Skip to comments.SCHORI VS. SCHOFIELD -- "Big Sister Is Watching You"
Posted on 11/25/2006 5:14:21 PM PST by sionnsar
"I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period to uphold the 'doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.' ...Your public assertion that your duty is to violate those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity." (Presiding Bishop Katharine Schori, letter to John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin, Nov. 20, 2006)
"At this moment... Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control." (George Orwell, "1984")
"Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not." (The Form of Ordaining or Consecrating a Bishop, BCP 1928, p. 558)
BIG SISTER IS WATCHING YOU.
According to "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them", women are ordained as priests and bishops, as are homosexuals. Furthermore, according to this Church, marriage is between a man and a woman; also between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.
Thirty years ago according to the same "received" Faith, only men were ordained, and marriage was between one man and one woman only. But this apparent contradiction is known to be a defect of "memory".
Candidates for ordination in the Episcopal Church still pledge themselves to conform to the "faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) or, in the incomparable language of the Prayer Book, "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them".
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is solemnly committed to upholding and enforcing the Faith as this Church has received it. Unfortunately she must now make an example of Bishop John-David Schofield (Diocese of San Joaquin) whose "personal experience" over the past 30 years has unfortunately distracted him from his pastoral calling. Sister Kate (as she is fondly called) feels his pain of course, but, because of her own position of responsibility, the velvet gloves must now come off.
As the Chief Shepherdess of the Flock, she has no choice but to protect the faithful in San Joaquin from the "profound spiritual violence" that will ensue without her intervention.
One wonders what Sister Kate thinks of when she contemplates "spiritual violence". She clearly stands upon the longstanding catholic tradition of no-nonsense warnings to ordinands, like the one Schofield would remember from his own ordination to the priesthood:
"And if it shall happen that the same Church, or any Member thereof, do take any hurt or hindrance by reason of your negligence, ye know the greatness of the fault, and also the horrible punishment that will ensue" (Form and Manner of Ordering Priests, BCP 1928, p. 540).
Now there's "profound spiritual violence" in no uncertain terms, and worthy to be considered "with the utmost gravity"! Still, I don't think this is what Sister Kate is getting at. I think she sees "spiritual violence" as having to make up your mind about spiritual reality and make painful choices. The ultimate example would be Jesus' own challenge to his apostles: "And who do YOU say that I am?"
The Episcopal Church prides itself in providing a safe haven against such "divisive" matters, mere "opinions" or "theological issues", which have been known to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
The old BCP was scary that way. It belonged to a universe where it mattered what you thought and who you believed.
Just to put this in context, let's ask what sort of "hurt, hindrance, negligence or fault" the old Prayer Book envisions in its services of ordination. The answer has already been mentioned in the course of the present controversy. The "hurt" is that arising from the priest's failure "to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word" (ibid., p. 542).
Apparently in the universe of the old BCP there is another species of "spiritual violence", not to mention pastoral responsibility.
Bloggers have already noted the "irony" that Schofield, ordained priest according to the old rite, now plans to leave TEC out of heartfelt obedience to his priestly vows, and specifically to protect his flock from the very "erroneous and strange doctrines" represented by a she-wolf masquerading as a shepherd. The "hurts and hindrances" in both Church and society are manifold and manifest.
But "irony" is just a passing observation to exercise the bloggers. The issue raised by this case is much more profound, outrageous, and -- yes -- bitterly ironic. The issue is this: had the 1928 Book of Common Prayer been the rite of this Church in the 30 years since John-David Schofield took his priestly vows, it would have been impossible to pretend that now he was in violation of "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them".
This is not the worn out complaint about the "old" liturgy versus the "new" -- more like the old Religion versus the New.
The most damning comment that can be made about the Prayer Book of 1979 is that a person accustomed to using it naturally believes that "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them" is whatever General Convention has approved within the past three years. Anything GC comes up with in terms of faith and morals "fits" into the broad parameters of the new Book. The catholic notion of "faith once for all delivered" is replaced by a "faith du jour", and nobody blinks.
The experts keep telling us that praying shapes believing. What we're learning is that praying anesthetizes believing.
The 1979 liturgy has proven itself far worse than a second-rate literary or theological text. It has proven to be a Trojan Horse, and Schori-Schofield is just the most "ironic" example to date. Not everyone has noticed the depth of this catastrophe, but many have, and more are noticing it every day.
