Breaking III: Integrity publishes CP/ACI draft document

From Integrity’s statement:

We have been given a look at ’the men behind the curtain’ manipulating a schism driven agenda while professing to work transparently for reconciliation”, said Integrity President Susan Russell. “To quote one long-time ally’s response to these documents, ‘This is stunning. It is remarkable to think about the plotting that is going on. In many ways I am just too naïve.’”

read more below

“This statement – and the email trail leading up to its creation – should be required reading for all who will be making decisions in good faith at our upcoming General Convention,” said Russell. “We cannot afford to be naïve about the forces working to divide this church and distract it from its call to live out the gospel in the world. And we must not accept the false choice between unity and justice being presented by the very people working behind the scenes to create disunity and foment schism.”

Read all of Integrity’s statement.

The Communion Partners/Anglican Communion Institute document is here. According to Mark Harris the main author is Mark McCall, Esq. Here is one key assertion:

The Episcopal Church is a federation (or confederation) of independent, or better, autonomous, dioceses.

We refer readers to the dissertation of James Allen (Jim) Dator, Professor, The Government of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Confederal, Federal, or Unitary? accepted by the Faculty of the Graduate School (School of Government) of The American University, Washington, DC, in 1959 in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The complete dissertation is here (a scan of an onion skin copy). He summarized his findings in 2004. One quote:

There has never been anything in the Constitution of the Church which allowed, or reasonably could be inferred to allow, a diocese either to nullify acts of General Convention or to secede from the Church against General Convention’s will, either to become an independent Church itself or to join with other dioceses to form a separate Church, or to unite with an existing church.

Read that summary here. McCall is aware of Dator’s argument, but dismisses it.

The Lead’s previous coverage today: More on ACI/Communion partners scheme | ACI declaring dioceses independent?

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7 Comments
  1. John B. Chilton

    What the CP bishops who might sign this document are (unwittingly?) implying is that TEC does not have an exclusive geographic franchise. They are saying when a diocese applies for membership it had the option of applying to other provinces instead. And they are saying that TEC has no right — if another diocese is already organized in, say, Pittsburgh — to admit a diocese serving the same geographic area.

    It seems to me they may not realize what they are saying is a recipe for boundary crossing division. Aren’t these the bishops who profess to be using an inside strategy to hold TEC together (albeit reformed in a conservative image)? Aren’t they the ones who claim they are not taking

    sides? They are, wittingly or not. If am right I hope the ones who aren’t foxes in the chicken coop come to their senses.

  2. John B. Chilton

    Did someone say ecclesial confusion?

    http://communionpartners.org/?p=21

    “…it seems to be widely agreed in the [Lambeth] Conference that internal pastoral and liturgical care, strengthened by arrangements like the suggested Communion Partners initiative in the USA…are the way we should go if we want to avoid further ecclesial confusion…” [from his ‘Lambeth Presidential Address’ on 3 August, 2008]

    – Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

  3. tobias haller

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out. I think McCall’s argument misses significant points, historical and legal. He overlooks the important governing clauses concerning the establishment of new dioceses, and the relations of dioceses with each other, and the creation of dioceses outside the national territory of the US.

    He appears not to recognize the significance of the disciplinary canons’ list of offenses, which make violation of the Constitution and Canons of the church an offense, and any clergy person, including bishops, is amenable to trial on that account — and in the case of a bishop, the trial must perforce take place beyond the confines of the diocese. (The court structure is hierarchical, and higher courts can overrule lower courts.) When it comes to matters concerning the trial of a bishop, the General Convention can create an “ultimate” court of review in matters of doctrine, faith and worship.

    And concerning worship and liturgical matters there are also clear indications of hierarchy, including the mandatory use of the Book of Common Prayer as adopted by G.C., and not to be amended or altered by diocesan authority (though diocesan authority may supplement it.)

    In short, the idea that dioceses are autonomous, and not part of a clearly defined hierarchy, is incorrect. Why, they can’t even elect a bishop of their own without the consent of the rest of the church.

    One last comment: the notion that the original dioceses that went on to unite in the Episcopal Church were independent before they united, as an argument for their continued independence afterward, makes as much sense as saying an married couple were unmarried before they were married. In both cases, the word “Union” is used with a purpose, just as in the Constitution of the US (which also lacks any language about secession powers reserved to the states — a fact which McCall, in the case of the TEC constitution, thinks means that secession is possible because it is not expressly forbidden. The Civil War and Supreme Court [Texas v White] led to the opposite conclusion).

    In short, this all seems to be a great deal of gnat-straining, ignoring that we are talking about a Church and its constitution, not a naval treaty.

  4. David Allen |dah • veed|

    I know how much betrayal that I feel on their part, and they are no longer our bishops. I cannot imagine the damage that this should cause in the TEC HoB. The betrayal of brother & sister bishops by bishops they trusted.

    The underhandedness of +SC, he hasn’t even completed Bishops U and he is already involved in conniving. How many times can +Central FL be caught participating in such madness before the excuse that he just did not know, really points to the fact he is both _____ and completely untrustworthy? (Fill in your own adjective.)

    Since the cat is out of the bag beforehand, I wonder how many bishops whose name is attached to the draft, duck tail and run, falling all over themselves trying to distance themselves from this document?

    Dah•veed en

    Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico

  5. ¨How many times can +Central FL be caught participating in such madness before the excuse that he just did not know, really points to the fact he is both _____ and completely untrustworthy? (Fill in your own adjective.)¨

    Dahveed

    We think alike regarding Howe. The very first question I had after reading the document and viewing the signatures was, what is this man ¨hatching up¨ (again)? Of course his earlier letter exchange with the ABC regarding ¨Diocese¨ standings is the basis for all this manipulative twist and turn bigotcovering chatter…but really, how does Howe sleep at night with such naughty vendictive mischief to figure out?

    It´s so hard to play a BIG MAN when one isn´t.

    btw, I filled in the adjective ¨blank¨ before I got to it…maybe, even years ago.

  6. Phil Snyder

    Susan Russell is quoted as saying:

    We cannot afford to be naïve about the forces working to divide this church and distract it from its call to live out the gospel in the world. And we must not accept the false choice between unity and justice being presented by the very people working behind the scenes to create disunity and foment schism.

    So, I ask when Integrity will stop working to create disuinty and foment schism in the Anglican Communion. I ask when Integrity will return to the Doctrine, Disicipline, and Worship of Christ as this Church has received them (not may desire to change them).

    YBIC,

    Phil Snyder

  7. tgflux

    Integrity never left, Phil. Come join us at the foot of the cross—bearing our own—as we follow Christ?

    YQIC,

    JC Fisher

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