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On the Issue of Abandonment of Communion [ECUSA]
titusonenine ^ | 4/12/2005 | Robert C. Royce

Posted on 04/12/2005 12:54:14 PM PDT by sionnsar

A Key Document from the David Moyer case on the Issue of Abandonment of Communion


Attorneys and Counselors At Law
110 East Main Street
P.O. Box P 54510
Bay Shore, New York 11706

Robert C. Royce

January 20, 2002

Frank Helminski, Esq.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Office of the General Counsel 8 Main
34th Street & Civic Center Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dear Mr. Helminski:

(3) Issue of Abandonment of Communion: Your suggestion that a Rector who refuses to permit the Diocesan Bishop to make a Canonical Visitation is no longer in communion with the Bishop, I believe, goes beyond the concept of abandonment. Most Rectors in this situation usually and wisely do not front the action, but leave it to the Wardens to block a Bishop’s Visitation.

If a Rector were to do so directly, the Rector would be liable for the Canon IV.1. Canonical Offenses of Violation of the Canons of General Convention, probably a Violation of the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer as to the prerogative of a Bishop to preside (BCP, P. 322), and, if the Bishop were to craft an appropriate Pastoral Direction as to a Canonicalk Visitation and issue it to the Rector prior to the Visitation under Canon IV.1(h), also a Violation of Ordination Vows.

However, I would be careful about trying to stretch any dispute between the Rector and Bishop to the level of abandonment of communion. If every member of the Clergy in a Diocese who strongly disagreed with the Diocesan Bishop over matters theological, political, social, sexual, liturgical, fiscal, etc. were to be “out of communion with the bishop” has thusly abandoned the communion of the Church, any serious difference of opinion between bishops and clergy could be called “out of communion".

Canon IV.10.1 Of Abandonment of Communion of This Church by a Priest or Deacon, requires that:

… the Priest or Deacon has abandoned the Communion of this Church by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship of this Church, or by formal admission into a religious body not in communion with this Church or in any other way …

The “any other way” is a catchall phrase, but would require the same severity of conduct as open renunciation and formal admission.

If a Bishop and a supportive Standing Committee could declare that any Member of the Clergy having strong differences with the Bishop is “out of communion", this would be a terrible chilling effect on the life of the Church. This is especially so as Canon III.10 is essentially a unilateral declaration of abandonment by the Standing Committee and Bishop.

The Disciplinary Canons in Title IV provide a sufficient vehicle for the discipline of Members of the Clergy who violate the Canons and the application of Canon III.10 is available for cases of true abandonment.

I hope that this is helpful to you and the Standing Committee in your deliberations.

Sincerely yours,


Robert C. Royce


TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: angpost4; ct6; ecusa

1 posted on 04/12/2005 12:54:15 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Peanut Gallery; tellw; nanetteclaret; Saint Reagan; Marauder; stan_sipple; SuzyQue; ...
Relevant to the Connecticut 6 issue.

Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 04/12/2005 12:56:15 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?)
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To: sionnsar

I'm a Catholic, but it seems to me the whole concept of a "communion" that does not include assent to the content of the deposit of faith handed down from the Apostles is no communion at all.

3 posted on 04/12/2005 1:01:30 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: All
He notes: "Most Rectors in this situation usually and wisely do not front the action, but leave it to the Wardens to block a Bishop’s Visitation."

But the proposed extension of the disciplinary canons to the laity would then put the Wardens at risk.

I would not want to be a Warden under such a situation. If that extension occurs, some churches might suddenly find themselves without a full Vestry. I know our (non-ECUSA) Canons require all Vestry offices to be filled, but don't say anything about what happens if they are not.

4 posted on 04/12/2005 1:01:43 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?)
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To: sionnsar

Not being well-versed in Canon Law, I can only speak anecdotally. Unless vacancies on the Vestry prevents a quorum in order to conduct business, the vacancies can continue without too much concern. If, however, it does prevent a quorum, the Bishop (ususally through a "Diocesan Visitor") can select a person & appoint them to the position. Where do they find these people to appoint, but who refused to stand for election? It's surprising how many will readily agree to serve on the Vestry if the Bishop gives them a personal invitation to do so. It's the same thankless job, but suddenly they see it as an honor because "The Bish" picked them especially. Vestries Beware! This appointee is always & forever indebted to The Bish & will be obedient to his will. If it comes down to what the parish wants or what The Bish wants, this person will always vote in favor of The Bish.

5 posted on 04/12/2005 11:29:34 PM PDT by torqemada ("Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!")
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To: torqemada

Interesting point!

6 posted on 04/13/2005 8:15:42 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?)
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