Wednesday, February 28, 2007

jim naughton's response to canon harmon's response to jim naughton: this is absurd

Read Naughton's response in its entirety here. Read Canon Harmon's piece, to which Naughton is responding, here. Essentially Naughton is asserting that the Dar es Salaam Communique was made intentionally ambiguous in order to preserve the "status quo" (Naughton's phrase) in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Naughton avers:

My own sense... is that ambiguous language is employed deliberately by those who perfect that [sic] final versions of these documents so that a “unanimous statement” can be released that keeps the Communion together long enough to argue another day.


Obviously, if Williams expects us to ban blessings (and then police the ban), Bishop Jefferts Schori will have a much harder time persuading our Church to accept the Primates’ recommendations than if Williams simply expects us to maintain what is essentially the status quo.

Good grief. This is patently absurd. As though ambiguity in the service of disagreement (what liberals often and speciously call "Anglican comprehensiveness") were the raison d'ĂȘtre of the Church. If the Communion exists so that the world can see our disagreement and disunity, then the sooner it falls apart the better. Naughton would do well to remember the Primates' statement in paragraph 21 of the Communique:

However, secondly, we believe that there remains a lack of clarity about the stance of The Episcopal Church, especially its position on the authorisation of Rites of Blessing for persons living in same-sex unions. There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision. We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them. However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.

Compare the nonsensical celebration of ambiguity and argument with our Lord's own prayer in John 17, where he explicitly links his gift of unity to truth in Apostolic doctrine in such a way that the world may see and be compelled by it. If ECUSA ambiguity and the disunity it fosters are so compelling, then why are we leaking members like a sieve in the face of enormous increases in the secular population? And don't cite horse hockey, as Schori has attempted to do, about our comparatively low birth rates. The Lord didn't bestow his unity so that we could maintain ourselves (even this we can't seem to manage), but so that we could bring in those outside the economy of salvation, the so-called "unchurched".

People tempted to deceive themselves into thinking that the Communique means to allow ECUSA to continue its practices which are at variance with Christian teaching as received by the Communion (what Naughton calls "the status quo") would do well to ask themselves 1) whether the Communion's visible unity is in jeopardy, and if so 2) why its in jeopardy. If they really believe that ECUSA can continue tacitly authorized practices at odds with the Communion's doctrine without deepening this crisis, they are delusional.

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