Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Duncan Half-In, Half-Out

ENS this evening released a story that the Title IV Review Committee has agreed that Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan has abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church. That could have been that, if the three "senior bishops with jurisdiction" had agreed, as they did in the inhibition of Schofield.

The members of the Title IV Review Committee are Upper South Carolina Bishop Dorsey Henderson (committee chair), Bishop Suffragan David C. Jones of Virginia, Bishop C. Wallis Ohl Jr. of Northwest Texas, Bishop Suffragan Bavi E. Rivera of Olympia, Bishop James Waggoner of Spokane, the Rev. Carolyn Kuhr of Montana, the Very Rev. Scott Kirby of Eau Claire, J.P. Causey Jr. of Virginia, and Deborah J. Stokes of Southern Ohio. Please note: None of those people are notorious liberals. They come from the mainstream of our church.

I don't know what evidence was presented, though the ENS story points to it. But I was impressed that the very diverse Title IV Review Committee found the evidence clear and persuasive.

In meeting after meeting, Duncan has excoriated the Episcopal Church. He has done it within his diocese. He has done it in U.S. meetings such as the Hope and a Future conference. He has done it in his trips to Africa, in which he participated in the consecration of non-TEC bishops to serve in the U.S. To wee laypeople like me, it is clear that he has not simply abandoned the "doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church," but is actively working to destroy the Episcopal Church. And let us not forget the words he has spoken on the Choose This Day video, in which he says TEC isn't even a Christian church.

So I was dismayed that the ENS story proceeds to report that the three "senior bishops with jurisdiction" declined to assent to the findings of the Title IV Review Committee. Are the senior bishops just feckin' blind? Are they paying no attention to what Schofield is doing in San Joaquin? [I bet the answer to that question is "yes," for many TEC bishops are willfully stupid when it comes to following news about our own church.] Will they refuse to act until after Duncan has "pulled a Schofield" by stealing church property and dismissing clergy?

The "three senior bishops" who declined to ratify the inhibition are Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, Peter Lee of Virginia, and Don Wimberly of Texas. No one knows (yet) which voted "yea" or "nay." We don't know whether it was one or two or all three of them who blocked this step. But these guys are blinder than a stump. When it comes to discerning what Duncan is doing in TEC, my cats must be smarter than they are. I spew them out of my mouth and onto the blog.

Three Blind Mice – Which is the Blindest?

[Left to right: Leo Frade, Peter Lee, Don Wimberly]

Postscript: While I was writing this, Father Jake was digging more deeply into the canons and inhibition documents. Go over there and read more. My only quibble is that Jake assumes it was Bishop Wimberly who "blinked." I haven't yet seen any evidence of who or how many of the old white guys blinked.

The Episcopal Café is also following the story. Count on them and Father Jake to stay on top of the news while I go to bed.

Mark Harris now has also weighed-in. Count on Mark to be careful and generous. He does not disappoint.

Addendum (01.17.08): Please see my follow-on essay here.


Blogger MadPriest said...

You get even more coverage in this report, Lisa.


1/16/2008 2:05 AM  
Blogger MadPriest said...

I'll try again


1/16/2008 2:06 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Oh, great. :( I really wanted another newspaper to cite me by name without verifying any of the facts, without trying to contact me.

I am truly grateful that you let me know, MP. But wouldn't it be nice if those folks would talk to me?


1/16/2008 2:16 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Go et 'em, Lisa.

The link did not work for me. OK, it finally worked. That's curious, coming from an Arizona newspaper.

What a mess.

1/16/2008 8:00 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

That would be, "Go get 'em, Lisa".

1/16/2008 8:43 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

Leo is Cuban. He may be old but he's a "good guy." The status of both Duncan and Schofield is the same - just that Duncan can still do episcopal acts. Both are still administering their dioceses. Both will come before the House of Bishops on the charges. The HoB will vote and if a majority agrees - they must be deposed by the PB.

1/16/2008 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John 2007 writes:

Lisa, you are always so charitable. How nice of you to compare Bishops trying to live out their responsibilities with 'blind mice.' How nice of you to say that Duncan and conservatives are trying to 'destroy' the church. There is something for being temperate, not to mention respectful, when one publishes. How about a little bit of that?

1/16/2008 2:29 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ann, I'm not saying any of them aren't "good guys." But remember back last March when the bishops were shocked -- shocked! -- to learn of the Chapman memo and the various shenanigans that the Network crowd had pulled? That stuff had been well known by readers of ECafe, Thinking Anglicans, Father Jake's, Preludium, and MadPriest for many, many months. But too many of those bishops live in a bubble. I wonder if that's relevant in this case, too.

