Thursday, September 18, 2008

House of Bishops Deposes Bishop of Pittsburgh

Press release from Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh received via email a few minutes ago:
.
PEP Hopes Diocese Will Move Forward Gracefully After Duncan Deposition

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania —
September 18, 2008 —

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh regrets that events have caused the House of Bishops to consent to the deposition of Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert W. Duncan. It is never a cause for rejoicing when the Church must confirm that one of its leaders has abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. The decision to depose Bishop Duncan comes after long and agonized consideration.

It is nine months since the Title IV Review Committee certified that, in the opinion of its members, the bishop had abandoned the communion of this Church. Bishop Duncan has repeatedly said that he expected the Church to discipline him. He has rejected numerous opportunities and warnings to reconsider and change course.

Instead, he has continued resolutely to pursue a course of action designed to remove this diocese and many unwilling Episcopalians from The Episcopal Church. Now that the House of Bishops has acted, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh needs to find a way to move forward gracefully and productively.

By canon, the Standing Committee is now the ecclesiastical authority for the diocese. We pray that its members will exercise wisdom in a spirit of love and reconciliation and will reconsider the divisive course set for our upcoming diocesan convention. It is within their power to begin to heal this troubled diocese.

Everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, including Bishop Duncan and his family, the Standing Committee, the clergy, and ordinary parishioners need the prayers and concern of the entire Episcopal Church. With God’s help, this diocese will continue the witness of The Episcopal Church in Southwestern Pennsylvania long into the future.

The Living Church has this report ... and the Diocese of Pittsburgh has this to say about that.

12 comments:

James said...

I believe that this was the only decision the bishops could reach. However, as much as I believe Mr. Duncan was guilty of the charges, I am incredible sad.

Bruce said...

From the other Bishop Duncan (Philip M. Duncan, II, Central Gulf Coast), commenting on why he voted in favor of the resolution:

Ultimately I believe the issue is not just about one bishop and his seeking to leave the Episcopal Church. He could leave at anytime. It is about his working and maneuvering to remove the Diocese of Pittsburgh as a Diocese of the Episcopal Church. It is about the people in that diocese. It is about the use of the Churches and other facilities and properties entrusted into the care of the Episcopal Church to further the mission and ministry of God in Jesus Christ.

RonF said...

"Mr." Duncan? Seems to me that he is recognized as a Bishop by a legitimate member body of the Anglican Communion. Or does TEC not recognize bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone as Bishops?

I well imagine that those churches and other facilities and properties will continue to further the mission and ministry of God in Jesus Christ. And if only Bishop Duncan wished to remove the Diocese of Pittsburgh from TEC I doubt he would have succeeded. He seems to have a lot of support.

I don't know the details of the deposition. Under TEC's canon law it may well be justified. I won't debate the matter. But the idea that people in the pews gave money to build churches and other facilities to TEC instead of their local Vestries acting as representatives of their local parishes is a delusion, and does not fit how our polity is otherwise structured.

Mark said...

But the idea that people in the pews gave money to build churches and other facilities to TEC instead of their local Vestries . . .

They didn't give it, if it was "given" with strings attached.

The delusion is that you are doing God's work by "buying a share" in a church.

Fred Schwartz said...

ronf,
Mr. Duncan has been adjudged to have abandoned the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church. Unless you have some information to the contrary, that is the same church which ordained him and he took VOWS. He is Mr. Duncan just as Mr. Schofield is Mr. Schofield. Neither was ordained nor consecrated in any other church. Certainly no province that I am aware of can ordain a priest or consecrate a bishop. If you wish to receive sacrament(s) from a deposed clergy it is your choice, I would not, that is my choice.

Caminante said...

And Bishop Philip Duncan is deposed-Bishop Robert Duncan's cousin. Equally sad.

RonF said...

Fred, the Living Church story says that Bp. Duncan has been accepted as a member of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone. They apparently consider him a Bishop. It seems to me that what their procedure is to make someone a Bishop is none of our business. After all, we call Bishops in the Roman Catholic Church "Bishop" and we haven't ordained any of them.

Mark, consider what happens when you put money in the collection plate on Sunday. If you write a check and put it in there, you don't write it to TEC, you write it to the name of the parish you are attending. That parish takes the money and puts it into their bank account, not TEC's. Some of the money does eventually go to the Diocese, but only that amount that the Vestry willingly votes to spend for that purpose. And the priest of that parish has absolutely no authority to spend any money at all - that authority belongs solely to the Vestry.

People give money to a parish for that parish to spend on maintenance, mission, etc. The Vestry holds temporal authority for that. The priest holds spiritual authority. Dioceses are the same; there is a Standing Committee that holds the purse strings, and the Bishop has no authority to sign a check. This is no accident; the founders of Anglicanism wanted to make sure that there was a check, a boundary to the authority of the church hierarchy so that it was only spiritual.

For TEC to assert that it somehow has both spiritual AND temporal authority over parish financial and real property is a perversion of the principles that TEC was founded on. For anyone to think that a donation to one's local parish is somehow a donation to TEC is equally misguided.

RonF said...

I may well be misinformed about what constitutes "deposed". Does this mean that from TEC's viewpoint Bp. Duncan is no longer ordained? He's no longer even a priest?

RonF said...

BTW, Fred, re-read the press release. The PEP calls him "Bishop Duncan" at least 3 times. So they seem to think he's still a Bishop.

Mark said...

For TEC to assert that it somehow has both spiritual AND temporal authority over parish financial and real property is a perversion of the principles that TEC was founded on. For anyone to think that a donation to one's local parish is somehow a donation to TEC is equally misguided.

That's not what I said.

That's not what giving is.

Your logic is impeccable, if you also sign agreements that you are giving so much in return for this, this and this.

Isn't that a perversion of the principles Christianity was founded on?

Look less, see more.

RonF said...

Mark, I assert no control over money I give to my parish. In fact, my parish has a policy that we will no longer accept donations with strings attached. I'm asserting my parish's right to control the money donated to it.

Giving to my local parish is just that; giving to my local parish, so that it can do as IT wishes with the money. When my parish receives a check from me written out to St. Helena's, it knows that money is for St. Helena's. If it was a check written to Diocese of Chicago or TEC, then fine; it would pass the money along. And it pays money out to the Diocese as a voluntary assessment every year. What I'm talking about is the National Church's assertion that a check that says "St. Helena's" really says "TEC".

When TEC was created it was set that each parish has a Vestry, a legal corporate body, and that corporation owns the real property of the parish. TEC is unilaterally asserting secular control over those Vestries and trying to take assets that they were given for their use, not it's. That's not how this Church was founded, and it's a betrayal. Of course, it's a minor betrayal compared to TEC's betrayal of the Word of God, but it's a betrayal none the less, and to be expected I suppose.

Ian said...

Caminante said...
And Bishop Philip Duncan is deposed-Bishop Robert Duncan's cousin. Equally sad.

Please get your facts correct, Robert Duncan and Philip Duncan are not cousins. Bishop Philip Duncan is my father and there is no relation to Robert Duncan of Pennsylvania. Even if he was, how is it equally sad? You can't judge a person for someone else's actions. Makes no sense to me