The Anglican Mission in the Americas (hereafter known as the Anglican Mission or The Society) is established by competent ecclesiastical authorities…
What is a “competent ecclesiastical authority” and where does this terminology come from? Given Canon Donlon’s background, it is not surprising that this is a term rooted in canon law. We could look at the 1990 Code of Canons of Oriental Churches, referred to favorably by Canon Donlon in his paper “The Challenges of Covenant and Canons as a for the Future of a Ius Commune Anglicanae.” There we find:
Canon 1047 – §1. In the law pious foundations are:
1° autonomous pious foundations, that is, aggregates of things destined to works of piety, of the apostolate and of charity, whether spiritual or temporal, and established as a juridic person by competent authority;
Or, we can turn to Catholic Canon Law, which says:
§ 2 Christ’s faithful are to join especially those associations which have been established, praised or recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this type of law matters in North American Anglicanism. Are retired Archbishops Kolini, Tay and Yong from overseas competent ecclesiastical authorities to establish this new thing, whatever it is? Roman Catholic canon law says:
Canon: 265: Every cleric must be incardinated in a particular church, or in a personal Prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or a society which has this faculty: accordingly, acephalous or ‘wandering’ clergy are in no way to be allowed.
It seems to me to be circular reasoning that retired bishops could create a society when they have no standing to do so, outside of the society that they are creating. Ultimately, what canon law would be in force over this group anyway? They would probably be better served in just declaring themselves a new Society and dropping the pretense of authority from canonical or ecclesiastical sources.