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Dropping the Mask
Midwest Conservative Journal ^ | 6/04/2005 | Christopher Johnson

Posted on 06/04/2005 5:43:46 PM PDT by sionnsar

Utah Episcopal Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish writes her diocese a quite revealing letter about the last House of Bishops meeting.  It opens thus:

The most positive thing that can be said at the outset of this report is that study and conversation is still going on all over the Anglican Communion. All its provinces and various representative bodies are still in the process of ‘reception’ which I described in my earlier paper (endnote 1), and I am confident this will continue for years. At the same time, it is my belief that this work is being seriously handicapped by persons and groups who not only disagree with the actions we took at the General Convention of 2003 (which is fine), but are working behind the scenes—actively, secretively, divisively, and rather effectively since they are well-financed—to pressure other primates, provinces and persons to support them. That is not so fine.

Paranoia straight out of the gate.  I still haven't read a plausible explanation why anybody would want to spend large sums of money to destroy a church that is destroying itself quite effectively.  Irish admits that ECUSA has taken a hit.

We gathered with great awareness of the tensions present in our own Province (ECUSA) and in the Communion as a whole, related to the consecration of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man living in partnership with another. The number of persons and congregations who have actually left ECUSA is smaller than one might think given press reports; there is much more vocalized anger and threat than actual division. Still, some of our dioceses have suffered more than others, in terms of fractiousness, stress, and financial losses, so this is a very serious and sad situation for us all, whatever position anyone takes on the issues.

And that the bishops meeting got rather heated at times.

At this meeting a few of the actively conservative bishops were present, off and on. It has been their general pattern to meet apart from the House, to caucus and strategize, and sometimes to celebrate ‘their own’ Eucharist. On occasion, our generally quiet tensions erupted into moments of open confrontation, particularly around the matter of lying and truth-telling. Secrecy and deception, as well as early and inappropriate leaks to the press, seriously undermine the trust level of the whole community.

Trust in the Episcopal world has been in short supply since just about everyone who can read knows that ECUSA is currently led by a liar.  Speaking of Frank, the Bishop was very sad that so many people at the Primates meeting were so mean to him.

Of great sadness, to me, was the way our Presiding Bishop was treated at the Primates meeting. Knowing as we did from early reports, that a significant number of Primates (eighteen of the thirty-five present I think) would not share in the Eucharist with Frank present, led me to wonder how they could even claim to be Anglicans. Common worship, the community of worship, is far more central to our identity as Anglicans than any opinion or belief.

Someone once said in jest that you're an Anglican if you think you are.  According to Carolyn Tanner Irish, that's not a joke.  Conversion to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy is a long and rather involved process.  Conversion to Anglicanism apparently involves you waking up one morning and deciding that you're an Anglican.  You don't have to change your beliefs; you don't even have to have any serious beliefs of any kind.  After all, "common worship, the community of worship, is far more central to our identity as Anglicans than any opinion or belief."  And that comes from an actual bishop with a pointy hat, a hooked stick and everything.

Back to the letter.  Irish was impressed by Frank's nobility through all this.

The fact is, however, that I have never heard Frank actually complain about anything. His own report of the meeting was matter-of-fact and low key. Being a gentle and faithful soul, he is always seeking to discover God’s presence in any situation. Still, his descriptive account of particular parts of the meeting and the strain of it were more than clear. In addition to everything else, he was painfully aware that among most of the Primates, our church is closely identified with the present political administration, economic exploitation, and our TV culture, programmed all over the world, and seen as seriously destructive of their values and cultures. Our own glorification of 1st Amendment protection doesn’t cut it elsewhere.

Yeah, that's exactly why the Africans are so mad at Frank.  George W. Bush, Coca-Cola and lousy movies.  That's why Frank got all that abuse.  It had nothing at all to do with making an unrepentant sinner into a bishop and throwing out 2,000 years of Christian teaching.

