Breaking news: Deposition Votes Failed to Achieve Canonically Required Majority

The Living Church has posted a major breaking story this evening. Their servers are currently down (“too many connections” says the message!) and so for the time being, we’re posting the full text.

The original story is here.

Deposition Votes Failed to Achieve Canonically Required Majority

Posted on: March 14, 2008

Slightly more than one-third of all bishops eligible voted to depose bishops John-David Schofield and William J. Cox during the House of Bishops’ spring retreat, far fewer than the 51 percent required by the canons.

The exact number is impossible to know, because both resolutions were approved by voice vote. Only 131 bishops registered for the meeting March 7-12 at Camp Allen, and at least 15 of them left before the business session began on Wednesday. There were 294 members of the House of Bishops entitled to vote on March 12.

When questioned about canonical inconsistencies during a telephone press conference at the conclusion of the meeting, Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina said the bishops had relied on advice provided to them by canonical experts, and did not examine canonical procedure during plenary debate prior to the votes to depose bishops Schofield and Cox.

Bishop Schofield was consecrated Bishop of San Joaquin in 1989. Last December, he presided over a diocesan convention at which clergy and lay delegates voted overwhelmingly to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. Bishop Cox was consecrated Bishop Suffragan of Maryland in 1972. He resigned in 1980, later serving as Assisting Bishop of Oklahoma from 1980 to 1988. In 2005, Bishop Cox ordained two priests and a deacon at Christ Church, Overland Park, Kan. Christ Church affiliated with the Anglican Church of Uganda after purchasing its property from the Diocese of Kansas.

Both bishops were charged with abandonment of communion. The procedure for deposing a bishop under this charge is specified in Title IV, canon 9, sections 1-2. The canon stipulates that the vote requires “a majority of the whole number of bishops entitled to vote,” not merely a majority of those present. At least a dozen bishops voted either not to depose Bishop Schofield or to abstain, according to several bishops. The number voting in favor of deposing Bishop Cox was reportedly slightly larger than the number in favor of deposing Bishop Schofield.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was questioned about the history of the canonical proceedings against Bishop Cox. At first she said during the press conference that she had not sought the canonically required consent of the three senior bishops of the church for permission to inhibit Bishop Cox pending his trial. However Title IV, Canon 9, sections 1-2 do not describe a procedure for deposing a bishop who has not first been inhibited.

Consent Never Sought

Later in the press conference, Bishop Jefferts Schori clarified and extended her remarks, saying she had been “unable to get the consent of the three senior bishops last spring. That’s why we didn’t bring it to the September meeting” of the House of Bishops. One of the three senior bishops with jurisdiction confirmed to The Living Church that his consent to inhibit Bishop Cox was never sought.

In 2007, Bishop Cox sent a written letter to Bishop Jefferts Schori, announcing his resignation from the House of Bishops. Since he was already retired, he did not have jurisdiction, and therefore unlike Bishop Schofield, his resignation did not require consent from a majority of the House of Bishops. A trial of Bishop Cox was not mandatory.

Bishop Cox also does not appear to have been granted due process with respect to a speedy trial. Once the disciplinary review committee formally certifies that a bishop has abandoned communion, the canons state “it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to present the matter to the House of Bishops at the next regular or special meeting of the house.” The review committee provided certification to Bishop Jefferts Schori on May 29, 2007. His case should have been heard during the fall meeting in New Orleans last September. When asked about the apparent inconsistency, Bishop Jefferts Schori said initially she did not include Bishop Cox’s case on the agenda for the New Orleans meeting “due to the press of business.”

Title IV, canon 9, section 1 requires the Presiding Bishop to inform the accused bishop “forthwith,” in other words immediately, after the review committee has provided a certificate of abandonment, but Bishop Jefferts Schori did not write to Bishop Cox until Jan. 8, 2008, more than seven months afterward.

The two-hour business session at which the deposition votes were taken ran slightly longer than originally scheduled. First a resolution was read followed by prayer from the chaplain. A period of silence followed the prayer. After the silence was broken, the bishops discussed the resolution in small table groups followed by plenary discussion. When it appeared that everyone who wanted to speak had done so, the voice vote was taken. Each resolution was read and voted on separately.

(The Rev.) George Conger and Steve Waring

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

76 comments on “Breaking news: Deposition Votes Failed to Achieve Canonically Required Majority

  1. Choir Stall says:

    Avert your eyes while the snorting and wailing begins in Manhattan.

