Skip to comments.Loyalty --- is it a good thing for ECUSA clergy & laity?
Posted on 09/10/2005 10:23:54 AM PDT by sionnsar
A feeling or attitude of devoted attachment and affection.
Feelings of allegiance.
The act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a
course of action.
Loyalty is a key concept in politics and in sport, and it is becoming so in the ECUSA. Bishops are calling for loyalty to the institution, as thousands think of leaving or calling for alternative Episcopal oversight. Is loyalty a virtue? Is it a good thing? How should the faithful respond to such calls.
A long time ago in a BBC broadcast the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell said: Loyalty is always evil. It was an exaggeration of course, but it made an important, even profound, point provocatively and clearly.
If any action, attachment or allegiance is defended on the ground of loyalty alone, then loyalty here may be said to be evil. Further, such a defense has no rational basis to it. To say, I do this out of loyalty to my party [my leader, my denomination] is both irrational and immoral unless it can be said that my party [or my leader or my denomination] is acting for the true good of mankind and the glory of God.
Loyalty in and of itself is never a moral basis for action. But where the cause or the leader of the institution is good, or seeking genuinely to be good, then loyalty may be said to be virtuous. But this is because of the good involved, not because of the power of the allegiance or attachment that is the loyalty.
Thus ECUSA priests and laity are not required to be loyal to the ECUSA if this Church is, in the judgment of the wise, disobeying the Lord of the Church. Unless ECUSA is doing what is good or at least intending and trying to do what is right and good, loyalty to this institution is mis-placed. Loyalty has to be to the Gospel, to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to God the Father, and if the ECUSA is seeking to put These first and uppermost in its corporate life and decisions then loyalty to the ECUSA can be virtuous.
Priests are being loyal to their ordinations when they recall their ordinations seriously, reverently and humbly and then seek to live and minister in the light and unction of them. This may mean rejecting or disobeying the institution to which they currently belong and into which they moved when ordained especially if that institution denies the very Faith which was the context of the ordination itself. It may mean seeking alternative episcopal oversight or it may mean leaving the institution for another wherein the pursuit of the Good is real.
Loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Gospel of the Father concerning him, are virtuous for here loyalty is truly to the GOOD.
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)
One mind game I played with myself (oops, let me rephrase that) about my renouncing my orders was that it was impossible for me to keep my ordination vows and remain a dutiful (and loyal) priest in ECUSA.
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