The rationale presented in the ENS article would appear to be in error on two counts:
1) Canon IV.9.2 clearly states “by a majority of the whole number of
Bishops entitled to vote.” The “whole number” (currently 294) is
defined in Article I, Sec.2 of the Constitution. Mr. Beers somehow
construes “whole number” in IV.9.2 to mean “by a majority of those
Bishops present at the meeting during which the matter was
presented” (see #2).
2) Canon IV.9.2 only requires the PB “to present the matter to the
House of Bishops at the next regular or special meeting of the
House.” There is no requirement or even implication that the
vote “by the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote” must be
taken during said meeting.
In addition, the article states that the Secretary of the House of Bishops
determined that a quorum was present. A quorum is defined (Article I.2)
as a majority of Bishops with jurisdiction. For this meeting 52 Bishops
constituted a quorum. Under Mr. Beers interpretation, therefore, only
27 votes for deposition would be required in a worst case scenario.
That is 9% of “the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote.” Or to
put the point another way, there really is a difference between requiring
a minimum of 148 votes for deposing a Bishop and interpeting that to
mean that only 27 votes to consent are required. For those who have
difficulty with counting, the difference is 121 votes.
For some this is nit picking. For me the Constitution and Canons of our
church state the mutually agreed upon understandings of how we will live
together in this community called the Episcopal Church. When these
mutually agreed upon understandings are trashed and/or ignored, then
the community itself is also trashed. When such an endeavor is led by
our Bishops, the harm done becomes egregious.
How hypocritical that we should seek to discipline those accused of
ignoring our C&C by employing a process which ignored our C&C.
–The Rev. Nathaniel Pierce lives in Trappe, Maryland