Bishop Dan Martins says the conciliation process we reported on on Friday was deeply unsatisfactory to him and other bishops who signed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting breakaway dioceses that are trying to retain control of the property and assets of the Episcopal Church, despite having left the Episcopal Church.
“Conciliation” is a bizarrely inappropriate word to describe what has happened. Going into the January meeting, we bore no ill will toward our accusers, and welcomed the opportunity to meet them face to face and talk things out. Today, I think it’s safe to say that all nine of us are processing some degree of anger and are feeling substantially alienated from those who brought the charges against us. We feel manipulated and victimized. We are nowhere near happy about this outcome, even though we stand by our decision to accept the Accord.
Some have accused us of cowardly capitulation. I can understand this reaction. If someone had shown me the agreement I signed at the time the charges were made known, I would have rejected it out of hand. So some explanation is in order.
The rhetorical tone of the Accord is certainly derisive and hostile toward the Respondents. We come off as downright obsequious. This abusive tone is something we made a considered decision to swallow for the sake of putting the matter behind us. But it is vitally important to make a careful distinction between the tone of the document and its substance. In particular, please note that …
We admitted to no misconduct or any form of wrongdoing. The Accord contains no “finding” of guilt on our part, and the Complainants signed it!
We reaffirmed our belief in the assertions of our amicus brief. We continue to believe that the polity of the Episcopal Church as characterized by the 2009 Bishops’ Statement on Polity is true and correct. We have not in any way backed away from this position. Yes, we acknowledged that it is “likely a minority view.” Indeed, it probably is at this time. But this does not make it any less true.
What do you think of Bishop Martins’ posting?