Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fort Worth Demands AlPO, Again

There seems to be quite a stir about a news item which broke today in which I fail to see any real "news".

It appears the Diocese of Fort Worth has issued a statement, which can be summarized as "we want Alternative Primatial Oversight (AlPO), and we really mean it this time!"

For those who are not familiar with the Diocese of Fort Worth, it is considered by some to be the Golden Fortress of Anglo-Catholicism in TEC. They oppose women's ordination. They oppose openly gay or lesbian ordination (those closeted are allowed, but they cannot bring their significant other to the dinner parties). They tolerate Evangelicals, but encourage smells and bells. They tilt towards Rome, rather than Geneva.

Their current bishop and leadership has a deep disdain for the Episcopal Church. Here's a few examples as evidence of that disdain:

  • Bishop Iker and the leadership of the diocese changed their constitution and canons so that they are no longer under the authority The Episcopal Church. This is grounds to be deposed for Abandonment of the Communion of this Church.

  • In the 2006 budget for the Diocese of Fort Worth, the giving to The Episcopal Church was reduced from $30,000 to 0, while raising the amount given to the Network from $20,000 to $50,000. Yet, they still sent a delegation to General Convention in 2006.

  • Bishop Iker has refused to share in the Holy Eucharist at meetings of the House of Bishops or General Convention.

  • Bishop Iker has instructed his clergy not to include Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in the local parish's Prayers of the People. This is documented in a letter dated July 7, 2006 from Fort Worth Via Media. He has used his position of authority to mandate his personal biases throughout his diocese.

    There's more, but you get the idea. So, as to the content of today's demand from this prince bishop and his leaders; here's part of it:

    ...While we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with TEC, it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere. This may entail a cooperative effort with other appellant dioceses in consultation with Primates of the Anglican Communion, to form a new Anglican Province of the Communion in North America. A second possibility would be for the diocese to transfer to another existing Province of the Anglican Communion. Athird possibility would be to seek the status of an extra-provincial diocese, under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as presently recognized in several other cases...
    None of these options are viable, as explained quite well by Mark Harris. But, I doubt if that will stop Fort Worth from proceeding. Damn the torpedoes, and all that other machismo stuff.

    What do I speculate will happen? I think it already has happened. Some Network bishops, specifically those who oppose women's ordination, have already entered into an agreement with a foreign Primate to be moved under their authority. There was a hint of this contained in a post by Dan Martins from late April. Note that Dan is a priest in the diocese of San Joaquin.

    Who is this Primate? Not Peter Akinola, as he's become an embarrassment to all Anglicans. Besides, he's not clear enough on the matter of women's ordination. We were told who this Primate was some time ago by Bp. Schofield of San Joaquin in a letter he wrote to the diocese:

    ...Is Our Place In The Anglican Communion Assured? Yes. First, we have a commitment from the Southern Cone (Archbishop Greg Venebles) that the bishops of his dioceses are open to our joining their Province...
    Gregory James Venables is the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone and also bishop of the diocese of Argentina. One of his most recent notorious actions was reinstating the deposed bishop of Recife. This deposed bishop is the same one who scooped up two parishes of TEC the day after the Windsor Report was released. The Bishop of Bolivia, who has plundered a few congregations that belong to TEC, is one of his lieutenants.

    The Southern Cone only allows women to be ordained to the Diaconate. I understand that the Province is considered to lean towards the more Evangelical side of things, but the Bishop of Bolivia is a Son of the House (Nashotah grad), so obviously Anglo-Catholics are welcome. Seems like as good a fit as Fort Worth and San Joaquin are going to find.

    I'll also speculate that there won't be five diocese trying to make this jump, but only the two who still get all worked up about women's ordination; Fort Worth and San Joaquin. It is being reported that the third possibility, Quincy, has claimed that they are not involved in this latest demand for AlPO.

    Why are these two dioceses so insistent in their demand for Alternative Primatial Oversight? The answer to that is obvious. Our Presiding Bishop is of the wrong gender. All the rest of their words are nothing more than attempts to cover up this simple fact.

    So, what will happen? Who knows. One thing for sure; TEC is not going to step away from the tradtion that individuals may leave the Church, but congregations and dioceses cannot. Time to elect a new bishop and a new standing committee for both these dioceses, it seems to me.

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