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Another bishop “released” in the US: CEN 1.31.09 p 7. January 31, 2009

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

US Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori has “released” the Assistant Bishop of Fort Worth from the ordained ministry, saying that she had accepted the voluntary renunciation of orders given her by the Rt. Rev. William Wantland.

On Jan 23, Bishop Schori stated this action was taken in response to the Forward in Faith leader’s letter of Nov 15. She wrote that Bishop Wantland “stated that as a result of the Diocese of Fort Worth’s recent attempt to realign with the Province of the Southern Cone, ‘I am . . . now canonically affiliated with the Southern Cone and its Primate, The Most Rev. Gregory Venables.’ Bishop Wantland then declared that ‘I am no longer a member of the Episcopal Church.” These statements make clear that Bishop Wantland has chosen to leave the Episcopal Church and that he no longer wishes to carry out the responsibilities of ordained ministry in this Church.”

As a result she had accepted “Bishop Wantland’s voluntary renunciation of his Orders in the Episcopal Church and have removed and released him from our ordained ministry.”

Bishop Wantland responded that the Presiding Bishop was either a liar or a fool. In a statement released by the Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Wantland said his Nov 15 letter “specifically declared that ‘I am not resigning my Orders’,” and that her actions did not conform to church canons.

“I can only conclude that either you (1) do not understand the plain and fairly simple language of either the Canons or my letter to you, or (2) have deliberately violated the Canons for your own purposes and contrary to your obligation as a Christian not to bear false witness,” he said.

The Bishop of Fulham, the Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, on Jan 23 said Forward in Faith was “appalled” by Bishop Schori’s “intentional disinformation and abuse of Church Law.” He noted that while she acknowledged that Bishop Wantland had transferred to the Province of the Southern Cone, her claim to then have deposed him from his clerical orders was a demonstration of “her disregard for other provinces of the Anglican Communion and the canons of her own TEC denomination.”

“Clearly her statements misrepresent Bishop Wantland’s letter,” Bishop Broadhurst wrote.

Written to respond to cases where a bishop leaves the Episcopal Church for the Roman Catholic church, the canon used by Bishop Schori against Bishop Wantland states the “bishop is released from the obligations of all ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts

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