Friday, March 16, 2007

South Carolina Postscript

Every time you think an outcome is going to be either A (Mark Lawrence gets the necessary consents and is consecrated) or B (he fails to get the necessary consents and is not consecrated), it seems like the answer turns out to be Q. In this case, Q = Mark Lawrence gets the necessary consents but some of them don't meet the formal requirements of the canons regarding signatures, hence the election is ruled null and void by the Presiding Bishop, and the process in South Carolina is back to square one.

Now, I'm as much of a "due process" kind of guy as you're likely to meet on any given day, so I am not without sympathy for the position the Presiding Bishop's office found itself in. But surely some creativity could have been found in the service of the communion of the church. Rather than voiding the election, might she not have asked those standing committees whose consents were formally defective to remedy the problem in an expeditious manner? In the meantime, she could have announced that it appears the requisite number of consents have been received, but there are some technicalities to work out.

Rules are good and order is good and processes are good. Those who know me will tell you I practically wrote the book on those subjects. But...jeepers creepers! Sometimes one has to just get real.

5 comments:

Unkle Phil said...

It has been my experience when vacationing in Mexico that most, if not all, taxi drivers speak better than passable English - except when it is not in their personal interest to do so.

Miz Minka said...

I wish the PB would disappear. Naïve, I know.

Malcolm French+ said...

1.) It was the responsibility of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina to receive, collate and forward the consents of Standing Committees. It appears the Standing Committee failed in its responsibilities, not the Presiding Bishop.

2.) The Presiding Bishop had already (and perhaps uncanonically) extended the 120 day deadline by a further three days.

3.) These rules have only been in place since 1799, when communications were far more difficult.

One feels sympathy for Fr. Lawrence - who seems, all told, a decent sort. One feels very little sympathy for the diocesan bureaucracy.

Widening Gyre said...

It amazes me that so many who have actively opposed Mark now show up to express sympathy and offer such hollow praise (e.g., "who by all accounts is a decent and honorable man,etc."

I'm with you, Dan. Yes rules are good, but rules don't give life. I seem to remember hearing that somewhere before in the not so distant past.

Anonymous said...

I do believe an investigation is in order. Did some who opposed Mark issue consent in the wrong form so they could say they supported him but not in action? Was this a "way out" offered by the PB or others high in the church? Have other bishops received consents not in the correct format, but had the consents accepted?

Personally, I believe supporting members of the Diocese of South Carolina should file a civil lawsuit against the PB, with the goal of answering these questions via the process of legal disclosure.

This is not a scandal now. But if other Bishops received consents in the incorrect form, but were approved, the PB will have a scandal on her hands.

Second, I believe all parishes and dioceses who are disappointed, discouraged, or upset at this action, and believe it was handled in the wrong way, should voice their displeasure, and perhaps lack of confidence, in the PB with letters signed by the parish vestry (and if possible the rector) to the PB expressing this displeasure.

A bold diocese would call an emergency diocesan meeting to discuss and resolve this issue and other recent issues of concern. Now is not the time for cowardice. We have tried that path for, what, 30 years now. I has not worked yet, and we don't have another 30 years.

We have become King George's church again, but the monarch and the primate are one and the same.