Bp. Howe responds to Standing Committee's statement
He has 'no problem' with it
The missive from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Central (see my entry of March 30) is now posted on the diocesan Web site (still with no names attached), but with a comment from Bp. John Howe.
Interestingly, the bishop speculates on whether or not the primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury might proceed with a pastoral scheme or appointing a primatial vicar -- despite the fact the House of Bishops just said no.
I do agree with Bp. Howe's assessment that a primatial vicar would not be welcome in most parts of the Episcopal Church, with good reason.
Here is the bishop's statement:
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida, responds to the Standing Committee
March 29, 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Enough of you have asked me about our Standing Committee's "Statement" released earlier today that a couple of comments to all of you may be appropriate.
No, I was not part of the crafting this Statement; it is a Statement of the Standing Committee, not the Bishop and Standing Committee. Fr. Don Curran (President) did post me last night, before releasing it. He did not ask my endorsement, permission, or my opinion; it was simply a courtesy notification that the Statement had been produced.
I told him that I was not sure the Statement was necessary, but I had no problem with it.
At this point we have had no response from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the House of Bishops' resolutions. I do not know whether the Archbishop and the Primates plan to proceed in establishing a "Pastoral Council," or appointing a "Primatial Vicar," or implementing a "Pastoral Scheme."
In all honesty, I cannot imagine that the ministry of a "Primatial Vicar" would be welcome in most parts of The Episcopal Church, given the way the Bishops distanced themselves from what was proposed in the Communique.
I have told you of my communication with both the Archbishop and the Presiding Bishop, and as soon as I have any clear sense of what is next I will share it with you.
I believe there will be a third meeting of the "Windsor Bishops," and if there is, I will attend. But there may be those who question its importance, given the events of the last few weeks. I do not know whether the Windsor Bishops will be able to act in a concerted effort.
I promise I will do absolutely everything I can to implement the proposals of the Primates in their Communique from Tanzania. But the best I can do may not be enough.
The canons of The Episcopal Church define the role of the Standing Committee in these terms: "There shall be a Standing Committee which shall be a Council of Advice to the Bishop." They do not envision the Standing Committee setting policy for a Diocese. The canons go on to state that: "The Diocesan Convention shall be the legislative Authority of the Diocese." It is the Convention, and in between Conventions, the Diocesan Board, that sets policy for a Diocese.
Thus, it is important to understand that the Standing Committee has spoken for itself, and not necessarily for the Diocese of Central Florida. We will simply have to see how this unfolding scenario continues to unfold. I do appreciate this Statement, and I look forward to our time together next Wednesday when we shall see where all the clergy are on this important matter.
Warmest regards in our Lord,
The Right Rev. John W. Howe,
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida