess. As the bishops and clergy of our Episcopal and Anglican Dioceses of Pittsburgh gather tomorrow for renewal of vows and the blessing of holy oils, I hope we will be able to pray for each other with charity and affection. Who knows what he might yet make of all this?
    Bruce Robison

  16. Ethanasius says:

    Hello, all!

    I was just curious if any clergy in the TEC-Diocese were not planning on going to the St. Stephen’s/Renewal of Vows service as a way to distance themselves from the questionable theology and authoritarian behavior of Katherine Schori. I know that several people in the Diocese have had trouble with what she represents and several of the actions that she’s taken in the past. Just curious.

    I’m very much looking forward to going to Trinity Cathedral tomorrow with my friends. Like Bruce, though, I’m sad that I won’t see certain faces there. Praying for all.

  17. MichaelA says:

    I suppose Katherine Schori has to do her best to shore up (no pun intended) the support for her apostasy. After all, if she can’t get support in the rump of Pittsburgh, where can she?

    It is difficult to see how Archbishop Duncan or any of his clergy could possibly join in fellowship with others in a meeting where Ms Schori is present – she has promoted apostasy within TEC by publicly endorsing Spong’s doctrine and by promoting the consecration of practicing homosexuals as bishops. It is because of her and those who join in fellowship with her that TEC has become a pariah in the wider Communion. To join with her in the fellowship of a worship service is to endorse her actions.