The Anglican Communion Institute hits one out of the park with this analysis of the situation in South Carolina, entitled “Consumed By Litigation: TEC In South Carolina”:
What is not so obvious is that The Episcopal Church’s canon law points to the same conclusion. The Episcopal Church has no canonical basis for the actions that the Presiding Bishop and pro-Episcopal Church local parishes appear to be taking. There is no canonical authority for an “Interim Bishop” to be “appointed by the Presiding Bishop” in an existing diocese. Nor is there any canonical basis for a self-appointed “Steering Committee” to attempt to “reorganize” an existing diocese, to “communicate with the Presiding Bishop” or be advised by other bishops of the church. Indeed, the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church are clear: no bishop can act within the territory of an existing diocese without the consent of its Ecclesiastical Authority. If The Episcopal Church’s theory that the Diocese has not left is correct, then any notion of appointed Interim Bishops, Episcopal Advisors and transitional committees is strictly prohibited by The Episcopal Church’s own canons. Those appointments are the prerogatives of the diocese and its Ecclesiastical Authority acting pursuant to their governing instruments, not the Presiding Bishop or the “national church.” The absence of any canons authorizing what the Presiding Bishop and others are doing is proof that The Episcopal Church is operating under a profoundly flawed understanding of the church’s polity.
The article ends with a beautiful summary: either a diocese cannot leave the Episcopal Church, in which case the Presiding Bishop and her minions are blatantly violating the canons of the church and the civil law of South Carolina… or a diocese can leave the Episcopal Church, in which case the Presiding Bishop and her minions have wasted millions in legal fees for battles in other “rump” dioceses.
Your move, Katharine.