Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Eighth Legislative Day

No more committee work, so the day consisted of the "short" legislative session (11:15-1:00) and the "long" legislative session (2:15-6:00).

Here are the highlights:

  • We extricated ourselves from the quagmire in which yesterday's session ended. Apparently, the Presiding Bishop-elect weighed in, and the "hard core" backed down. We concurred with the resolution in the form in which the HOD sent it to us, with the three key DFMS staff positions joint appointments by the PB and the PHOD.
  • We concurred with an amendment to the Title IV (clergy discipline) canons that mandate bishops to refer to the Intake Officer any instances of a potential Title IV violation that they witness (changing language from may to shall). The Bishop of Milwaukee reminded the House that this would, technically, require to bishop to invoke the disciplinary process against a deacon who adds the double Alleluias to the dismissal outside of Eastertide. He is absolutely correct. But no bishop would actually do that, so it forces us to take a cafeteria approach to canonical observance. It occurs to me that what we lack in Title IV is any sort of ranking or speciation of potential offenses. Breaking a BCP rubric is of the same order as serial sexual predation. Secular law at least distinguishes between misdemeanors and felonies. In Title IV,  everything is a felony.
  • We concurred with a canonical change allowing two contiguous dioceses to vote to merge even when one of them is without a bishop. This is a good idea, since, when one diocese is between bishops, it is actually a lot easier to consider union with another. We'll be seeing a good bit of this in the years to come, I suspect.
  • We considered another quite long resolution from Governance & Structure, detailing the process of budget formation. We got hung up in procedure around the question of making (for the first time) the President of the House of Deputies a paid position. After some painful writhing, we sent it back to the bishops on the committee to straighten it out and come back to it later in the afternoon.
  • We considered a resolution calling for divestment by TEC in any stock equities that profit from Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Hardly anyone spoke in favor of it, and it was resoundingly rejected on a voice vote.
  • The Communion Partners, via Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota, presented our minority report on the two marriage resolutions that convention has passed. It was received quite graciously. Then we broke for lunch.
  • The long afternoon segment began with an executive session. If you want a hint of what we talked about, pay attention to the next bullet point.
  • Back in open session, Bishop Rob Skirving of East Carolina, representing a small group of collaborators, presented a response to the CP minority report (Salt Lake City Statement) and moved it as a mind-of-the-House resolution. It carried unanimously, and the Communion Partners are grateful for the charity expressed therein.
  • Bishop Tom Ely of Vermont, speaking for the Special Committee on Marriage, shared a "clarification" document explaining what new rites will be available when and what situations each is intended for
  • We came back to the matter that had vexed us before lunch. It vexed us again, and was re-ferred to the working group.
  • We considered the proposed budget (already passed by the HOD) for the 2016-2018 triennium. After lengthy discussion abound mind-numbing but important issues like the rate of drawn-down in endowment funds (5.5% is planned, which is considered "imprudent" by most standards), the matter carried. I voted No--first, because the Diocese of Springfield contributes well under what is asked of us (for reasons that began as principled but have morphed into practical), so it would be hypocritical of me to vote Yes, and also because most of the programs the budget covers are matters that I believe should be taken up by the dioceses, and not at the churchwide level.
  • Back to the vexing issue. This time we slogged out way to the end of it, removed stipend for the PHOD, and sent it back to the HOD. This becomes a game of chicken, with time running out, and we will see tomorrow how they respond. It's like a game of hot potato--the House that has it when time runs out will be blamed for the the failure of a major piece of the restructuring puzzle.


Unknown said...

So if I file a complaint with Bishop Budde that the National Cathedral and its clergy are offering "open communion," that is, communion without baptism, in violation of the canon, my complaint gets sent to the intake officer at 815....?

What happens then?

Dick Mitchell

Anonymous said...

So, the triumphalist victors now turn and become magnanimous to the defeated! Oh frabjous day! I guess they can afford to be, as in the next decade there will be less than 29 traditional bishops in the house. You will be safe as long as you don't threaten to leave, and you will be tolerated as long as you behave. The long march has ended with absolute victory by the Party! Orthodoxy in TEC delenda est. At least, without a major renewal of the Holy Spirit, which is possible, and I pray it happens.

Just remember, Social Justice Warriors always lie and what they give to assuage your conscience today, they will take away tomorrow. If you maintain a traditionalist understanding, please be prepared for some sort of martyrdom.

Bishop Daniel Martins said...

Dick Mitchell: Yes.

Anonymous: First, please don't be anonymous on this blog. Second, "martyr" = "witness." Sometimes that witness-bearing is to the extreme degree. I get that.