Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A response to the Aug 11, 2008 memo written by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh

Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh has sent this memo. My comments are below it.

From: Duncan, Bob []
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 12:35 PM
Subject: Windsor Contiuation Group Concerns
Dear *******,

It was very good to be with you at Lambeth. I especially appreciated the time we spent together looking at the relationship between the Common Cause Partners and the Communion Partners, as well as considering issues that are before the WCG.

I thought that you might appreciate hearing from me about concerns the approach of the WCG has caused for me and for all the Common Cause Partners.

The WCG proposes "cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction." There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.

The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine.

The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to "freeze" the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church. The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped -- constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.

The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the "holding tank" whose stated purpose is eventual "reconciliation" with TEC or thevAnglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)

The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam.

For your information, I have written to John Chew and Donald Mtetemela in a similar way. I have also written to the Global South Primates who signed the open letter dated 3 August.

I hope this finds you well. As I pledged when we saw each other, I will do what I can to keep you informed of thinking among the Common Cause Partners, and will do what I can to see that any solutions imagined include both the Communion Partners (on the inside) and the Common Cause Partners (most of whom are on the outside of TEC, or on their way out.)

End of Bishop Duncan's memo.

Someone on the House of Bishops/ Deptuies wrote this: "One point made over and over again on many of the blogs of the Bishops who attended Lambeth, 2008 was the dismay at the amount of misinformation (I wonder how much of it was disinformation) about what TEC's doctrinal positions are. Bishops of TEC and spent no little time straightening out badly informed bishops from other provinces. Many of them also did not realize that TEC had been observing moritoria on the national level as requrested by Windsor. Whatever else Lambeth did or did not accomplish, these face-to-face conversations surely played an important role of informing all bishops on a personal level. Ours certainly learned a lot as well."

Misinformation? Disinformation? Will it do any good I wonder to call a spade a spade when it is a spade? "Misinformation" is a genteel word, but surely what we are talking about is bearing false witness, a violation of the 9th Commandment?

Seems to me that if someone is going to claim that we must interpret the Bible literalistically when it comes to homosexuality that surely those same people need to be just as literalistic when it comes to the Commandments which the church everywhere has always believed to come straight from the Most High God?

Bishop Duncan's first point:

And here is another piece of misinformation or disinformation or bearing false witness. Bishop Duncan says "The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine." The original Windsor Report and at Dromantine did not ever use the phrase moral equivalence so there is no way it could have been specifically rejected. The Bishop is taking liberties with the texts.

As for Bishop Duncan's dismay over the equivalencies of moratoria...surely the Windsor report did make it quite clear that the jurisdictional leaping and bounding was to cease at that time? Surely anyone who is concerned with Windsor compliance would know that and respect this provision of the Windsor Report? We can all read it for ourselves: This is indeed in the Windsor Report (pp. 58-59): 155; 156. The Bishop's interpretation is at best a disingenuous excuse fro a lack of compliance.

Bishop Duncan's second point is also disingenuous as is pointed out by another poster to House of Bishops/Deputies list: "First of all, the constitutions of neither Pittsburgh (Art. XV) nor Forth Worth (Art. 19) (Quincy's constitution and canons are not available online) specifically in terms "require an automatic second vote" on a constitutional amendment. As a matter of basic parliamentary procedure, no main motion (such as a motion to confirm an amendment to a constitution) is _required_ to be voted on. It may be withdrawn, amended, postponed indefinitely, referred, tabled, not reached prior to adjournment, or even never moved.

Furthermore, Bp. Duncan's history on this particular amendment is troubling. The particulars have been posted by the Rev'd Dr. James Simons, a rector "committed to orthodoxy" and a member of the Pittsburgh Standing Committee in his blog, . Three weeks prior to the November 2007 diocesan convention he met with a group of diocesan clergy, including Fr. Simons, who specifically rejected the bishop's plan for realignment and who intended to voice their opposition at the convention.

"The Bishop asked us to do two things: first, not to speak out against the resolution and secondly, to vote for it even if we didn't want to realign. His reasoning was that a strong majority vote would provide an impetus for the Presiding Bishop's office to negotiate with him, especially over issues of property."

"Even though the group was prepared to issue a statement before the vote, stating our opposition to it, when the Bishop's request was taken back to the group we decided to honor the request. None of us spoke out against the resolution to realign, either before or during convention, and I assume that some in the group voted for it as well."

Following the convention he again met with Bp. Duncan to advise that his group needed to issue a statement opposing the plan to leave TEC. "The Bishop said he understood this and asked if we could wait until March 1st in order to provide time for him to negotiate with the Presiding Bishop's office." Shortly thereafter, Bp. Duncan was charged with abandoning the communion of the church, it became clear that no "negotiations" ever would take place, and so the twelve conservative priests issued their statement at the end of January 2008.

I cannot know if Bp. Duncan made the same request to lay representatives to vote contrary to their conscience on the 2007 constitutional amendment as he made to these clergy. To "honor" such a "request" may have been foolhardy, but to make it in the first place, particularly to clergy over whom one has authority, is reprehensible and the very opposite of "a wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ.""

Bishop Duncan's third point leaves me flabbergasted. It just peeves me that people who insist on a Biblical literalism do not do so across the board but pick and choose which passages to be literal about. And there are oh so many more passages in the Bible about our duty to the poor and as we would say to day, underprivileged, poor, abused, tortured etc. than there are about sex. Can any Christian really and truly think it is better to leave the Episcopal Church and join up with one of these Anglican churches which by their silence tacitly or in the cases of some of them actively participate in hate crimes, genocide, rape, pillage, theft, murder etc. etc.? Our own dear Lord told us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, slake the thirsty, care for the sick, provide for widows and orphans etc. How can any Christian of TEC choose to ally themselves with churches in Africa where the exact opposite is being done?

There is no heirarchy of sin in God's eyes, but some would have us think that to be gay or lesbian is a worse sin than murder, rape, lying, etc. There is nothing in the Bible that says this. In fact "all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of the Lord." Bishop Duncan has, so have I.

Bishop Duncan's fourth point just makes me want to weep it is so full of lies. Those parishes which have left TEC along with the Diocese of San Joaquin are attempting to steal that which does not belong to them. And he calls TEC the aggressors because we seek to hold them accountable for their illegal actions? I always love it when criminals blame someone else for holding the criminal accountable for their actions. It also reminds me of abusers who blame their victims. Any psychologist would identify this behavior as denial and projection

Here's the bottom line: Bishop Duncan and his cronies including those who boycotted Lambeth stand revealed for what they are. Bishops who attended Lambeth learned that they had been lied to about TEC. How can Bishop Duncan et al think for one second that they still have any credibility in the Anglican Communion? They will, of course, because this is what dysfunctional people do. They spin a web of deceit and come to believe it themselves. My question to the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is this: how long must we tolerate the lies, deceit, theft, and bullying of the American bishops in Bishop Duncan's gang? When will you act to depose them for abandonment of communion, breaking of vows and lying?

Way, way, Way, WAy, WAY too much time has been wasted. Effort, energy, money, resources, time has been invested in something that Jesus never spoke one word about, despite the new so-called translations in the NIV which put words in Jesus mouth which are not there in the Greek. This effort, energy, money resources and time should have been invested in those things which the Bible tells us over and over again is how we should spend our time: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, providing for the widows and orphans, visiting the prisoners so that they do not despair, preaching the Gospel (with words if necessary) and making disciples of all nations.


Post a Comment

<< Home