January 24, 2007

That's My Church!


The Colossus passes along this report that Bishop Peter Saruman Lee has officially "inhibited" the clergy associated with the eleven congregations that recently voted to secede from the ECUSA:

“Your association with a group of people that has abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church and rejected its authority and the authority of the Diocese of Virginia constitute your abandonment of the Communion of the Episcopal Church,” states a letter signed by Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee. “If, in the next six months, you retract your actions of abandonment, this inhibition may be lifted. But at the end of six months, if you have not retracted your actions, you may be released from the obligations of priesthood in this church and removed from the ordained ministry.”

I admit that I do not know exactly what "inhibition" is in the clerical context except that I assume Bishop Lee is barring the priests in question from performing any officially sanctioned liturgical services. So take heed, you secessionist congregations - those Communion waifers no longer count.

It might seem odd that the Bish appears to be trying to bench these folk when they've already picked up their ball and gone home. My guess is that this is, in fact, a requirement dictated by the terms of canon law. Once those terms have been satisfied, the Diocese will be free to form a hollow square and symbolically snip the stoles off their cassocks.

Of more temporal interest, I also suspect (although I confess that I don't actually know) that O-fficially giving these priests the boot from the Communion allows or legally enhances the ability of the ECUSA to go after them for personal liability in connection with their handling of their respective parish properties, something that was threatened by Lee to all clergy and vestry members in the Diocese who dared to stray from the party line (and which still rankles the bejaysus out of me).

Sigh. More trouble. But remember, we're all One Big Happy Family! Really! Or else!

NOBODY expects the Episcopal Inquisition!

Posted by Robert at January 24, 2007 11:50 AM | TrackBack

Double secret probation?

Will the Nigerian bishops un-inhibit them? To me, it seems that if the churches are affiliating with the Nigerians, the Nigerians will have to make a public statement to the effect that the priests are fully able to perform their sacramental duties, in order to reassure the faithful. They might ultimately even have to send a bishop in to reordain them.

In other words, it seems to me that by doing this, this almost certainly brings ECUSA into direct conflict with another church in the Anglican Communion. Saying a church is abandoned is one thing, but going into a canon law battle like this is going to cause some serious ill will.

I'm reminded of the Fred Thompson line in "Hunt for Red October" -- "This business will get out of control and [the Anglicans] will be lucky to live through it."

Posted by: The Colossus at January 24, 2007 02:11 PM

In Massachusetts, one parish is leaving peacefully.


It's the only story I've seen from Massachusetts Episcopals on the subject. The Episcopal church there must be very liberal indeed.

Posted by: The Colossus at January 24, 2007 02:19 PM

It's interesting that Martyn Minns, the rector at Truro, is not on the list, apparently in recognition that he was duly, er, hibited by the Bishop of Nigeria. If he is a recognized Bishop himself now, what would stop the legitimacy of his, er, hibiting the rectors of the other secessionist churches?

It's also interesting that the Diocese is targeting the rector of All Saints in Woodbridge, a parish that had worked out an "amicable" settlement with Bishop Lee. As I understand it, he and his flock are being allowed to occupy their church for a given period of time while they work to raise funds and build a new one. My spies tell me that the Diocese doesn't think they're going to manage it before the time limit runs up, and will have no hesitation in booting them out regardless.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at January 24, 2007 02:22 PM

"Nobody expects the Episcopal Inquisition! Bring in the comfy chair!"

Posted by: Gary at January 24, 2007 02:56 PM

And the soft cushions.

Posted by: rbj at January 24, 2007 02:59 PM

Follow the money...when inhibited, one loses all accumulated retirement funds as well as the ability to go and support yourself elsewhere by ministering under another bishop. Being inhibited also creates the paper trail for all eternity who actually left who. In this case it was not Bishop Lee that departed from the teachings of the church by voting to put an active homosexual and known alcoholic into a miter. It is the priests of the eleven churches who believed according to the teachings and canons of the church Bishop Lee was the one who violated his ordination vows.

Just because one wears a miter doesn't mean they won't lie, obfuscate, or destroy those in their way. Bishop Lee has a perverted idea of what it means to support and uphold the teachings of the church as well as to be a shepherd of Christ's flock. I hope his wife gave his asbestos boxers for Christmas.

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at January 24, 2007 05:42 PM

Most the priests I've known were uninhibited. Totally.

Posted by: Ralph L. at January 27, 2007 10:05 AM