15 September 2008

Second verse, same as the first

Well, this is the week of the “show down” in Salt Lake City. But the question is, will they or won’t they depose the Rt. Rev’d. Robert Duncan, Ordinary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. My two pence is that they will not do it. I base this on a variety of reasons, one of which is a desire not to aggravating the fundamentalists still in the Episcopal Church.

It has been interesting to follow the debate over on the House of Bishops/Deputies list service. There are definitely two camps: Depose him remove him from the diocese, and the Dan Martin crowd that is screaming that anything the HOB does will be illegal and part of the new “Schori doctrine.” The fundamentalists refuse to use her proper name making sure to reduce her to some Mr. Schori’s wife, not the person she is in her own right.

The “it’s illegal” crowd has strange logic, to my understanding. They want us to believe that the canons aren’t being followed properly so any action to discipline/depose Duncan will be null and void. They state that he has done nothing for which to be deposed. The reasoning is that until he actually absconds with the assets and flees for asylum in one of the other provinces poaching in the United States, he is as innocent as a new born lamb.

I simply do not understand that logic. I suppose that I’m just stupid. I believe that if there is a rattlesnake in the house, coiled and rattling like mad, one does not wait until it bites someone before action is taken. And make no mistake, Duncan is a rattlesnake.

The facts are that the Rev’d. Mr. Duncan has stated he is leaving and taking the assets with him. To that end, he has courted the GAFConites in an attempt to become the primate of a new province in North America. He has taken legal actions to remove the assets of the diocese from the Episcopal Church. He has been very open and defiant about these actions where are contrary the same canons he claims are being violated by others.

Now, Duncan refuses to attend the meeting of bishops this week. Why? Because he there is a conspiracy to depose the poor, innocent, humble man. Can we say, “I am not a crook.” Gilbert and Sullivan didn’t write anything this good.

In the ‘real world’ of corporations, Duncan would have been removed a long time ago. However, this is the Episcopal Church where we truly believe everyone is Christian and will always act in a Christ-like manner. Therefore, we allow corporate espionage, sabotage, defiance of the governing rules, and grand theft to be openly practiced and accomplished.

For my two pence, we have the college of bishops to blame. They have a responsibility to the church and they failed to act in the interest of the church. They should have dealt with the crooks in their house; and they should have done so several years ago. Had they acted with any ‘spine’ we would not be in this mess. But, instead, the bishops won’t do anything and the crime will be allowed to take place. And then the bishops will act shocked that this has happened, and the litigation will begin. Remember that 1960’s song “I’m Henry the Eighth?” What was that bridge line – ah, yes, “Second verse, same as the first.”

Pray for the church, my friends.