In terms of the general atmosphere at the gathering, Frank said he felt it was “toxic” much of the time, some bishops being “out for blood” at the beginning of their retreat, although this eased as the days went on. He felt that untruth was more welcome than truth, and he was aware of much outside pressure on the bishops present. Some left for private meetings with people outside, and cell phones were on and active during much of their time together. Press leaks were frequent and dire. 

How would Frank know the difference between untruth and truth?  Irish doesn't deal with that because she's really steamed about the Primates' statement.

The most difficult thing for me to work past in the Communiqué, are some of its gratuitous remarks and patronizing tone.

They commit themselves to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people, assuring ‘them’ that they are children of God. Do ‘they’ need that assurance from the primates? Being only objects of care, have they no gifts to bring to the church?

While admitting that our church acted entirely within its constitutional and canonical processes, the Primates say we (and Canada) need to consider ‘our place’ in the Anglican Communion. Who are they to say that to us?

The primates openly assume that the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10 stated the standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality, which we have ‘undermined.’ Polygamy and the oppression of women do not? Had they even made an effort to study human sexuality before overwhelming the whole Conference with a resolution which did not in fact reflect the work of the study group?

And is it truly a need of the Communion as a whole, with all its different cultures, to have only one teaching on matters of sexual morality (meaning, in the present context, only homosexual behavior) in order to be Anglican? Why does this issue rise to the top of all our concerns?

I don't know, Carolyn.  Maybe it's because right now, that's the only issue in which the clear meaning of Scripture is being deliberately disregarded for entirely political reasons.

Am I the only one to detect the slightest hint of desperation here, just a bit of "Dear God, the savages are actually serious!" and a little defiance?  Irish's description of the House of Bishops meeting and the Primates meeting suggest to me that both were a lot more acrimonious than we have been led to believe.  Perhaps Newry was ECUSA's last chance to remain Anglican and ECUSA knows it.  Carolyn's frantic effort to change the subject toward the end of her letter seems to suggest as much.  Time will, of course, tell. 

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 06/04/2005 5:43:46 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; Hermann the Cherusker; wagglebee; St. Johann Tetzel; ...
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 06/04/2005 5:44:16 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Fraud in WA: More votes than voters!)
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To: sionnsar

And people wonder why Catholicism is opposed to having women clergy!

3 posted on 06/04/2005 5:51:36 PM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee
I think this is not a good example for that purpose.

I could point to former FReeper "The Rev. EN", or the The Rev. Alice Linsley (of "Drell's Descants" blog), as being examples of those that are pretty conservative -- other than their having become women priests. Some of them are figuring out the difficult spot they're in; a few months ago I observed (online) a case where one such renounced her orders.

Not all women clerics are raving loonie lefties -- not even all those in ECUSA.

4 posted on 06/04/2005 6:29:06 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Fraud in WA: More votes than voters!)
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To: sionnsar

You might use me as another example, though I am not practicing. Indeed, I am getting ready to write my bishop and resign my orders.

5 posted on 06/04/2005 6:39:48 PM PDT by pharmamom (I used to have a really good tagline, but I don't have it anymore.)
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To: sionnsar; pharmamom

" Knowing as we did from early reports, that a significant number of Primates (eighteen of the thirty-five present I think) would not share in the Eucharist with Frank present, led me to wonder how they could even claim to be Anglicans. Common worship, the community of worship, is far more central to our identity as Anglicans than any opinion or belief."

Absolutely astonishing! Is it any wonder Rome speaks of "ecclesial assemblies"? Seems ECUSA is nothing more "holy" than the Lions club!

"As for all those who pretend to confess the sound Orthodox Faith, but are in communion with people who hold a different opinion, if they are forewarned and still remain stubborn, you must not only not be in communion with them, but you must not even call them brothers." St. Basil the Great, Patrologia Orientalis

6 posted on 06/05/2005 6:56:06 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis

I guess that's the inevitable result of the Elizabethan Compromise. But it's beginning to look like that is coming to an end. The Evangelicals will go one way, the Anglo-Catholics another, and the heretics a third.

7 posted on 06/05/2005 7:38:00 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Fraud in WA: More votes than voters!)
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