With Fort Worth’s votes this weekend, three Dioceses have passed on the first reading of changes to their Constitutions which would effectively remove them from the Episcopal Church – San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, and Ft. Worth. All three Diocesan Bishops have been threatened by the Presiding Bishop with presentment. I find these threats insulting to the laity and clergy of the Episcopal Church.
What the Presiding Bishop fails to realize is that, in our unique polity, Diocesan bishops merely preside over their conventions. The cannot dictate on what resolutions the convention will vote. Additionally, in the Dioceses in which I am familiar, there is no power for the bishop to veto legislative actions of the Diocesan Convention. Therefore, it is neither plausible nor fair to hold bishops liable for what their conventions do.
Moreover, I am disgusted by the presumptuous approach of the Presiding Bishop. Then again, liberalism in the Episcopal Church is largely clericalism. For liberal Episcopalians, it is all about who gets to wear what collar or hat. In 2003, rather than getting the theology straight on same sex blessings, they first voted to have an openly gay bishop. This, of course, was watershed.
If and when a Diocese votes to leave the Episcopal Church, the only legal issue out there is whether their is a trust on the Diocesan property in favor of the Episcopal Church. All the rest is extortion and clericalism.
South Park’s Cartman comes to mind – “You must respect my authoritie.”