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Sun Rieses in East
Midwest Conservative Journal ^ | 7/05/2005 | Christopher Johnson

Posted on 07/06/2005 7:10:17 AM PDT by sionnsar

The sad thing is that this is not news:

Hundreds of Church of England clergy doubt the existence of God and fewer than two thirds believe in miracles, a study out today says.

The report, published on the eve of the General Synod, refers to “very fragile faultlines along which the Church of England could be torn apart”. Congregations are much more conservative than most of the comparatively liberal clergy preaching to them.

The report says that if committed Anglicans are clear about one thing it is the existence of God: 97 per cent have no hesitation in affirming His existence. Yet, it continues, one in 33 clerics doubts the existence of God. If reflected throughout the Church’s 9,000 clergy the finding would mean that nearly 300 Church of England clergy are uncertain that God exists.

Equal numbers of clergy and laity, eight out of ten, believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ but more laity than clergy believe in the Virgin Birth — 62 per cent compared with 60 per cent — and in the miracle where Jesus turned water into wine — 65 per cent compared with 61 per cent.

But it's on the subject of You Know What that clergy and laity really begin to pull apart.

The biggest division comes over the issue of homosexuality. One third of clergy are in favour of the ordination of practising homosexuals as priests, compared with one quarter of laity. Nearly one third of clergy also support the ordination of gay bishops, but among the laity this falls to fewer than one fifth.

Whereas 56 per cent of the laity believe that it is wrong for people of the same gender to have sex together, the proportion falls to 48 per cent among the clergy. The Anglican Church hasbeen brought to the brink of a schism over homosexuality, and the survey shows it to be at risk of further unrest.

“In many ways ordained Anglicans look out on to a somewhat different world from the world viewed by lay Anglicans,” says the 180-page report, Fragmented Faith?. “Overall, it is the faultline between the clergy and the committed laity on the issue of homosexuality which may take the Church of England most by surprise.”

That last line ought to go on the Anglican tombstone.  For you will never read a more eloquent description of Anglicanism's titantic cluelessness than the fact that "the faultline between the clergy and the committed laity on the issue of homosexuality...may take the Church of surprise."

To an extent, I think that a gap between clergy and laity exists in all western Anglican churches.  I know it's true in the Episcopal Church.  I don't know whether it was the fact that Episcopal clergy thought that theological education and ordination elevated them above the unwashed masses or whether ECUSA priests and bishops have mostly had to be liberal to get ordained for some time now but for as long as I can remember, there has been a disconnect between the people in the pews in the people in the sanctuary.

Now and then, this gap has been a very good thing.  One of my hometown’s most humiliating moments, the two years in the early 1950’s when Webster Groves closed the municipal swimming pool rather than allow blacks and whites to swim together, ended when the town’s ministers, including the rector at my old parish, took the lead in organizing a campaign to open the pool.

But sometimes this gap has been needlessly destructive.  There was no great groundswell in the Episcopal Church demanding that that women be ordained.  Even so, ECUSA could easily have made a case for it to the whole church.  It wouldn't have convinced everybody but it would have indicated that ECUSA took the concerns of the laity seriously.  But ECUSA didn't even feel the need to try.  Since ECUSA liberals thought women's ordination was right, it was.  So why bother debating some stupid reactionaries?

Or take the Book of Common Prayer

ECUSA knew that its revision was unpopular and could easily have allowed individual parishes or dioceses to continue to use the 1928 edition.  After all, the Roman Catholic Church gets by just fine with diverse liturgies and observances(Maronite, Melchite, Byzantine, etc) and ECUSA might have saved itself a good deal of rancor.  But since it would have had to admit that mere laity believed that something it produced was inadequate, ECUSA could not take that step.

Then Robbie got his pointy hat.  As with women's ordination, there was no clamor among the laity for homosexual bishops.  And there was no church debate on the matter, no parochial or diocesan study groups, no discussion of any kind. 

General Convention 2003 provided the liberals with a fact on the ground and such Episcopal debate as there was ended before it began.

Episcopal laity were essentially instructed that whatever their Bibles, 2,000 years of church teaching and their convictions told them on the subject of homosexual activity no longer mattered in the slightest since Episcopal liberals were going to do whatever felt good, Bible or no Bible.  But the laity should stay in the church, work through their "feelings," get over their "pain" and keep sending in their pledge checks.  The separation of Episcopal clergy and Episcopal laity had become a chasm. 

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 07/06/2005 7:10:17 AM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; Hermann the Cherusker; ...
[Argh! Typo in title... --sionnsar]

Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-7 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 07/06/2005 7:11:47 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Kyoto: Split Atoms, not Wood)
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