Compounding the irony, the chameleon-like nature of the "new" Prayer Book is camouflaged in the Episcopal Church especially among Bible believing members.
If there's godly preaching and sound biblical teaching, then the 1979 liturgy appears to "work". That is, if the doctrine coming from the pulpit, the Sunday school and Adult Ed departments is sound and appropriately nuanced, then the faithful can imagine that this is the doctrine being showcased in the worship services that follow.
This is also the reason why there's not one "orthodoxy", but as many "orthodoxies" as there are Bible believing pastors. They all "fit" in the new liturgy. Whatever doesn't fit can be smoothed over in the name of "liturgical renewal".
On the other hand, there are many other Episcopalians who hear the "historic texts" of the '79 Book as the tasteful pageantry of a cutting-edge religion, pressed appropriately into service in support of the latest Marxist rant, for example, from the Episcopal Church office of Peace and Justice.
The texts of the historic BCP's have a honed evangelical edge that is unmistakable. There is nothing in the new Book comparable to the prayer of absolution from the Daily Offices: "He pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel." "Feigned belief" is no longer smuggled in a side door but is now mainstreamed as a sort of positive outlook.
There is nothing in the new liturgy as biblically transparent as this excerpt from the 1928 service of baptism:
"We receive this Child into the congregation of Christ's flock; and do sign him with the sign of the Cross, in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end."
There are many things here that today's Episcopalians are "ashamed" of to the point of panic.
Such texts are pointed and uncompromising. Examples could be multiplied exponentially.
By contrast the new Prayer Book comes with creeds with "wiggle room" added. Scholars, fearful of inflicting "spiritual violence", inserted an optional negation of the Virgin Birth and the Incarnation in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds. There's no reference in the original language, or in the traditional English, for "was conceived by THE POWER OF the Holy Spirit". That's a prefabricated lie for the next generation of dissemblers, some of whom will come to the Episcopal Church thinking they're on the "Canterbury Trail".
Yes, I know that the 1928 BCP was the official rite of the Church during the Jim Pike debacle and other less publicized incidents. Plenty of Episcopal Deists over the years have worshipped according to the "magnificent poetry" of the Prayer Book tradition. It can't be stressed enough that literary and theological genius does not equal worship in Spirit and in Truth.
My point is simple: it would have been impossible for Katharine Schori even to form the words of her contemptuous letter to John-David Schofield, had not the infection of the new liturgy been fatally dispersed through the body of the Episcopal Church. Even a she-wolf has enough tact to choose her fights carefully.
The Teflon Prayer Book is the context out of which an open assault upon a shepherd of the historic Faith was possible. It forms the necessary prerequisite for a doctrinally neutered religion and a spiritually lobotomized "church", who could be persuaded that poor Bishop Schofield took his "personal disagreements" a step too far and upset the Faith "as this Church has received it".
This is something out of an Orwellian nightmare.
We hold marriage to be between one man and one woman only. We do not hold marriage to be between one man and one woman only. We never held marriage to be between one man and one woman only.
One more thing, to be considered with the utmost gravity: Sister Kate is watching.
---Gary L'Hommedieu is Canon in charge of Pastoral Care at St. Luke's Cathedral in Orlando, Florida. He is a columnist for Virtueonline.
I called 815 several years ago to discuss their having advised a cleric to break the seal of the confessional, despite the relatively recent passage of a rubric declaring the seal to be "morally absolute" for the person hearing the confession. The reverend lady with whom I spoke said, "That's how we make theology in the Episcopal Church." So the Episcopal Church makes theology by violating solemn covenants made with God and with the people of the Church,and ignoring rubrics which are agreed upon after decades of bitter debate, thousands upon thousands of dollars of money, and two votes by orders by succeeding General Conventions.
The original Philadelphia 11 were ordained in violation of the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church at the time. I wonder what the most reverend lady thinks of that? Will she repudiate it, it being so clearly a violation of the ordination vows of the bishops involved and of the ordinands who were at the time of their ordinations subscribing to an oath to observe the D,D & W blah blah blah?
There is no theological or moral there there.
They wear collars but answer to no divine tugs of the leash and heel to no one. They take vows but only because they think they are meaningless, unenforceable, and unenforced. It is no place for a man of principle or piety.
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