Monday, November 19, 2012

Epic Fail

The deed is done. The Diocese of South Carolina has formalized its separation from the Episcopal Church. The world at large will pay scant heed to this, which is appropriate. After all, terror is raining down on the inhabitants of Israel and Gaza--though, ironically, the same fear-based escalation of rhetoric and violence (thankfully, only verbal violence in the church setting) lies beneath both stories.

I'm beginning this post in my head, but I'm going to end it in my heart--or, more accurately, perhaps, in my gut.

Under what circumstances is it appropriate to sever formal institutional ecclesial communion? This is a question I have lived with and struggled with for years turned into decades. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I come at this question from a fundamentally Catholic perspective, which is to say that I understand the Church as an essentially visible organism. Institutional disunity is real disunity. My friends of a more Protestant bent (Anglican and otherwise) are able to be less anxious about schism, pointing to an underlying spiritual unity among believers that smooths out those rough places where we are still at odds with one another at a visible level. Catholics enjoy that luxury to a rather more limited extent.

For better or for worse, my lodestar on this question has been a rather obscure 19th century Church of England ecclesiologist by the name of William Palmer, particularly his 1838 Treatise on the Church of Christ. Palmer sets a rather high bar for justifiable schism. In order to separate oneself in good conscience from the ecclesial body in which one finds oneself, that church must have, in effect, ceased to be a church. And how does a church cease to be a church? By advancing heresy that is substantial, formal, and perduring. This means that a break can't be over a relatively inconsequential theological nicety. And it can't be over the mere presence of error or false teaching in a church, even if that false teaching is expounded at the highest levels of leadership, and even if it is over a question of major theological importance. This is because, by Palmer's standard, the false teaching, to be a matter that justifies schism, must be formal--that is, embedded in the official formularies of the church; namely, the core liturgical sources. But even major formal heresy doesn't "unchurch" a church, according to Palmer, because, in order for that to happen, the major, formal heresy must endure over multiple generations. Only when all three of the tests are met--substance, formality, and duration--does an ecclesial body lose its ecclesial identity, and thereby release its members from the obligation of continued communion.

There is widespread theological error in the Episcopal Church. It is held and taught at the highest levels.  And it is not minor error; it concerns the essence of divine revelation itself, and, most recently, manifests itself primarily in the area of theological anthropology--What is the human person? What is the nature and extent of the "fallenness" of human nature? What is the transcendent significance of the fact that we are created "male and female"? And while I think it's fair to say that actual heresy is not expounded widely, when it is, it is tolerated and its proponents tend to suffer no sanctions.

But ... and this is as important a but as one can imagine ... this major error is not--yet, at any rate--formal. It is material, but not formal. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer is not a perfect document, but it is an orthodox expression of the Catholic faith as we have received it in the Anglican tradition. There are authorized liturgical texts that are theologically problematic (Enriching Our Worship, for one, and, certainly, I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing). But these are not core liturgical documents. It is not only possible, but easy, to worship regularly using the texts and rubrics of the Prayer Book in a way that is orthodox by every criterion. It is possible--if a priest wishes to do so--to lead worship, teach, and provide pastoral care in a manner consonant with the tradition of classical Anglicanism in most dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

Nor has such theological error as we have in the Episcopal Church yet met the test of duration. There just hasn't been enough time. So, even if we were in formal error--which I contend we are not--Palmer's conditions, which I have now acknowledged as my own conditions, would not yet have been met, and, indeed, cannot be met within my lifetime, given that I'm in my sixties. So it looks like the Episcopal Church is stuck with me, and I with the Episcopal Church. I suspect that neither of us is always necessarily overjoyed by that fact, but there it is, nonetheless.

It is the aggregation of these considerations that shapes my view of recent events in South Carolina. With the caveat that I am not "on the ground" there, and have the luxury of observing events from a distance, even though I am in complete theological sympathy with the diocese with respect to the enormities inflicted on Episcopalians who swim in the mainstream of the Anglican tradition, I believe the action taken by their special convention on November 17 was not only unnecessary, not only ill-advised, not only a strategic and tactical blunder, but profoundly wrong.

OK, that's my head talking. Now I'm going to attempt to engage my heart and my gut (as much as an INTJ is capable of).

