Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Excellent article from the Anglican Communion Institute!

Written by: 
Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Bishop Pierre Whalon’s recent essay, “Polity Politics,” offers a critique of the amicus curiae brief submitted to the Texas Supreme Court by ACI and seven bishops of The Episcopal Church. Surprisingly, there is much with which we agree in this essay, especially the conclusion Bishop Whalon reaches at the mid-point that “on the face of it, the seven bishops are right.” He goes on to assert that although we are right “on the face of it,” we are nonetheless ultimately wrong in light of his interpretation of TEC’s history, Constitution (which he never quotes) and ordination vows. While we disagree with him on these latter points, it is useful to start with the common ground where Bishop Whalon’s observations support the perspective expressed in the amicus brief.
Common Ground
First, Bishop Whalon observes correctly that while “hierarchy is natural” each denomination exhibits it “in wildly different ways.” In this broader context, he finds TEC’s form of government “idiosyncratic.” We agree with this because it underscores the basic point of the amicus brief. Bishop Whalon’s observations about TEC’s idiosyncratic governance are based on his readings of 2000 years of church tradition and 200 years of TEC history. He puts these interpretations forward in an effort to go beyond what is true on “the face of it” to opine more fully on “what a hierarchy is.”
It is important to stress that the document Bishop Whalon critiques in his online essay is a legal argument filed in a court of law. We welcome the opportunity to engage in a lively online debate on these important issues and to discuss them in church meetings and journals. But it is not the role of the civil courts to delve into this fascinating topic, sort through multiple issues of church history and attempt to analyze properly each of the “wildly different” church polities. This becomes an imperative when the civil courts confront a form of church government that is admittedly “idiosyncratic.” The courts must stop at what is true on the face of it or go no further. That, in a nutshell, is the primary argument of the amicus brief.

These are the first three paragraphs in the article. It really is an excellent summary of the points and arguments in the amicus brief and how it applies to dioceses today and in particular The Diocese of South Carolina. 


  1. Thanks for coming to the Halloween/Fall party at the Tabby Cat Club. Always fun to see you. Hope you made it home safely. Remember what happened at the party stays at the party.

  2. Civil law has no place in church. If the infidel wretches of the Revolution had not dismantled the Anglican church's supreme governer; you would not be in court. Notice how Catholic affairs do not go to civil courts?
    As for hierarchy it must yield to the priesthood of all believers, as you will find that it will...Or such will be displaced, and your institution will suffer for it. Why should those of the faith leave the Episcopal Church for another faction?
    Lets physically remove your arch-bishop Kathy. And remove all nihilists, and secular-humanists from your denomination; leaving only the 'reactionary' fringe.