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Tolerance 'R' Us
Southern Anglican ^ | 7/25/2005 | Greg Griffith

Posted on 07/25/2005 6:33:32 PM PDT by sionnsar

Q: What's the difference between the Yakuza and the ECUSA?

A: One is a gang of ruthless thugs that gets its way through force and intimidation. The other is the Japanese mafia.

A post at Father Jake Stops the World on the Connecticut crisis caught my attention as one of the best recent examples of what one of my favorite priests calls "the mendacity of the left." It is yet more proof- as if we needed it - that in the revisionists of the Anglican crisis, we are dealing largely with people who not only refuse to acknowledge the truth, but actively propagate falsehoods - whether it's the meaning of the Gospel, or what happened in Bristol.

The "Connecticut Six", a group of conservative priests and their parishes, have asked for alternative oversight from Bishop Andrew Smith, who is just as liberal as The Six are conservative. Father Jake finds this appalling:

Let's stop for a minute and think about the story so far. We are the Episcopal Church. We understand the role of bishops to be quite important. It is one of the things that sets us apart from other Protestant groups. The recognition of bishops in apostolic succession is one of the four elements of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral that defines the parameters for all of our ecumenical discussions. Yet these six priests see themselves as not under the authority of their diocesan bishop, because they disagree with something he did.

I simply do not understand this kind of thinking. The priest functions as a representative of the bishop. The idea of the priest as a free agent is a very Protestant notion, but one that, unfortunately, shows up in almost every gathering of priests.


So much for being a person under authority. Don't like your bishop? Just order up a new one. And, you don't have to contribute towards the work of the diocese, but can still expect to have voice and vote in diocesan affairs, and be recognized as a member in good standing. We live in bizarre times.

Bizarre times? That much I'll grant Father Jake.

So he obviously has nothing but contempt and outrage for the good folks at St. John's. But where is his contempt and outrage over liberal St. Brendan's Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, and its rector The Rev. Catherine Munz, who sought - and were granted - alternative oversight from Bishop Robert Duncan? Is alternative oversight an affront to episcopal authority only when it's sought by conservatives?

For that matter, where is Father Jake's outrage at the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Commission, the Primates, and the Anglican Consultative Council, all of whom have endorsed alternative oversight, even set up a special commission in the form of the Panel of Reference specifically for that purpose?

Just when the hypocrisy has piled up so high it threatens to topple over, Father Jake shifts gears to characterize African bishops as animals, describing them as "unsavory predators... prowling the perimeter of the Episcopal Church, seeking troubled congregations they can gobble up."

Nice one, Jake. That should really elevate the level of debate.

Then there's this:

I do think it is high time that we call the extreme conservatives on their disregard for the authority of our bishops, their subterfuge, and their downright rudeness.
Got that? It's not the bishop who showed up unannounced at the church, forced his way into the rector's office, offloaded personal and parish computer files, changed the locks in the building, posted round-the-clock security guards, and imposed on an overwhelmingly conservative parish a thoroughly liberal priest - it's not he who is rude - but "extreme conservatives." Indeed, Father Jake's only problem with Bishop Smith's actions is the bad p.r. his tactics have sparked:
Bishop Smith has created martyrs, where previously these folks, or at least their rector, were only foolish fanatics.

On the whole, though, Father Jake is happy with the outcome: foreign bishop will scoop up St. John's. And it sounds like there is a "faithful remnant" that accepts the authority of the bishop. So, hopefully, the life of this parish will eventually move on.

(Not if the vestry enjoys as much support from the congregation as it appears is the case. It's hard to pay the bills when the pews are empty. Besides, as Father Jake should know, a bishop may be able to manhandle a mission all he wants, but he cannot take over a parish without first taking a number of steps outlined in the diocese's constitution and canons, few if any of which Smith apparently followed. If Smith is in violation of canon law, there is indeed little hope that anyone - certainly not Frank Griswold - will call him to account. But if, as the St. John's vestry suspects, he is in violation of Massachusetts state law, his "episcopal authority" may wind up on the business end of civil litigation - and perhaps criminal prosecution.)