I am in grief, and it only compounds my pain to say what I've just said--in effect, to presume to render judgment--about people who are not abstractions to me, but who represent relationships that I treasure. So I'm going to speak to my friends in South Carolina, while allowing others to eavesdrop: I think I understand, at a feeling level, why you did what you did. I suspect you are feeling a sense of release and freedom today, and an optimistic vision of the future, having sloughed off the oppressive yoke of 815. So I'm here to tell you--your freedom comes at a cost, and the cost is borne by your friends, many who are outside of your diocesan family, but also some within it, who do not wish to take the action determined by the majority. We remain your friends--at least I remain your friend--but our standing in the church you have left is now significantly weaker than it was a few days ago. If the understanding of TEC's polity that those in your diocese have so articulately propounded--namely, that the Episcopal Church has no higher authority within the boundaries of the Diocese of South Carolina than the Bishop of South Carolina--is true, then your departure, ironically, makes it more challenging for the rest of us to continue to contend for that interpretation. (And need I mention that some of us have contended for that interpretation at a personal cost that is as yet undetermined?) The vote of your convention only deepens the chaos and intensifies the polarization that has gripped the Anglican Communion. I know you are people who love and serve the Lord with all your heart, so it is with trepidation, and through tears, that I say to you: I don't think this is of God. I don't think what you have done pleases God. If my language seems indelicate or intemperate, chalk it up to my feeling hurt. Hurt by you. Of course, I believe God is a consummate opportunist, so I expect what you have done will be redeemed, turned into good, somehow and at some time. But is not the fruit of righteousness.

Now I turn my attention in the other direction, and I'm going to use we/us first person plural language, because ... I remain an Episcopalian.

We are immeasurably impoverished as a result of this fiasco. South Carolina is one of our founding dioceses. It is a vibrant and healthy diocese, and the only one to have shown a persistent pattern of numerical growth over a period of several years when the Episcopal Church as a whole has been steadily shrinking. Their departure only hinders our witness to a society that desperately wants to hear a word of hope and reconciliation from the disciples of him who came into this world to break down all dividing walls of hostility. It also further weakens our position with the Global South majority of worldwide Anglicanism. It is tragic in every dimension.

And we ourselves bear the lion's share of responsibility. There are already voices in our midst that are calling Bishop Lawrence a liar. But Mark Lawrence is no liar. I would bet everything that is sacred to me that he took the vows of his ordination to the episcopate in pristine good faith. If the rest of us would simply have left him and his diocese alone, November 17 would never have happened. He inherited an extraordinarily delicate pastoral and political situation in the diocese when he became bishop. Many of the larger and wealthier parishes were already eager to bolt. Indeed, one soon did. Every word that proceeded out of the bishop's mouth was immediately scrutinized by forces representing all points of view, both within the diocese and beyond. In time, the diocese took action to circumscribe its position with respect to national canons that it, in good faith, believed contrary to TEC's own constitution. These actions were eventually used to pull one of the series of failsafe triggers in the whole ugly sequence of events--the certification of Bishop Lawrence as having "abandoned" the communion of the Episcopal Church. Ironically, the very basis for the certification was in fact an attempt by the Bishop and diocesan leaders to do exactly the opposite, to keep the diocese in TEC while throwing a bone to those who were pressing for departure. If outsiders--and fifth column forces within the diocese--had recognized this for what it was and just let it lie ... again, the watershed event of this past weekend would not have happened.

The complaint against Bishop Lawrence that so egregiously abused the Title IV canons on abandonment was filed by a very small group. I don't know any of them, but I can only speculate that they are of a "progressive" bent and felt themselves marginalized in the overwhelmingly evangelical and conservative climate in the diocese. I cannot begin to imagine what they thought they were accomplishing by starting this avalanche. A reconfigured Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina that is theologically in line with the mainstream of TEC? Seriously? From the standpoint of their own narrow self interest, could they have made a more short-sighted move? Then there's the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, the group that received the complaint and determined that it had merit. Their decision defies any notion of common sense, especially given that the same board, though differently composed, had previously exonerated the Bishop on the same charges, based on the same evidence. Title IV is clear that the routine protections to which we are accustomed in secular criminal proceedings do not apply. But there remains in most of us an intuitive suspicion of anything that smacks of double jeopardy.

