Admiral of Morality: Via Media: Church Should Refuse Consent to Secessionist Bishop-Elect of South Carolina

Friday, October 20, 2006

Via Media: Church Should Refuse Consent to Secessionist Bishop-Elect of South Carolina

Updated Saturday
In letters sent October 19 to bishops with jurisdiction and all the Episcopal Church's diocesan standing committees, Via Media USA argues that the episcopacy of the bishop-elect of the Diocese of South Carolina "would represent a threat to the unity of our church and to the cohesion" of the diocese.

In response to one of three questions presented to the South Carolina candidates prior to a series of meetings with the diocese, the bishop-elect, the Very Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 56, said he approved of the APO requests, calling them "a temporary gasp for air" that is needed while the Communion works out a new "Anglican ecclesiology."

Via Media USA's letters argue that "Father Lawrence's episcopacy would represent a threat to the unity of our church and to the cohesion of the Diocese of South Carolina."

The diocese of South Carolina is regarded as one of the dioceses most hostile to the leadership and General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

In the face of this, The Episcopal Forum, a group of South Carolina Episcopalians, has been working
to preserve unity with diversity in the Diocese of South Carolina and within The Episcopal Church, through the inclusion of a broad range of Scriptural understandings, and by upholding the democratic actions of its Constitution and Canons, conventions and elected leadership. They have a gathering scheduled for October 26.

Read more on the Via Media development at Episcopal News Service.

Update: It would be absurd and destructive to approve the consent of a clergyman who may be prepared to try to withdraw his diocese from The Episcopal Church or who views such actions favorably. In naval terms the equivalent would be promoting to captain a man who has stated he may sink his own ship once he has command of it.

In their letter, Via Media point out that "Father Lawrence has endorsed separating the Diocese of South Carolina from the Episcopal Church and has advocated that the authority of the General Convention be surrendered to the primates of the Anglican Communion. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to see how Father Lawrence could be asked or expected to take the vow required of each bishop in The Episcopal Church to 'guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church' (BCP page 517)."

The obvious solution is to demand assurances he will not do so or barring this, refuse to give him consent.

The Church should not consent to put in a position of authority a man who will work to undermine this very Church.


Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

Thumbs down for the Salmonite because "his matter of life represents a threat" to every emotionally healthy Christian in The Episcopal Church!

10/20/2006 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Aye-aye, Admiral!

10/21/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger The AoM said...

A blanket consent of the kind envisioned by the current leadership of that diocese and some of its secessionist allies, is not realistic. They have certainly tried to raise the rhetoric by suggesting that the consent was proper as per canons and constitutions and that anything dsputing this is just spite. But this is just predictable rhetoric.

If Lawrence stated as part of his selection that he is open to breaking up The Episcopal Church, that can hardly be construed as guarding the unity of the Church.

This bishop-elect will certainly have to be questioned further, at a minimum by the House of Bishops. They must demand clarification of his remarks as well as assurances of his good faith and that he will be a faithful steward of what he wants handed over to him. If they cannot be convinced then they must recommend that consent not be given.

This is reasonable given the circumstances in that diocese and the hostility to the wider Church many of its clergy and other candidates have regularly expressed.

When another candidate for bishop in that diocese, The Rev. Canon Ellis Brust, chief operating officer of the American Anglican Council, lost to Lawrence, Brust immediately switched allegiances to the Anglican Mission in America group, which operates under the auspices of The Anglican Church in Rwanda and tries to poach Episcopal parishes.

Lisa brought up a good point at her blog. If Brust so eagerly and easily renounced his vows to the Church when at the same time he was trying to be elected a bishop in it, there is certainly something rotten in the Diocese of South Carolina.

10/22/2006 01:53:00 PM  

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