Friday, October 19, 2012

Episcopalian Double Jeopardy UPDATED

A. S. Haley, aka the Anglican Curmudgeon, has posted painstaking analysis of the Episcopal Church’s attack on the Diocese of South Carolina.  What I find most disturbing is the use of double jeopardy as a modus operandi.

In 2011, the Disciplinary Board for Bishops looked at the charges against the Bishop of South Carolina, Mark Lawrence, and did not find him guilty of “abandonment.”   Yet in 2012 the Disciplinary Board did find him guilty.

So what changed? The board’s membership.  Presiding Heretic Schori was able to stack the board at the 2012 General Convention, and having done so, her people pushed the same charges against Lawrence and found him in “abandonment” this time.

Yes, this is double jeopardy. We see here “the tactic of bringing up the same charges over and over again until there is a majority in favor of them.”

Now this is legal.  The Episcopal Church may commit double jeopardy in its deliberations if it wishes.  The U. S. Constitution is not part of the Canons of The Episcopal Church.  But it is a sad commentary that not only does TEC not hold to Biblical standards, it cannot even bring itself to meet minimal secular standards of fair play anymore.

Meanwhile, those who filed the complaints against +Mark Lawrence have revealed themselves.  They claim to have acted independently, that “no one from elsewhere in the Episcopal Church encouraged or initiated the complaint.”  Yeah, right.

Their number is 14, twelve laypeople and only TWO priests.  That --Schori did not find more tools than that speaks volumes.


This action is a deplorable assault upon the Bishop of this Diocese. The attack came in the midst of negotiations whose stated intent was to find a peaceful solution to our differences with the Episcopal Church. It involved a process in which there was no prior notice of the proceedings, no notice of the charges against him nor any opportunity to face the local accusers (who remained anonymous until today).

Also deeply concerning is the fact that all of the stated reasons for “abandonment” were known nearly a year ago, when an earlier attempt to remove him failed. This second attempt is double jeopardy of the most egregious sort and is contrary to the very canons they have used. Worst of all, canons that were originally meant for the removal of clergy who had well and truly “left” the church are now being used to purge a Bishop who has diligently sought to keep his Diocese both intact and within the Episcopal Church.

. . . it strains every notion of common sense to apply the charge of "abandonment" in this case. This is a provision that is in canons to make it expeditious to deal with a priest or bishop who has openly decamped to another ecclesial body, or none; a cleric who stops showing up for meetings, stops worshiping as an Episcopalian, and disavows any association with the Episcopal Church. 

By contrast, since I became a bishop in March of last year, Mark Lawrence has attended every meeting of the House of Bishops except one, which a great many bishops also missed because it was held in Ecuador. He was present at General Convention. He has continued to lead a diocese that uses the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer in its worship. He has abandoned nothing, and to accuse him of doing so is ludicrous on its face.

1 comment:

Tregonsee said...

It only took one Judas, so 14 is overkill.