The Anglican Scotist has a provocative piece this morning arguing, in effect, that bishops ought to crack down on potentially secessionist congregations sooner. Otherwise, they risk having to rely on state law to enforce the Church’s polity.
He writes: “If it is indeed so important to defend episcopal polity as, to be unduly modest, a causally accessible possibility in our republic, our Bishops et al should not have left that defense to the expedient of secular law. What? I mean this, for instance: Bishop Lee should have inhibited Father Minns long before he became Bishop Minns, and brought the parish of Truro under a vicar. If the canons national or diocesan precluded it–which I for the record scarcely believe–he should have taken the risk anyhow, throwing himself in effect at the mercy of his fellow bishops, clergy, and the larger body of Episcopalian laity.”
I think Episcopal bishops have two unattractive options: a) they can negotative in the hopes of showing that our Church is conciliatory towards its theological minority, while that minority prepares to seceed and clam the property; or they can act quickly and risk being cited as cause for further intrusion by other provinces and the Panel of Refrence.
As time goes on, it becomes clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury would happily settle the crisis in the Communion at our expense, so maybe we should forget about remaining in anyone’s good graces and take the steps necessary to defend our Church–against both the secessionists and the Anglican bureaucracy.