  2. Scott K says:

    As I commented to the HOB/D listserve earlier today, the canons are irrelevent to the Presiding Bishop’s purposes. The ends justify the means.

  3. Rob Eaton+ says:

    I think I’ve done this only once in the last few years, but I’m posting this comment here, and at StandFirm:

    This needs to be pressed to its extent (even if it causes an extension of difficulty for those in TEC San Joaquin). Who can do so effectively?

    Think about the driven agenda vehicle which forgets to check if the wheels are on. “Prove yourself in the little things first……”
    Here is the planned and well publicized deposition of two bishops in situations that have become high profile. I don’t know about you, but even in situations in the local parish that are “high Profile” only to us, we check and double-check and triple-check the bylaws, the diocesan Canons and the TEC Canons to make sure we are proceeding properly.
    1) Will the excuse be from the PB or the Vice-President or the Chancellor of House, or the House Parliamentarian be that they presumed a simple majority of only those who were actually present (without the consideration of dotting the i, and crossing the t’s)?
    2) Is there some sort of procedural fog that has settled on the entire HOB, that none of the more experienced bishops – or even any of those bishops who were known prior to consecration as the “Canon Sticklers” at their home diocesan conventions – would not raise the question at all – just to ask?
    3) Is there some sort of “interactive fog” on the HOB floor – outside of the small groups – that severely dampens raising the issues of right cause for all? Is this the “hostile environment” that has been spoken of by some bishops, and that even affects those bishops who are willingly or unwillingly generators of that kind of environment?

    What the heck is going on? (I have my conclusions)

    My first thought was of the consequences of making use of the “Cone of Silence” that Maxwell Smart so often demanded in conversation with his boss. Remember who the arch-rival was?

    RGEaton

  4. augustine says:

    The word ‘ railroad ‘ comes to mind.

  5. Choir Stall says:

    The PB has no real diocese other than to meddle in all. She has a staff under her to work these things out. And THIS is the best? If it was another bishop, heads would roll, but I’m very sure that the whispers will be: “Well, she’s trying, so let’s be charitable.” NO WAY! Not when the well-being of others is being decided and they are then flagrantly ruined. I hope that all of those knee-jerk bishops who hollered for and praised KJS’s election as a “movement of the Spirit” can finally own up to which “spirit”.

  6. Fr.Ed says:

    Why on earth would yuou take a “voice vote” on something as essential as the deposition of a bishop? Never mind, I figured it out myself.

  7. Br. Michael says:

    So what does this mean for Bishop Duncan?

  8. Chris Hathaway says:

    And next week is Holy Week, when we remember the greatest knagaroo court in history.

    Should Caiaphas be worried that someone is gunning for his seat?

  9. Billy says:

    #7, if she has any sense, she will back off and let things be for a season. But I know she is trying to get Duncan deposed before he can have another diocesan convention and remove Pittsburgh from TEC, because I think she and Booth Beers are worried that a diocese, being the basic unit of TEC, can, indeed, remove itself from TEC and that the courts will so hold. Afterall, the AbofC has said that the diocese is the basic unit of the church, not the province or the national church. So the AbofC may have a real problem in uninviting +Schofield from Lambeth or in not recognizing D. of San Joaquin, since it is the same and has the same bishop as before it left TEC.

  10. Dr. William Tighe says:

    Such amazing ignorance and ineptitude surely shows that these buffoons are merely “playing church.”

    “We know the devil to be the common father of lies, especially such as are malicious; but, in the case now before us, I can see none of the craft or subtlety of the old serpent; the (Archiflaminica), in contriving this calumny, was left, I charitably believe, to her own natural invention; I cannot say, the (Archiflminica) has the innocence of the dove, not yet can I allow her the cunning of the serpent; she abounds with gall, but she wants the sting.”

    — Adapted from *The Theological Works of the Rev. John Johnson, M. A., Vicar of Cranbrook in the Diocese of Canterbury,* Vol. II, p. 331 (*The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology*)

  11. The_Elves says:

    And in the meantime, the lead story at ENS is:

    In Ecuador, Episcopal Relief and Development responds to floods Mar 14, 2008Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is providing emergency assistance to communities in Ecuador affected by severe flooding.

  12. Grandmother says:

    Isn’t there something about “live by the cannons, die by the canons”?
    Sorry, but I do think this is wonderful news.

    Gloria in SC

  13. Albany* says:

    Shameful.

  14. Brian from T19 says:

    Well here go George and Steve once again. Just like the article citing a “source” about a decision on +Schofield, they put this stuff out to force reaction from TEC, Canterbury, whomever they want to provoke.

