I come from the branch of the Episcopal Church that knows that our constitution was not shaped by the federal Constitution (the way all the confirmation classes insist), but by the form of government the United States had when the Church constitution was produced: "The Articles of Confederation." So our constitution doesn't really have an executive branch (or president); its focus is in legislative authority that is bicameral – with only vestigial executive and afterthought judicial powers, and no provision for a president or for "national" taxation or rules. So we provided for a presiding officer for each of our legislative branches, but the presiding bishop has no authority in any diocese, and can only act in a diocese by the authority of the diocesan bishop.Emphases in the original.
I think it was in John Hines' time that "primatial creep" set in. The instrument was the General Convention Special Program (GCSP). ... You'll remember the fireworks and anxiety about national staff "interfering" with dioceses (especially dioceses in the South where racial issues were painful and keen). Primatial creep is not my name for what happened to the Presiding Bishop – but for what happened to the House of Bishops. The House of Bishops had to work with conflict between dioceses and 815. (By now it had been built. Remember, it was 1963 when it was finished and we actually had national staff located in one place.)That – in my opinion – was when the House of Bishops first began usurping the power of the bicameral legislative process that was in our constitution.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Primatial creep explained :: Loren Mead
Posted at The Episcopal Majority is Loren Mead's letter on state-side primatial creep: