This follows hard on the heels of former Albany suffragan David Bena's transfer to the province of Nigeria. I don't know what effect these moves, together, will have on the diocese and the clergy.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
This follows hard on the heels of former Albany suffragan David Bena's transfer to the province of Nigeria. I don't know what effect these moves, together, will have on the diocese and the clergy.
to reiterate: read father ephraim radner's latest doohickey: its v. good, and represents father wb's opinion pretty exactly
We [conservative Episcopalians] must now choose our way with respect to the Communion, and choose it in a manner that can be evaluated rather clearly according to the Communion’s own calling.
...we now stand apart from them [official ECUSA structures and ECUSA bishops], and our work stands apart from theirs. If this puts us in conflict with these structures and their representatives, so be it.
As an Anglican Christian, I continue to wish to give myself to the vocation of Anglicanism within the larger Church, one of embodying a faithful Scriptural and ministry to Christ Jesus within the difficult yet glorious discipleship of “communion”. I continue to believe that this is an imperative gift to offer the larger Church in a time of wrenching human confusion and uncertainty in the trust of the Gospel within the world. I remain an Anglican, because I believe that God continues to give us work to do.
Those bishops who do not in fact share the “mind” of the House of Bishops, must say so openly and separate themselves from that mind; they must have a different mind, a mind that is at one with the larger church’s.
They must respond positively to the Primates’ request, by publicly acceding to their recommendations, both in word and deed: clarifying their own commitments on matters under dispute, and following through with the request to gather and nominate a Primatial Vicar to a Pastoral Council – now seemingly capable of being made up only of 3 persons, given TEC’s refusal to participate.
[These, I believe, are crucial. It is time for ALL American bishops to be unambiguous. There is a majority in the HoB whose commitment to the Communion is clearly secondary (at best). They have said so unambiguously. Windsor-minded / Camp Allen / Network bishops MUST now be equally clear.]
Individual congregations and clergy and laity within TEC should encourage Communion-minded bishops to this work, by urging them forward and committing themselves to the Pastoral Scheme as it unfolds under the direction of the Communion and the Communion-minded. Such a commitment could be given in a number of ways, but it should be done openly and clearly.
[Support your bishops when they speak and act unambiguously. Prod them when they don't. They need our support, just as we need them to act.]
Communion-minded bishops and their supporters may indeed face sanctions from the official structures of the TEC – other bishops, the legal offices of 815 and the Executive Council. This will represent the practical side of the conflict now upon us. But be of good cheer – He has overcome the world.
[When those living in darkness persecute us, its a good indication that we are behaving with integrity. Rejoice that we've been given an opportunity of confessing the faith and being maligned and opposed for it. And give thanks that no one is burning us at the stake. Yet. Support one another in tangible ways.]
We must in all things act together, and not apart. Shall there perhaps be a moment on October 1st when we shall stand as one mind and one heart? But if this is to happen, the choices we make today must move in this direction and not another.
[Unity is critical. The thorn in the flesh of the orthodox hitherto has been disunity. And the orthodox primates are not without some blame for this. But we must STOP NOW the fracturing off into various incoherent, foreign jurisdictions. Network bishops, AMiA bishops, and the CANA bishop must each forego maneuvering to become the Primatial Vicar, and lay aside their own agendas for the sake of orthodox unity. This is crucial. And the primates of the various "foreign jurisdictions" must work for and promote unity among all the orthodox in N. America, even if it is at the expense of the prerogatives and autonomy of their own American jurisdictions -- like AMiA and CANA. Unity is critical, and is the Achilles heal of the orthodox. Expect 815 to attempt to exploit it -- perhaps by making a counter-proposal, or putting forth her own vicar.]
Some have wondered if I am counseling us to “leave” the Episcopal Church. There are certainly ways to do this that are unambiguous, and I am not in a position to judge those who take such an unambiguous path. However, for those like myself who are committed to the Communion path outlined above, “leaving” is not as clear as it may seem. We have not moved; last week, our bishops as a House have moved.
[Amen. As Ronald Reagan, I think, said about the Democratic party: I never left it; it left me. Everyone should bear in mind that the culpability for the fallout in all of this is squarely on the shoulders of ECUSA as the innovators. If you innovate, you run the risk of alienating your brethren. But don't whine about it when others don't like your "new thing". This seems to be the infantile course of the ECUSA bishops. My advice to them: stop your moaning about how anguished and sorrowful you are at the Communion response to your innovations. You were warned before you went down this path. You went down it anyway. Now suck it up. Take responsibility for what you've done. If it's all worth it, then quit whining. If it wasn't worth it, then repent. But in any case, quit with the mewling hypocrisy about how sad you are.]