    It seems to me, at least on language of Canon 9, that the vote needs to be a majority of bishops eligible to vote who attend the HOB meeting. The language says “at the next regular meeting of the House”

  15. Brad Drell says:

    Brian:

    You can’t write things into the canons. The canons say “eligible to vote” and mention nothing of attendance. The term “eligible to vote” has a specific meaning in the Constitution of TEC – it applies as to how you calculate a quorum based on the number present out of those “eligible to vote”. Those “eligible to vote” means the entire House of Bishops. Half the house wasn’t even present. They couldn’t depose anyone since the requisite majority of the House was not present.

  16. stevenanderson says:

    So what is new here? Schori and her minions violate signed statements, flat out lie about what happens re SSB and much else, rule by threats and lawsuits. This is just another case of Schori’s saying she did what she did because she wanted to. “Press of business’? Simple translation–“I didn’t want to.” It isn’t that she doesn’t know or understand the Canons (an interesting reversal of ABC’s supposedly being so academic and urbane that the rest of us can’t understand what he says). It is that she doesn’t CARE about the Canons. ECUSA PB’s don’t honor the documents they sign by their own hands. Why would we expect them to honor canon law written by others?

  17. Scott K says:

    Brian gives the predictable response – that “the whole number of Bishops eligible to vote” somehow only includes bishops present at the HOB meeting.
    That’s what KJS will say, and there is no judicial authority to overrule her (except General Convention, I guess, but fat chance with that).

  18. wildfire says:

    ##14 and 15

    Article I of the Constitution provides as follows:

    Sec. 2. Each Bishop of this Church having jurisdiction, every Bishop Coadjutor, every Suffragan Bishop, every Assistant Bishop, and every Bishop who by reason of advanced age or bodily infirmity, or who,under an election to an office created by the General Convention, orfor reasons of mission strategy determined by action of the General Convention or the House of Bishops, has resigned a jurisdiction, shall have a seat and a vote in the House of Bishops. A majority of all Bishops entitled to vote, exclusive of Bishops who have resigned their jurisdiction or positions, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

    Note that the constitution uses the phrase “entitled to vote” to define a quorum (which they did not have, BTW) so that term cannot refer simply to those present. Elsewhere in the canons the term “present and voting” is used, which indicates that that concept is not intended by the phrase “entitled to vote.”

  19. Hakkatan says:

    This reminds me of the Red Queen — “Verdict first; trial after.” (Off with his head!)

  20. Phil says:

    Also cross-posting with SF:

    Absolutely stunning. Some will think I’m going too far, but, if this is true, it’s a scandal on par with the Gene Robinson affair. Just for starters, Schori and Beers need to resign. Then, the investigations need to start – led by people far afield of this crooked body. Obviously, +Schofield and +Cox remain 100%, full and complete members of the HOB, just as fully as John Chane or Jon Bruno, and their cases – for that matter, nothing related to San Joaquin – should be touched until the investigation is complete and all of the people in any way involved with this have either resigned or been deposed. A true disgrace from an institution that has brought it to an art form.

    Resign, Mrs. Schori and Mr. Beers.

  21. Brian from T19 says:

    Brad and Mark

    Perhaps you are right, perhaps you are wrong. Either way, he is deposed. The practical application is official deposition. If he wantas to fight it, he can, but either way he remains deposed until someone can overturn the action.

  22. Brad Drell says:

    No, they did have a quorum – because you subtract from that number those that have resigned their positions or jurisdiction (aka. retired bishops). But, they did not have enough to depose anyone.

  23. dwstroudmd+ says:

    All your canon are us; we decide. Justice and truth are us; we decide. This is the logical outgrowth of the attitude toward consent forms – what decides adequacy is the wish of the receiver, not the canons. Moderates and Windsor bishops are next to the wall.

  24. Christopher Johnson says:

    If Schofield is deposed, despite all the canons that were violated to get him there, one wonders why Mrs. Schori didn’t just declare him deposed on her own and save everyone the trouble. The Episcopal Organization’s action was clearly illegal and if it will not be bound by its own rules, then there is no reason for anyone else to pay attention to them.

    Absolutely disgraceful even by the EO’s low standards.

  25. Randy Muller says:

    I wonder if ECUSA, in violating their own canons and arbitrarily suppressing dissent and disagreement, is not also violating rules for non-profit organizations established by the IRS?

  26. Jeffersonian says:

    Having jettisoned Holy Scripture, did anyone think they’d hesitate to wipe their feet on the canons when it suited their ends?

