Tuesday, November 28, 2006

San Joaquin's Constitutional Changes

This weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin will be considering changes to their Diocesan Constitution.

From the "Explanation":

...Accordingly, the Diocese of San Joaquin now determines, through the following amendments to the Constitution and with appropriate consultation (eg. Archbishop of Canterbury/Primates of the Anglican Communion) to transfer all relationships and communion from ECUSA to an Anglican Province to be determined at a Special Convention called by the Bishop of San Joaquin. (emphasis added)
Here is the first proposed amendment:

Amend Article II of the Constitution as follows:
Acceding to the Constitution of the Episcopal Church Faith, Order and Practice of a Province of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church known as the Anglican Communion -

The Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin accedes to The Constitution the Faith, Order and Practice of a province of that branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church known as the Episcopal Church in the United States of America the Anglican Communion. Such accession shall be determined by the majority vote of the delegates of the Diocese of San Joaquin convened at a Special Convention called by the Bishop of San Joaquin of the General Convention of the same and until such action is taken, the Diocese intends to continue in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury and all Anglican provinces and dioceses which uphold the Catholic Faith.
Lionel Deimel, in an essay entitled Unqualified Accession, points us to Article V, Section I of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church:

After consent of the General Convention, when a certified copy of the duly adopted Constitution of the new Diocese, including an unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of this Church, shall have been filed with the Secretary of the General Convention and approved by the Executive Council of this Church, such new Diocese shall thereupon be in union with the General Convention.
Three other dioceses, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Quincy, have recently added "qualifications" to their accession clauses in their constitutions, but none of them approach the extremes being proposed by San Joaquin.

What San Joaquin is attempting to do would seem to be clear to eveyone; "...transfer all relationships and communion from ECUSA to an Anglican Province..." What might be the appropriate response to this? Here's Lionel's recommendation:

...In summary, I believe that amendments to diocesan constitutions to qualify their accession clauses are intrinsically unconstitutional and, even ignoring the transparent plans of the bishops of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes to subvert the polity of The Episcopal Church, the bishops of the dioceses of Fort Worth, Quincy, Pittsburgh, and San Joaquin could be presented, found guilty, and deposed at any time for the constitutional changes they have effected alone. Given the conspiracy against Episcopal Church polity of which these bishops are major instigators, I believe that they should be.
I agree. What are we waiting for?

J.

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