The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church took action here against five bishops judged to be in defiance of their colleagues and church discipline.
In a nearly unanimous action, they voted to censure "in the strongest terms" retired Bishop Albert A. Chambers of Springfield, Ill., for taking part in the consecration of four bishops of the breakaway Anglican Church of North America.
A second resolution asserting that four bishops who prematurely ordained women to the priesthood before the 1976 general assembly authorization "have broken fellowship with the House of Bishops."
Following the censure action against Chambers, who lives now on Cape Cod, Mass., 14 bishops withdrew their formal presentment of charges against him. The charges could have led to a church trial.
The four cited for irregularly ordaining women are no longer active. They are Bishop Robert DeWitt, who resigned as bishop of Philadelphia; and retired Bishops Daniel Corrigan and George Barrett, both residing in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Edward Welles, of Manset, Maine.
These resolutions "reminded the church" that in 1974, the house censured bishops DeWitt, Corrigan and Welles and in 1975 "decried the actions" of Barrett.
The resolution asked that the house secretary notify these bishops that "they betrayed the trust that the church placed in them in their consecration, and have broken fellowship with the House of Bishops." This resolution was adopted by a 61 to 41 vote.
One resolution asked that canons be prepared for the 1979 general convention that will "provide a way for the church to express itself clearly in the future when actions of a bishop threaten the discipline and order of the church."
After the voting, Bishop Paul Moore Jr. of New York said: "I am feeling anger, sadness and general desolation. Ever since our sad performance with regard to Bishop (James) Pike, this house has had a demonic spirit come amongst us, and sometimes I feel like resigning from the house myself.
"At Lambeth, I learned again that our spirit should be the spirit of pastoral leaders. I came home with a sense of enormous confidence in the Anglican Communion and the Anglican way, renewed in spirit and given new courage to go forward . . . and now, all of a sudden, the demonic spirit has returned."
The late Bishop James Pike faced a presentment in 1960. He resigned from his California See.