14 July 2009

D050 - Questionable consent

It is always interesting to hear how the workings of TEC and GC are viewed by those outside the provincial boundaries of The Episcopal Church.

Longtime reader and on-line friend David (Da-veed) pointed me to a real story behind a story I'd missed. It seems that the House of Bishops elected a bishop for the Diócesis de Ecuador Central to the objection of the convention of that diocese.

Members of the diocesan convention felt that the provisional bishop, Wilfrido Ramos-Orench, had steered the election process in Ecuador, and then, eventually, directing it to the HoB.

The convention was upset that no Ecuadorian clergy were deemed qualified to run for election and that the women members of the diocesan search committee were "run off the committee."

The resolution, D050, itself claims to have the support of more than 50% of the Central Ecuador clergy and much of the laity.
    Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church not confirm the election of Rev. Luis Fernando Ruiz Restrepo as Bishop of the Diócesis de Ecuador Central; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Diócesis de Ecuador Central begin once more the election process for a Diocesan Bishop with the approval of the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

The resolution lists thirteen reasons why the "election" should be set aside. The resolution then asks the convention to consider that:
  1. The election process was totally contaminated with nullity from the beginning
  2. It would have been fair, ethical and moral to hold the diocesan emergency convention, as established in canon and duly constituted, and elect our bishop and, if this does not lead to a final and firm election, then to move the process to the synod of Province IX, to the canonically appropriate party in the secession and of which the Diocese Central del Ecuador is a member.
  3. The interim bishop with jurisdiction was at fault both pastorally and ethically when he used his vote to define a situation that he had encouraged
  4. The result of this process repels and drives away our dreams for growth, development, strength and autonomy of Anglican perspective and Christian faith
  5. A new and immediate election process should be organized in accordance with canon 11, section 5 of the general canons.
  6. To make all of this possible and in defense of the unity of our diocese, we reiterate to the House of Deputies of the 76th General Convention to not ratify the election of Diocesan Bishop the Rev'd Luis Fernando Ruiz Restrepo
What did GC09 do? It consented to the election, of course - over the objection of an apparently sizable portion of the laity of the Diocese of Ecuador Central.

Reader, David, comments:
What I find astounding is the hubris of the provisional bishop to call one of his clergy a liar publicly in an open meeting of the HoB discussion. He only made "I" statements; he was concerned about his integrity and his reputation. There were no true remarks of concern for the people of Ecuador and all that they have suffered since their former bishop was deposed by TEC as a thief.

The folks in Ecuador Central do not have anything against the bishop-elect per se, just that they feel shut out of the process. I do not see any of this leading to healing here.
I agree with David.

Episcopal Life had this to say about the matter
The Rev. Gay Jennings (Ohio) served as consultant to Ecuador Central's election process and visited the diocese five times. She said the process that led to Ruiz's election was proper. "The process was in full accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and the canons of the diocese," she said.

She acknowledged that some in the diocese are unhappy that a native Ecuadorian wasn't elected and that the diocese itself never had the chance to vote on their bishop. But in the end, she said, Ruiz will be a good bishop for the diocese. [Emphasis mine]
Let's see - bishops electing bishops, the laity having no say in who their bishop will be?. That sounds a lot like the Duncanite organization to me.

It seems that as we take one step forward, not only do we step on toes, we actually take a step backwards.

For more information on this please see here, here, and here.

Tip of the biretta to David for giving us the rest of the story.