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The other is from Jordan Hylden, a bright young thing (Fry on Waugh), and Junior Fellow at First Things and postulant in the Diocese of North Dakota. Jordan writes about the ECUSA House of Bishops' response to the Dar es Salaam Communique. Some of the more interesting bits from Jordan's piece:
In their statement, the American bishops accused the global Anglican primates of “unprecedented” spiritual unsoundness and solemnly spoke of the Episcopal Church’s “autonomy” and “liberation from colonialism,” which they understood to be threatened by the creeping rule of “a distant and unaccountable group of prelates.” Apparently, they were serious. With no sense of irony, the bishops of an overwhelmingly white, wealthy, and liberal American church actually saw fit to accuse their fellow Anglicans—many of whom are from poor third-world countries—of “colonialism.”
....And here is the crucial bit. This part has been under-noticed, I think. Though I'm pleased we noticed it at Whitehall. It concerns the House of Bishops at-first-sight bizarre and even absurd insistence that "The meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.” Of course this is where the Episcopal Church defines and constitutes itself as a "constituent member" of the Anglican Communion, and "in communion with the See of Canterbury". The fear of the bishops is of course that if the Anglican Communion suddenly decided that a majority of ECUSA is no longer a "constituent member" of the Communion, or if the See of Canterbury suddenly decided that ECUSA was no longer in communion with him, but that the Network IS, then that would potentially have very bad legal ramifications for the liberals: the conservatives (who remain "constituent members" of the Communion, and who remain "in communion with the See of Canterbury" might suddenly find themselves the sole heirs of the Episcopal Church, as the Episcopal Church has defined and constituted itself. The lunatic ECUSA bishops must not let that happen, so in a move that Jordan Hylden rightly notes to be worthy of Lewis Carroll, the bishops declare that they are the sole arbiters of who is in communion with whom. "You can't kick us out! Only we can kick us out!" What will they do next? Send Rowan Williams an invitation to the Lambeth Conference?
Sadly, the bishops’ rejection of the Pastoral Council means that the disorderly and painful fracturing of the Episcopal Church will likely continue apace, since the bishops do not seem willing to provide any sort of acceptable safe space for conservatives. It also means that tension with Rowan Williams and the primates will ratchet up another notch—their proposed Pastoral Council, by which the primates intended to work with the Episcopal Church, will almost certainly now be implemented against the Episcopal leadership’s will. Conservatives who wish to participate in it will have to do so in defiance of national church leadership, and they may be subject to discipline.
The absurdity of this situation—wherein Episcopalians could be disciplined for daring to conform to Anglican “doctrine, discipline, and worship,” just as printed in every single prayer book in every Anglican pew—apparently has not yet occurred to the Episcopal bishops.
The depths of this episcopal delusion is reminiscent of the scene in Woody Allen's movie Bananas, where the character played by Allen is made the dictator of a small Latin American nation called San Marcos. He decrees that all children under the age of sixteen are now over the age of sixteen, that the national language will be changed to Swedish, and that all citizens are to change their underwear every thirty minutes, and wear it on the outside for easier inspection by the authorities.
In the end, this move is to insure that the ECUSA hierarchy can maintain, come hell or high water, their own legal basis for suing the pants off the orthodox if they try to leave ECUSA with any property. But it just goes to show the absurdities into which base desires can lead you.
Here's what Jordan says about it:
By stating that the meaning of this sentence is determined solely by General Convention, the Episcopal bishops are doing nothing less than claiming that what it means to be Anglican, what it means to be in communion with Canterbury, what it means to be a part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and hold to the historic Christian faith—that all of this is to be decided solely by the democratic vote of clergy and laypeople once every two years in a Marriott hotel convention room, with reference to nothing and nobody. It is breathtaking in its arrogance.Breathtakingly arrogant indeed. Go read the two pieces for yourself. They're both very good.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Hahahaha! Indeed! And the earth is flat, and the Episcopal Church is vibrant and growing. If you say so, Father. Read it all here.
(1) Be charged with responsibility for leadership in initiating and developing the policy and strategy in the Church and speaking for the Church as to the policies, strategies and programs authorized by the General Convention; . . .
(c) The Presiding Bishop shall perform such other functions as shall be prescribed in these Canons; and, to be enabled better to perform such duties and responsibilities, the Presiding Bishop may appoint, to positions established by the Executive Council of General Convention, officers, responsible to the Presiding Bishop, who may delegate such authority as shall seem appropriate.
A Pastoral Council
The Primates will establish a Pastoral Council to act on behalf of the Primates in consultation with The Episcopal Church. This Council shall consist of up to five members: two nominated by the Primates, two by the Presiding Bishop, and a Primate of a Province of the Anglican Communion nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the Council.
