The Church Times reports that four English bishops have come out in support of the movements of Bishop Duncan "in but not of" Pittsburgh.
The Bishops of Chester, Chichester, Exeter, and Rochester issued a statement on Tuesday in support of the Rt Revd Robert Duncan, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, after the warning letter sent to him by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori.
In a characteristically veddy English fashion, the bishops appear to be more concerned with the character of the language in Bishop Jefferts Schori's letter than its import. Not pastoral enough, don't you know. (Have these bishops ever seen an actual shepherd at work?) Bishop Forster at least is careful to note they don't necessarily agree with the actions taken in Pittsburgh. Of course, they don't necessarily disagree either.
However, about the same number of bishops in the US are also of a similar mind with Duncan, so it looks like there's a positive wave of support for allowing bishops and their dioceses to do as they please regardless of their ordination vows "to this Church" or canons "of it." Please note, when our canons speak of "this Church" they mean The Episcopal Church -- not the Church of All Outdoors these bishops fondly imagine themselves to represent -- or serve. Or disserve.
One problem is that the English Four have misunderstood the Archbishop of Canterbury's letter to Bishop Howe in precisely the way I thought they might -- mistaking his reference to parishes within a diocese to apply to dioceses within a Church. They seem to think that dioceses have the freedom to disassociate from their respective provinces when and if they decide to do so. I'd like to see any of them try it in Merrie Olde England.
I must have missed the chapter in Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Anarchy.
Tobias Haller BSG