I haven't posted about The Episcopal Organization (TEO) in some time, well, because there hasn't been much to say that hasn't already been said many times over. But this week's news that Bishop Charles Bennison has had his ecclesiastical conviction and deposition overturned by a TEO appellate court cannot go by without some comment. I will defer to my colleagues, Chris Johnson of Midwest Conservative Journal, and the Anglican Curmudgeon, for a more detailed statement of the facts, events, and canonical issues (click on links to the right).
If you will remember the Bennison case, Chuckie, who was Bishop of Pennsylvania, was charged with "conduct unbecoming" and a few other things related to his knowing cover-up of his brother's sexual abuse of a minor girl. Clear evidence that Chuckie knew what his brother had done, and not only took no action of any description, but instead added to the emotional toll by his scoffing at the girl and her family, was introduced at the trial. Now, however, an appellate "court" has overturned the conviction, saying the statute of limitations had run.
So, Chuckie gets the advantage of his own cover-up and delay in this sordid situation coming to light, by his conviction being overturned for the charges being brought too late? Oh, how so very TEO is that decision? Of course, to top things off, Chuckie has expressed his intent to re-assume his position as Bishop of Pennsylvania, even though the Diocese has made it clear they do not want him back. In addition to the cover-up, Chuckie has, in the words of one Diocesan official, "taken a wealthy Diocese and made it a poor one." Not to mention alienating a significant portion of both the clergy and laity of the Diocese.
Even the left-wing of the Episcopal blogosphere has urged Chuckie to resign, so, as Chris Johnson observed, he will find soon enough that he has few friends among his fellow revisionists when he jumps back in the ecclesiastical saddle. There can be little doubt that he has been and will continue to be an embarassment to TEO.
Is there any wonder that the Roman Catholic Church probably gives thanks daily for the existence of TEO? Between the LGBT issues, a regular course of scandals among TEO clergy, TEO's acceptance of disgraced and defrocked Catholic clergy, and TEO's self-destructive behavior, the Vatican's emissaries in the U.S. have got to be delighted with the extent to which the heat has been mis-directed away from them.