A Pastoral Scheme
. . .
We acknowledge and welcome the initiative of the Presiding Bishop to consent to appoint a Primatial Vicar.
. . .
the Presiding Bishop in consultation with the Pastoral Council will delegate specific powers and duties to the Primatial Vicar.
Two points: first, the make-up of this Pastoral Council is not so different from that of the Advisory Panel that was already suggested. TEC gets two out of four seats in the Advisory Panel, and two out of five on the Council. One in either case goes to the ABC, and the only other difference is the presence of Primates or the President of the House of Deputies.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
He seems to think its Game Over for the orthodox in ECUSA. He has been one of the most coherent and conciliatory voices among the orthodox -- definitely not a hot head. That he thinks its over says much about the gravity of the situation in light of the House of Bishops' rejection of the Primates' requests.
So what now? In my view, the Communion MUST establish the Pastoral Council / Primatial Vicar, now clearly without the help or input of the ECUSA hierarchy. If the councils of the Communion do nothing, then Anglicanism in American will be lost... for years or decades, if not forever. The orthodox will continue to bleed off into a myriad independent and incoherent jurisdictions, or will simply move away from Anglicanism altogether, to Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, etc. Moreover, if ECUSA is allowed to get away with their intractable arrogance, then Anglicanism will be betrayed as an incoherent theological joke -- one in which a thousand mutually exclusive doctrines are held and taught in the name of plurality.
The ONLY way forward, I believe, is for the Primates and the ABC to act NOW (by which I mean something like "by the end of this year") 1) to allow ECUSA to go its on way, apart from the Communion, and 2) to provide a coherent place / primatial jurisdiction for the orthodox who wish to remain in communion with Canterbury and the rest. Lastly (and this will be the most difficult and unlikely): the American orthodox -- Network dioceses, CANA, AMiA, etc. -- must band together and agree to abide by the Primates and the ABC's decisions.
There are a lot of if's and unknowns here. But they must be sorted out very quickly, in my view, or American Anglicanism will be lost.
PS: Now is the time for action by the orthodox BISHOPS in ECUSA. Its time for them to stand up and start acting like orthodox bishops. Its time for them to act concertedly, coherently, unitedly, and humbly -- as the shepherds God has called them to be, and to whom He has given His Holy Spirit for that purpose. The orthodox bishops must come together and show bold leadership. If they do, their priests and laity will follow them. If they don't, all will almost certainly be lost.
Resolved, the House of Bishops affirms its desire that The Episcopal Church remain a part of the councils of the Anglican Communion; and
Resolved, the meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church; and
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." - Isaiah the Prophet
"A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us'." - Saint Anthony the Great
Saturday, March 17, 2007
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, as hopes for ecclesial reconciliation between Rome and Canterbury ran high, it seemed, briefly, as if Cardinal Newman might have been wrong. With the Anglican Communion now fracturing into a gaggle of quarreling communities no longer in communion with each other, it looks as if Newman had the deeper insight into what King Henry VIII wrought.
To which I say: this is a premature judgment. Its not over till its over. Pace Weigel, the Communion has not yet fractured into "a gaggle of quarreling communities no longer in communion with each other." Several Anglican Provinces have declared that their communion with ECUSA, specifically, is broken; several more have declared that their communion with ECUSA is impaired. But apart from ECUSA, Anglicanism remains pretty robust and cohesive. Fragmentation of the kind described by Weigel is certainly a grave danger for the Anglican Communion, and its one possible outcome of the real mess we're in. But it hasn't happened yet. And frankly it is immensely disheartening to have so many well-intentioned Christians (many of them former Anglicans) circling around the wounded body of Anglicanism, licking their lips, waiting for the vindication of Newman's conversion, which they seem to think can only come when Anglicanism is dead and eviscerated, and all the world can smell the putrefaction.
Well hold your horses. Another possible outcome of our real mess is that the Anglican Communion will roundly censure and discipline the North Americans, and will find ways of strengthening the Communion's common life in a covenantal / conciliar way that would seem to many to be a compelling (and non-papal) counterpoint to Newman's predication of Protestantism (in its pejorative sense) to the essence of Anglicanism. Is this why many Roman Catholics seem so eager for Anglicanism to fail, and to be seen to fail? Because a reformation of Anglicanism in a fundamentally catholic direction would throw a wrench into their ecclesiology, or at least into their eccelesiological apologetics?
