Friday, January 11, 2008

Another Canadian Gets It Right

Yesterday we discussed the letter sent by Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada to the Primates of the Anglican Communion. At the end of that discussion I suggested that we needed to keep our eyes to the North in hope of learning some effective ways to resist the invasion of foreign bishops.

Some of those "effective ways to resist" have now been made public. They can be found in a letter from the Right Reverend Cyrus Pitman, Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, to his clergy. Here's part of it:

...Invitations to those not holding the Bishop’s licence.
It is necessary for me to emphasize an old requirement in the Anglican Communion which, while often overlooked in the past, is from this day forward to be precisely observed within this Diocese: no one, absolutely no one, from another diocese or another Province is to be asked to exercise any ministry in any of our parishes except by the direct invitation of the Diocesan Bishop. In our own context, this includes licensed individuals from the other two dioceses in Newfoundland and Labrador. I strongly emphasize the importance of this requirement. This is not a new idea, but an old practice; and it is consistent with our diocesan and national Canons. The invitation can only be extended by the Bishop.

Those contemplating departure
I value people’s individual conscience, and our Church has always accommodated a diversity of opinion. However, I would expect any clergy involved in the Network and working to the establishment of a parallel jurisdiction to the Anglican Church of Canada would do the honourable thing and resign their positions, relinquishing their licences to exercise ordained ministry in this Church as their leader has done.

The Cathedral Chapter
As of December 31, 2007, I plan to draw the present Cathedral Chapter to a close. I want to thank the members for their contributions to the life of the Cathedral and of the Diocese. After due deliberation I will be appointing a new Cathedral Chapter at an appropriate time. The incumbents in the Offices of Dean and Administrative Assistant to the Bishop will remain in place.

Licensing of All Clergy
I intend to issue new licences to all those who are ordained, to be done in the context of renewing our ordination vows. To this end I will be gathering all clergy on the island portion of the Diocese to the Cathedral on January 21, 2008 at 2 p.m. The clergy of the Archdeaconry of Labrador will receive their new licences at the Labrador Planning and Strategy Meeting, also in January. Attendance at these gatherings is mandatory...
Now, that's what I'm talking about!

If you're not licensed, or not invited by the Bishop, stay out of his parishes. That includes you Abp. Akinola. If you are diocesan clergy and are plotting schism, resign now. To make sure this is clear, licenses for all clergy will be issued after the mandatory renewal of ordination vows, in which they will renew their vow to be obedient to the Bishop.

I need the back story on the Cathedral Chapter. Were they considering joining the schismatics? If so, dissolving that Chapter and appointing new members would seem to be a prudent move. I'm not sure Bishops in TEC have such authority in regards to Chapters or Vestries, although I do believe they can dissolve a mission's Bishop's Committee.

Now, before someone suggests that this is advocating for the use of strong authoritarianism by those who have selectively accepted or rejected the authority from other sources within the Communion, go read Tobias Haller's thoughts on that:

...Some will say, But isn't that what Canada and the US did in not following the dictates of Lambeth and the Primates? The difference, of course, is that no one has taken vows to follow the advice and counsel of either Lambeth or the Primates as a body. These bodies usurp and presume an authority they do not have...
Apples and oranges, folks.

Right Reverend Sirs and Madams and Dear Bishops of TEC,

Please end this chaos by following the example of Bishop Pitman. Remove those clergy who refuse to honor their ordination vows.


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