On March 12, the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops voted to consent to the deposition of two Bishops. As my readers (all one or two of you!) likely know, one was John-David Schofield, former bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin (DSJ), the other, William Cox, retired assistant bishop of Oklahoma.
The Anglican world being no vacuum, this action has been met with various reactions. From those folks in the DSJ who remain committed to the Episcopal Church, relief. From those who have been disturbed by the actions and pronouncements of schismatic bishops, renewed hope at seeing justice served. From the neo-"orthodox" camp, derision and gnashing of teeth.
Catching my eyes recently are the claims by pedantic schismatics that the vote to consent to the depositions was invalid, based upon what appear to be an arguable ambiguity of TEC canons. The folks who make these claims are apparently the same people who have been proclaiming to their respective choirs that nothing the TEC Presiding Bishop does has any validity anyway.
While i'm not a canon lawyer, professionally as an officer of a non-profit corporation i've gained a reputation as having an accurate insight when it comes to legal matters, at least for a layperson. Spot-on guidance regarding parliamentary procedure is also something for which folks have been coming to me during the past ten years.
From my armchair it appears that the TEC leadership has proceeded prayerfully, reluctantly and with consistent respect for the constitution and canons of TEC. This is in stark contrast with the righteous indignation of the sometimes theiving, victim-mentality oathbreakers who seek to split the church.
Still, i wish the canons were so clear that questions about the validity of the vote could never have arisen. But that's how i feel about nearly every charter or set of bylaws with which i've ever had to deal.
According to the latest report in Episcopal Life Online, the PB's chancellor consulted with the HOB parliamentarian prior to the vote. I'm certain they both reviewed applicable precedents and relevant canons. It's likely they also discussed the matter with others well-versed in canonical procedures. Their confidence that the vote was valid is good enough for me.
There's also the fact that there's been no reports of any bishop present at the meeting objecting to the vote itself, which is when such a procedural objection would have had the most validity.
The cries of "FOUL" from those determined to split the church, and who prior to the HOB meeting claimed the vote wouldn't matter regardless of the outcome, only serve to underscore the importance and validity of the HOB vote. If it really didn't matter i doubt their rhetoric would be so shrill.
While the vote was obviously necessary it just seems so sad that those who want to restrict the mission of Christ only to those they deem worthy apparently feel compelled to behave so dishonorably, and to injure so many fellow Christians in the process. How this must cause pain to the sacred heart of Christ.
Pray for the church catholic. We are all brothers and sisters. Even those who reject us, who spit on us, who seek to do us harm.