Saturday, March 15, 2008

And nobody is talking about Bishop Cox

The Tulsa World has the story about the the deposition of Bishop Cox, the former assistant bishop of Oklahoma:
The Rt. Rev. William Cox is one of two conservative bishops deposed by the House of Bishops in a continuing struggle in the Episcopal Church over biblical authority.

Cox's removal was largely symbolic; he resigned from the House of Bishops a year ago and was accepted as an assistant bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Argentina.

The other ousted bishop, however, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, is locked in a struggle with the denomination over the control of millions of dollars of property in the Diocese of San Joaquin in Fresno, Calif. That diocese is the first full diocese to leave the Episcopal Church.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked the bishops assembled Wednesday in Texas "to continue to reach out" in pastoral care to Cox and Schofield, according to the Episcopal News Service.

"Abandoning the communion of this church does not mean we abandon a person as a member of the Body of Christ," she said.

Oklahoma Episcopal Bishop Edward J. Konieczny had just returned from the House of Bishops meeting and could not be reached for comment.

Cox, 87, said Thursday that he is not upset about the House of Bishops' action.

"I feel sorry that they felt they needed to do this," he said. "A more charitable thing to do would be to say, 'We recognize that you are now a member of the church in Argentina and ask God's blessing on your ministry.'

"This has no effect on me," he said. "I guess it means they want to have the last word."

Cox resigned from the House of Bishops last spring when the bishops formally charged him with violating church law by ordaining two Anglican priests in Overland Park, Kan., at the request of an African archbishop.

A trial was never held, but the House of Bishops voted him out Wednesday for abandoning the communion of the church.

"Which I did," Cox said.

Cox was assistant bishop of the Oklahoma Episcopal Diocese until he retired in 1988.

He continues to be a popular speaker and conducts baptisms and ordinations for the Archdiocese of Argentina among Anglicans in the United States who have left the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a fellowship of churches with roots in the Church of England.

The communion has faced threat of schism since the Episcopal Church in 2003 consecrated V. Gene Robinson, a gay man, as the bishop of New Hampshire.

So why hasn't this received any press? Because Oklahoma is considered a backwater, I suppose.

I remember Bishop Cox. He was well liked, a sweet man who was very friendly. That doesn't make him any less wrong in this matter, though. How sad that he has taken things to this extreme. And how ridiculous of the Argentines to go poaching. Well, at least he didn't try to take an entire diocese and its property out of TEC. Small comfort, that.

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