Episcopal Life Online reported on February 11th on the formation of a steering committee representing a “broad theological spectrum” which would “begin to reconstitute the Fresno-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.” A listening tour is scheduled, beginning February 19th.
The article goes on to provide a review of recent events. In particular,
On January 25, [the Presiding Bishop] wrote to members of the standing committee who, along with Schofield, had in December 2007 voted to realign the Central California diocese with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone….Unconfirmed reports circulated the same week that Schofield had, himself, fired six of the eight-member standing committee who, although supportive of disaffiliation with TEC, questioned the move to the Southern Cone. Because of their doubts, Schofield in a statement on the diocesan website, had allegedly determined they were unable to serve.
Tobias Haller wonders
The question comes down to, and has been posed as: does casting an improper vote or failing to exercise due diligence in preventing improper actions by others cause one automatically to abdicate an elected office? I would say not, for there are canonical procedures in place to address these failings; there is no mere ipso facto deposition absent an action by those with the authority to impose such a sentence. Even if the charge is abandonment of the communion of this Church (which is well appropriate if one voted to leave it and join Cono Sur) this should properly be addressed by the use of the canon next after the one already applied to the errant Bishop.
The situation is complicated by the fact that it is the Standing Committee itself that normally brings charges in such a case. As the old Latin tag has it, Qui custodet ipsos custodes — who will guard the guardians?
What is your opinion?
About the Southern Cone, see also Katie Sherrod’s latest on the Diocese of Fort Worth.