Next is the matter of Fr. Hansen's sabbatical. Bishop Smith accuses Hansen of abandoning his parish and being unreachable, despite the fact that Hansen was living in the rectory the whole time, and was easily reached on at least one phone number that was readily available to anyone who asked. Father Jake then essentially accuses the St. John's vestry of lying:

From what I understand, Fr. Hansen's reasons for leaving involved his son's medical needs, which required him to seek other employment that would fulfill those needs. That is an honorable and understandable reason for resigning. But, he made two dreadful mistakes; he allowed himself to be talked into the subterfuge of a "sabbatical," and failed to inform his bishop of his plans.
But the vestry's spokesman, William Witt, writes in a letter to Bishop Smith that the parish was anything but "abandoned":
...despite Fr. Hansen’s sabbatical, our parish is not without pastoral leadership. Fr. Clayton Knapp has been providing such leadership on Sundays, and Fr. Thomas Beck has been providing pastoral care during the week. Fr. Knapp asked permission of you to continue in that position beyond the 60 days that is normally allowed for someone who is not canonically resident in the diocese, and you gave it to him. We would ask that you honor that agreement. We would ask that Fr. Knapp be allowed to continue as our priest during this time, as you promised. We do not recognize Susan McCone as our priest. We have not asked for her, and we ask that she would leave.
... and makes a very good point about Smith's proposed "solution":
You have claimed that the vestry has left the parish without pastoral care. Ms. McCone lives in Washington, CT, and works another job during the week. Fr. Beck lives fifteen minutes away. Trinity Church, Bristol, is ten minutes away. Our Sr. Warden Rick Gonneville can be reached at any time. How can someone who is working another job and who lives at the other end of the state provide pastoral care when you claim that the arrangements we have made will not?
As I wrote earlier, somebody's lying about just how poorly the parishioners of St. John's were being cared for. One has to assume that if Bishop Smith had any evidence at all to back up his claims about Father Hansen, and justify his jack-booted treatment of St. John's, he would have presented it by now. In the face of statements to the contrary by the very parishioners and vestry for whom Smith purports to be looking out, every day that passes without such evidence makes it increasingly likely that the honest truth is this is nothing but a case of a revisionist bishop purging a conservative rector.

Father Jake, though, evidently has something of a problem with the concept of honesty:

I almost got involved in a situation like this once. I was serving as interim for a parish in the South. They were very conservative, and rather evangelical. Being a son of the [Nashota] House [a conservative seminary in Wisconsin], and a former evangelical, I simply did what many interims do, and played chameleon. These were good folks at heart, whose previous clergy had led them in a certain direction. So, I avoided the hot button issues, did the interim work that I was charged to do, and preached up a storm. They loved it, so much that at one point, when I was considering leaving the assignment early, one of the lay leaders came to see me, and begged me not to go, as "we don't want the devil getting in here." I tried not to laugh out loud, although I was tempted to do my best Mick Jagger imitation and break out with, "Pleased to meet you, won't you guess my name?"
Heh - that reminds me of the many times my wife and I lied to our 3-year-old, telling her everything she wanted to hear, all the while knowing we didn't give a damn about whether or not they were true. Oh how we laughed.

It's comforting indeed to know that a priest finds such mirth in "playing the chameleon." And people wonder where all the good men have gone.

Many of the comments by Father Jake's visitors do nothing to reassure us that we are dealing with reasonable - let alone honorable - opponents in this debate. The comment thread reveals - yet again - that for a group of people who claim to value "tolerance" and "dialogue" above all, nothing disgusts them more than being asked to tolerate those with whom they disagree.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 07/25/2005 6:33:33 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; LonePalm; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

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Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 07/25/2005 6:34:34 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Kyoto: Split Atoms, not Wood)
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To: sionnsar

"A: One is a gang of ruthless thugs that gets its way through force and intimidation. The other is the Japanese mafia."


3 posted on 07/25/2005 6:36:00 PM PDT by jocon307 (Can we close the border NOW?)
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To: sionnsar

"I tried not to laugh out loud, although I was tempted to do my best Mick Jagger imitation and break out with, "Pleased to meet you, won't you guess my name?"

OK, but that part is creepy. So he's admitting he's the devil, or the advocate of Satan? That's disturbing. Or, I guess really, it's just a big joke to these people. Not so much cameleons as Charlatans. I don't think Christ came to earth, suffered, died and rose again to further the cause of sodomites. I don't think I'd think that even if I were an atheist, or even an atheist sodomite.

4 posted on 07/25/2005 6:42:49 PM PDT by jocon307 (Can we close the border NOW?)
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To: sionnsar
But if, as the St. John's vestry suspects, he is in violation of Massachusetts state law, his "episcopal authority" may wind up on the business end of civil litigation - and perhaps criminal prosecution.)

Interesting, it would be good to see one of Griswold's jackbooted SA taken to court.

5 posted on 07/25/2005 7:58:26 PM PDT by xJones
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