Look, sometimes I think about Baptists, et alia, the way that Weigel seems to be thinking about Anglicanism in this piece. That non-catholic instantiations of Christianity are inconvenient, distracting, and better off dead. But then I remind myself that the Reformation was not a surprise to God. As distasteful as most of Protestant rhetoric and piety are to me, these people are Christians too. And their presence in the world falls within the purview of the sovereignty of God and the Holy Spirit's work in Western culture. My job is not to be a fly in Baptist ointment, but to be the best Christian I can be with the light with which I have been graced, and to tell Baptists (and Roman Catholics) the story of God's reign in my heart -- and not to tell them how I would have God reign in their heart. Is this syncretic? No. I want the same thing for them that I want for myself: for Jesus Christ to be Lord of life in whatever way seems best to him.
But to return to the Weigel piece, next he says:
As Canada's finest Catholic commentator, Father Raymond de Souza, wrote last year (reflecting on the attempts of Dr. Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, to hold the Anglican Communion together), "Some [Anglicans] argue that [homosexual acts] are sinful; others that they are sacramental. This is an unbridgeable gap and it appears impossible for Canterbury to straddle it, try as he might." Dr. Williams has tried mightily; he seems to have failed.
Again, this isn't quite right. Dr. Williams has not been attempting to bridge a gap between homosexual acts being at once sinful and sacramental. Dr. Williams may not be right about everything, but I think he's yet capable of judging a patent absurdity when it stares him in the face. And this gets at the heart of Dr. Williams' fundamental catholicity: he's willing to submit his judgment to that of Holy Church. He has consistently said as Archbishop of Canterbury, as have the Primates and the other instruments of our Communion, that the Anglican teaching on licit sexual activity is clear and unambiguous: sex is licit within the sacramental context of lifelong marriage between one man and one woman, the end. For the rest of us, abstinence from sex is the name of the game. There is no ambiguity here. There is no attempt to dwell in some irrational aporia. Here is the Anglican teaching for all the world to see. If Americans wish to be Anglicans, they must conform themselves to this teaching. That's what Windsor, Dromantine, and Tanzania were about.
Could Anglicanism crack open and implode thanks to the ecclesiological stress laid on it by ECUSA's innovations? Certainly. But it hasn't yet. Let's not jump the gun. There is a heroic and prayerful effort under way to prevent just such a cracking. I invite would-be gadflies to join us in working and praying for Anglican (and pan-Christian) unity, that the world may see and know that the Father sent the Son. Apart from that, be the best and humblest Christian you can be.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Let your priest guide you through the maelstrom of ecclesiastical chaos - in gentleness, charity, and in good sense. He is your ruler, your monarch, as well as your teacher and priest, for he is among you, though unworthy...
God knows I do not show forth Christ as a priest because I am worthy to do so, or even capable of doing so. If it were left to me, all anyone would see would be my very real unworthiness and incapacity. But with God all things are posssible (Matt. 19.26). And (laudatur Iesu!) "God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are" (1 Cor. 1.27f).
I wonder about the way he [Dr. Franklin] discerns its character in terms of novelty. Certainly, this has been the source of many criticisms of the proposed Covenant in its very identity: it is somehow an innovation within Anglicanism, some have said, an alien element whose introduction will further just the kinds of “curial” re-orderings of the Communion that will undercut the traditional autonomies the buttress Anglican ecclesial life and witness. So how new is the Covenant’s purpose and form in fact? My main argument below is that it is not new at all. It is, rather, who we already are and are called to be more and more.
First, let us note that my criticism is not one of those Dr. Radner mentions. If anything, traditional catholic ecclesiology supports 'curial re-orderings' and does not support 'traditional [Anglican] autonomies', which are, in the case of TEC, being used as excuses for the undue taking of license - indeed, licen-tiousness. If I were merely a pragmatist, I should support the Covenant's innovations because they tighten the central leadership's reins on erring TEC. My side wins, as it were. But we ought not win practical victories at the expense of our Catholicism. Our souls depend upon it.
But in fact, the Covenant does indeed introduce innovations. Dr. Radner's argument - and we could quote him copiously to this point but, for the sake of brevity, without which no one can please bloggers, we'll move on - Dr. Radner's argument is not that critics of the Covenant are simply hallucinating and there is nothing new in the document. Rather, his point is that the innovations that are being proposed stand at the end of a long and authentically Anglican process which began before Gene Robinson, began in fact with the very exportation of the Faith that created the Communion, and which has only recently been recognized for what it is by documents such as the Virginia Report, the Eames Monitoring Group Report of 1988, and the Windsor Report. These documents describe a movement toward something like a Covenant that has been afoot for some time, but we tend to forget the Winsor Report's and the Covenant's continuity with this process because of the events around GC 03, etc. Dr. Radner believes that whatever the Covenant does to our ecclesiology has actually already been done, that it merely reflects developments that have already taken place in our Communion. The Covenant Design Group puts it this way:
What is to be offered in the Covenant is not the invention of a new way of being Anglican, but a fresh restatement and assertion of the faith which we as Anglicans have received, and a commitment to inter-dependent life such as always in theory at least been given recognition.
