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Presiding Bishop has bungled Iker’s deposition: CEN 12.19.08 p 5. December 20, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Canon Law, Church of England Newspaper, Fort Worth.

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has bungled the deposition of Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker, scholars from the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) have charged.

The presiding bishop has either violated church law, or created a legal precedent that prevents disciplinary proceedings against any other cleric who “abandons the Communion” of the Episcopal Church, the ACI’s theologians and canon lawyers have charged.

The Dec 11 claim by the ACI, a center right group of American theologians and scholars that has opposed both the secession of conservatives in the Episcopal Church and the leftward drift of the church hierarchy, has come in response to the presiding bishop’s deposition of Bishop Iker through the use of the renunciation canon—a clause in American canon law that permits the voluntary laicizing of a cleric for reason’s of conscience.

On Dec 5 Bishop Schori announced that she had accepted Bishop Iker’s renunciation of his orders, saying the Anglo-Catholic leader had petitioned her to be removed from holy orders through the vehicle of a press released. On Nov 24 Bishop Iker had said that Bishop Schori “has no authority over me or my ministry” and that “she never has, and she never will.” He added that he was now a member of the Province of the Southern Cone and that her “canonical declarations” were “irrelevant and of no consequence.”

Removing the Fort Worth bishop from the ministry based on this statement, the Presiding Bishop averred “fits squarely within the canons” and was an act of kindness that avoided the time and expense of a hearing before the House of Bishops.

However, Bishop Iker responded the presiding bishop was “misleading the Church and misrepresenting the facts” and denied having written a letter of renunciation.

On Dec 11, the ACI charged Bishop Schori had abused and contorted the canons, and “inexplicably conceded that Bishop Iker has not violated the Constitution and Canons of TEC and that he is no longer subject to its discipline. This clearly unintended consequence not only will have serious implications for any future litigation in Fort Worth, it once again calls into question the canonical validity of numerous actions she has taken over the past year.”

ACI pointed out that the pertinent canon prohibits the voluntary renunciation of orders of a bishop subject to the church’s disciplinary canons. “When the Presiding Bishop chose to pursue Bishop Iker under the non-disciplinary canon, she necessarily conceded that he was not in violation of TEC’s constitution and canons,” the ACI reported.

Her actions were “an admission that Bishop Iker and his diocese lawfully withdrew from TEC and are no longer subject to its discipline,” it concluded.

Bishop Schori had led the US church “not merely into canonical abuse and usurpation of power but into canonical chaos and institutional disintegration. Unless checked, this chaos will have grave implications for the future of the Communion as a whole,” they said.


1. Art Stewart - December 22, 2008

Help me understand something very basic: Exactly what is it that these dissenting bishops and rank-and-file clergy need to do more of in order to have their words and actions legitimately, and accurately, interpreted as abandoning the Communion, violating their ordination vows – including obedience to the bishop or the HOB, and speak or act in a schismatic fashion? Duncan, Iker, Stanton (not yet), Moyer, et al have a long paper trail of public articulations and acts that directly support the cases now being presented against them. The only tragedy is how long it has taken for the PB and HOB to act. It should have started years ago. You do not need to have a law degree or be a canon lawyer to interpret all of it accurately.

2. geoconger - December 23, 2008

Art, the canons lay out the procedures. The ACI has stated that the canons have not been followed by the presiding bishop in these matters.

The argument is that the ends do not justify the means. Breaking the law in order to uphold the law does not work in either the secular or church worlds.

3. DOG BITES MAN | Midwest Conservative Journal - December 23, 2008

[…] How many of these are we up to now?  Seventy-five or so? […]

4. Elwin Ransom - January 7, 2009

Put it another way:
Exactly what is it that these bishops (jefferts Schori et al) and rank-and-file clergy need to do more of in order to have their words and actions legitimately, and accurately, interpreted as abandoning the Christian faith, as expressed in the Bible, Creeds, Prayer Book & 39 Articles?

(In other words, the faith they said they believed in and would uphold at their ordination.)

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