    Suddenly, the affinity KJS and Frank Griswold have for Fidel Castro seems to make more sense…

  27. D. C. Toedt says:

    If the story is accurate, it’d be extremely serious stuff. But I’m not prepared to accept it as accurate just on The Living Church’s say-so, because we have no idea where they got their information. As anyone who has ever helped to organize a conference can confirm, just because 131 bishops registered for the meeting doesn’t mean that’s how many were there. Doubtless there were some no-shows, and also some walk-ins. We also need to know whence comes the information about 15 bishops leaving before the vote.

    David Booth Beers, the PB’s chancellor, seems like a reasonably competent lawyer. His law-firm bio says he’s a litigator, a Boalt grad, and a former judicial clerk; also that that he’s been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America (which doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a Clarence Darrow, but you’ve at least got to have something on the ball). Moreover, +KJS herself is no dummy, not by any stretch of the imagination. I would be extremely surprised if she proceeded with a deposition in contravention of the express canonical requirements.

  28. Billy says:

    #27, DC, you know when folks get caught up in trying to get something done, they often don’t think about the minutiae, like the story when the truck got stuck under the bridge, all the engineers wanted to bring jacks and cranes to raise the bridge until the little kid asked why they just didn’t let the air out of the truck’s tires. I think it is very possible that they didn’t even think about whether they had a quorum or not or whether they needed the votes of 51% of the bishops eligible to vote.

  29. w.w. says:

    Okay, Brian. So, in your theory, if just 30 bishops show up, it would take only 16 of them to depose a veteran stalwart of the faith whose only “crime” was to reach out and help some congregants in a non-TEC church?

    Or is there a quorum requirement written into the canon?

    That question aside, you and I know that voting by secret ballot on such an important and sensitive issue would yield a more accurate picture.

    w.w.

  30. Chris Hathaway says:

    If they “had a quorum”, I guess then that an Episcopal definition of quorum is 39%, because that is how many they had present.

  31. LTN says:

    This so called “deposition” of Bishops Schofield and Cox is as invalid as Jerry Lamb summarily deposing (or removing) Fr. David Miller when he requested a transfer to the Southern Cone.

    These bishops are canonically unlearned and ill advised by those with an agenda of hate and revenge. Overall, it just makes Episcopalians look quite ignorant.

  32. 0hKay says:

    Also a cross-post from SF:

    It remains now for one bishop, and not necessarily one who was present, to formally raise these questions and to demand an answer. Otherwise 815 will wait out the blog storm.

    The only question is: What was the roll call total (They sound it out at GenCon)? Did KJS declare a quorum wrongly? If so, the rest is math. The plain language of the canon cannot be twisted by Beers and all his best legal buddies.

    Deposing a bishop is supposed to be a solemnity, marked by the precautions well noted in many comments already.

  33. Brian from T19 says:

    Here is the problem with so many of these posts – we simply do not know. D.C. applies logic to the issue very well. One can assume that there was an interpretation of the canons that allows this to proceed.

    In addition, when bishops have resigned to become RC bishops or for other reasons, the votes were only by members of the HOB present.

    ww, I would say ye. If only 30 were present, it would only take 16 to depose. That’s my take on it. But again it is simply academic until someone with standing challenges it.

  34. Mike L says:

    We gee, why didn’t just the PB show up and have a unanimous decision of 1 then? Talk about embracing the absurd.

  35. LTN says:

    w.w…there appears to be a quorum requirement written into the Constitution–Article I, Section 2, which states,
    [i] Each Bishop of this Church having jurisdiction, every Bishop Coadjutor, every Suffragan Bishop, every Assistant Bishop, and every Bishop who by reason of advanced age or bodily infirmity, or who, under an election to an office created by the General Convention, or for reasons of mission strategy determined by action of the General Convention or the House of Bishops, has resigned a jurisdiction, shall have a seat and a vote in the House of Bishops. A majority of all Bishops entitled to vote, exclusive of Bishops who have resigned their jurisdiction or positions, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. [/i]

  36. In Newark says:

    DC and Brian –Since Brad Drell is also “a reasonably competent lawyer” , to use DC’s phrase, you ought to give more weight to his reading of the canons.

    Of course, competence and a nice bio are no guarantee of high moral standards. Eliot Spitzer also has a nice bio–Princeton and Harvard Law–but regularly abused his power as a prosecutor. Come to think of it, Richard Nixon was a reasonably competent lawyer, too.