The Primates’ Meeting, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assembles for mutual support and counsel, monitors global developments and works in full collaboration in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have Communion-wide implications.
. . . to seek the guidance of the Instruments of Communion, where there are matters in serious dispute among churches that cannot be resolved by mutual admonition and counsel:
1. by submitting the matter to the Primates Meeting
2. if the Primates believe that the matter is not one for which a common mind has been articulated, they will seek it with the other instruments and their councils
3. finally, on this basis, the Primates will offer guidance and direction.
I decided to split this post in two because there are really two things going on that are of interest to me - one is genuinely an ecclesiological development, and the other is a pragmatic, political matter. Personally, I don't think these two spheres ought to be separated. The church ought always to stive to sbumit real-world practicalities to God's call; we ought ever and always to be expressing in our 'real' world the greater realities of the Spirit. Catholicism IS one of those realities. Ours ought always to be getting purer. Where we divorce the spiritual reality of catholicism from the practical realities of human institutions, we deny the miracle of the Church and pave the way for corruption and innovation, heresy and schism -- 'detestable enormities', all.
But the leaders of the Communion don't seem to see it that way. So the major ecclesiological innovation in the Covenant is tucked away, mid paragraph, mid sentence, barely even more than a reference or implication - not through any practice of deceit, I feel sure, but simply through neglect, which is worse. The first part of this post, below, will be dedicated to fleshing that innovation out. But because Dr. Radner and others have so vehemently denied that there exists any ecclesiological innovation in the Covenant, the second part of this post will be dedicated to proving, from the Design Group report, Dr. Radner's comments on the formative impulses of the document, and the Covenant itself, that there is, in fact, an ecclesiological innovation in the Covenant. And yes, for all of you who thought you've heard me imply it, here at anglicancatholic.blogspot.com, 'innovation' IS generally a dirty word. At least when it comes to the Church and its faith once received.
So the paragraph in question comes in the 5th section, on "Our Unity and Common Life" and reads thus:
Of these four Instruments of Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with whose See Anglicans have historically been in communion, is accorded a primacy of honour and respect as first amongst equals (primus inter pares). He calls the Lambeth Conference, and Primates’ Meeting, and is President of the Anglican Consultative Council.
The first sentence here is one of only two times in the document the word 'communion' has real theological content (the other time it refers to sharing the same Eucharist) and is not just the name of the particular group of churches we're talking about. What's wrong with this, despite the proclamation right at the beginning that we "uphold and act in continuity and consistency with the catholic and apostolic faith, order and tradition . . . ", is that the theological concept of communion, born of the blood and sweat of the Church Fathers, is nowhere mentioned as the foundation for our unity or identity. It only appears here, noted as an historical fact that explicitly has nothing to do with what the Covenant is trying to accomplish. Historically, we've been in communion with Canterbury, but today we Covenant to make that relationship obsolete, at least on the most foundational level of our identity. It's in our past, not our future.
The future of the Anglican 'Communion' seems to be to become the 'Anglican Covenant Group of Churches', an arrangement which may bear some strucutral similarities and historical continuities to an actual communion of Churches but may not be one in actuality.
Let me be clear that the creation of this kind of covenant does not, I think, necessarily destroy the communion we share already as Anglican Churches in communion with Canterbury. It could even, for all practical purposes, enhance our experience of that communion by more clearly articulating our understanding of God's expectations for ourselves and our communion partners, so long as we are clear that the Covenant does not create or define the relationship of communion, but only clarify it to help out infirmities (ahem, TEC). And by all means, let the miracle of communion be the foundaton we build upon, not the stone which the builders rejected.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
This has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. It is brought to you, naturally, by Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Before you click on it, guess what it is. If you guessed "a state of the art online finger meditation tool" then you guessed correctly. Now go look at it and feel the pathos of aging hippies trying desperately and failing to invent something meaningful out of nothing.
Meet the priestess in charge of this codswallop. Sometimes I'd like to lock such people in a room with someone who takes his religion seriously, and see what happens.
AN ADDENDUM -- lest you be afraid of him, the man in the link, who "takes his religion seriously" is not a wizard, but rather (as Charles W. has pointed out in the comments) a Schemamonk from the Valaam Russian Orthodox Monastery. Schemamonks, from what I can tell, are like the Navy SEALS of Eastern monasticism.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
As the post on T1:9 notes, Rev. Lawrence could become the first bishop-elect in over 70 years to be refused consent. We consent readily to a man who left his family to come out of the closet in New Hampshire, but Rev. Lawrence, who surely is just as well respected in his diocese as Gene Robinson was in his, and who was elected resoundingly on the first ballot (Bp. Robinson was elected on the second), has to beg and plead? Would we RATHER our bishops be gay?
