Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another shoe drops ...

Just posted to Epicopal Life Online ...

[ENS] The House of Bishops voted March 12 to consent to the deposition fromthe ordained ministry of the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop of theDiocese of San Joaquin, and the Rt. Rev. William Jackson Cox, bishopsuffragan of the Diocese of Maryland, resigned.

Members of the House of Bishops are preparing a statement regarding these actions and for release after a March 12 afternoon session.The process used to work through these resolutions took into account the importance of prayer and careful reflection before each vote was taken.

Specifically, in both cases the House was first led in prayer by a chaplain, followed by small-group discussion, and then plenary discussion. After this,voting commenced. Each vote was cast clearly in the majority, with some nay votes, and some abstentions.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked the bishops assembled "tocontinue to reach out" in pastoral care to both Schofield and Cox.

"Abandoning the Communion of this Church does not meet we abandon a personas a member of the Body of Christ," Jefferts Schori said.


Jonathan said...

It brings me relief, but no joy or gladness to see things reach this stage. As with the (now former) governor of New York, the lesson I take away from this in my own life is to be cautious whenever I fool myself into thinking I am the standard-bearer for the righteous cause. There's a lot to be said for walking in humility.

In fact, I think Jesus said something about that...

Jim of L-Town said...

Dear Rev. Russell:

Don't know Bp. Scofield, but I have met Bp. Cox a number of times.
Anyone who has met Bp. Cox (who is well into his 80s) could only come away with the impression he was a very godly and humble man.
He and his lovely wife host a healing service that has brought comfort and relief to thousands.
I have never heard Bp. Cox say a negative word about anyone, particularly those who have so aggressively opposed him.
Knowing Bp. Cox, he is secure in his faith and has really no interest in the parochial actions of his former church.
I think it is instructive, that the House of Bishops would waste its time deposing a man who has given his entire life to the church and who has brought countless people to Lord Jesus.
I only pray that I will attain a 1/10 of the grace and humility that Bp. Cox has.
Again I don't know the other bishop, but deposing Bp. Cox, who I believe provides some minor pastoral care for Anglicans in America who have left the Episcopal Church is an act of meanness that will simply drive a larger wedge between friends across the divide.
Next time you want to kill a mouse, use a small trap, not a machine gun.

A sinner saved by God's Grace

Jim from Michigan

Jim said...

Jim (from Michigan)

If our hostess permits it, a preamble and then a question.

I understand that the 'orthodox' think the law is important when applied to the likes of Bp. Robinson and the 'plain language' of it is important. Why is it that when Bp. Cox violates canon by ordering clerics in another bishop's diocese without permission, when Bp. Schofield attempts to take property that clearly is not his, that suddenly depositions become 'wasting time?' Is sin only sin when we disagree with the sinner?


Jim of L-Town said...

jimB: (With Rev. Russell's indulgence).

Good question. First, I was only addressing the issue as it related to Bp. Cox. He is a retired bishop, who I believe on one occassion assisted with an ordination at a non-TEC church.
To be honest, I've been out of TEC for four years now, come here because I like the tone of Rev. Russell's blog and it is near my old childhood home of La Crescenta.
Bp. Schofield, probably needed to be deposed. I don't know enough about the whole thing to offer an opinion.
But Bp. Cox, who I believe is long retired, well into his 80s, a sweet, sweet man who wouldn't hurt a gnat is not a worthy target for such a negative procedure.
In contrast, we have Spong, Righter, Pike, who, to be charitable, discarded much of the historic and spirtual beliefs of the church, who were in some cases tried, but never punished by the church leaders. In fact Spong is still an icon among the non-orthodox who applaud his non-Creedal beliefs.
So my question to you, what is more important in the faith, the beliefs and rules of the church, or the beliefs and rules set down by Jesus?
If Bp. Cox believes he was doing a charitable and loving thing for another Anglican expression, is that different, better-worse, than the various heresies of Spong, Righter and Pike.
Who more deserved church punishment?
For me, I don't care that Pike, Spong, Righter were not disciplined by the church, it is not for me to judge them, that will be for God. So then, why the rush on the part of the other side of the church to punish a godly, loving man like Bp. Cox.
I think I just lobbed it back to you.

A sinner saved by God's Grace

Jim from Michigan

RonF said...

Hm. It is alleged that the actions of the HoB with regards to Bps. Cox and Schofield were not in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of TEC and are thus invalid.

The website of The Living Church reports that there are 294 members of the House of Bishops eligible to vote, that only 151 were present at the meeting at which the vote was taken, that a dozen of them voted either "present" or against the resolution, and that some had left prior to the vote. Title IV of the Constitutions and Canons of TEC require that "a majority of the whole number of bishops eligible to vote" is necessary to depose a bishop (not just 50% + 1 of those present).

You should read the article. There are a few other canonical violations alleged as well, including that Bp. Cox was never properly inhibited, which the Canons require (as well as a grace period after inhibition for the subject to respond) prior to deposition.

Deposing a bishop is a pretty serious thing. Given the gravity of the situation, you'd think that some care would have been taken to do it right. I will be curious to see the response of the people involved (including Presiding Bishop Schori) to see if they are as concerned about these canons as they seem to be about others. This is not a thing to be sloppy about.