  37. Nikolaus says:

    Okay, I’m much slower that Fr. Ed (#6). How is it that this was done only by voice vote?

  38. Philip Snyder says:

    As much as I deplore what +Shori et. al. have done, I expected no less and no more of them. They wanted to depose +Schofield (and I understand their reasoning and, to some extent, agree with it). +Schofield gave them an easy out – accept his letter of resignation, but they would not take it. They did not have to depose +Cox, but they did anyway. They could have imposed any number of penalties, such as a statement of disassociation (like they did with +Spong), but that would have required a trial and they didn’t dare have one of those.

    I suggest that it is time to turn the other cheek to these people who do not know nor care what the canons actually say or intend. They are lawless who Rule over the church with an iron fist. Study I Peter and see that we will be opposed and persecuted by such people because we bear the name and mark of Jesus Christ. Let them have their kangaroo courts and show trials. We will still have Jesus Christ. Let them lash out in anger and cry “reconciliation.” We will still have Jesus Christ. Let them have the world and all its riches. We will still have Jesus Christ!

    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder

  39. Clueless says:

    #36

    Duh. If you vote by secret ballot, then bishops who disagree can vote their conscience. If you vote by voice vote, then it takes courage to vote your conscience, as voting against the authorities will mean you will be marked.

    This is why, #36, it is a requirement that voting be by secret ballot in the United States (and in other democratic countries). In tyrannies voting is done publically, so that the State’s agents will know whom to arrest if they “vote wrong”.

    Since the officials of TECistan apparently did not think they could win (even with only the one third most complient bishops available) they did not dare put it to secret ballot, but instead insisted on voice votes, because they trusted (correctly) in the pussillaminity of the Windsor wimps.

  40. Steven in Falls Church says:

    If this report is true, it will be another exhibit in breakaway parishes’ arguments against application of the Dennis Canon. TEC can’t serially disregard its canons and then persuasively argue for a court to apply another of its canonical rules to trump clear ownership of property as demonstrated on a deed.

  41. RickW says:

    Meaningless.

    It’s a meaningless group of people, voting a meaningless deposition under a meaningless set of cannons, governing a meaningless church council, rendered meaningless since they didn’t adhere to their meaningless proceedural rules.

    The only meaningful thing here is the guy who is the target of the action and he is being recognized for his meaningful service.

  42. 0hKay says:

    Brian, you are getting sloppy and sounding like a lackey.

    re: “One can assume that there was an interpretation of the canons that allows this to proceed.” Yes, one can assume, but one does not have to assume that. An equally reasonable explanation is that they figured the passive conservatives wouldn’t raise a question at the point of vote.

    re: “…the votes were only by members of the HOB present.” Well, yes–only those present actually vote.

  43. jamesw says:

    D.C. and Brian: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is well known that when people in authority are permitted to ignore the rules on smaller things, they will begin to ignore the rules on the bigger things, with the assumption that they won’t get caught. Then when they do get caught, everyone wonders why they thought they could get away with it. I think that KJS and DBB know full well that there is gross violations of the canonical process happening on an increasingly regular basis. But they are getting away with it, and so the violations will continue.

  44. dwstroudmd+ says:

    The bozos have yet to learn that every action produces more than one consequence.

    Surely they cannot have thought about the message this telegraphs to ALL about the genuine nature of the ECUSA/TC/GCC HOB and their “committment” to truth and justice and proper procedure.

    Who has ears, let them hear.

  45. Larry Morse says:

    I am not sure I believe this story, but if it is true, then it surely is not meaningless. Indeed, this is a telling measurement of how desperate Schori and TEC have become. To ignore canon law takes the offer of a reward much higher than obeying legality. Behind this move, then, I sense a hunger for revenge, an impatient desire to punish a bishop who is beyond all standard punishments. Now, such an attitude is wholly irrational, and for this reason, I take the vote as an accurate measure of the internal desperation in TEC. LM

  46. maineiac says:

    Since KJS and DBB were so insistent on everything done exactly according to the canon laws re: Mk Lawrence’s election as bp of SC when they refused to accept faxes, etc, it’s curious they wd not hold that same degree of carefulness w/ something as big as deposing not only 1 but 2 bishops.

    Especially when it comes to something like the voting process: voice, not secret ballot?

    I smell methane – where’s the cow?