I heard a number of excuses in 2003 that the diocese of New Hampshire had spoken, and that was that. The election had given us the will of God for New Hampshire, and God forbid we intervene by refusing consent. Instead, we get this from Via Media:
"The case against consenting to Father Lawrence's election is not based on his theology or personal beliefs, but on the way these are likely to affect the polity, and hence the unity and integrity, of this church . . ."
Say what? Is this not an exact description of the hullaballoo we've been dragged through since Bp. Robinson's election? Is this not an exact description of the dangers of electing a very liberal woman as Presiding Bishop? Is this not an exact description of the fallout we caused by ordaining women to the priesthood? Is this not a crystal-clear admission that godly living and good theology are not at stake, but simply partisan politics between TEC's left and right? You often hear me ask, "Who's calling the shots these days?" I ask, what does this campaign say about the priorities of Via Media and TEC's left wing? Via Media claims to be made up of moderates who want nothing more than to stay in TEC. But this move unmasks them. The group ostesnibly is worried that Fr. Lawrence, all by himself, is going to rip apart the ecclesial fabric of our church -- is this a reasonable fear? Surely at his most vehement he would only issue letters, as Bps. Iker and Beckwith and others have done, and support the request his diocese has already made to receive alternative primatial oversight - which plan, by the way, PB Schori has already expressed support for and is likely to press the HoB to agree to.
Which all stacks up to mean that Via Media's campaign to undo this canonically proper election is basically nothing but spite. And it's a power play to exercise Rehoboam-like authority over a peer, like the princes of the gentiles. And if it succeeds, it's likely to endanger any assurance coming from the HoB that TEC is willing to play nice for the time being.
Yale Divinity School students burned a copy of the Bill of Rights and the Ten Commandments at a recent Ash Wednesday service before marking their foreheads with the ashes – not as protest, they say, but to repent for their own complicity in “the ongoing injustice being perpetuated by our nation.”
“Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent where we remember our sins and the ways that we are complicit in evil in our society. As an American, the way that’s most clear today is through the War on Terror and the war on Iraq,” said Christopher Doucot, a first-year master’s student who came up with the idea for the service. About 40 to 45 students, faculty, administrators and local residentsattended the service, intended to provide an opportunity for reflection on such topics as secret prisons, “indiscriminate bombings,” domestic spying and torture.
“We were reminding ourselves of our own complicity,” said Doucot. “We’re not pointing fingers at anyone but ourselves.”
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Gulick, however, also said he was "100 percent committed to reconciliation" . . .
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Read the whole thing here. Interesting deliberations around the catholicity of Anglicanism and the forthcoming, revised Covenant. Father Ephraim was responding to this comment from Father Michael Poon. Father Michael was in turn responding to this, Father Epharim's initial comments on the Covenant. What do you think?
Dr. Poon’s pointing to the central element of common prayer and the Prayer Book as the doxological center and context for Anglican hearing of Scripture in its “right interpretation” accurately exposes the complexity of this “old” and “new”. He calls for a return to the “ancient way”. And he is right: the Book of Common Prayer no longer functions in this anchoring and formative way for Anglicans as a Communion, much to our detriment. But I have already heard faithful (and centrally “orthodox”) Anglicans of a more catholic tradition criticize the Proposed Covenant precisely because it lifts up the 1662 Prayer Book as a “guiding” document for the Communion as a whole. Even leaving aside modern revisions and elaborations and perhaps perversions of the Prayer Book tradition within many evangelical and non-evangelical churches around the world, designating a liturgical form that is theologically oriented towards a fairly Protestant outlook (at least within an Anglican range) is seen by many “Anglo-Catholics” as highly problematic; and especially among newer churches who have never perhaps even been ordered within a history that attaches directly to the 1662 English edition. So there is a large question here: Is the “ancient way” closer to the pre-Reformation order of eucharistic life? Or is it to be found in a gathering of the Communion around an originating liturgical order whose focus in, e.g. 1662, is to be viewed as providentially integrating of our common life, even if not directly constructive of it in this or that local or national church? This is a central concern that, perhaps, the Covenant will need to address more substantively. I personally believe in the latter, and understand the draft Covenant to do the same; but I recognize that it will require some common discussion, prayer, and—frankly – effort and charity for this to be agreed upon. We will agree, I hope, as impelled by God; but that impulsion will be recognized only in a certain kind of shared openness.
