18 September 2008

It's Mr. Duncan Now

The Blogger lost my original post, so I've had to recreate it.

While I was lunching with my honorary son and our friend, the House of Bishops found the brass to do it. I didn't think they would, but they fooled me.

The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops has deposed Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh for abandonment of communion. Eighty-nine bishops voted in favor of deposing Duncan, 35 voted against and four abstained according to several sources in the House of Bishops. Further details to come. What I would like to know is, who are the thirty-five who voted no.

And, Duncan has been made a "bishop" in the Southern Cone even though the canons and constitution of the Southern Cone don't allow it.

This is not a time for rejoicing, my brothers and sisters; it is a time to mourn the loss of a bishop. I believe that he was guilty of the actions for which he was charged, and I believe that deposition was the only possible choice given that he would not repudiate his actions or renounce his intention to lead a significant portion of the Episcopalians in his diocese out of The Episcopal Church. Nevertheless, Duncan is a brother who is in distress.

Pray for Mr. Duncan; pray for the Church; pray for the diocese and people of Pittsburgh.

I apologize for the tone of my original post on this news. The post had a decided unchristian flavour. I will make my Friday Holy Hour for Mr. Duncan's spiritual well being.


According to the Rt. Rev’d Paul Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem, the vote came at about 3:15 today to authorize the Presiding Bishop to carry out the deposition.

Bishop Marshal said in a letter to his diocese:

I will have a good deal more to say about this at our clergy retreat and diocesan convention. Like many bishops, I came here willing to have the matter postponed, but information revealed last night, along with other factors discussed in this morning's session, led to all four Pennsylvania bishops voting yes at the roll-call vote, which I am sure someone will publish.

It is a matter for some rejoicing that a house that described itself as "dysfunctional" in 1991 carried itself through this deeply-felt matter w/o any acrimony or even raised voices. Strong positions were taken on both sides, but with respect, charity, and restraint.

The four PA bishops also met this morning to determine ways we can support the remaining Episcopalians in Pittsburgh, and I will keep you posted on those developments as well.

I’m a bit confused by his first paragraph. Certainly the bishops read the indictment for presentment before they arrived in Salt Lake City. What new information did they discover in the meeting. Or was it a case of hearing it for the first time as it was with many of the bishops and the Chapman Memo. Or, was it a case of “hearing” it was worse than reading it? We will probably never know.

The Rt. Rev’d Gary Lillibridge of West Texas (you have to love that name – so Wizard of Oz) said:

As difficult as this decision is for me and many others in our Church, it is important to realize that the decision in the House today was not based on the theological convictions of Bishop Duncan, but rather on the evidence presented regarding statements and actions concerning moves to take the Diocese of Pittsburgh out of the Episcopal Church.

The Most Rev’d Katharine Jefferts Schori said:

The House of Bishops worked carefully and prayerfully to consider the weighty matter of Bishop Duncan. The conversation was holy, acknowledging the pain of our deliberations as well as the gratitude many have felt over the years for their relationships with, and the ministry of, Robert Duncan. The House concluded, however, that his actions over recent months and years constitute “abandonment of the communion of this church” and that he should be deposed. Concern was expressed for the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in the face of leadership which has sought to remove itself from The Episcopal Church. In the days and months ahead, this Church will work to ensure appropriate pastoral care and provision for the members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, so that mission and ministry in that part of Pennsylvania may continue in the name of Jesus Christ and in the tradition of the Episcopal Church.

Make sure to keep up to date by reading The Lead.