Many on the starboard side of North American Anglicanism smell a conspiracy here. They imagine the Presiding Bishop, and her chancellor, as master puppeteers, using groups like those in the diocese who filed the charges, and the key players in the Title IV process, as shills for their overarching nefarious agenda of driving out conservatives and quashing all dissent in TEC. I have resisted such conspiracy theories, and still do, and have said as much to those who propound them. But I have to admit that the timing of events keeps me coming back for another look. Even stipulating that the Presiding Bishop's hands were canonically tied once she received notification of the DBB's finding of abandonment, the seeming lack of public anguish on her part while having to carry out a distasteful duty is jarring. And if, as has been implied, this turn of events caught her by surprise (coming, as it did, between two scheduled meetings between her and Bishop Lawrence and Bishop Waldo of Upper South Carolina to try and reach a creative solution), it is astonishing that coordinated actions between 815 and a "steering committee" of "remainers" within the diocese, even to the point of naming a de facto Provisional Bishop, could have gotten up and running so quickly.

So what should we do now? We should ....

  • Resist the temptation to burn bridges. We should inform the Diocese of South Carolina that, just as we did during the Civil War, we are not recognizing their defection. The standard party line from 815 has been "When individuals leave, we mourn but wish them well. When real estate and money leave, we fight to get them back." We need to reverse that, and say, "We don't want your money or your buildings, we want you, and we will fight to get you back. So there will be no depositions and no lawsuits. In the meantime, tell us what we can do to get you to reconsider." In other words, we need to keep a path to reconciliation open. It's what Jesus would do.
  • Own our share of the mess. The marriage canons require that, when a previously-married person with a former spouse still living seeks the Bishop's permission to have a new marriage solemnized in the church, that person must give an account of his or her share in the breakdown of the previous relationship. We owe as much to ourselves, to the people of South Carolina, and to God. There is no innocent party in this transaction. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We can't control what anybody in South Carolina says, but we can control what we say, and we need to name our collective complicity in the breakdown of this relationship.
  • Minister to those who are left behind by the departure of the diocese. I am given to understand that majorities in somewhere near 20% of the congregations of the diocese do not wish to make the trip out of TEC. Of these, all but a handful are conservative, in theological accord with Bishop Lawrence and the rest of the diocese while in disagreement with recent tactical decisions. Their pastoral needs deserve attention. Perhaps we can enlist the services of bishops in one or more of the neighboring dioceses to take these parishes under their wings as an extraordinary temporary measure. What is clear is that there is not a sufficient residue to justify the pretense of a "continuing" Diocese of South Carolina. Perhaps, with a generous expression of forbearance and humility on our part, and a generous outpouring of divine grace, we can woo the diocese back into the fold. If that happens, these parishes can rejoin their ancestral home. If not, we will need, in time, to redraw diocesan boundaries to take them in and provide for future mission work in the Low Country. But let us forego the charade in which we have indulged in San Joaquin, Fort Worth, and Quincy (Pittsburgh being a signal exception, with a critical mass of "continuers" to provide for continuity and viability). We'll all be happier, and God will be honored. Only the lawyers will be poorer. 
Of course, I don't honestly expect my advice to be taken by those with the power to actually do something creative with the hand we've been dealt. But if we just continue reading our lines from the script, we know the story won't have a happy ending, because a tragic ending is already written into the script! If we want something else, we need to throw the script away and start to improvise. Pray, brothers and sisters. Pray.


Fr.Phil said...

+Dan - KJS lawlessly sought to remove +Mark Lawrence for abandoning the communion when he had previously returned from 40 days of fasting and prayer after GC2012 resolved not to leave the province. As far as how the disciplinary board could find him guilty of abandoning the communion when less that a year ago they had declared him not guilty of the same charges from the same group, and how this doesn't violate any conception of double jeopardy, is beyond me. It is her arrogance to believe she can do anything she wants and anyone who disagrees with her should be removed (as in yourself and the Fort Worth 9). The diocese of SC had given notice that they would tolerate no such meddling in their ministry here. KJS ignored the trigger they promised thinking words don't matter when the dsc said what they meant and meant what they said. This is entirely her fault and she has been trying to undermine this diocese since I have been down here. I won't call it a conspiracy but it is an agenda. When are you going to move against her for being a heretic, a schismatic, an apostate who has now cost the province their largest diocese?

