… except that he actually managed to delete what he calls a libel, but is in fact the truth, because it was in a comment on his blog. And the alleged libel wasn’t even against himself, but against a bishop, and not even one who has authority over him.
Here is part of what I wrote, which I also posted as a comment at The Ugley Vicar:
It is all very well for Hooker to say things about how a bishop must behave, but that is empty if there are no sanctions on bishops who misbehave. And there have always been bishops and archbishops who set themselves up as mini-popes and persecute presbyters under them who are faithful to the gospel, from William Laud right up to Katharine Jefferts Schori. Hooker’s system may be an ideal one, but it is not a stable and workable one.
This was in response to this comment on Doug’s blog from “Mark B”, who I assume is not Mark Brewer:
magistra: moreover, Hooker, the father of Anglican ecclesiastical polity, says in his ‘Laws’ that bishops must not ignore the counsel of their presbyters. They must not set themselves over them, like mini-popes. No Cyprianism here! See the website of the English cleric John Richardson ‘The Ugley Vicar’ on this point.
Now I accept that this comment thread had got well off its original topic. But that is not the reason Doug deleted my comment, for he writes:
In my view it bought into rhetoric I regard as libellous to TEC’s Presiding Bishop. I’m sure you can find a way to make your point in other words.
But he doesn’t allow me to make my point in other words, by closing the thread to comments – although he had no problem with others taking the thread well off topic as long as they toed his pro-bishop line. I would have been happy to withdraw “mini-pope” as a comment about Schori, although not about Laud, if I had been given the chance, but I was given no chance to edit and re-post my comment. But I would not have withdrawn “persecute presbyters under them who are faithful to the gospel” as this is just what Schori is doing – and I could add that she is also persecuting bishops and lay people under her who seek to remain faithful to an understanding of the gospel which does not include inclusivity without repentance from sin.
There have always been many bishops of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion who have persecuted believers in the true gospel of Christ. They have consistently been supported by priests within the “Catholic” wing of this same Church. Doug has put himself well within this tradition. In John Richardson’s words, in the Church of England
You can disbelieve the fundamentals of the faith, but if you will acknowledge the bishop you can remain. But if you will not acknowledge the bishop, then the stricter your adherence to the faith the more you are a threat, rather than a benefit, to the institution. So the institution will obviously sacrifice believers who rebel rather than discipline unbelievers who conform.
But I wonder if Doug is really more upset about what I say about Laud, an Anglo-Catholic hero, than about Schori.
Doug, do you want to “sacrifice believers who rebel” by driving me out of the Church of England? I am not at all sure that I can stay in it, although I have put off making any decisions until after the Lambeth Conference. If the Church of England shows a gentleness and generosity towards those who have serious disagreements with it, in the way shown by many of its leaders, I just might be persuaded to stay. But if it displays the attitude of demanding adherence to the bishops’ party line, the line taken by Laud and Schori and now by you, then I will probably go. And I will not go quietly.