Skip to comments.The Hunt for Red October, a Reply to Bishop Swing
Posted on 07/29/2006 7:49:12 PM PDT by sionnsar
The Hunt for Red October, a Reply to Bishop Swing
An answer to the Bishop of California's recent article, "Communists, Counterfeiters, and Catholics."
By Michael Heidt
In today's fast paced world, one can be forgiven for a little self-indulgent nostalgia. We all like to hark back to the "good old days" when things seemed simpler and clearer cut than they do now. All well and good, but we must beware lest the lens through which we view the present in terms of the past has become clouded by unreality. This warning applies to us all, not least the Bishop of California, who's come out vigorously against those backward Christians that protest his liberal agenda. "The dogs bark and bark," he tells us, "but the wagons moved on." So they have, but not all in the same direction, and for the Californian Swing, the covered wagons of those who disagree with him and the TEC majority are little better than fascist McCarthyites. The Bishop doesn't mince words as he tells us about his fact-finding mission to a traditional parish in the 1970s, he remembers telling the recalcitrants:
"You are saying that revising the prayer book and ordaining women are deeply destabilizing innovations which threaten the very core of our American, democratic culture and values. Who would want to bring such harm to our country? The Communists! You are convinced that the Episcopal Church, wittingly, or unwittingly, has become a pawn of the Communist Party and their intent to bury America."
Unfortunately for the Bishop of California, the McCarthyites haven't gone away, on the contrary, they're "stronger than ever in the form of institutes and religious lobbies" pay-rolled from the deep pockets of Texas and Pittsburgh. These people are a "tough crowd" who will stop at nothing as they work "non-stop to carry out their goals," which presumably entails the eradication of the Red Menace from our shores.
Now, some people have argued that Communism was a bad thing, most Kulaks for example, would probably vote against it. Who can blame a sector of the American populace for being more than a little reluctant to see the United States turned into a Worker's Paradise, replete with Gulags? And, if it's true that Stalinists were at work in 1950s America, which they evidently were, why shouldn't we have done all in our power to stop them, in the same way that we acted against the Hitlerites? Bishop Swing seems to take this lightly and perhaps he's right, Senator McCarthy's bad press is doubtless well deserved and it does seem more than a little ridiculous to accuse ECUSA of being a Party pawn. Or is it?
Students of Soviet history will remember that a privileged few of the Party elite were able to go on exotic vacations and buy things which the toiling masses could only dream of, such as Levis and CD players. And what do we find Mrs. Swing up to while the modern American proletariat slaves away, nine till five? "Last summer my wife, Mary, was in an Asian country shopping for a pocketbook." Mary wasn't happy with generic brands, she wanted something better, and asked for it, "Do you have any Prada bags?" Well, it's a different cultural context than a dacha on the Baltic Sea but the point's the same; perhaps the McCarthyite parishioners were onto something?
Hijack the Revolution
Never ones to beat about the bush, the triumphant Soviets were quick to point out the faults of their traitorous cousins, Lenin's "petty bourgeois revolutionaries." Menshiviks, "senile Norodniks", Left Communists, Right Communists, Trotskyites and "infantile Anarchists"; all these sounded like the real thing but were little more than parasites, fake revolutionaries who would be swept away in the inevitable tide of Marxian dialectic. And, after several hundred thousands, if not millions, of them died at the hands of the NKVD, you'd think that they had learned their lesson. Not a bit of it, it seems the counterfeiters are at again, living off the revolutionary ardour and sacrifice of The Party. Swing speaks out:
"There is a little church a few blocks from our home that calls itself an Anglican church. Obviously it is not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury... but there it is in all its counterfeit splendor... it takes advantage of our "noble army of martyrs" who gave their lives..."
The Bishop goes on, these "boutique fake Anglican churches... figure out how to usurp the work of others and skim off enough cream to serve a rich local liturgical dish to unsuspecting attendees. A parody by parasites." What can we say? It's "next stop, Siberia" for these lickspittle capitalists in worker's clothing.
The paradigm continues with a characteristic purge as Party faithful, Swing, Bruno, Mathes, and Lamb, bring trumped up charges against the bourgeois, boutique Anglican leader, Bishop John Schofield of San Joaquin. He betrayed the revolution and now he must face the consequences; doubtless his image will be airbrushed out in future Californian agitprop, as though it had never existed. Thus perish all enemies of the West Coast Soviet, as the People's Wagon moves on, crushing the barking dogs of recidivism under the iron wheel of dialectical materialism! Today it's Bishop Schofield, who's next? Bishop Iker? Duncan? Parish priests? And why stop at the clergy when there's plenty of laity battening off the body of true Anglicanism?
If the Shoe Fits
Well, you know the old joke about a child who finds a suspicious looking substance on the ground. When something smells and tastes as it appears to be, then chances are it is just that, the lesson being that Bishop Swing can protest his status all he likes, but the evidence points firmly in the other direction. If he isn't a "fellow traveler" then what is he, a Catholic? This is his claim, "We aren't communists or counterfeiters. We are the real thing, catholic Episcopalians..." But this is all wrong, Catholics don't do the things he does, they don't act against the teaching of the Church, they don't ordain women, or bless same sex marriages. Neither do they believe in pagan pseudo Gnosticism, that the "catholic nature of the Church... exists only in the mind of God." Nor do they promote something called United Religions Initiative, a pan-everything religious movement that only relativizes Christian orthodoxy, promoted and supported by Swing. On the contrary, Catholics believe in the whole Faith, as received from Christ, through the Apostles, and do not dare run the risk of contradicting something given us by God Himself. This same Faith exists, embodied and concrete in the teaching and nature of the Church, visible and militant on earth, expectant and triumphant in heaven - not as an unknowable Ideal, existing in the mind of God, towards which the initiate gropes blindly on their journey to enlightenment.
Bishop Swing may protest his opponent's McCarthyism, but he shouldn't be surprised if the Cold War glass is turned his way and neither should he wonder if real Catholics have the courage of their convictions to stand up against the error of imposters. It is these latter who will inherit Swing's "exponential isolation" along with heretics throughout the ages.
---The Rev. Michael Heidt is rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Norristown, PA. He is a columnist for New Directions a UK magazine serving Evangelicals and Catholics seeking to renew the Church in the historic faith.
But of course, the Bishop and His Gracites mask themselves in the cloak of lofty words while abusing scripture and playing at pretenders to the Throne of Christ.
The church under Bishop Swing is intolerant and interested in a newer "ka-ching" type of "church". Sci-Fi has lots of stories about religious "churches" of the future. When Melvin Belli died.. naturally, Bishop Swing was marching front and center in the funeral parade.
Why should this have surprised anyone.
What an interesting article.
Swing continues auditioning for the posiiton of False Prophet.
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