Here is where the conciliar character of the Proposed Covenant is perhaps more prominent than Dr. Poon would like: the form of “Doxology-orthodoxy, right interpretation of the Word, and right and proper praise [that] underpin Christian ecclesial life” is not up for grabs, is not some human invention, but it must nonetheless be recognized and embraced by the human followers of Christ within the church. Conciliar life undergirds covenant not because councils and their members do not “err”; just the opposite. Conciliar life undergirds covenant because it is the formal agency of the erring Church’s act of constant re-conversion to the truth. It does not supersede the truth; it apprehends it within the historical life of the Church, which includes her many failures. Is there a place in this – and not simply a possible place but even a necessary place – for learning from the Global South? For all the failures and continuing failures, I believe this is already happening, precisely through these conciliar structures that have been emerging over the past few years. In this sense, the “status quo” is not so much being calcified as it is, in its uncovering of its authentic roots and purposes, being transformed.
Below is a letter I recently received from Bishop Bena. At his request, I am forwarding it to you. As you will read in the letter, Bishop Bena, in faithful obedience to his understanding of God’s call, has transferred to the House of Bishops of Nigeria, where he has been received by Archbishop Peter Akinola. He will be working with the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, as a Missionary Bishop of CANA.
We are grateful to Bishop Bena for his many years of faithful service to our Lord and His Church, as Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Albany. We were richly blessed by him. We now wish Bishop Bena all God’s blessing as he answers this new call.
Faithfully Yours in Christ,
+William H. Love
Read the Letter from Bishop Bena here.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Some people I love and respect found Schori's remarks encouraging. I don't share that sentiment.
First of all, and perhaps most distressingly, given yet another opportunity to clarify her attitude to Jesus being "the way, the truth, and the life" (with the definite article), Schori again affirmed that she believes Jesus' rightful place to be in the pantheon of pagan gods, one among many equally true (though mutually exclusive... how does that work exactly?) ways to what she calls "the divine." Schori emphatically asserts:
"Jesus is not the only way to the cross."
I think this statement is too absurd even to be false. What could she possibly mean? Without Jesus, the cross is just a tree. Trees are great. They provide oxygen and shade; you can build houses out of them; they provide a home for birds; some of them bear tasty fruit or nuts. But they don't save you from sin and death. Only ONE TREE, according to the universal witness of our two-thousand years of teaching, offers salvation. And the ONLY REASON it saves is because on it Jesus Christ, uniquely perfect God and perfect man, gave his uniquely divine life for us in uniquely perfect obedience to the only eternal Father. ONLY CHRIST is capable of this perfect obedience (cf. Hebrews 5.8). The cross without Him is totally lifeless and frankly uninteresting. Forget about women's ordination. As far as I'm concerned, Schori can't be a bishop because she's not a believer.
Next Schori hints at the reason she is interested in staying in the Anglican Communion: because doing so holds out the possibility of "converting" the whole Communion to ECUSA's detestable enormities:
"Conversion of understanding," she says, "is the most essential piece of what we're about."
As far as I could tell there was, by contrast, no humility on Schori's part, to say nothing of regret as requested by the Windsor Report. I mean to say, one would expect that innovators within the Church ought to be willing to admit that they could be wrong. After all, that is the whole point of apostolic councils, the sensus fidelium, etc. "New things" (and liberals have assured us that "the Spirit" is doing just such a "new thing" in ECUSA) will be confirmed by the Holy Spirit through such avenues. That's how it has always been. In Acts 15, when a dispute rose up about whether Gentile converts to Christianity had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses, Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to ask the the Apostles and Elders. The Apostles and Elders, under their Primate (who by the way was James, not Peter), decided the question, and all agreed to be bound by their verdict.
This is what must happen in Anglicanism. We all must agree to be bound by the verdict of our Apostles and Elders in council. Since there has been an Anglican Communion, this has been the operative assumption. The problem, as has been brought to the fore by ECUSA's actions at the General Conventions of 2003 and 2006, is that this has only been an assumption, it hasn't been explicit (thus the need for a Covenant -- more on this matter anon). What has happened in our case is that ECUSA has gone to our Apostles and Elders (for example at Lambeth 1998) about the question of whether Christians with a homosexual orientation must keep the Church's discipline with regard to sexual activity. The Apostles and elders have given judgment on this matter, and ECUSA (unlike the Christians at Antioch in Acts 15) have refused to be governed by the Godly judgment of our Apostles and elders.
