As you know from my post on Monday, on the House of Bishop/Delegates list there has been a debate raging over the expected deposition of The Rt. Rev’d Robert Duncan, Ordinary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Some delegates are yelling “depose him!” while other delegates are arguing that any deposition will be illegal under canon law for a myriad of reasons. It is interesting that some delegates who argue the coming action will be illegal actually believe +
Most, if not all, of the priests who are defecting from TEC were ordained under the 1979 Rite of Ordination. The bishops who are attempting to lead their clergy and laity to defect were all consecrated under the 1979 Rite of Consecration. Read what the candidate vows.
In the ordination rite for a priest:
The Bishop says to the ordinand
Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work?
I am willing and ready to do so; and I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.
In the consecration rite for a bishop, the candidate says:
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I, N.N., chosen Bishop of the Church in N., solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.
Notice what each rite requires each person to vow: obedience to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.
Notice that it does not say “of the one Holy, Catholic, and
Today the Rev’d Thomas Woodward posted the following message on the House of Bishops/Deputies list. I reproduce it with his permission:
[My] advice is to look up the meaning of "apostate," then refer to your ordination vows. I don't think you and I are free agents as priests. We serve the church [that] ordained us and are under the authority of our bishop and the doctrine and discipline of the church. That does not order our private thoughts, but is sure does order and constrain our public
Regardless of what may or may not be the legal standing of +
The Rev’d Mr. Woodward continued his post with an excellent example:
If one of your parishioners, working for a woman, were to excoriate her in public by calling her a wonton whore . . .and the business she owns a fake enterprise bilking its customers, would you consider that "company loyalty?" What do you think about his prospects for continuing employment there?
This is what +
If there is doubt that deposition is legal based on what it is presumed +Duncan will do at the coming convention in Pittsburgh, there is no doubt that Duncan has abandoned the discipline of The Episcopal Church. For this alone he must be deposed and removed from office.
But it goes much deeper. +
There is only one conclusion possible: he was behind the action and he heartily approves of it. That is abandonment of the discipline of The Episcopal Church.
By calling TEC “apostate,” he has abandoned the doctrine of said Church.
By his own actions and words, +
But, will they?
My thanks to Fr. Woodward for allowing me to quote him for this post.