Robinson Cavalcanti is deposed
from the IEAB (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil)
Published on June 17, 2005 at 9:13:03 P.M.
Canonical Trial # 001/2005 of Bishop Edward Robinson de
THE BISHOP PRIMATE OF THE EPISCOPAL
ANGLICAN CHURCH OF BRAZIL, in the presence of the House of Bishops in
extraordinary session in the city of Porto Alegre, on the 10th day
of June in the year two thousand and five, Anno
Domini, according to the General Canons of the Episcopal Anglican Church of
Brazil, declares the following:
With the presentment (denúnicia) in hand, within canonical
guidelines, from the Ecclesiastical Chancellor, and by decision of the Superior
Ecclesiastical Tribunal in session,
after verification of the origin of the presentment and in the opinion of the Superior Ecclesiastical
Tribunal against Bishop Edward Robinson de Barros Cavalcanti, and considering
the following evidence:
- The accused violated the General Canons of the
Church, as stipulated in Chapter IV, Canon 1, Article 1, letters “f” and
“i”. In letter “f” the canon speaks of “non compliance with ordination
vows.” Letter “i” speaks of the “deliberate violation of the Constitution,
of the General Canons of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and of
the canons of the Anglican Diocese of Recife, to which he is canonically
- The accused deliberately made a unilateral
declaration of suspension of the relationship of the Anglican Diocese of
Recife with the Province of Brazil, proclaiming the Anglican Diocese of Recife
to be an autonomous Diocese of the Anglican Communion, with no further
links to the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil in a letter of his
authorship, dated January 25, 2005.
- The accused bishop also modified the official seal of
the Anglican Diocese of Recife, by removing its reference to the Episcopal
Anglican Church of Brazil.
- The accused further violated the Canons of the
Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil in the same paragraph and line by
gravely undisciplined attacks against Provincial Convocations and by
publicly using offensive language against the Bishop Primate and the House
of Bishops, which can be verified in several subsequent pronouncements
made by him.
- Beyond this, the accused participated in
Confirmations in the Diocese of Ohio, of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA),
in the United States, without the knowledge of the local diocesan bishop,
nor that of the Primate and House of Bishops of the Brazilian Church, in
March of 2004, which constitutes an ostensive break in collegiality with
the bishops in our Province.
- The accused, despite inhibition of the exercise of
his jurisdiction, and despite prohibition by the Bishop Primate, held a
Diocesan Synod in December of 2004.
- Beyond this, the accused brought an action in the
Civil Justice Tribunal against the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil to
protect his rights as the head of the Anglican Diocese of Recife, without
the Province of Brazil having taken any steps to remove from him any
rights. This action was adjudged without merit in the first and second
instances by the Civil Justice Tribunal, which judgment was handed down on
April 15, 2005.
- Referring to paragraph #2, of Article 3, Canon 1,
Chapter IV of the General canons of the Episcopal Anglican Church of
Brazil, which says, “in the case of a disciplinary transgression by a
bishop, the Bishop Primate should intervene in a pastoral manner,
listening to the advice of the House of Bishops”, the Bishop Primate
sought dialogue not only by letter, but also in person, in compliance with
a resolution of the House of Bishops, on the following occasions:
From August 26 to 28 of 2004, the Bishop Primate visited the
Provincial Theological Seminary of Recife (SAET) and taking advantage of his
trip made an appointment in advance and held a pastoral visitation with Bp.
Robinson, in his diocesan offices.
- In November of 2004, Bp. Robinson was called to the
bishops’ retreat, in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul from the 20th
to the 23rd and to the meeting of the Executive Council of the
Synod of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (26th-27th)
but Bp. Cavalcanti did not attend. These dates had been previously set in
March of 2004. He informed the Bishop Primate of his decision not to
attend in a letter dated November 10, 2004.
- On November 17, 2004, the Bishop Primate called a
meeting for December 17, 2004, in the city of Recife with Bp. Robinson
[Cavalcanti] and his immediate staff, for a time of dialogue with the
Bishop Primate, the Suffragan Bishop and the Interim Supervisory Bishop.
None of them came, not the accused, not any of his staff. On November 19, 2004 Bp. Robinson had
responded to the letter of invitation, agreeing to the meeting under
conditions that were accepted by the Bishop Primate.
- On December 9th 2004, the Bishop Primate
sent another letter to confirm the meeting scheduled for December 17,
2004, despite the fact of the suspension of the Diocesan Synod and the
non compliance to this suspension, along with the decisions taken by this
illegally held synod, and despite a letter from Bp Cavalcanti to the
Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates, soliciting the separation of
the Anglican Diocese of Recife from the Province of Brazil. The above
meeting did not occur because of the non appearance by Bp. Calvacanti and
- On January 17, 2005, the Bishop Primate sent a
letter to Bp. Robinson and all the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of
Recife calling for a meeting to talk [about the issues] on February 2,
2005 in Recife, with the view to possible reconciliation. Those clergy
loyal to the diocesan bishop, as well as Bp. Robinson himself did not
appear and sent a letter to the Bishop Primate attempting to justify
- On May 26, 2005, the Archdeacon [of Recife] the Rev. Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti, claiming
to represent, in his words, “everyone in the Anglican Diocese of Recife,”
and therefore his own diocesan bishop, gave a statement on the meeting (in
a ‘journal’ in England called “Anglican
Mainstream”) which spewed
accusations and diatribes at the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and
its Bishop Primate, affirming that Bp. Cavalcanti does not accept “the
supervision of the Bishop Primate [of Brazil] given that the Bishop
Primate acts illegally and approves behavior that is not biblical and
against the teaching of the Anglican Communion.”
Taking into account the facts articulated above,
and that the Superior Ecclesiastical Tribunal, by unanimous vote of its
members, recognizes the culpability of Bishop Edward Robinson de Barros
Cavalcanti, the Bishop Primate decrees, according to Chapter IV, Canon 4,
Article 1, line D, of the General Canons of the Episcopal Anglican Church of
Brazil, his deposition from the exercise of ordained ministry in this church.
Consequently, all his canonical, sacramental, pastoral and liturgical bonds, as
well as all prerogatives and duties of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal
Anglican Church of Brazil do hereby cease.
Santos de Oliveira
(translated by The
Rev. Christopher A. Smith, June 25, 2005 from the deposition posted on the
official website of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, www.ieab.org.br)