Saturday, October 02, 2004

Innovation by ECUSA in Letters Dimissory

[Note - for a priest or Minister resident and licensed in one diocese to move to another diocese he is required in the Anglican Way to have sent "Letters Dimissory" which is the official permission to move given by the bishop and its sending presumes the Minister to be in good standing. At its recent meeting the House of Bishops of the ECUSA put its own spin on this ancient procedure. The background is of course the crisis in the ECUSA . See below the text for my comment --- Peter Toon]

Interim Meeting of the House of Bishops
Davenport Hotel
Spokane, Washington
September 23rd - 28th, 2004
Mind of the House Resolution

Resolved: That the transfer of a canonical residence to a diocese in another Province of the Anglican Communion shall meet the following guidelines:(a) The bishop is satisfied that the ministry of the person requesting transfer is to be exercised within the geographic boundaries of the diocese or the Province of the Anglican Communion to which the transfer is to be made.(b) The bishop is satisfied that there are no pending disciplinary proceedings or related matters regarding the individual requesting the transfer.
(Explanation: The House of Bishops rejects the practice of transfer of canonical residence to allow a priest or bishop to exercise ordained ministry outside of the geographical boundaries of his or her canonical license.)
September 27th, 2004

Comment on (a) The sending Bishop is supposed to send the Minister in good faith to the other Bishop, who is then wholly responsible for his licensing and deployment. This requirement makes the sending Bishop into the judge of what the receiving Bishop will or will not do, can or cannot do. If the sending Bishop has a complaint against another Bishop then he should do all in his power to get that complain resolved.

Comment on (b). The sending Bishop could not send a Minister in good faith if there were disciplinary proceedings against him and he would need to tell the prospective receiving Bishop about these. But what are "related matters"? The Anglican Communion has been a comprehensive communion embracing people and churches of differing churchmanship and of theological convictions. This has never prevented transfers before! "Related matters" is a cover-all kind of thing and can be used to hinder or prevent movement based on personal prejudice or vendetta.

What the ECUSA bishops do not want to accept and face is that it is their adoption of innovations in a whole series of things, culminating in the sexual innovations of 2003, that has caused this present confusion and the need to cross diocesan boundaries in order to maintain the historic Faith.

This Resolution and intended practice is another nail in the coffin of the true Anglican Way in the ECUSA.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon October 1st 2004

No comments: