Sunday, February 19, 2012

New blog. . .

Just in case anyone's interested, I have a new blog, intersection: the Church, the State, and me. Please come on over!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Shoe Thursday: Final edition

One of my first shoe postings (a year ago October) was on boots, accompanied by the Nancy Sinatra song, “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” That was a little more prescient than I knew.

So in that spirit, here are some more boots for walking:

Bally Jeleny-09
and with that, this blog is done.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and thanks especially for all of the support.

To God be the glory!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Diocese of Western New York: Another one gone

From Bishop Michael Garrison and the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, trying to put the best possible spin on the news that the rector and a large part of the congregation of St. Bartholomew's Church are leaving (but, hey, the diocese keeps the property, so "All is Well" although it seems as though Bishop Garrison is seeking an amicable parting, much to his credit) [boldface mine]:

On Tuesday, October 7, 2008, the Rt. Rev. J. Michael Garrison, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, met with the Rev. Arthur Ward, rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. During that meeting, Ward informed Bishop Garrison of his desire to disaffiliate himself from the Diocese of Western New York, and to transfer from the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church to a different Anglican entity.

He also declared that other clergy affiliated with St. Bartholomew’s and some portion of the congregation also intend to leave the Episcopal Church. Ward and others who share his convictions plan to vacate the property at Brighton and Fries Roads before the end of this year.

People may come and go, but St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Tonawanda will continue,” state Bishop Garrison. “We are ready and able to carry on with worship, pastoral care and administration. We stand ready to support and work with continuing Episcopalians who have been a part of St. Bartholomew’s, as well as those who have felt disenfranchised by the position of its leadership.

“It is my intention that Fr. Ward’s departure be handled as sensibly and amicably as possible. He has indicated to me that the time has come for him to seek to continue his priesthood in a different branch of Anglicanism. I respect his right to follow his personal conscience in this matter.”

Episcopalians from the congregation of St. Bartholomew’s who have any pastoral needs and those who wish to learn about the continuing worship schedule at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church are encouraged to contact the diocesan office. . .

H/t to the Lead.

Common Cause Partnership leaders meet this week to discuss plans for new Anglican province

From BabyBlue Online:

I've learned this afternoon that the leadership of the Common Cause Partnership is meeting this week to discuss the mission and vision of a new orthodox Anglican structure in North America. . .

Please keep these leaders in prayer as they meet at the Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Virginia.

Read it all.

Why I left ECUSA, Addendum: Roma è chiamata

Final thoughts to finish my series outlining why my family and I believe it is time for us to leave the Episcopal Church (read Part 1: A brief history, Part 2: A crack appears, Part 3: The deluge, Part 4: The end, and Part 5: A new beginning. . .)

I thought about writing a long post on how my family made the decision of which church to join, but Martial Artist beat me to it, so I thought I would post his comment, which is much better written than anything I could do.

The only difference between us is that while MA will start RCIA in November, I have already begun the classes at my local RC parish and am slowly working my way through the Catechism. (I have reformatted MA’s comment here for easier reading and have boldfaced some sentences.)

If, after going through RCIA (which I will likely enter in early November after I have returned from my present vacation and my last sea deployment of this year) I continue to hold the conclusion that my understanding of the Gospel is in full accord, or where it is not that I am prepared to assent to the teachings of the magisterium without reservation, then I will, at the Paschal Vigil (I prefer not to refer to it by a name that references a Celtic fertility goddess) I will seek acceptance into the Roman Catholic Church. This will not be as a reaction to TEC or Anglicanism, which is a separate, but not wholly unrelated, issue, but because I will have concluded that the Roman Catholic Church embodies the fullest understanding of Christ and the Gospels on earth. That is, in my mind, both a necessary and a sufficient condition to do so.

I am on vacation visiting my mother. She was raised as a Roman Catholic, but left the Roman Church for the LCMS when she married my father in 1942 at the age of 18. She is now 84, suffering from macular degeneration, and rarely gets to church unless driven. My wife and I, therefore, insisted on being fully available to see to it that she got to her regular congregation (about 20-25 minutes drive from her house) on the Sunday we were visiting.

The minister who preached the sermon made a very interesting statement about the LCMS church and the doctrine of sola scriptura. He said that all that is needed is scripture, not interpretation and not tradition. The clear implication (indeed, the several sentences he devoted to expanding on the doctrine made it almost explicit) is that each believer needs only the bible and the Holy Spirit.

Even based solely on my experiences with TEC over the past 38 years, I see this as an obstacle to joining any sola scriptura denomination. My reasoning is as follows: The Bible is composed of words. Words have meanings, both denotational, and connotational. It is not uncommon that a word or phrase has multiple meanings, whether denotational or connotational. If I am to be confident that I understand the application of scripture to any particular question, and to deal with the multiple meanings and the fact that some scripture is literal and historical, and some is allegorical and allusional, I (and every other individual in the denomination) will have to give up most of our other activities, including those that provide our sustenance, to have the time to ensure we fully and understand precisely how to apply scripture correctly to any given question or issue.

Clearly, some proposed responses will be obviously contradictory to scripture, but the current unpleasantness teaches us nothing if not that different readers will tend to apply it differently. The foregoing does not even begin to address the question of finding the time to master Hebrew, Syriac, Greek and Latin as those languages were used in the relevant time periods. My conclusion is that I shall ultimately have to rely on someone else to carry most of freight in getting to that unambiguous understanding that I need to live my life in accordance with the Gospel and God’s will.

Stated another way, I have to trust someone to have the correct interpretation of the scriptures that applies to at least some of the questions to which I am going to need the answer. I either do the interpretation myself, working to hear the Holy Spirit, and hope I don’t mishear, or I will have to trust it to someone more knowledgeable than I am, whose judgments I have tested enough to trust. So Pastor Mueller is demonstrably wrong in his statement, assuming, as I did and do, that he meant it literally. And while tradition does not trump scripture, it is an invaluable aid, along with the ecumenical councils, in understanding how those earlier, and therefore closer in time to the divinely inspired human authors of scripture, understood them, not that they anticipated the current issue/question, but that I can extrapolate, or interpolate, from their reasoning from the relevant scriptures as they applied them to their similar issues, in order to help discern the correct answer to my issue.

If I finish reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and have found no issue on which I cannot submit myself to her teachings, then why would I persist in maintaining a schism the causes of which have been appropriately addressed? To do so on the basis that Catholicism had not successfully “proven” their understanding would require me to assume that I know more than they do, perhaps as much as God himself—a highly unlikely, and in the latter case, demonstrably false, assumption.

Finally, this individualistic assertion, that each believer is his own interpreter of scripture, appears to me to be a major contributing factor in the disintegration of TEC. If a Christian denomination has no magisterium, in the sense of an authoritative teaching authority, then it will always be more open to apostasy and heresy than a denomination that does have such an authority. I think it is also a major contributor to the always increasing number of Christian denominations, particularly within protestantism.

This absence in TEC is, I think, its (possibly) fatal flaw, and, to the extent that it is present in other parts of the AC, their (possibly) fatal flaw, as well.

Like Keith, I also wrote a letter to my rector outlining our reasons for leaving. And I am approaching the RCIA classes with no deadline in mind. If it works out, I would love to enter the Roman Catholic Church at the Paschal Vigil, but as I've learned one thing in RCIA, there is absolutely no pressure - at least at my parish, they want you to be sure, not just present.

Because I am no longer with an Anglican parish, while I will continue to keep up with Anglican events and hopefully do some more interviews for AnglicanTV, I will end this blog soon. My focus is turning elsewhere - I can't yet see where, but I feel the time belongs to God.

Virginia Episcopal church joins land dispute: Diocese will cite 1746 deeds

So sad to see.

When I first moved to D.C. after college, I attended Christ Church (actually taught Sunday School there) for several years. I guess it's ironic that when my husband and I became engaged and wanted to get married in my home church in Charleston, the rector there said that would be fine, as long as we did our pre-marital counseling at The Falls Church with John Yates - who knew that according to the Diocese of Virginia, we were still on Christ Church land??

From the Washington Times [boldface mine]:

Christ Episcopal Church of Alexandria, one of the most venerable parishes in the Diocese of Virginia, has joined a historic lawsuit against several Northern Virginia parishes attempting to leave the denomination.

Members of the 235-year-old parish were informed Sunday at a parish meeting that the diocese will represent them in the largest property dispute in Episcopal Church history, taking place at the Fairfax County Courthouse. The multi-trial case will resume Oct. 14.

Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows has dealt three consecutive defeats to the diocese and the denomination in their battle to retain millions of dollars of property held by 11 churches that fled over issues of biblical authority and the 2003 election of the openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The diocese will cite 18th-century cases to argue that the Falls Church, a 276-year-old congregation that is the oldest of the departing parishes, cannot lay claim to its property on 5.5 acres in the city of Falls Church. Attorneys have produced two 18th-century land deeds that say Christ Church possesses the property.

The deeds, dated March 19 and 20, 1746, say the land was owned by "Truro parish," the designation for Colonial churches in Pohick, Alexandria and Falls Church. The diocese unearthed two U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 1815 and 1824 saying that Christ Church, founded in 1773, is the successor to Truro parish and that the Falls Church was a ward of the Alexandria congregation.

The diocese's attorneys say they can prove that Christ Church still owns about 2 acres of what the Falls Church occupies. That part of the property includes the "historic" Falls Church - a brick building completed in 1769.

In order to argue this case in court, the diocese needed Christ Church's permission to act as its proxy. Although the diocese notified opposition attorneys on Sept. 5 that it would represent Christ Church, it was not until Sept. 22 that the vestry, or governing board, was told of the matter. The vestry approved it Sept. 24.

Parishioners were not so accommodating. On Sunday, some worried that Christ Church's involvement - however distant - in a lawsuit could make its finances precarious. The church has a $135,000 deficit, and only 507 of its 2,459 members - or one-fifth - actually give.

"There were quite a few people who were stunned and said, 'We don't need this,' " said one former vestry member who asked to remain anonymous. "[Parish leaders] didn't give it much time.". . .

Read it all.
H/t to Stand Firm.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

California Supreme Court church property cases oral arguments to stream live

Today and tomorrow the California Supreme Court will finally hear the litigation between Bishop Bruno and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Anglican churches in the area who left the diocese and kept their property. Will the Court follow the precedent of "neutral principles" or not?

For more background on this, watch my interview with Eric Sohlgren, attorney for St. James Newport Beach and others on AnglicanTV.

A run-down of all the documents pertaining to the case:

S155094
Episcopal Church Cases


Expanded background summary (PDF, 9 KB)
Case information, including Supreme Court docket entries
Court of Appeal opinion (PDF)
Petition for review (PDF, 4,368 KB)
Answer to petition for review (PDF, 622 KB)
Reply to answer to petition for review (PDF, 676 KB)
Bunyan et al. brief (PDF, 2,186 KB)
Episcopal Church's brief (PDF, 2,052 KB)
Bunyan et al. reply brief (PDF, 1,763 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Charismatic Episcopal Church) (PDF, 745 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Diocese of San Joaquin) (PDF, 1,389 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church) (PDF, 2,067 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Iglesia Evangelica Latina) (PDF, 1,496 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Kirkpatrick) (PDF, 1,174 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Lee) (PDF, 1,292 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Poch) (PDF, 1,885 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Presbyterian Lay Committee) (PDF, 2,063 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Presbytery of Hanmi) (PDF, 2,035 KB)
Bunyan et al.'s response to amicus curiae briefs (PDF, 2,046 KB)
Episcopal Church's response to amicus curiae briefs (PDF, 1,818 KB)
Answer brief to amicus curiae briefs (PDF, 2,302 KB)

And here's the live-streaming info from SanDiegoAnglicans:

Event Date: 10/07/2008 9:00am - 10/08/2008 5:00pm

Event Address: (updated: there seems to be conflicting information on the sites referenced below about whether this is being covered by streaming video or not. It does look like it will be carried on Cox Cable Public Access, which is channel 23 in southern areas).

Watch streaming video of this week's California Supreme Court oral arguments.

http://www.calchannel.com/
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/riv-oralarg.htm

Check it out.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Just a picture. . .

BabyBlue: Upcoming timeline

From BabyBlue Online, a list of upcoming events:

October 8 - TEC/Diocese of Los Angeles vs Anglican Congregations (Appeal before the California Supreme Court)

October 14 - TEC/Diocese of Virginia vs CANA, Virginia (significantly scaled-down to focus on whether the VA Division Statute also applies to three smaller properties)

Oct. 20-23 - TEC Executive Council, Helena, Montana

Oct. 21-22 - Anglican Awakening - Akron, Ohio

Nov. 4 - Election Day, USANov. 7 - Diocese of Pittsburgh Special Convention - Pittsburgh, PA

Nov. 7-8 - Diocese of Quincy Annual Synod, Quincy, Illinois

Nov. 13-15 - Anglican Awakening, Amesbury, MA

Nov. 14-15 - Diocese of Ft. Worth Convention, Bedford, Texas

Dec. 1-3 - Common Cause Partnership Council

Dec. 15-19 - Windsor Continuation Group Meeting, Mustang Island, Texas

Jan/Feb 2009 - Anglican Primates Meeting, Bahamas

Check it out.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

AnglicanTV in Pittsburgh **sticky through the convention**

Kevin Kallsen of AnglicanTV will be live streaming the Diocese of Pittsburgh Convention starting Saturday morning, October 4.

Diocese of Pittsburgh Convention

Online TV Shows by Ustream
Please help with AnglicanTV's Travel Expenses:





Friday, October 03, 2008

More hospitality needed

From one of the letters at EpiscopalLife Online [boldface mine]:

Upon reading the article "Not so alien" (September), I thought that it might be worthwhile for me to share my experience of visiting the headquarters of our church in Manhattan.

First, when I arrived in front of the entrance, I did not notice either the Episcopal flag or emblem anywhere outside the building. Given the propensity of New Yorkers to be "in your face," I am wondering if it is not being unduly modest. I am proud of being Episcopalian and would have smiled had I seen the shield or flag that represents something so dear to my heart.

When I entered, I was confronted with two persons at a table to the right of the entrance. They were obviously there to screen people who want access to the building. It was all very businesslike.

Silly as I am, I had imagined that someone would be in the lobby to greet me (a wandering soul) and tell me "estas en tu casa," as the Latinos would say (i.e., "welcome to your home"). Obviously, it would not be efficient to have someone there just to greet people and make them feel at home; however, that building is where our Presiding Bishop spends much of her time, and you would think that we would not want to miss an occasion to demonstrate that Episcopalians welcome all who approach us.

It was, all in all, a very disappointing experience. Perhaps my comments will help make our headquarters a little more in tune with the tradition of hospitality. Small gestures such as welcoming strangers do indeed often have far greater impact than could be rationally expected.

Would it be too snarky for me to say that this does not surprise me at all?

Great Lakes district formed as CANA continues to grow

Via email:

HERNDON, Va. (October 2, 2008) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is announcing the formation of a Great Lakes District that includes a growing number of congregations in the area. The affirmative vote to create the new district was taken at a recent CANA Council gathering in Akron, Ohio.

“The formation of a Great Lakes District within CANA is an exciting new development. In the short time of CANA’s existence we have grown to more than 70 congregations and 150 clergy in 21 states plus the District of Columbia. We look forward to continued growth throughout the upper Midwest as our congregations shine the light for Anglicanism rooted in Biblical truth and reach out in the love of Jesus Christ to the least, the last and the lost,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

The new district is comprised of 13 congregations in three states and is modeled after the Fairfax-based Anglican District of Virginia, which was the first district to be formed within CANA. The Great Lakes District will be led by CANA Suffragan Bishop Roger Ames of Akron, Ohio, and will be governed by a board and a synod council.

“The vote to formally create the Great Lakes District within CANA was a clear acknowledgement of the strength of the orthodox Anglican movement in our area. Over the past few months, we initiated work on our set of bylaws and our constitution that are modeled after CANA’s Virginia District. We are thankful for this new structure that has been created to help us live within the Anglican way. A focal point for the Great Lakes District will be on starting new churches throughout the region. We are grateful for the opportunity to further Christ’s kingdom in the Great Lakes area,” said CANA Suffragan Bishop Roger Ames.

The parishes that comprise the Great Lakes District include: St. Luke’s Angli! can (Fai rlawn, OH), Church of the Holy Spirit (Akron, OH), St. Barnabas (Bay Village/Cleveland, OH), St. Anne’s (Madison, OH), Christ the King (Columbiana, OH), Holy Trinity (Milan, OH), Christ the King (Lexington, MI), St. Andrews (Lewis Center/Columbus, OH), Anglican Church of the Good Samaritan (Cleveland Heights, OH), and St. Michael the Archangel (Westfield, IN), a gathering of four parochial mission churches that includes St. Anne’s (Anderson, IN), St. Matthew’s (Nashville, IN), St. Patrick’s (Noblesville, IN), and St. Paul’s (Greenfield, IN).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

TEC cheatsheet on Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh

Did you know that our very own Bishop Mathes here in San Diego is on this task force, the House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes (as he continues to sue several churches here who are unable to continue in heresy)?

And remind me again why a task force on property disputes is commenting on an issue of "abandonment of communion"??? Huumm???

So when they try to tell you the action against Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh has nothing to do with holding on to the property or keeping the money, just remind them that their own Task Force on Property Disputes is issuing info on Bishop Duncan's deposition - not exactly in their purview.

Questions and Answers about matters involving the Bishop of Pittsburgh

Meeting of the House of Bishops, September 2008

Q: Why is the House of Bishops contemplating action against Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh?

A: At its meeting Sept. 17-19, the House of Bishop will be considering the report from its Title IV Review Committee, which certified in December 2007 that Bishop Robert Duncan had "abandoned the communion of this church," primarily because he has been involved with actions and decisions to remove the Diocese of Pittsburgh from The Episcopal Church and affiliate it with the Province of the Southern Cone. Under the provisions of Canon IV.9, this certification goes to the House of Bishops for it to consider whether or not to depose Bishop Duncan.

The House of Bishops' Task Force on Property Disputes, through its work to protect property assets within The Episcopal Church, also has concluded that Bishop Duncan openly renounced the discipline of The Episcopal Church, which constitutes abandonment of the communion of this church and requires his removal from ordained ministry, or deposition.

Q: What does "abandonment of communion" mean?

A: The Canons of The Episcopal Church define abandonment as "...an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church ..." (Title IV, Canon 10, Sec. 1)

Q: What kind of things has Bishop Duncan done to constitute this "open renunciation"?

A: Bishop Duncan has actively worked to remove the Diocese of Pittsburgh from the authority of The Episcopal Church. (see House of Bishop’s Property Task Force Memo. "Evidence of Abandonment by Bishop Duncan") He has supported and encouraged the diocesan convention to change its constitution to accomplish this. He also has sought out affiliation with the Province of the Southern Cone, located in South America. All these actions point to his open and conscious renunciation of the authority of The Episcopal Church for him personally and, he hopes, for the entire diocese under his care.

Furthermore, he has used assets of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to accomplish this goal, and he has stated that he does not now, nor will he, have any obligation to protect the assets of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for the use of The Episcopal Church.

Q: What has caused this rift between The Episcopal Church and Bishop Duncan?

A: This case is about Bishop Duncan's actions, not about his beliefs. For years Bishop Duncan has been a leading spokesman for conservative theological positions. But there are a wide range of theological convictions within The Episcopal Church, and there is room for all those within the church. The issue here is that he has renounced the authority of The Episcopal Church over him and seeks to have his diocese adopt the same policy through a vote of its convention.

Q: The final vote by the Pittsburgh Diocesan Convention to split from The Episcopal Church doesn't take place until October 4. Why not wait until after then?

A: While the House fervently hopes that the Pittsburgh convention may yet decide not to vote to sever ties with The Episcopal Church, action involving Bishop Duncan is not tied to a vote on that date. Any action by voters in the Diocese of Pittsburg does not lessen the culpability of Bishop Duncan, since he is encouraging his diocese's departure from The Episcopal Church and is actively working to that effect. Whether or not delegates to the Pittsburgh convention vote to follow Bishop Duncan's abandonment of The Episcopal Church is one thing. That Bishop Duncan already has abandoned The Episcopal Church through an open renunciation and repudiation of its discipline is another, and already is well established.

Also, should the House wait until after October 4 to consider action against Bishop Duncan, the matter normally would not come up again until the spring meeting of the House in March, 2009. People in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, both supporters and opponents of Bishop Duncan's theology, have said that waiting until then to finalize the matter would leave the diocese in far too long a period of limbo to be sustainable. Acting before October 4 also would have significantly positive effects in protecting the assets of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for use by Episcopalians.

Additionally, because the Title IV Review Committee has certified that Bishop Duncan has abandoned the communion of this church, the canons call for consideration of such matters at the next meeting of the House after such a certification.

Q: Is this action just about trying to keep property in The Episcopal Church?

A: This matter, at its root, is about maintaining accountability for one's actions as a bishop within The Episcopal Church. However, there are a complex set of pastoral imperatives involved as well. As Bishop of Pittsburgh, Bishop Duncan controls millions of dollars in assets within the diocese. In a hierarchical institution like The Episcopal Church, canon law vests ultimate ownership of parish property with dioceses, and diocesan property with the wider Episcopal Church. Property is owned not for the benefit of individuals but of the church as a whole.

We are sacramental people who believe in the importance of "outward and visible signs." What happens to the sacred spaces in Pittsburgh matters a great deal to the many faithful members there who want to remain in The Episcopal Church and who have worked hard and given sacrificially to support these facilities. It is the obligation of The Episcopal Church to make certain that property intended for use by Episcopalians is available to future generations of Episcopalians for worship and for mission.

The House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes
The Right Reverend Stacy Sauls, Bishop of Lexington, Chair
The Right Reverend Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles
The Right Reverend Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop of Ohio
The Right Reverend John Howard, Bishop of Florida
The Right Reverend William Persell, retired Bishop of Chicago
The Right Reverend Dean Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas
The Right Reverend Mark Andrus, Bishop of California
The Right Reverend Philip Duncan, Bishop of Central Gulf Coast
The Right Reverend James Mathes, Bishop of San Diego

Read it all, and head over to Stand Firm to get a good break-down of the erroneous points in this Q&A.
H/t to Stand Firm.

TEC loses another one

From Hening in the comments below [boldface mine]:

This past weekend I made the decision to tender my resignation in TEC. This means giving up the opportunity of being ordained along with losing contact with those that I have had the honor of teaching and loving within the Spirit of God.

The flaunting of the gay lifestyle is something that has become part of everyday life in New England. Having a post-op trans-gendered person attending church functions and confusing the young children is shapes of things to come with new deacons and priests. Even though that is all out of place and outside of the community Paul preached about, it was the promotion of genocide that finally tore me away from my church.

I will either wind up in an African parish with hopes to continue towards the priesthood or an Antiochan Orthodox parish, where my wife would like to attend. My last official act after turning in the church keys, the website password, ending Taize worship bulletins, finishing my vestry tenure and saying farewell to my charges in youth ministry is to write a letter of resignation to the bishop, and pray that it might actually express the horror of what TEC has become in a short time.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Newspeak, TEC style, or "Abortion is perfectly legal"

This is why I could not stay in the Episcopal Church.

From Stand Firm [boldface mine]:

". . . As a Christian who is privileged to be an Episcopal priest and equally privileged to be President of the New Jersey chapter of the Religious Coalition of Religious Choice, I couldn't be more proud of my church for its compassionate, pro-life stand.

Yes, I said PRO-LIFE. Even a quick read of the official position of TEC will leave no doubt that we, as a church, are supportive of the life of the embryo / fetus, the life of the mother, and the life of the family.

I am proud of my church that it, like I, and like many, many Episcopalians abhor abortion as a method of birth control - which is crystal clear after reading our position on abortion and our funding of the RCRC (let those who have ears, hear . . . and intellect, think).

I am proud of my church that we have resisted the emotionally manipulative pictures of abortion and pre-term abortion which are tragically necessitated by the harsh realities of those involved. . .

I am proud of my church that every woman - yes, including the life of a woman who is a priest, married or not, - can make the painful, awful, life-determining decision about whether or not she can make a commitment to the embryonic life she carries in her body, depending on the opinion of her physician and pediatrician, her assessment, based on the opinion of the probability of the support of the father of her potential child, and the ability of her family and community to support her decision. . .

I am proud of my church which understands that the advance of diagnostic procedures still falls far behind the information needed to make a timely decision about the lifelong commitment to a new life, necessitating the "pre-term" (aka "partial abortion"), which, at this point in time, is perfectly legal and, therefore, cannot be called "murder" - any more than the execution of a profoundly retarded person who has committed murder. . .

I am proud that The Episcopal Church supports the sex education which is championed by NCRC to avoid pregnancy in the first place, including the choices of abstinence, birth control, and, if tragically necessary, abortion.

I am proud that The Episcopal Church respects the "dignity of every human being" in our baptism covenant and prays, during that baptism, that the child receives "the gift of wonder of all of God's creation."

I am proud of The Episcopal Church and our baptismal covenant, which is not replicated throughout the World Wide Anglican Communion and, perhaps, ought to be.

What greatly distresses me is that there are those who would triumph the simplicity of their own state of sin so that others might feel guilty about the difficulty and complexity of the reality of their own morality.

Blessings,

(the Rev'd Dr) Elizabeth Kaeton"

Yes, you read that right. According to the Swan of Newark, our baptismal covenant requires that we support abortion.

Read it all. There is so much wrong with the reasoning and expression of the Rev. Kaeton that I don't even want to go there - from never using the word "baby" but only "embryo" and "fetus" to support of the RCRC to saying that since partial birth abortion is legal, it's okay - it's all too far away from what the Church universal has held and what I see in God's mercy, Christ's love, and the Holy Spirit's revelation that I can only conclude that this "reasoning" is truly evil.

(And for those who don't know, the RCRC is the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights Choice [oops, my bad], a political action group masquerading with a religious cover - and no, I won't link to it.)

KS: As VP debate looms: remembering Admiral Stockdale

I have to admit, this resonanted with me. I remember this debate and that I had no idea who Admiral Stockdale was - I just followed the media circus. It wasn't until years later that I learned about his record and his heroism. We need to always remember that those running for public office are not caricatures of media projection, but real people deserving our fair hearing and consideration.

From Kathy Shaidle at five feet of fury [non-italic boldface mine]:

His son writes:
Anyone over 30 will probably remember the spectacle. (...)

My father, a bona fide war hero, was trying to adapt to a format of discourse utterly foreign to him.

The debate hall was noisy, hot and nasty. My mom took a bad fall just before coming out to sit down. She, the strongest woman I know, broke into tears as she was overcome with emotion. Her four sons tried to console her.

Dad entered the race reluctantly, and only due to the deep gratitude he had for the aid Mr. Perot extended to him and my mom while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

As everyone saw that evening, he was not a politician. He was a fighter-pilot ace, a Medal of Honor recipient, and a wonderful dad and human being. During his eight years as a POW, he slit his scalp and beat his face with a stool to prevent his captors from parading him in the streets for propaganda purposes. He gave starving men his food rations when he himself was starving. And at home, after his release in 1973, he was a respected leader, scholar and writer. He considered himself a philosopher.

I watched that debate too. I knew nothing about Stockdale; in fact, I don't even remember him being introduced as "Admiral". Not that that would have mattered to me. I was still a vestigal lefty, military-hating peacenik, although just barely.

I squirmed in my seat as Stockdale struggled to fit his answers into the tiny allotment of time, and the audience snickered.

Somehow, the next day, amid all the vicious mockery of Stockdale's performance, and of Perot for selecting him, I learned about the Admiral's past as a brave POW, and his current life as a college professor. Perot must have said as much in an angry post-debate interview.

That evening, my then-best friend (now my key ex-9/11 friend, as I call them) came over. She repeated all the late night talk show hosts' jokes about Stockdale, and -- to her surprise, and mine -- I exploded:
"Don't you know this guy was the leader of his fellow POWs, who kept them going all that time? Don't you know the guy teaches, like, rhetoric or something at some Ivy League college? Jesus, we complain that politicians speak in soundbites and when someone comes along who doesn't, we complain about that! "

Chastened, my friend admitted she hadn't known or thought of any of that. And why would she have? In those pre-internet days, that's just how it was for most people. . .

Some people call themselves "9/11 conservatives" but I guess I'm more a "Stockdale" conservative myself. It had nothing to do with anything Stockdale said that night -- any policy ideas or great philosophical notions (which he wasn't able to articulate in the format anyway...)

It was the reaction of kneejerk liberals and leftists to Stockdale's performance that turned me off -- just as most people join or leave religions based on [ed. not] upon apologetics and theology but upon the behaviour of other believers. . .

Read it all.

MCJ: A moment to decide

Christopher Johnson nails it [boldface mine]:

. . . To put it bluntly, if you have not left the Episcopal Organization by now, you will never leave it. If TEO’s wholesale abandonment of orthodox Christianity, its fawning prostration before the secular culture, five years worth of deceptions and lies designed to advance the interest of its Homosexual Party and the cowardly refusal of Lambeth Palace to do anything at all about any of it have not convinced you to move on, nothing ever will.

Face facts. All you are doing by remaining an Episcopalian is delaying the inevitable. This doesn’t affect my church, you tell me. My rector/bishop is impeccably orthodox. He may well be.

But bet your retirement on this; his successor will be less so and his successor even less than that. Before you realize what’s happened, you may find yourself with a rector and/or bishop who uses “Godself” in his sermons and preaches next-to nothing about sin or the Resurrection but quite a bit about whether “justice” is being done to the “LGBT community.”

This is why I hope for the sake of the Anglican tradition, that a conservative North American province is formed as soon as possible, whether or not Rowan Williams, Katharine Jefferts Schori, Fred Hiltz or anyone else approves. And conservative Anglicans should not wait for a province to be awarded to them. They should simply announce its existence.

What if my gracious lord of Canterbury calls the action “unhelpful and premature?” What if the Anglican Consultative Council is bribed by Trinity(Wall Street) jack convinced to refuse recognition to the new province? Non-recognition should change nothing.

Conservative Anglicans should immediately begin to set their own policies, call their own ”Lambeth Conferences” and issue their own statements. In other words, they should start acting as though the Archbishop of Canterbury no longer existed.

But without the Canterbury connection, these churches would no longer be Anglican. What of it? As a body, the Anglican Communion is a little more than a century old. The “apostolic” nature of the Church of England itself rests on a shaky rhetorical sleight-of-hand and the Episcopal Organization’s “historicity” is even dicier than that.

Western Anglicanism is not advancing the Gospel in any meaningful way. To those Anglicans truly interested in doing the work the Master assigned them, groups like the Episcopal Organization and the Anglican Organization of Canada are dead weights. Why not cut them loose?. . .

Read it all. I think he is absolutely right, especially identifying what will happen to those churches that think they are okay because their current rector is "orthodox."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Instapundit: Political media insight

From Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit:

A READER AT A MAJOR NEWSROOM EMAILS:
"Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working."

I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted. . .

Read it all. I don't care which political party it is, anytime the media blatantly picks one side over the other, we as a country suffer. If the media prefaced their reports with their political prejudices (of any persuasion), I wouldn't have a problem - it's their condescending, arrogant attitude of "objectivity" that is so grating.

Burnt toast: Two observations on the recent HOB meeting

ECUSA: burnt toast
One observation from a layman and one from a bishop, both arriving at basically the same conclusion - the Episcopal Church as we knew it is toast, and burnt toast at that.

From Captain Yips [boldface mine]:

. . . And revulsion over the descent of what’s left of The Episcopal Church into mere lawless chaos. With the contrived and illicit expulsion of the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the House of Bishops, the same House that tolerates the manifold inanities of John Spong, that couldn’t bring itself to bring James Pike to account, has declared its absolute irrelevance - to anything. How the vote was contrived and excused is not terrifically important. With it, the EpiscoLeft has declared that the revolution must go forward.

I am, happily, out of TEC and won’t return. The fight in the Diocese of Chicago was lost a long time ago, probably when I was in my 20s, and when we didn’t know there was a fight on anyway. . .

Read it all.

And from Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina [boldface mine]:
. . . Once again within a few months the landscape of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion has changed—as if Gafcon and Lambeth were not enough. What does this deposition mean? Frankly, it is still unfolding, but I offer the following reflections:

The House of Bishops whether intentionally or not has enhanced the power of the Presiding Bishop. With consequences far beyond the deposition of The Rt. Reverend Robert Duncan, this vote by interpretation and application of Title IV.9, has established invasive reach for the PB. It is now possible for a sitting bishop of TEC to be deposed without prior inhibition or trial, rendering superfluous the role of the three Senior Bishops of the House. Beyond this is the quizzical ruling that it takes more votes from the House to receive the resignation of a retiring bishop then to depose a sitting one! Then there is the curious fact that it takes a two-thirds vote of the house to overturn a ruling of the chair, thus when combined with rendering moot the role of the senior bishops and the plain reference to a needed “majority of the whole house entitled to vote” in Title IV.9—there is enhanced power to the PB regardless of who may hold the chair, now or in the future. A development mercurial indeed, when one considers the PB and House of Bishops have repeatedly declined the authority to speak on behalf of The Episcopal Church when queried for commitments by the Communion’s Instruments of Unity; deferring instead to the authority of General Convention. . .

All of this leads me to believe that the challenges that lie before a predominately conservative diocese like South Carolina have now been enormously increased if only because of the perception of our parishioners and clergy—but, more pertinently from what I fear is a failure of the present House of Bishops to realize just how far from historic Christianity our church has drifted. To many of our minds this, far more than Pittsburgh’s present challenge to TEC’s discipline and polity, is what has led to this current crisis. Beyond this the checks and balances previously given to us in the Constitution & Canons seem profoundly weakened. Phrases long understood as clear apparently can be spoken of as ambiguous. If what appears to be the plain meaning of a canon can be dismissed with apparent ease and with no recourse; if the request from such a monumental gathering as Lambeth 2008 urging greater dialogue and forthright conversation within the body of Christ seems to count for so little here in the first action of the House—even after so many TEC bishops report being profoundly moved by the grace exhibited toward us from those provinces grieved and hindered by our prior actions; and when there seems to be so little recognition that it has been the very actions of our General Convention and HOB in recent years that has so alienated dioceses like San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and others that their laity and clergy vote in such large majorities to remove accession clauses—judicious governance and Christian unity will drain like water from an opened hand. One might have wished for a more generous spirit and greater patience toward our own aggrieved members. Indeed one has to wonder where such tone deafness and purblindness come from. . .

Read it all.
H/t to TitusOneNine.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Do not be anxious about anything. . ."

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:6-8

Fr Menees recommends movie, "Fireproof"

I haven't seen this movie yet, but I have heard about it and plan to go.

From SanDiegoAnglicans.com:

A "two-thumbs-up" recommendation for Fireproof (out this weekend) from Fr. Eric Menees, Rector of Anglican Church of the Resurrection, San Marcos, who attended the pre-release review. If you don't already know, Fr. Menees is especially qualified to recommend to recommend a film with a first responder theme; he serves as chaplain to several emergency services groups in North County.

From an email to his parish. . .

Read it all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekly message from the American Anglican Council, 9/26

Via email from Bishop David Anderson of the American Anglican Council [boldface mine]:

Dearly Beloved,

There are a number of issues to look at this week. In the United States, the financial crisis continues to deepen, with concerns about jobs, homes, and savings being an increasing topic of conversation among ordinary folks. People are not of one mind as to what the solution is, but with the people feeling uncertain, churches and charitable organizations may feel the impact of this insecurity. Another area that individuals, churches and organizations are looking at is the security and strength of their personal bank accounts, and whether the US Government provides insurance for those accounts. Some people and organizations may be thinking they have more insurance for their bank accounts than they really do. Sitting down and talking with your banker about your situation might be a good thing to do fairly soon.

I would urge churches especially to look at their financial assets, talk to their banker, and see if they need to spread their accounts over two or more banks, so that each account is fully FDIC insured. It also calls to mind the fact that we ought not to put our trust in wealth, but in the one who saves us, blesses us, and provides for our needs.

On a happier note, support for Bishop Duncan is pouring in from around the world. Of course, The Episcopal Church doesn't much care whether the Anglican World disapproves of the way she handled the situation, she would say that the rest of the world was just ignorant of the facts as she has determined them, and if they were properly briefed, they would naturally agree with her. Six English bishops have said that they continue to regard Duncan as a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion, and this is in addition to messages sent from all corners of the Communion.

Now the countdown is on to the Pittsburgh Diocesan Convention on October 4 - what will happen? Will Katharine Jefferts Schori attempt to intervene in the proceedings, or will she wait until the meeting is concluded to take any actions she may be planning? I suspect a great many would agree with the Rt. Rev. Colin Basley, who wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for the immediate suspension of the Episcopal Church from any further participation in activities of the Anglican Communion, and calling for recognition of a new orthodox North American Anglican Province named Common Cause Partners Federation.

In many ways, the spiritual/ecclesiastical Anglican Communion meltdown is comparable to the financial meltdown in the US business world. In the latter, people bought sub-prime loans that were in effect bad paper, passed them on to others as if they were the real thing, trust was broken, and lies and deceit led to the economic ruination of many - and it isn't over yet! In the spiritual/ecclesiastical realm, church leaders in North America put together sub-prime, bogus spiritual truths, passed them on to others as if they were the real thing, persecuted those who raised the alarm, and as a result, trust has been broken, lives spiritually ruined, lies and deceit have caused many to leave their churches and reorganize in line with traditional Christian beliefs, and this is leading to the ecclesiastical ruination of many. The problem with spiritual ruination is that you might wind up in hell (yes, that place that TEC leaders don't believe in - or if it does exist, only a few of us will be in it!).

Meanwhile, the bishop of Washington DC, John Chane, has sued the Central Union Mission over their receipt of government funds to provide help for the homeless in the city. The Mission is a Christian organization, and as part of their feeding and assistance program, they require those participating to attend nightly religious services. Why is Bishop Chane attacking those who help the poor and homeless? Could it be because the Central Union Mission has provided space for an Anglican congregation associated with CANA (St. Brendan's in the City), to hold weekly Sunday evening services? The official reason that Bishop Chane claims is that government help to Central Union Mission is supposedly a violation of the US Constitution, since they require attendance at religious services.

In his opinion, the government isn't supposed to give money to churches: separation of church and state and all that, you know. However, Chane is the bishop of the Washington National Cathedral, and one wonders if the Cathedral hasn't accepted money from the government in one form or another, perhaps for major events held there, or for arts programs, or some other types of event. We know that the Washington DC police department has a police radio relay unit at the very top of the main tower of the Cathedral, and one wonders what other joint ventures the Cathedral has had with city or federal government. It may be that Bishop Chane hasn't had time to see the plank in his own eye.

Let us hope and pray that the ministry of Central Union Mission to the hungry and homeless and to those who need to find God in their lives, is able to continue unimpeded by any Chane-sponsored litigation.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,

The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President and CEO, American Anglican Council

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Uncommon Knowledge: Interview with Archbishop Chaput

Check out Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson to see his 5-part interview with Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, author of Render Unto Caesar (a book well worth reading)!

H/t to Judith L.

Shoe Thursday: The Gerard Manley Hopkins fall edition

Just to enjoy!
Franco Sarto Condor
Franco Sarto Flighty
Franco Sarto Magic

Spring and Fall

to a young child

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
(English, 1844–89)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Press, politics, and religion

From Jeff at Protein Wisdom [boldface mine]:

. . . A free society cannot run this way. If information is power, those who control the information and its mainstream dissemination are in a position to act as the most important swing vote in any election. That the press has given up, at this late stage (and despite declines in readership and public trust), any serious attempt to report objectively suggests that we are now quite immersed in a battle for the very principles of a democratic republic. Progressives have decided that the ends justify the means — that lies in the service of greater truths (as defined by their own ideology) are both pragmatic and utilitarian measures to be adopted so that “we” can finally get things “right,” and accept government from a permanent political class, a new aristocracy, that will expand the federal government in ways that will protect us from ourselves, in the process, assuring that ever new generations will be reliable upon the good graces of the federal government for their survival.

The new media held promise for fighting back. But the left recognized this immediately and built a counter balance to the MSM fact-checkers — and, in a perverse expansion of their role as foils, these progressive “netroots” are now responsible for feeding stories to the mainstream press, a further assault on the Enlightenment mandate for the free exchange of ideas, and further proof that progressives are every bit the totalitarians and would be fascists that I have long suggested they must necessarily be, given the philosophical imperatives that underwrite their political philosophy. . .

For my part, I’d just like to again reiterate that, should the press be allowed to comport itself this way under the current mythology that it is dedicated to “objectivity,” then every election will be necessarily skewed — if not by Evan Thomas’ infamous 15 percentage points, than at least by a number significant enough that it could very well be the deciding factor in every major election.

At which point, we’re dealing with no more than simulacrums of free elections, and the idea that we live in a democratic republic is but a useful fiction we tell ourselves as we slide ever more toward western European socialism and away from the principles this country was founded upon.

What’s the solution? I don’t know. But my suggestion would be either a press that surrenders the pretense of objectivity all together, or else some brave upstart looking for market share to come in with a clean slate of dedicated reporters who are taught not to “frame” facts into narratives that deliver “lessons,” but are rather instructed to report basic facts, almost genealogically — and without even the trappings of narrative.

Even then, omission and sequencing can be used to affect interpretation; but at least such things are easily recognizable when the tropes of “storytelling” are entirely removed.

Read it all. Sound familiar? Who knew politics and religion were so similar? Until you realize that for the majority of bishops in the Episcopal Church, politics and religion seem to be the same thing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Religious leaders make mistake in meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad

From Jay Sekulow on Beliefnet [boldface mine]:

In an inexplicable move, some religious organizations will host a dinner reception on September 25 for one of the world's most renowned terrorist supporters, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has been asked to speak on the topic, "Has Not One God Created Us? The Significance of Religious Contributions to Peace." I stand with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in strongly condemning this move by the American Friends Service Committee, the Mennonite Central Committee, the World Council of Churches, and the Episcopal Church.

But what about the "tolerance and sincere dialogue" that Bishop Chane called for this summer, Jay? Hum? Don't you want to be part of "dialogue" like this?
. . . On May 8, [2008,] in a speech to members of the Majlis (Iran's parliament), [Ahmadinejad] referred to Israel as "a stinking corpse" and little better than "dead rats." Ahmadinejad – who says the Jewish state plays the role of "the Little Satan" to the "The Great Satan" (the U.S.) and has pledged to "wipe Israel off the map" to bring about the revelation of the "Twelfth Imam" (a messianic Shiite figure) and the worldwide dominion of Islam - promised that those who "assist the Zionist regime…will burn in fire."