Richard Crocker said...

I appreciate your comments and its tone and general thoughtfulness, particularly the comments in the second half.
But I question your reliance on Palmer's work, and wonder whether in the end his criteria are actually potentially damaging to the church. Could they be defended from scripture, which seems much tougher on false teachers?
Richard Crocker

Matt Kennedy said...

I'm not sure why William Palmer's criteria ought to have the authority you give to them? I also think it somewhat arbitrary to narrow the definition of formal error to liturgical practice and leave aside the twice confirmed corporate decisions of official legislative bodies. The Articles are quite clear with regard to the definition of a visible church - the pure word of God proclaimed and the sacraments rightly administered. Neither is "formally" true when considering the corporate actions of TEC.

Fr. Jonathan said...

I very much appreciate this, because it resonates with my own feelings. Every time a church or a diocese decides to leave, it makes it that much more difficult for those of us who remain to bear witness, not to mention to convince our liberal brethen that we have no secret plans to go. Nonetheless, I find it hard to condemn South Carolina, given the ridiculous corner they were backed into. May God use it for good and may reconciliation be sewn.

I am curious about Palmer's criteria regarding schism as it relates to the schism between the Church of England and Rome. Did he believe that such a schism as that met all of his criteria? Also, duration seems an oddly amorphous criterion when compared to the other more tangible realities that you mentioned. How can one know when the "duration" test has actually been met?

Bishop Daniel Martins said...

Fr Jonathan,
You're right about the "duration" criterion; it is rather fuzzy around the edges. My own gloss on it would be that the test is met when formal major is heresy is clearly "hard-wired" into the system, an unquestioned permanent element in the body's manner of life. As for apply Palmer's criteria to the schism between Canterbury and Rome, as I recall, he argues that, in England, it is Rome that is in schism from the Catholic Church, because, in England, the legitimate expression of the Catholic Church is the Church of England. (Remember, it was Rome that broke communion with Canterbury, well into the reign of Elizabeth, not vice versa. Trying to parse events during Henry's reign is a red herring, in light of the fact that communion was restored under Mary.) Of course, Palmer's paradigm of "one true church in one geographic locale" does not export well to the pluralistic environment of the colonies!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Matt -- there's been extensive formal heresy as enacted by the national councils of the church: formal, national, official, legal, and in writing. I don't see how formal, national, official, legal, in writing acts by the primary council of the church can't be counted as "formal."

Nevertheless, I think that discussion of whether TEC is a "church" is distracting and essentially irrelevant. If TEC is a church, there is also an organizational structure that supports the church. And I find it breathtaking to assert -- as Bishop Martins appears to -- that it is *intrinsically immoral to leave an organizational structure*. And that's what he's saying.

I mean -- if you're a member of the organization surrounding Methodism, and you realize that you're not Methodist in theology but rather Roman Catholic -- how on earth are you going to get over to the organization surrounding Roman Catholicism if you don't leave the organizational structure in which you are currently residing?

Is it really so that leaving one organization for another is intrinsically immoral or, as Bishop Martins says: "not only unnecessary, not only ill-advised, not only a strategic and tactical blunder, but profoundly wrong."

This is just amazing to me. On the one extreme we have people announcing that one MUST leave a corrupt, heresy-raddled organization or he or she is sinning. On the other, we have people announcing that one MUST NOT leave a corrupt, heresy-raddled organization or he or she is sinning.

Not only do I not think that the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina's departure is intrinsically sinful, I also think it was necessary, well-advised, and strategically and tactically brilliant. I can't imagine how they could have *better left* TEC than what they have done. Further, Mark Lawrence would have been deposed, then the Diocese would have had to go through another bishop search process, found another bishop with the differentiating skills of Mark Lawrence, the national church would have again machinated his rejection, and the same tired old process would have continued, only this time with the diocese in an even worse position. Things won't get better in TEC -- only worse. I can't see how things could have been "strategically better" for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina to depart TEC two years from now, after the national church denied another bishop election confirmation, then right now.

Sarah Hey, an Episcopalian

Anonymous said...

While pondering the amazing assertion that it is intrinsically immoral to depart an organizational structure surrounding a church, I have to ask under what circumstances does Bishop Martins think it *not* intrinsically immoral to depart such a structure? Any?