If the things Duncan has said and done does not constitute an abandonment of the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church, then what the heck will it take?

1/16/2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

John2007, the irony in your comment is almost as subtle as the anger in my essay.

I stand by my "three blind mice" analogy for any of those senior bishops who didn't consent to the deposition. Remember what happened to the three blind mice in the nursery rhyme? The farmer's wife cut off their tails with a carving knife. If bishops Frade, Lee, and Wimberly are seeking to protect the church, they'd better wake up and smell the coffee, for Duncan has his carving knife well sharpened.

I did not say – nor do I believe – that all conservatives join in Duncan's wish to destroy the Episcopal Church. I said he wants to destroy it. To be more precise, I should have said he wants to replace or destroy it. All you have to do is read and watch what he has said over the past 3+ years to know that.

Thank you for asking me to be just a little bit temperate and respectful. A little temperate and respectful? I can manage that.

1/16/2008 6:51 PM  
Blogger johnieb said...

Who are you, that I have no been reading, though I have long noticed your tag at The Mad One's; your jabber with Fr. Jake led me over and then I saw your posters and I thought "Damn! Another little secret!"

Hi Everybody!

So? I must wait, as should be.

1/16/2008 8:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

JohnieB, I hope your note means that you're happy you've found your way over here. Yes, some of the lunatics who rave at MP's also rave over here. And I rant and rave here a lot more than I do at MP's.


1/16/2008 9:30 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Lisa, remind me -- frequently -- not to annoy you. ;-)

The canon is set up as it is because the damage to a ministry done by inhibition is significant. We lay folk do not have a good record where, "innocent unless proven guilty" is concerned. So, there are layer upon layer of approvals to keep one or two vindictive groups from pushing a bishop over the cliff.

Yes, I agree Bp. Duncan should be deposed. And if the HoB does not do so, they are foolish. But, I do not have a problem with one or more of the senior bishops saying we can wait until he is.

All in good time.


Jim's Thoughts

1/17/2008 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/17/2008 12:51 PM  
Blogger David said...

Ah yes, Lisa's place is part of the same asylum as Fr. Jake's, MP's, etc...

::waves 'hello' at johnieb::

1/17/2008 12:53 PM  
Blogger sharecropper said...

I've known Leo Frade since the early 80s, and I think he would be cognizant of all the issues surrounding Duncan. And, Peter Lee has his own problems. But, Don Wimberly is another ballgame.

Still, I think they were probably right not to vote affirmative on this case since it's not as clear cut as Schofield. However, Duncan is clearly setting himself up for it.

1/17/2008 4:51 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Too bad, John2007. You're outta here. I've made it clear I'm not going to tolerate name-calling. You use the "sodomy" argument to buttress your "argument," and poof!, you're gone. People like you just weary me. Get over your fear and/or loathing of gay men's sexual activity.

This is my blog. I get to make the rules. Say all you want at your blog. I'll staunchly support a diverse and tolerant Episcopal Church, but I'm not tolerant of name-calling here in my virtual living room. Deal with it.

Besides, you had pretty much copied-and-pasted your comment from other Episcopalians' blogs into this one. At least try to be creative. We queers value creativity.

1/17/2008 9:22 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Sharecropper, I believe it's every bit as clear-cut as Schofield's. The canons don't talk about what the diocesan convention may do; they address the actions of clergy. And Duncan has abandoned the Episcopal Church every bit as clearly as Schofield. The only difference is that Duncan's convention hasn't yet shouted "hallelujah" a second time.

At least that's how it looks to me.

1/17/2008 9:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

JimB, I hope your opening remark really was in jest. You are right, though: I was angry -- very angry -- when I posted this piece. I've had a couple of days to reflect on it and to read some other reflections. I'm working now on a followup.

In fact, I do think I was too intemperate in some of my comments about the three senior bishops. I've been tempted either to pull this essay or to edit it. But I decided that would not be honest. Instead, I'll post a follow-up as soon as I can.

1/17/2008 9:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


Not entirerly. I was certainly tring to make you smile a little. On the other hand, you were really eloquently (You should pardon the phrase.) pissed off!


1/19/2008 10:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for the clarification, Jim. Your opening line did indeed make me smile.

But I love the "eloquently pissed off" line. That's one I'm going to treasure. ;-)

1/19/2008 11:58 PM  
Anonymous In Miami said...


The link listed above is a letter from Bishop Leo confirming his vote to inhibit Bishop Duncan. I think we all know that Donny boy in Houston is the one supporting Duncan.

2/14/2008 10:34 PM  

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