Continuing Jay's concerns about the current visit by the Iranian president and the dinner party:
Ahmadinejad is a man who has repeatedly called for the annihilation of the Jewish state of Israel, rejects religious freedom, and embraces terrorism. It is well known that Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and is notorious for denying that the Holocaust occurred, saying of the West, "[t]hey have invented a myth that Jews were massacred."

Ahmadinejad has also warned that "[a]nybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury."

Just recently, the Iranian Parliament voted in favor of a bill permitting the death penalty for "apostasy," i.e., voluntarily changing one's religious faith.

Under this law, "Christians, Baha'is, and even some Muslims would be vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. . . . [T]wo Christians from Muslim backgrounds who are currently in prison for apostasy--Mahmoud Mohammad Matin-Azad and Arash Ahmad-Ali Basirat--could be given the death sentence.". . .

Read it all, and remember the Episcopal Church is part of this.
H/t to the Anglican Curmudgeon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A comment on the letter to Bishop Duncan from +KJS

From Stand Firm, mousestalker makes a perspicacious comment in reference to the letter sent to Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh by Katharine Jefferts Schori [boldface mine]:

. . . A minor point, but does no one at 815 know how to write a letter anymore. When you’re being all chummy and collegial you get to use first names.

Example:

Right Reverend Frank Enbeans
Bishop of Bray, Bray City USA

Dear Frank,

It was swell seeing you at the auto de fa. I hope you can make the one in the spring. Best to Fanny and the kids,

Your sister in christ,

Katherine

For something formal, like a deposition, you write formally:

Right Reverend Robert Duncan
Bishop of Pittsburgh,

Dear Bishop Duncan,

It is my duty to inform you that the House of Bishops has deposed you. Your seat is therefore vacant and all honours, rights and privileges that formerly adhered to you are removed. Enclosed please find copies of documents showing the same.

Sincerely,

Katherine Jefferts Schori,
Presiding Bishop and Primate

End of letter writing lesson.

This is not a friendly letter. It cannot possibly be well meant. Don’t imply that it is. The Episcopal Church, as a church, has always been dodgy with its theology. I wish that were not so, but it is. What the Episcopal Church has always had until recently is manners.

The current leadership of the Episcopal Church, not just the ‘presiding bishop and primate’ but top to bottom are crass. What we have is a church being led by a bunch of louts in mitres. Ill bred, poorly educated, bad mannered thugs who have no idea of how to behave, no idea of how to treat people and no idea of the basics of human civilization.


The Presiding Bishop is the poster child for the principle that while most women have better manners than men, that is not true of all women. I doubt that teaching the episcopate proper theology would do any good. . .

Read it all. And I'm afraid mousestalker is exactly right - there is such a disconnect on how to behave, but maybe this is what we should expect as part of God's judgment on the Episcopal Church - a church that has always prided itself on doing the proper thing, or at least doing the thing properly. Now, even that veneer is gone.

Diocese of Virginia forgoes voting issue, prepares for appeal

From the Diocese of Virginia [boldface mine]:

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced today that the trial scheduled to begin October 6 will focus solely on the issue of which properties occupied by the CANA congregations are actually subject to their 57-9 petitions.

Though loyal Episcopalians have expressed grave concerns about the validity and fairness of the voting procedures used by the CANA congregations, the Diocese will forgo judicial review of that process to focus on those issues that will most effectively and quickly return Episcopalians to their church homes and result in the overturning of the 57-9 "Division Statute."

The Diocese is preparing to mount a vigorous appeal that addresses the serious legal and religious questions and implications that have arisen from this unfortunate situation. The Diocese will explore fully every option available to restore constitutional and legal protections for all churches in Virginia.

In a trial beginning on October 6, the Court will examine precisely which property is subject to the Division Statute petitions filed by CANA congregations. The Court will determine several issues either before or during trial, including whether the congregation attempting to take the property actually owns the property they seek under its 57-9 petition, whether deed restrictions require the property to remain with the Episcopal Church, and, in one instance, whether a last-minute transfer of property was valid. Once these issues are decided, the Diocese will appeal the Court's rulings on the applicability and validity of the Division Statute.

"In the Episcopal Church, congregations exist because they are in communion with the bishop of a diocese, through recognition by diocesan governing bodies," said the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of Virginia. "They cannot unilaterally disestablish themselves or remove themselves from a diocese, and take Episcopal property with them, using the secular court system to validate their actions."

The Diocese is steadfast in its goal of returning faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and restoring the full and time-honored protections of the First Amendment and the Virginia Constitution for religious freedom.

"The court proceedings of the past several months have shown that the Division Statute, which exists only in Virginia, is uniquely hostile to religious freedom and our faith. We are resolute in our commitment to pursue every avenue in seeking the return of Episcopalians who have been exiled from their church homes," said Bishop Lee.

The Diocese again noted the regrettable necessity of these proceedings. "While we have hoped that the CANA congregations would propose a reasonable alternative to litigation," said Henry D.W. Burt, Secretary of the Diocese, "the Church must vigorously protect the legacy of those faithful generations who have gone before for those who will follow."

Check it out.
H/t to Stand Firm.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Church of England apologises to Charles Darwin while the Vatican plans not to

A tale of two church responses.

On the one side, the Church of England (from Cranmer) [boldface mine]:

Cranmer is sick and tired of this utter nonsense. It makes the Church of England look and sound even more ridiculous that it already does - if that were possible. In the creation of a cohesive society and for the pursuit of the common good, it is conceivable that one might entertain an apology to the descendants of slaves for the role the Church played in that trade, and even to attempt some sort of bridge-building exercise with Muslims by apologising for the Crusades. But who exactly is the target audience for an apology addressed to Charles Darwin? Who is grieving for reconciliation?

Some scientists dismiss the gesture as ‘ludicrous’; Mr Darwin’s descendants describe it as ‘pointless’, and Ann Widdecombe wonders why the Italians aren’t apologising for Pontius Pilate.

The apology is written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown. It raises so many issues of credibility that Cranmer is at a loss to know where to begin.

Apparently, the apology is ‘for misunderstanding his theory of evolution’. Apart from the fact that the Church has historically ‘misunderstood’ far more important things, the Church of England did not actually ‘misunderstand’ Darwin’s theory at all, not least because (as always) it was divided on the issue. The bishops understood completely the significance of the nexus of the theory (and theory it remains) - that man is the progeny of apes. It really is so simple that even a bishop in the Church of England can comprehend it. Looking at the similarity between Mr Darwin and Dr Williams, it may indeed be adduced that they have a common hairy ancestor. But believers were and are divided into those who perceive this theory to be anti-Scripture and profoundly evil, and those for whom it is but another possible explanation of how God created, totally consistent with Scripture.

It is possible to be so preoccupied by atoning vicariously for the sins of one’s predecessors that one ceases to be aware of one’s personal failures and shortcomings. . .

And on the other, the Roman Catholic Church (from Reuters) [boldface mine]:
The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago. ...

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican’s culture minister, was speaking at the announcement of a Rome conference of scientists, theologians and philosophers to be held next March marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”. ...

Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session,” he said, adding that Darwin’s theories were “never condemned by the Catholic Church nor was his book ever banned”.

Now, which approach seems the most sensible to you?

I know which one I'm voting for! What a great sentence: Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session. I think I'll memorize that - I'm sure it will come in handy at some time.

Episcopal Church ‘in the clear’ after Lambeth

From George Conger:

There will be no consequences to the American church for its push for gay bishops and blessings, bishops attending the opening session of the US House of Bishops meeting in Salt Lake City said in closed door session on Sept 17.

