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Canadian bishop demands loyalty oath from clergy: CEN 1.18.08 p 8. January 21, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.

cyrus-pitman.jpgThe Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has demanded a loyalty oath from his clergy, following the defection of his predecessor Don Harvey to the Province of the Southern Cone.

On Dec 18, Bishop Cyrus Pitman summoned the diocese’s 41 clergy to attend a Jan 21 service at St. John the Baptist Cathedral to renew their ordination vows and receive new licences.

Bishop Pitman denied he was engaged in a “power grab”, but told the Anglican Journal “I just felt I needed to have my name on them as the bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.”

In his letter Bishop Pitman said that although he valued “people’s individual conscience, and our Church has always accommodated a diversity of opinion. However, I would expect any clergy involved in the Network and working to the establishment of a parallel jurisdiction to the Anglican Church of Canada would do the honourable thing and resign their positions, relinquishing their licences to exercise ordained ministry in this Church as their leader has done.”

Bishop Pitman has also dissolved the cathedral chapter, which counted several supporters of Bishop Harvey amongst its six canons. However, “it is not a punitive thing,” he said, as he wanted to appoint new members that “will reflect the diversity of the diocese.”

Bishop Harvey told Transcontinental Media he was “hurt” by Bishop Pitman’s attempt to make him a non-person. “Even if I left and became a non-Christian of sort, it shouldn’t devalue any documents I had issued. The fact I’m going to another legitimate part of the same communion, should make it all the less the reason for having any problem with me,” he said.

The episode was a “sad reflection” on the Canadian Church. “They are very strong on talking about inclusivity and reaching out to all people with all kinds of views, unless you happen to be a conservative. Then you’re an unpopular member,” Bishop Harvey said.

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