So, it’s finally happened. After years and years of almost constant persecution of faithful orthodox ministers and congregations action is being taken. The following, which I have reproduced in full since it’s well worth reading, come from the Anglican Communion Network, the link is here.
Bishops Challenge Seizure of Connecticut Parish
27th July, A.D. 2005
A Second Open Letter to the Bishop and Standing Committee of Connecticut:
(The first letter, sent April 14th, is available here)
Dear Bishop Andrew and Brothers and Sisters of the Standing Committee,
Seventeen bishops, thirteen of them diocesans, wrote you on the 14th of April. We wrote you about the very public conflict between you, the Bishop and Standing Committee, and six Connecticut parishes.
In April we pled that you might turn back from this conflict. We asked whether it was not Bishop Andrew’s actions that had abandoned the (Anglican) Communion: participation in the New Hampshire consecration, ordination of same-sex partnered clergy, and refusal to allow appeal to the Panel of Reference. We called on you as Bishop and Standing Committee to turn back from continued abuse and mis-application of the Canon on Abandonment of Communion [Title IV, Canon 10] in dealing with these six parishes and their clergy.
On July 13th Bishop Andrew led a team who invaded St. John’s, Bristol, confiscated their buildings and accounts, and — without vestry consultation — installed a priest-in-charge. All of these things were done under the pretext of abandonment of communion, the Standing Committee having indicted the clergy of all six parishes on that charge on April 29th.
In our letter of fourteen weeks ago we asked whether there was not “some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops?” In the actions of April 29th and July 13th the answer you have given is clearly “no.”
Therefore, the diocesans signing this letter have determined to intervene in the case of St. John’s, Bristol — and in the cases of the other five parishes should that become necessary — with the following measures:
1 shaping of a presentment against you for conduct unbecoming [Title IV, Can.1, Sec.1 (j)] a Bishop of this Church;
2 raising legal and financial support for the six parishes in such civil suits as may be brought by or against you;
3 providing episcopal care to St. John’s and the other parishes in such ways as to give them tangible evidence that we are in full communion together, in compliance with the Windsor Report.
4 immediate licensing of the Rev. Dr. Mark Hansen for functions within any of our dioceses to the extent he might have opportunity to function among us.
You have used the unsupportable pretext of inhibition of a faithful priest to take over an orthodox parish. The conflict we face here is about much more than Connecticut, as we advised you back in April. As we asked fourteen weeks ago: “Whatever shall we do to reverse the course of the scandal that besets us?” We would prefer to find some way other than this deepening battle, but we refuse to allow this recent aggression to go unchecked or unchallenged.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams, Bishop of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, Bishop of Albany
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Ft. Worth
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon. Bishop of South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas
© 2004 Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.
All Rights Reserved.
This is a monumental step. The conservatives have had enough, we have seen and heard the Lord Jesus Christ blasphemed day after day in the words and actions of vast numbers of Episcopal Church of USA (ECUSA) officials, all the way up to the Presiding Bishop.
Now, what are these canons that have been invoked? The Canons of ECUSA are available here.
Fr Hansen was inhibited on the basis of this canon:
CANON 10: Of Abandonment of the Communion of This Church by
a Priest or Deacon
Sec. 1. If it is reported to the Standing Committee of the Diocese in which
a Priest or Deacon is canonically resident that the Priest or Deacon, without
using the provisions of Canon IV.8 or III.13, has abandoned the Communion
of this Church, then the Standing Committee shall ascertain and
consider the facts, and if it shall determine by a vote of three-fourths of All
the Members that the Priest or Deacon has abandoned the Communion of
this Church by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or
Worship of this Church, or by a formal admission into any religious body
not in communion with this Church, or in any other way, it shall be the
duty of the Standing Committee of the Diocese to transmit in writing to the
Bishop of such Diocese, or if there be no such Bishop, to the Bishop of an
adjacent Diocese, its determination, together with a statement setting out
in reasonable detail the acts or declarations relied upon in making its
determination. If the Bishop affirms the determination, the Bishop shall
then inhibit the Priest or Deacon from officiating in the Diocese for six
months and shall send to the Priest or Deacon a copy of the determination
and statement, together with a notice that the Priest or Deacon has the
rights specified in Section 2 and at the end of the six-months period the
Bishop will consider deposing the Priest or Deacon in accordance with the
provisions of Section 2.
I don’t think much needs to be said about who has “abandoned Communion” in Conneticut. If you want an example of who is and who is not part of the Anglican Communion then the very fact that the Conneticut 6 have appealed to Canterbury’s Panel of Reference (a body made up by the Archbishop of Canterbury out of members from every province in the Communion) but Bishop Smith of Conneticut has flatly rejected any “interference” by the Panel in the crisis that he has produced in the diocese.
Now, the co-signatories above have referred to another Canon with respect to Bishop Smith.
CANON 1: Of Offenses for Which Bishops, Priests, or Deacons May
Be Presented and Tried, and Of Inhibitions
Sec. 1. A Bishop, Priest, or Deacon of this Church shall be liable to Presentment
and Trial for the following offenses, viz.:
Breaking and entering?
No evidence, so far.
(c) Holding and teaching publicly or privately, and advisedly, any
doctrine contrary to that held by this Church.
This one’s not in doubt.
(d) Violation of the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer.
Pretty much a solid case there.
(e) Violation of the Constitution or Canons of the General Convention.
I’m not up on this one.
(f) Violation of the Constitution or Canons of the Diocese in which the
person is canonically resident.
Locals in Conneticut will have to advise on this one.
(g) Violation of the Constitution or Canons of a Diocese of this Church
wherein the person may have been located temporarily.
(h) Any act which involves a violation of Ordination vows.
Oh man!!! Where do we start? A minister of the word of God in the Anglican Church promises to proclaim the pure gospel and drive away error. Smith has been proclaiming error for years and has now set about driving away the pure gospel.
Let’s pray for these signatory bishops; they’ve undertaken a course of action which is difficult and unwanted but now absolutely necessary.
And, once again, what will Canterbury do?
This Post Has One Comment
Thanks for posting this.
A minister of the word of God in the Anglican Church promises to proclaim the pure gospel and drive away error.
Maybe I’m wrong about this, but didn’t ECUSA changed the ordination vows in the 1979 “BCP”?
From my point-of-view inside of ECUSA, it is closer to proclaim error and drive away the pure gospel. For most of the clergy, that is, not all, certainly.