Another Conference Challenges the TP
Upper New York Annual Conference also voted on a proposal that negatively viewed the Traditionalists’ Plan, condemning it, apologizing for the harm it is doing, and “strongly recommending” not funding trials and related actions.
The bishop was asked for a “Decision of Law” about the resolution’s ignoring or contradicting the Discipline. He accepted the condemnation as legitimate disagreement and as aspirational. The “strongly recommend” phrase to him was sufficiently over the line as to “ignore or contradict the Discipline and he ruled so. The ones who brought the resolution thought the phrase did not cross the line but the Council supported the bishop on his two rulings.
The Council traces precedents carefully on the “condemnation” passage but is not as specific when it comes to the other key phrase “strongly recommend.” Instead, it argues only the General Conference can change the rules about trials, including their funding and therefore that part of the resolution is actually unconstitutional!.
I do not think the Council really had to go there because “strongly recommend” has no legislative power. It is really aspirational. Even if it had legislative power, it would only disrupt Disciplinary requirements. The phrase does not direct an action . . . unless you are a crime boss or the President and know a hint, a thought, a suggestion, or a recommendation is really a deadly firm direction to perform a specific action.
Would it be unconstitutional? I’m against anything that disrupts fair process. I think many things in the Discipline itself are unconstitutional (thank you to the Council for recognizing some of them in JCD 1383). But I do not see anyone being charged with doing something unconstitutional. They can only be charged for violations of the Discipline. I don’t think that the Council needed to go to their argument about constitutionality. They could have referred to precedents about direct law violations being called for in this kind of resolution.