Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bp. Schofield is Not Pleased with "Meddling" Episcopalians

The Lead points us to a recent letter from Bp. Schofield to the Rev. Canon Brian Cox and the Rev. Canon Robert Moore, who have been appointed by the Presiding Bishop to be a pastoral presence for Episcopalians in San Joaquin. Here's part of that letter:

...It is my understanding that you have been hired by the Presiding Bishop’s Office to be a part of an interim pastoral presence with oversight in the Diocese of San Joaquin. This fact indicates one of the two things: 1) You do not believe that the Diocese was capable of removing itself from TEC in December 2007, and therefore you are intruding into the internal affairs of a recognized TEC diocese; or, 2) You do believe this diocese left TEC in 2007 and you are entering into the internal affairs of a diocese of another province.

In either case, at present, The Episcopal Church has begun attacking both me and this diocese. Your coming here is unconscionable in that you are meddling in the affairs of San Joaquin with neither the courtesy of requesting my permission as bishop nor even troubling to inform me of your plans. Such actions are hardly those of men with honorable intentions.

Even though you have already taken it upon yourself to be in contact with clergy and parishes, under no circumstances are you welcome to hold meetings in this diocese or to ask permission of clergy or other leaders to do so...
Now we know where the Standing Committee learned to write with such a harsh tone, don't we?

It is difficult to believe Bp. Schofield is really this confused. I think the letter was a fishing expedition. The matter is rather simple.

Of course those working with the Presiding Bishop (as well as most Episcopalians) can only consider the first option (a diocese cannot unilaterally remove itself from TEC). There is indeed an Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. But you are not the Bishop of that Diocese, by your personal decision to abandon that position to join another Province.

As the process of deposition requires a meeting of the House of Bishops, one could claim that technically, yes, you are still the Bishop, for a few more weeks. But, even when considering that technical status, you are also an inhibited Bishop, facing charges to be heard before your peers. You cannot provide appropriate pastoral care to the Episcopalians in your area. According to the Presiding Bishop, it is questionable if the Standing Committee can either.

The faithful Episcopalians in San Joaquin have requested pastoral care from our Presiding Bishop. Such care has been provided. If you are indeed now a member of the Southern Cone, I don't see how the method of providing appropriate pastoral care to faithful Episcopalians is any longer any of your business.


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