Skip to comments.Better Part of Valor [on +Schofield]
Posted on 08/04/2006 6:14:24 PM PDT by sionnsar
Double J? It's just not a good idea to mess with Charlotte Allen:
Back in early July, right after the Episcopal Church USA finished its general convention, declining to repentas requested by the Archbishop of Canterburyof its confirmation of the openly gay, openly cohabitating V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, I wrote an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times. The gist of my article was that the Episcopalians capitulation to secular liberal culture hadnt simply catapulted their church into severe demographic declinea drop of nearly one million members since 1965, and a median number of eighty worshippers per church on any given Sundaybut its literal disintegration.
Not long after my article appeared, an exceedingly miffed J. Jon Bruno, the Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles, took out a full-page ad in the Times accusing me of being simplistic, inaccurate, and the usual yada yada. He seemed to be making the points that (1) Who cares that the numbers are down? and (2) Maybe we can make it up by recruiting more gays. As Bruno himself put it:
At our best we [Episcopalians] are open-hearted and open-minded followers of Jesus Christ. We democratically elect our bishops, priests, and lay leaders at all levels of the church.
When a California friend sent me a copy of the article, I chuckled at what I thought must be the money quote (money as in money in the collection plate from the new gay members we hope to recruit):
We do not look for authority in any handful of scattered, isolated [Biblical] passages selectively gathered to rationalize intolerance, cruelty, and unfairness.
Hmm, thought Iso I guess that when Jesus condemned fornication as evil in Mark 17:21, he meant that as a isolated passage.
But what I didnt realizeand what came home to me only a few days laterwas that at the very same time that Bishop Bruno was bloviating in his L.A. Times ad about democratically elected bishops and general open-mindedness and love all around, he was working behind the scenes with three of his fellow open-minded bishops to get rid ofand summarily at that, without a trialthe bishop of San Joaquin, California, John-David Schofield, one of the seven who opted for alternate oversight from Jefferts Schoris.
Schofields diocese, headquartered in Fresno and experiencing a higher growth rate (as even Bruno admits) than Brunos own Los Angeles diocese, is one of the most conservative in the nation, and it has not taken kindly to the confirmation of Robinson in 2003. Indeed, starting in 2004, Schofield, who has been bishop since 1988, has declined to turn over any diocesan funds to the national churchand the diocese has also amended its constitution so as to make it harder for the national church to seize its property in the event of a secession. Delegates to a diocesan convention in 2005 affirmed a statement that San Joaquins constitution takes precedence over national church policies, and in March the diocese changed its rules so that the national church no longer has to approve its choice of bishop. Id call that democracy.
So the bishop of California, William T. Swing, working in concert with Bruno and the bishops of San Diego and northern California, has come up with a novel theory designed to oust Schofield fast: The four bishops are arguing that Schofield intends to abandon the communion of this Church [that is, the Episcopal Church USA]. And hell, Swing told the Living Church, its unfathomable that anyone would even try to retain church property after leaving the church.
A claim of abandonment triggers a far quicker process than normal disciplinary procedures in the Episcopal Church, which require a full ecclesiastical trial. Furthermore, as the Living Church pointed out, there is no presumption of innocence in an abandonment process. All it requires is a majority vote by a review panel, followed by a unanimous decision by the three Episcopal bishops with the longest tenure, followed by a decision at the next House of Bishops meeting. If all goes well for Swing, Bruno, and the others, Schofield could be out of his diocese before Jefferts Schori is invested on November 4.
So much for the vaunted democracy and open-mindedness of the Episcopal Church USA. I hope that Schofieldalong with his flock, which shows no sign of disaffectionsues someones miter off if the national church tries to take his diocese away from him.
Thanks to Amy Welborn.
My Church is not going along with this thank God.
My church has not and will not include Schiori in the Prayers of the People and we have also dropped Griswold from them as well.
Oh, I don't know. Seems to me that Presiding Bishop Griswold needs our prayers more than anyone.
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