Canons to hold bishops, Standing Committees, Diocesan Councils...accountable

Canons to hold bishops, Standing Committees, Diocesan Councils...accountable

Bishop Theuner has kindly given me permission to post this to my Anglican Pages, where I will gladly add reflections others send to me on this issue. Post your views to

Please identify yourself, your parish, and any aspect of your participation in ECUSA that can help readers put your comments in context.

Expect slight delays before your contribution appears, given my tight schedule this semester.


See the an ongoing series discussing Bishop Theuner's idea.

Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 21:49:00 -0500 (EST)

Dear Louie,

The last failed effort to resolve the "constitutional crisis" in the Diocese of New Jersey again reveals to me the need for a canonical process to hold bishops, standing committees and diocesan councils responsible and accountable. Although I hear occasional comments about it, I know of no serious effort to pass a canon on the "Dissolution of the Pastoral Relation" for diocesan bishops similar to that of Canon III.21 concerning the relationship between rectors and parishes. It would not be too difficult to redesign this for the episcopate with the PB or a group like the present bishops' Review Committee to be the final arbiter. After all, the New Jersey situation has almost happened in several other dioceses and might occur in any of them. Why should bishops be any less accountable than those over whom they exercise oversight? Why should standing committees and diocesan councils feel the need to arrogate unto themselves powers not granted them by the constitution and canons? Why should there not be clear due process for anyone? Oh, I know our RC brethren will tell us it will hurt ecumenical (i.e., "with them") relations. DUH!

The monarchical episcopate mortally wounded but not dispatched in Philadelphia over two hundred years ago needs to be decently buried for the new millennium. If others, particularly bishops themselves, would be interested in logging on to your website with their opinions about this it might prove interesting to us all.

+ Douglas, Bishop of New Hampshire forever until 2010 unless tried, convicted, deposed or lynched or retired.


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