  47. Milton says:

    Well, Brian from T19, since you say if only 30 bishops showed up then 16 of them could make valid decisions, [i]I’ll[/i] give [i]you[/i] a scenario I cross-posted tongue-in-cheek at SFIF that one +KJS supporter (who used similar logic to yours) actually thought needed a rebuttal, since he took it seriously!
    [blockquote]Well, *****, I might just take you up on your interpretation. I think +Duncan should call a HOB meeting and only send invites to +Iker, +Schofield, +Beckwith, +Lawrence, +DioAlbany(can’t remember the name), +MacPherson and a few other like-minded folks, repeal all the revisionist teachings and canons including the Denis Canon, depose +KJS, +Bruno, +Chane et al and declare all of TEC under the temporary oversight of ++Venables until we straighten out our mess and have believing bishops and clergy filling the ranks instead of these Gnostics and pagans that have sprung up as tares choking off the wheat. How about it?[/blockquote]
    See you in Philly!

  48. Brad Drell says:

    In Newark:

    I protest that remark. I am far more than some reasonably competent lawyer. No way I am in the category of David Booth Beers or Richard Nixon.

    Yeah, y’all you chew on that for a while.

  49. TACit says:

    Surely, #47, you can remember a God-given name like ‘Bishop Love’?! 😉

    W/r/t to the posted article: #3, given that Mrs. Schori apparently will be in Stockton on March 29, would that offer an occasion to bring the incompetence and unaccountability shown in this HoB vote (assuming reports are accurate) into the public eye?

  50. Cennydd says:

    I want to see some ironclad proof that this deposition is legal, and I don’t think we should take The Living Church’s word for it. Someone’s going to look awfully ridiculous if it isn’t legal!

  51. Brian from T19 says:

    An equally reasonable explanation is that they figured the passive conservatives wouldn’t raise a question at the point of vote.

    And, in fact, they did not.

  52. Rocks says:

    Were there any conservatives there?
    How many of the former Windsor Bishops even attended?
    You can’t protest if you ain’t there.

  53. Choir Stall says:

    Has anyone noticed that less than HALF of the eligible bishops even registered for this session of the HOB? Since they don’t take themselves seriously, why should anyone else?

  54. Choir Stall says:

    AND…
    could it be that the HOB is finally becoming sickened with the gallows that KJS and DBB erects in front of them at each turn? Look at the numbers ignoring this major session…and those who left early. Could it BE that the HOB at last is cracking under the pressure of gang-style vendettas? Could it BE that KJS will ever get a clue? I hope not. I truly hope that she keeps pressing and sickening her colleagues at every turn.

  55. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel says:

    In this story I’m reminded of a New York Times magazine article in the mid-90s in which the New Orleans police department was described as being the worst department in the US because hit the ultimate trifecta: it was raked in the top five of every measure the FBI uses for bad policing: brutality, corruption and incompetence. It seems that if the facts of this story play out, the HOB may have surpassed the New Orleans police by hitting all three at once!

  56. off2 says:

    #45, Larry Morse, Such an attitude is not wholly irrational if, like Schori, you are defending the position that no other part of the Anglican Communion can exist in the territory of TEC. She may be wrong, but not wholly irrational. Yes, you’re so right re “accurate measure of the internal desperation.” Regards, Bill Stickney

  57. Rocks says:

    I would agree and says a lot about KJS when over half of the Bishops don’t even show up to a meeting where crucial business is going to be voted on and even then they only do a voice vote. One would think that any decent person would assume that if half the people concerned don’t show up for a meeting that they aren’t in favor of what is planned to be discussed there and not just go ahead and do it anyway.

  58. Tired of Hypocrisy says:

    To sum it all up: You’ve got to be kidding me.

  59. Brian from T19 says:

    You can’t protest if you ain’t there.

    You can. Show up. It is the bishops who refused to attend that made this a fait accompli

  60. Rob Eaton+ says:

    TACit (49),
    Precise calculations were put into play in order to have +Jerry Lamb on the ground in San Joaquin today and tomorrow (strategy of non-recognition of a Standing Committee plus deposition of Schofield = no Ecclesiastical Authority to refuse permission), including the presumptive calling of a Special Convention 30 days out when -at the time of the meeting – there would also be no Ecclesiastical Authority at the time of the deposition. If the deposition is upheld then a challenge probably should be made. But now. If it is upheld, then +Jerry is here now “illegally.” If it is upheld, then another HOB meeting will need to be called somehow in order to get the vote done right; if that meeting and vote is not taken care of before March 29, then that Special Meeting called by the PB will be “illegal” if it goes on. So you see, if the challenge waits until then, it would almost be too late and even less consequential. If the deposition is upheld then it would not be a non-issue at all March 29.
    March 29, even though it had not been announced at the time, was a sign that the PB disregarded the Standing Committee of DSJ’s last letter to the her PB, challenging her attempt to claim them as unqualified, and thus not capable or authorized to make any claims whatsoever in DSJ. BTW, it should be noted that the S.C. letter included similar challenges of such breaching of canons. Again, she did not respond, but later plowed ahead with the Feb 29 statement that she was taking it upon herself to call the March 29 meeting. Even some of the Remain Episcopal people are feeling squeezed out by her usurption, the challenge seems unlikely to come from them.

