Attorney for Bishop Duncan Comments on "Deposition"
Editor's Note: John H. Lewis, attorney for Bishop Duncan, has released the following statement regarding the process used to "depose" Bishop Robert Duncan on September 18.
The so-called “deposition” of Bishop Duncan is illegal, unfair, and unchristian.
It is illegal because it violates numerous Canons of The Episcopal Church: 1) There has been no “abandonment.” Past precedents of the Episcopal Church show that the “abandonment” Canon cannot be used to punish a Bishop’s intentions; 2) The Canons require that any facts be considered by a Review Committee. Here, the Presiding Bishop has used facts from the committee she created to seize the property of orthodox dioceses and parishes; 3) The Canons require that a Bishop be “inhibited” before the matter can be submitted to the House of Bishops. Bishop Duncan was not “inhibited”; and 4) The Canons require that any vote to depose must have the vote of the majority of Bishops entitled to vote. The House of Bishops consists of 290 voting members, meaning that 146 votes are necessary to depose a Bishop. Here, only 88 bishops voted "yes" to “depose” Bishop Duncan. This last point is acknowledged even by the official statement issued on behalf of the bishops meeting in Salt Lake City, which summarizes the vote tally, while at the same time citing the correct standard: "a majority of the House of Bishops" rather than the false standard adopted by the Presiding Bishop – a majority of those bishops who are present for a meeting.
It is unfair because Bishop Duncan was denied his fundamental right – the right to a church trial. He has been denied that right because the Presiding Bishop believes that his “deposition” will assist her in her desire to seize the property of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
It is unchristian because Bishop Duncan is being punished for his faithful submission to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me say this:
1, Mr. Duncan has violated individual biblical rights rights to live in a relationship with their God.
2, Mr. Duncan has denied thousands of Episcopalians their fundamental civil rights by not allowing the full inclusion of LGBT folks in the Episcopal Church.
3, it is unchristian to not receive communion with all Christians. It is unchristian to not permit everyone full access to their Lord and Savior.
If this letter was designed to engender sympathy the good attorney needs to know it only creates more ill-will. Mr. Duncan would do well to admit his erroneous stance, ask forgiveness and go into a Monastery.