Lastly, a very disturbing statement that belies ECUSA's good faith in the councils of the Communion, Schori says about ECUSA's stance: "we are called to pause, but not to go backward." It seems to me that both repentance and the moratoria called for by Windsor, Dromantine, and now Dar es Salaam, require backing up a few steps. If ECUSA is so intractable, if she will not conform her life and practice to Anglican doctrine on principle (which I understand actually: for liberals this is a matter of principle), then why insist on remaining in the Communion? What's the point? You're bringing everyone down! As Schori has said with regard to "dissident" dioceses within ECUSA, it makes more sense that ECUSA should depart from the Communion in peace. ECUSA and the Communion have different doctrines and different practices. What basis is there for unity? Why insist on it without foundation? On this point I agree with the liberal activists.
I was honored to be at Texanglican's ordination to the diaconate (pictured at left - thats Tex with hands on his head) this past Saturday in Fort Worth. You can see videos of it here at All Too Common. Many blessings in your ministry Deacon Foster. I'm very happy to have you as a fellow soldier.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
But what does it mean to be a Communion rather than a federation? It means that provinces recognise each other as true churches of Christ, so that the apostolic ministry of one local church can be exercised freely in another local church. It means that we have ways of being accountable to each other, so that decisions in any one local church are not taken without consultation and awareness of the consequences a decision may have for other churches. It means that we regard our unity as more than a matter of human agreement, more even than a matter of doctrinal uniformity; we see it as something rooted in the Word of God who is active both through our reading and hearing of Scripture and in our performance of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.
Three task forces made reports to the Executive Council on March 2. One group proposed a resolution for a Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Inspiration Fund, using the $924,000 MDG line item in the church's budget.
That money would be used to match contributions to build a $3 million budget for anti-malaria projects by Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), Jubilee Ministries and the Episcopal Church through the Executive Council.
ERD, which would manage the fundraising efforts, would identify additional contributions to bring the $924,000 amount up to $1 million in order to "seed the fund" and then individuals, congregations and dioceses would be encouraged to contribute $2 million.
The proposed resolution would allocate $2 million to ERD's work with the "NetsforLife" initiative in Africa, with a possible similar pilot project in Asia. The other $1 million would be allocated to initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
I have to say: well done. This is edifying and courageous. I wish all the orthodox would rather suffer wrong than be sucked by ECUSA into lawsuits before secular courts. ECUSA has clearly given up attempting to edify anyone and cares more about property and money than about God's law. But we don't have to play by their rules. Thank you dear brothers and sisters in Peachtree City. You are living in God's power.
I will not criticize parishes (such as the CANA parishes in Virginia) for defending themselves in civil courts. But I will praise others for not defending themselves.
"Do not resist one who is evil... if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well... " (Matthew 5.39-40)
"To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren." (1 Corinthians 6.7-8)
"God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong..." (1 Corinthians 1.27)
Atlanta: New Anglican church severs ties with Peachtree City's St. Andrew's
A congregation that split away from the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta is dropping its legal claims to any of the property from its former church, St. Andrew’s-in-the-Pines in Peachtree City.
Instead, the newly-christened Anglican Church of Fayette County will meet temporarily at Huddleston Elementary School for the time being, with a few services slated for the nearby Gathering Place senior citizen’s center, said parishioner Fred Burdeshaw.
The previous week’s service was shared by both the new Anglican church and those who elected to stay with St. Andrew’s-in-the-Pines Episcopal Church as they met together side-by-side.
The Anglican Church of Fayette County celebrated its inaugural service at the Gathering Place Sunday with 125 members celebrating Holy Communion with Canon David Anderson of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.
Anglican Church leaders said they split away from the Episcopal Diocese because of concerns over the “increasingly liberal interpretation of scripture.” The church tried to work with the Episcopal Diocese to settle property issues, as only one of three parcels on the St. Andrews campus is actually deeded to the diocese, but those efforts were ultimately abandoned, Burdeshaw said.
Georgia law tends to favor established churches like the Episcopal Diocese in these types of cases, Burdeshaw said.
Instead, the decision was to abandon any potential conflict, and “we were better off to walk away, which is disappointing but reality,” Burdeshaw said.
The church is limited in the amount of dates it can rent the Gathering Place but has reserved it for Palm Sunday and Easter services, Burdeshaw said.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Numerically, the 2.3 million Episcopalians do not loom large among 77 million Anglicans. Symbolically, however, given the global importance of the United States, the departure of the Americans will leave the archbishop exposed as a quasi-colonial, quasi-papal figurehead heading a church made up, anachronistically, of Britain and her mostly African and Asian former colonies. This will be an awkward state of affairs, and portends further fissures along the same logic that underlies the impending departure of the Americans.
Read it all here, but I warn you, it's nothing more than the usual Marxist-historicist blather that the gasbags on the left like to spew forth occassionally.