    RGEaton

  61. azusa says:

    I can see the headline: Tec botches mock execution.

  62. Bob Livingston says:

    Just received.

    Episcopal News Service
    March 15, 2008

    House of Bishops’ votes valid, chancellor confirms

    [Episcopal News Service] The Presiding Bishop’s chancellor has confirmed the validity of votes taken in the House of Bishops on March 12, correcting an erroneous report published online March 14 by The Living Church News Service.

    Chancellor David Booth Beers said votes consenting to the deposition of bishops John-David Schofield and William Cox conformed to the canons.

    “In consultation with the House of Bishops’ parliamentarian prior to the vote,” Beers said, “we both agreed that the canon meant a majority of all those present and entitled to vote, because it is clear from the canon that the vote had to be taken at a meeting, unlike the situation where you poll the whole House of Bishops by mail. Therefore, it is our position that the vote was in order.”

    A quorum had been determined at the meeting by the House of Bishops’
    secretary, Kenneth Price, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

  63. Rob Eaton+ says:

    I made a comment on the latest ENS report over at SF (somewhere around 135?). I won’t repeat it here.
    Here I’ll just say that this exactly the first line of defense — “TLC got it wrong” (he used the word erroneous). What they did not get wrong in any case is the voting anomaly. The second line of defense is “We sometimes do things differently, just because it is expedient for us to do so.” There it is.
    Neither defense is working.

    RGEaton

  64. jamesw says:

    In response to Beers’ rather pathetic line or reasoning, I pull an extract from what I posted at SF:

    **********
    Section 2 of IV.9 also sets forth what constitutes consent by the House of Bishops. Specifically it declares that the consent must be “…by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote.” The question is what this means. Some have suggested that it means simply a majority of bishops at the meeting in question. However, Canon III.12.8(d) makes clear what language is employed when a simple majority of those present is required, and that language is “by a majority of those present.” Article 1(2) of the Constitution specifies what “the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote” means when it states

    Each Bishop of this Church having jurisdiction, every Bishop Coadjutor, every Suffragan Bishop, every Assistant Bishop, and every Bishop who by reason of advanced age or bodily infirmity, or who, under an election to an office created by the General Convention, or for reasons of mission strategy determined by action of the General Convention or the House of Bishops, has resigned a jurisdiction, shall have a seat and a vote in the House of Bishops.

    Article 1(2) also specifies the quorum necessary for House of Bishops meetings as “[a] majority of all Bishops entitled to vote, exclusive of Bishops who have resigned their jurisdiction or positions, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.”
    ***************

    Sorry David Booth Beers, you’ve got to do better than that. The applicable canon does not say “by a majority of those present”, but rather “the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote”. The flagrant abuse of the canons in this manner by the chancellor is simply breathtaking. He knows better, and any first year law student would know better.

  65. D. C. Toedt says:

    In addition to what Jamesw [#64] says: In 11 different places, the Rules of Order for the House of Bishops use the phrase “[fraction, usually 2/3] of those present and voting ….”

    There’s an old legal maxim of statutory construction whose name I forget, but it’s essentially a species of the argument from silence: If a legislature used particular express language elsewhere in the document, it weighs against reading another phrase in the document to implicitly mean the same thing. The reasoning is that the legislators knew how to use the express phrase when they wanted to do so, therefore their failure to use it is significant.

    I can’t say I like the looks of this.

  66. TomRightmyer says:

    It’s called proleptic reasoning. Since the General Convention of 2006 approved on first reading an amendment to the Constitution of General Convention restricting the vote to bishops with jurisdiction, etc. and it is expected that the General Convention of 2009 will give this amendment final approval, we will operate on the basis of the final action in 2009 even though it has not yet been passed. After all, the Lord Jesus might come again before 2009 and we have to look busy.

  67. Dilbertnomore says:

    Since the TEc Ministry of Truth and Light early this morning released a statement by the chancellor (and backed up by the parliamentarian) affirming the vote. It seems we all were reading the canons incorrectly. They don’t mean what they say at all.

