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Presiding Bishop finds theological opponents guilty of misconduct: The Church of England Newspaper, November 4, 2012 p 7. November 6, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Canon Law, Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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A 3-member Reference Panel led by U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has found that a prima facie case of misconduct can be made against nine serving and retired bishops of the Episcopal Church for voicing public disagreement with her view of church polity.

Bishops Peter Beckwith, Maurice Benitez, John W. Howe, Paul Lambert, William Love, Bruce MacPherson, Daniel Martins, Edward L. Salmon, Jr, and James Stanton were told on 19 Oct 2012 a reference panel consisting of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, her aide Bishop Clayton Matthews, and the retired Bishop of Upper South Carolina and chair of the church’s disciplinary board Dorsey Henderson had found there was merit in the charges brought against them for having dissented from her view of the nature of the church’s hierarchy by testifying in court or having submitted an amicus brief to a court.

The Reference Panel recommended the accused bishops pursue “conciliation” with their accusers. Conciliation is not defined, however, in the canons.

In his email to the accused informing them of the panel’s decision, Bishop Matthews said that “after obtaining the agreement of the complainants, we will include in the process some representatives from the House of Bishops, in the spirit of our closed sessions, appointed by The Presiding Bishop.  After some research for potential persons to serve as a Conciliator, I will meet on October 29th with the person, who we hope will serve as the Conciliator. I hope following this meeting, a schedule for proceeding will be forth coming.”

Under the Title IV disciplinary canons adopted in 2009, an intake officer must first determine if the offense described in the complaint warrants action. As intake officer for the House of Bishops, Bishop Matthews held that  having endorsed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme court that defends one view of Episcopal Church history and canon law, or in the case of Bishops Beckwith, MacPherson and Salmon, for having testified to their views of church polity in a case involving the secession of the Diocese of Quincy, the nine bisohps violated the canons.

Bishop Matthews then referred his findings to the panel, of which he is one of three members, and which was led by the presiding bishop whose views on church polity were the subject of the dispute, for determination of guilt.

Canon lawyer Allan Haley said the system adopted by the Episcopal Church to try political dissent was absurd. “No man shall be judge of his own cause is a maxim of law from the time of Solomon,” he said. In this case the presiding bishop and her staff are the investigators, prosecutor, judge and jury.

This “reeks of the kangaroo courts of rough justice of the mining claim” of the old West, he said.

One of the nine accused told CEN he has yet to be told what it was about his actions that violated the canons.  Is it the “issue” or “expressing the issue in court” he said.

If it is the issue, the bishop noted the position set forth in their brief was identical to that put forward in 2009 in the Bishops Statement on Polity.  If it was stating this belief in court, “what is illegitimate about that,” he asked.

Canon law experts note the prosecution of the nine bishops was politically motivated, as the actions for which they are accused are not considered “triable” when done by bishops who endorsed the party line.

Canon IV.19.of Title IV states: “No member of the Church, whether lay or ordained, may seek to have the Constitution and Canons of the Church interpreted by a secular court, or resort to a secular court to address a dispute arising under the Constitution and Canons, or for any purpose of delay, hindrance, review or otherwise affecting any proceeding under this Title.”

If the nine are being charged with violating this canon, the question need be asked why the Bishops of Texas, Southwest Texas, Northwest Texas and the Rio Grande have not been brought up on charges also, one bishop told CEN.

In the case of Masterson, et al. v. Diocese of Northwest Texas, No. 11-0332, the Rt Rev. Andrew Doyle, the Rt. Rev. Garry Lillebridge, the Rt. Rev. Michael Vono and the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., filed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court that endorsed the three-tier hierarchy concept favored by attorneys for the presiding bishop’s office.

One commentator asked “why it is OK for some bishops or dioceses and TEC itself to seek to have the courts interpret the C&Cs, but when others specifically advise the courts that they cannot get embroiled in these issues, it is a canonical offense.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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Show’s over – No censure for Fort Worth 9: Anglican Ink, July 9, 2012 July 9, 2012

Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican Ink, Fort Worth, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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The push by the provisional bishops of Fort Worth and Quincy to censure nine bishops for disloyalty to the Episcopal Church has failed in the House of Bishops and has likely sunk any attempt to discipline the accused through the church’s legal system.

After two and a half hours of discussion over three private sessions at the 77th General Convention meeting in Indianapolis, on 8 July 2012 the House of Bishops responded to claims of misconduct leveled against the nine by the provisional bishops of Quincy and Fort Worth.  The House of Bishops responded with a “Mind of the House” resolution proposed by one of the accused, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield, affirming the loyalty of Episcopalians in the dioceses of Fort Worth, Quincy, San Joaquin and Pittsburgh.

The House of Bishops had “no stomach” to discipline Bishop Martins, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, retired Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. Maurice Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, the retired Bishop of Springfield, the Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert, suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, retired Bishop of South Carolina and Dean of Nashotah House, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, a participant in the 6-8 July meetings told Anglican Ink.

The “Mind of the House” resolution does not end the Title IV investigations into misconduct made against the nine, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the bishops.  However, by seeking an immediate resolution to the dispute the Title IV process has effectively been shut down as those bishops present in the discussions who serve on the disciplinary board will have to recuse themselves from adjudicating the case.  All of the episcopal judges that will hear the case are now disqualified from participation in a decision on grounds of personal involvement.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Accused bishops protest loyalty to TEC and Truth: Anglican Ink, July 7, 2012 July 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican Ink, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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Six bishops have written an open letter to the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops repudiating charges of disloyalty brought against them by the provisional bishops of Fort Worth and Quincy.

On 6 July 2012, six of nine bishops accused of misconduct by Bishops C. Wallis Ohl Jr., and James C. Buchanan stated there was no truth in the accusations leveled against them.

The Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert, suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, retired Bishop of South Carolina and Dean of Nashotah House, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas stated they had been forced to act in order to protect the Episcopal Church – not to harm it.

“No charge is more serious to us than the one that we have acted against our own Church—in other words, that we have been disloyal. We assure each of you that we have acted out of a profound loyalty to this Church we love,” they wrote.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

No decision on Fort Worth 9: Anglican Ink, July 6, 2012 July 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican Ink, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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Bishop Clifton Daniel of East Carolina

No decision was reached on a letter accusing nine bishops of disloyalty to the Episcopal Church and violation of its canons.  However, the matter will be taken up for further discussion in closed session on 7 July 2012, Anglican Ink has learned.

Meeting in closed session on 6 July 2012 the House of Bishops discussed the 5 July 2012 letter of the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth, and the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, Provisional Bishop of Quincy accusing nine bishops of misconduct.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Show trial set for 9 bishops: Anglican Ink, July 6, 2012 July 6, 2012

Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican Ink, Fort Worth, Property Litigation, Quincy, The Episcopal Church.
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A letter accusing nine bishops of disloyalty to the Episcopal Church and violation of its canons is scheduled for discussion on 6 July 2012 during a closed session of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops meeting at the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis.

The letter has been described as “end run” around the Title IV canons, one bishop told Anglican Ink, that seeks a political solution to a judicial process.

On 5 July the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth, and the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, Provisional Bishop of Quincy wrote to the presiding bishop asking the House of Bishops to “set the record straight regarding recent statements by certain bishops in our Church.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.