Friday, 19 September 2008

Bishop of Pittsburgh deposed by House of Bishops

(Ed: A typically thorough analysis from George Conger.)

The US House of Bishops has voted to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh for “abandoning the Communion” of the Episcopal Church.

At a special session of the House of Bishops called to discuss the Lambeth Conference, the bishops voted 87 to 35, with four abstentions to defrock the Rt Rev Robert W Duncan, removing him from the ordained ministry for propounding the view that a diocese may withdraw from the Episcopal Church.

It is unclear, however, whether the Sept 18 vote will affect Bishop Duncan’s ministry in Pittsburgh, as the Province of the Southern Cone has received him into its House of Bishops and is prepared to welcome the diocese also, should it vote on Oct 4 at its annual convention to quit the Episcopal Church.

The deposition vote has been denounced by conservatives as an “ecclesiastical lynching,” while leaders of the moderate wing of the church have endorsed the “courageous” stand of the those bishops who voted to acquit, putting the rule of law above party political considerations.

However, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated the bishops had worked “carefully and prayerfully to consider the weighty matter of Bishop Duncan. The conversation was holy, acknowledging the pain of our deliberations as well as the gratitude many have felt over the years for their relationships with, and the ministry of, Robert Duncan.”

Yet, the bishops believed that “his actions over recent months and years constitute ‘abandonment of ‘the communion of this church” and that he should be deposed,” the Presiding Bishop said after the vote. Read more

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