    I’m so glad TEc has such a bright and good chancellor who can correct us about these things that are so complicated and beyond us simple laymen.

    It’s also very good there is no superior review process to muddle the facts with a potentially overriding decision.

    This news from TEc makes me feel so much better.

  68. wildfire says:

    ##64 and 65 are compelling. As is the lack of meaningful legal reasoning by Beers, who doesn’t even cite the constitutional language which is tracked in canon IV.9. If it is clear from the canon that a vote has to be taken at a meeting and equally clear that a majority of those eligible to vote must approve, you get them to the meeting or the vote fails. It is not that difficult to figure out.

  69. Chris Hathaway says:

    This is completely in line with their new rule that the canons are to be interpreted by them.

    Perhaps they even planned it this way just to show their complete conmtrol of the canons.

    They control the executive, the Legislature and the courts. What’s left?

  70. In Texas says:

    The best news about all of this is that should help CANA in Virginia with the lawsuits regarding property ownership. For TEC, simple things like canons do not always mean what they say, and can be applied or not as TEC sees fit.

  71. Brian from T19 says:

    Most of you are forgetting that it was not only David Booth Beers, but also every bishop present and the House parliamentarian that support this reading. No minority report or statement from bishops present has come out saying this was not constitutional. We only have the bloggers protesting and the partisan Living Church.

  72. Kendall Harmon says:

    D.C. you shouldn’t like this looks of it because based on the evidence at hand it doesn’t look good at all. I appreciate your willingness to say that and to look at the sources which is what this debate is about.

    Once again I would plead with people not to read motives into actions without detailed knowledge. The language here needs to be cleaned up going forward and one of the things which may be going on is simple ignorance.

  73. Brian from T19 says:

    The argument from language (made by D.C. above and reproduced below):

    There’s an old legal maxim of statutory construction whose name I forget, but it’s essentially a species of the argument from silence: If a legislature used particular express language elsewhere in the document, it weighs against reading another phrase in the document to implicitly mean the same thing. The reasoning is that the legislators knew how to use the express phrase when they wanted to do so, therefore their failure to use it is significant.

    can be seen two ways. For example: there is a very specific requirement for the polling of bishops eligible to vote on matters of consent. Since the drafters used particular express language elsewhere in the document, it weighs against reading another phrase in the document to implicitly mean the same thing. So therefore a majority of those present makes just as much sense.

  74. chips says:

    Does it all really matter. The Bishops had resigned. The leftist Bishoips feel they are no longer constrained. The remaining conservatives will quit the field. One or more Conservative Anglican Churches will emerge to compete. The Episcopal Church will continue to devolve into obscurity – and will soon be nothing more than the gay/hard left church of the Northern/left coast/inner city variety. The Anglican Communion is about to divide into at least two camps. All of this so a bunch of ’60s era intellectuals/clergy/homosexuals can form a new line of Christianity. They are doing a new thing – and they are likely exstatic about the carnage. We really need to stop being shocked that they are not acting Christian like – they reject much of what came before.

  75. 0hKay says:

    Let’s keep in mind the great seriousness of deposition. The HOB could not just accept Bishop Schofield’s resignation. The majority wants the properties back. Deposing him was its only path, but read again the next-to-last clause of the relevant canon:
    [blockquote]If the House, by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote, shall give its consent, the Presiding Bishop shall depose the Bishop from the Ministry, and pronounce and record in the presence of two or more Bishops that the Bishop has been so deposed.[/blockquote]

    “Shall depose the Bishop from the Ministry” does not mean “from the ministry-of-this-church;” it means from the ministry altogether. The paraphrase is: The House of Bishops declares that we do not recognize you as a minister at all, any more. Think of that being hurled at Bishop Schofield!

  76. DavidH says:

    I agree with the analyses posted above and on other sites — the vote didn’t follow the canon. Beers’ bio isn’t the issue; even great lawyers serve up a healthy dose of fudge now and again.

    39 and 70, no, this won’t help breakaway parishes. No court is going to do a far-ranging review of how a hierarchical church acts to see if it really follows its own rules. And there is clear Supreme Court precedent — Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, 426 US 696 (1976) — that civil courts don’t get to base property decisions based on whether a hierarchical church acted arbitrarily or failed to follow its rules.

    I endorse the second paragraph of Phil Snyder+’s post (37). I enjoy debate and arguing the legalities. But that leads to nowhere good in the end.