Is it always intrinsically immoral to depart an organizational structure surrounding a church?

Again -- if people don't believe any longer in the beliefs and practices promulgated by the current organizational structure, what should they do? Refuse to convert? Lie? Pretend like they still believe?

The fact remains that the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina -- its clergy, bishop, and laity -- do not believe the beliefs and practices promulgated by the TEC organizational structure. That these beliefs and practices exist is inarguable. That the diocese of SC does not believe them is inarguable.

But apparently, despite the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina's total lack of acceptance and belief, they are to remain -- in fact it is *immoral for them to leave* -- in violation of conscience, integrity, and beliefs.

Again -- a breathtaking and bizarre conclusion that I cannot imagine being consistently held in other circumstances.

But maybe it is so held and consistently.

Sarah Hey, an Episcopalian

Walt Knowles said...

Well said!

Since there is a bit of pushback on using Palmer as a point of reference, I'd note that Palmer is directly and indirectly drawing on the early church's praxis and orthodoxy. At the core of patristic definitions of haeresis is the willful breaking of fellowship, and both 815 and Dio South Carolina seem to have transgressed that standard. It's worth taking a look at Rowan Williams' essay "Defining Heresy" in Alan Kreider's The Origins of Christendom in the West (T&T Clark, 2001). Seems to me that the patristic and Anglican response is not breaking of communion, but rather "815 hath no jurisdiction in this place."

Douglas Lewis said...

Mr Knowles, can you explain what the practical difference would be if SC kept saying, '815 hath no' &c.? Wouldn't the PB do exactly what she's doing now?

Anonymous said...

RE: "At the core of patristic definitions of haeresis is the willful breaking of fellowship, and both 815 and Dio South Carolina seem to have transgressed that standard."

Not so -- for the willful breaking of fellowship must be *with others who believe the Gospel."

The Diocese of South Carolina has not broken fellowship with those who believe the Gospel -- indeed they are in happy fellowship with all of us in TEC.

Sarah Hey, an Episcopalian

Warren said...

As I understand it, bishops in the early Church did not fail to break communion with those who taught heresy, if they could not get them to correct their heretical teaching. In my memory, some bishops in TEC have been teaching heresy since Bishop Pike; and TEC has not taken any action to correct or discipline any of them, although a couple of attempts have been made. The only way these various heresies, which were taught over the years by a variety of bishops, were formalized within TEC was through failure to take any corrective action, thus letting such heretical teachings stand. True, these heresies were not taught throughout the province, but failure to correct allowed them to spread. Then, what constitutes heresy in the minds of some was actually formalized in the 1970s, and then more heresy was formalized later, most notably in the last few general conventions.

I agree with Sarah that, “there's been extensive formal heresy as enacted by the national councils of the church: formal, national, official, legal, and in writing. I don't see how formal, national, official, legal, in writing acts by the primary council of the church can't be counted as ‘formal.’" In addition, I would argue that through TEC’s failure to take proper corrective action against the heresy of some of its bishops, the multi-generational requirement Palmer espoused has also been met.

The decades-long failure of the bishops within TEC to deal with heresy is the reason for out current problems, in my opinion. Now I think there are very few bishops left in TEC who would even recognize most of TEC’s heresy for what it is, much less have the courage to act against it. Bishop Mark and the DSC are only doing what was done in the early Church (and I believe is still done in Eastern Orthodoxy), breaking communion with heresy.

James said...

Bishop Dan:

Could it not then be said:

"in South Carolina, it is TEC that is in schism from the Catholic Church, because, in South Carolina, the legitimate expression of the Catholic Church is the Diocese of South Carolina"?

The trigger was pulled by TEC and KJS, who have engaged in actions which violate TEC's constitution and natural justice. The Diocese of South Carolina has only taken the necessary steps to avoid unconstitutional persecution.

Suppose that President Obama declared that he could unilaterally dismiss governors and state legislatures of which he disapproved and replace them with officials of his liking. If he began to move against a state, and the state enacted a firewall which led to secession, wouldn't it be more fair to say that the state didn't leave so much as the federal government left its constitutional moorings?

It seems to me that TEC and KJS are the primary schismatics here.

James, an Episcopalian also

Jon said...

