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Re: [HoB/D] News Conference Prepared Remarks of Bishop Robert Duncan
XXXX, when GC amended Title IV, Canon 10 (1994?) to drop the requirement
of a trial, did anyone anticipate the situation in Rosemont? It is my
understanding that the requirement for a trial was dropped for two
1) Often someone who has abandoned the Communion of this Church is no
longer even able to be found. The change allowed the Church to take
action without having to find the person.
2) Usually those who have abandoned the faith, even when located, do not
challenge the charge. It therefore seemed mean spirited to subject them
to a trial.
I doubt that those who wrote the canon intended it to be used to deny
someone the right to a trial who says she or he has not 'openly renounced
the doctrine, discipline or worship of this Church.' How 'openly' is
'openly'? That is a very thin thread on which to depose a priest.
Father Moyer has not "openly renounced the doctrine, discipline or worship
of this Church." Quite the contrary, he openly denies the charges. The
Bishop of Pennsylvania and the Standing Committee of Pennsylvania have a
clear right to their interpretation, but I think they were unwise and
unfair to contradict Father Moyer without doing so under a separate canon
which would have given him the right to a trial -- a trial in which they
and he would have the obligation of making a strong case.
We will be in a terrible mess if others follow this example, giving each
bishop and Standing Committee the right to say that a person does not mean
what the person says and to be done with the person without a trial where
counsel is present and other processes are duly followed.
I disagree with Father Moyer on many particulars, but not this one.
I disagree with Bishop Duncan on many particulars, but not this one.
I was present at the Mass in Pittsburgh yesterday, to be as loving and
non-anxious as I could be. I sat with my friends in the Women's Caucus.
I received Christ's body from Father David Moyer. I rejoice in his
courage as I rejoice in the courage of my friend Bishop Bennison and my
friends on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
There is a way out of this, a way at once hard and easy. I bid my friends
on all sides to desist in trying to decide who is worthy to be at the
Table. I urge Father Moyer to leave to God his quesions as to whether
Bishop Bennison has abandoned the faith; I urge Bishop Bennison to give
Father Moyer a fair trial before his peers.
On Sep 7 1:17pm XXXXX XXXXX wrote:
> I am not trying to get into a fight here, but I do think incorrect statements about our canons and due process need a response.
> In fact, the canons of our Church do permit a priest to be deposed
> without trial. And, such an action has happened any number of times in
> our Church in any number of dioceses. And this can happen, and does
> happen, with due process provisions for the priest. The rights of the
> priest are specified within the canon in question and in other portions
> of Title IV.
> Title IV. Canon 10. is titled "Of Abandonment of the Communion of This
> Church by a Priest or Deacon." Under the provisions of that canon, if
> the Standing Committee determines (by a 3/4 vote) that a priest has
> openly renounced the doctrine, discipline or worship of this Church,
> they communicate such to the Bishop of the diocese. If the Bishop
> affirms the determination, the Bishop inhibits the priest for 6 months.
> (Please note the Bishop cannot act unilaterally. There is a check and
> balance here as there often is in our system.) There is a process that
> continues on - too much content to repeat here. But no trial is required
> - and deposition is an option under the provisions of this canon.
> Desiring to remain a priest of this Church does not make it so. One must subscribe to the declaration required in Article VIII of the Constitution - the vow to subscribe to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church.
> The canons govern our common life as a Church. It would help if we all would read them, including our bishops.
> XXXXXX XXXXX
> >News Conference Prepared Remarks of Bishop Robert Duncan
> >Source: AAC News
> >September 6, 2002
> >6th September, A.D. 2002
> >THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS: Fr. David Moyer was "deposed" without trial.
> >For one who desires to remain a priest of the Episcopal Church, such an
> action is without precedent in the history of our nation and our Church.
> We would not be standing here today - on land once owned by the founder
> of Pennsylvania -- if the Bishop of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) had
> granted David the accustomed civil and ecclesiastical right to a fair
> and open trial.