We never lie more thoroughly than when we lie to ourselves. Given some of his decisions, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that Bishop Lawrence was lying to himself about the direction in which he was heading. The thing with the quitclaim deeds, for example, looked like Bishop Lawrence and the leadership of the diocese using their positions to make sure that they had a soft landing if they ever decided to leave TEC as a diocese. If a monk did something like that he would certainly be guilty of abandoning his order, in his heart if in no other respect. The secret agreement to leave if Bishop Lawrence was ever inhibited or deposed is similarly consistent with abandonment of communion in the heart.

Bill Riggs said...

There is something more basic at stake here. Most of us have lost faith in the national church. This comes from bishops dealing in bad faith time and time again. It would be a bad thing altogether if the so-called "Windsor Bishops" - that ever-shrinking remnant of orthodox bishops who remain in TEC - sold out their comrades on the basis of some false sense of loyality to the institutional church. It is very clear that there is no point of theology or law - ecclesiastical law or secular law - that the likes of KJS are not willing to violate in order to continue their long march through the Episcopal Church. In the meantime, our priests and our parishes are falling under the stress, one by one, as this onslaught continues. Who is there to defend us ? I speak as an orthodox layman in TEC who sees what is happening to our church, who has spoken against it all, and is powerless to stop it.

Father Thorpus said...

Well said, Bishop Dan, and thank you for going back to one of the Fathers of Classical Anglicanism for reference.

For the nay-sayers on Palmer, he is among those whose body of work is the clearest expression of the classically Anglican point of view. Bp. Dan isn't just prooftexting his opinion by cherry-picking, but has found a legitimate root in our tradition that agrees with the ancient Fathers and the other pillars of classical Anglicanism. We need more of this mining of our tradition, not less; especially in leadership. And yes, it's legitimate to examine all non-biblical sources of tradition by Holy Scripture itself - but I think Palmer checks out well. Remember, innumerable apostasies substantial, formal, and durable were committed by Israel, and still God's commitment to them protected them from annihilation. The rules about justifiable schism don't apply to God - He makes plans to redeem and renew or punish or destroy as He sees fit. Those rules are for us, who in our short-sightedness and limitation have not the power to redeem as God does, and have not often the will, and have not in ourselves the insight to make an utterly free discernment. We have to follow rules and definitions.

Bp. Dan's point, if I may summarize it, is that the actions of TEC against Bp. Lawrence do not constitute a fundamental change in the nature of the church and therefore - despite the injustice of TEC's action - schism was not warranted. The theological mistake here came from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina - they set insufficient theological grounds for schism in their trigger-resolution. Unjust discipline of a bishop is not sufficient theological ground for schism. Bp. Dan is right - this is a major mistake that hurts all of us.

James said...

Fr. Thorpus: Palmer seems to lose a lot of his credibility for me with his (as reported by Bp. Dan) response regarding the Church of England vis a vis Rome. Why can't the same be said of South Carolina? And how can a splinter group (Anglicans and then TEC) pull rank when part of it splinters (DSC) for grounds at least as weighty as for either of the initial splits?

It seems to me though, that doctrinal heresy wasn't the proximate cause of the schism. Rather it TEC's leadership acting ultra vires of their constitutional powers and preparing an unconstitutional attack against one of its dioceses and bishops. The basic unit of the church is the diocese, and so that basic unit had to erect a firewall. The separation only occurred because of TEC's overreach.

To me, it would be the same issue if a police officer came on the scene of a bunch of kids who had just been caught for shoplifting. If the cop pulls out his gun and starts shooting them down, are you violating the law in stopping him (you are attacking a cop) or are you protecting the law (you are preventing its greater violation because the cop is acting ultra vires of his legitimate power and the only way you can stop him is to attack him).

This is a tragic situation yes, but this remains a split that was triggered in every way by KJS and TEC, not Mark Lawrence or the DSC.

Anonymous said...

RE: "schism was not warranted . . . "

Again -- "schism" seems to be being defined here as "a smaller entity or group of individuals left an organizational structure" rather than "Christians have broken fellowship with others who believe the Gospel."

That is an incredibly muddled, incoherent way of defining a rather important word, and it's not even able to be consistently used as it's being defined here.

Is that really what Anglicans wish to use as a definition of schism? Really?

Sarah Hey, an Episcopalian