On the opening day of the three-day special session, called by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to discuss the 2008 Lambeth Conference, but amended on Sept 12 by the Presiding Bishop to act upon her motion to depose conservative leader Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, the bishops offered their reactions to Lambeth.

Read it all.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Steve Wood (S.C.) and the Presiding Bishop

From Steve Wood of the Diocese of South Carolina, thoughts on his recent meeting with the presiding bishop and six other rectors:

What I think:

I think that the financial challenges facing the reorganization of the National Church offices could be addressed with a return to creedal Christianity and a cessation of the lawsuits.

I think that the conservative/re-asserting remnant will get their legislative clocks cleaned at General Convention 2009.

I think that B033 is going to be repealed at General Convention 2009.

I think that the marriage (in States where the legislature or courts have ruled this legal) or blessing of same-sex persons will be authorized at General Convention 2009.

I think that the 2009 General Convention will modify the “Dennis Canon”, giving the National Church property ownership (it’s hard to remember that until 1979 PARISHES “owned” their property - not the Diocese or National Church).

I think that many in leadership at the 2009 General Convention will be content to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.

I think that based on the experience with women’s ordination the 2009 General Convention will debate, and defeat, a “conscious clause” with regard to same-sex ordinations and blessings/marriages.

I think that the above actions will render it impossible for anyone left from “my side” to remain within TEC (though, of course, some will).

What I hope:

That a new North American Anglican Province is formed in the very near future.

Read it all.

Michelangelo's David 'at risk of collapse' because of traffic and visitors

We went to Italy over Thanksgiving two years ago, and of course did the Florence tour and saw the David. I hope they don't have to put it under a protective cover - how sad.

From the Times Online (U.K.):

Four years after it was last cleaned and repaired Michelangelo's statue of David in Florence is "at risk of collapse", according to a restoration expert.

Antonio Borri, professor of construction engineering at Perugia University and part of the team monitoring the statue's state of conservation, said that cracks which been repaired during a 2004 restoration marking the 500th anniversary of the statue's creation had re-appeared.

A seminar in Florence tomorrow will discuss the options for saving the statue, which is kept at the Galleria dell Accademia and attracts more than a million people a year. These include enclosing it in a protective covering to stop further deterioration and even closing it to the public altogether for a period.

Professor Borri, who is a Florentine, said that the cracks had "re-opened one by one. David is coming apart". He said the blame lay with traffic vibrations and the pressure of thousands of daily visitors. Michelangelo's masterpiece — held by many to be the most perfect representation of the nude male form ever sculpted — was also vulnerable because of its huge size and the poor quality of marble Michelangelo used, Professor Borri said.

He said that the statue was under "round the clock observation", and seismic monitors would be inserted under the statue's base to measure the vibrations. "We have got to do something quickly," he said. However Cristina Acidini, head of museums in Florence, played down the alarm.

Professor Acidini said: "We are evaluating what measures to take to protect the statue in view of its known fragility", but there was "no cause for immediate concern". The statue was being constantly monitored, and the only danger of collapse would be if Florence was struck by an unusually powerful earthquake. "But in that case the museum itself would be at risk, together with much of Florence's artistic heritage.". . .
Read it all.

Commentary on the HOB: The day the music died. . .

From Hills of the North:

. . . That said, for all intents and purposes the Episcopal Church as a church died yesterday. In purporting to depose Bishop Robert Duncan, two-thirds of those bishops who attended the House of Bishops meeting did something so blatantly and brazenly unlawful under the canons and so patently violative of Robert's Rules that they in effect announced that within our church words and laws and truth no longer matter. All that matters is power. Not the power of the Gospel, mind you--but raw human secular power, exercised for political purposes. Those bishops who voted to depose (and the one cowardly Judas who changed his vote after being sure it wasn't needed to destroy his brother bishop) openly and proudly embraced what was a lie--that there had been abandonment of Communion--and did so by embracing transparent lies about what the canons and parliamentary procedure actually said. Those charged to guard the truth yesterday gleefully showed their fealty to the very opposite. . .

Years from now, this action by the House of Bishops may well prove to have been a tipping point for the Episcopal Church. There are many for whom this will be the final straw, not because they have any association or necessarily even agreement with Bishop Duncan, but because it reveals what a corrupt organization they find themselves a part of. Others will realize that they cannot any longer do business with (and certainly not follow) those for whom words are meaningless, law is nothing more than an instrument of power, and truth is nonexistent. And still others will leave weary of the fight, and yearning for spiritual refreshment they cannot get from what is now indisputably a secular organization (and actually something less than most secular organizations, since few could abide such dishonesty in their leaders). In short, the exodus of the orthodox will continue and likely accelerate. This is likely exactly what the Presiding Bishop and her minions want, as they undoubtedly believe that if all the retrograde evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics would just go away, there's no limit to the greatness a progressive Episcopal Church can achieve. The evidence, of course, has been quite to the contrary, but perhaps the accelerating membership loss will help put the lie to this fantasy. . .

Finally, it's worth considering what difference yesterday's events will have in an average Episcopal Church, ones such as our two parishes here. I think it's plain enough that there will be little if any effect in the short run. The chances that even a half-dozen parishioners knew the House of Bishops was meeting is pretty small, and fewer still probably have any idea who Robert Duncan is. What happened doesn't affect the work the altar guild has to do, or the music the choir is rehearsing. It doesn't affect a parish's social outreach. It doesn't change the liturgy (yet), or alter the service times. Certainly it won't occasion the interest of reorienting the furnishings in the church, or getting a new stained glass window. If the Presiding Bishop is betting on the ignorance or nonchalance of the average pew dweller, she is making a pretty sure bet.

That's not to say there won't be an effect eventually, and a pretty potent one. The average age of those in Episcopal Church pews is high and increasing, and it's not as if the average Episcopal Church is full of children and young people and young families. There's a reason churches all around ours are opening and growing, and ours are at best in a steady state, despite population growth. And the trajectory to which the larger Episcopal Church is now committed is not one that is likely to spur growth or giving. In time that will affect the average parish church, and the average parish church here. And some years from now when we wonder why our numbers are down, and why people aren't pledging, and why no new families are joining, and how this all happened, we will be able to point to the House of Bishops meeting of September 18, 2008, as the day our church, as a church, died.

Read it all.
H/t to Stand Firm.

Statements on Bishop Robert Duncan — updated

For the most comprehensive round-up on the HOB actions against Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and world-wide reaction to those actions, check out TitusOneNine!

British ethicist: Senile should be “put down”

From Ed Morrissey at HotAir [boldface mine]:

In yet another revealing moment for nationalized health care, a highly respected British ethicist said that dementia sufferers should get euthanized in order to preserve resources for healthier people. Baroness Warnock, described as “Britain’s leading moral philosopher”, said that the government should license people to be “put down” and stop being a drain on society:
The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are “wasting people’s lives” because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was “nothing wrong” with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.

The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be “licensed to put others down” if they are unable to look after themselves. …

Lady Warnock said: “If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service.

“I’m absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there’s a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they’re a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

“Actually I’ve just written an article called ‘A Duty to Die?’ for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there’s nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself.

Shocking? It shouldn’t be. When the State has the burden of providing “free” medical care, that care will get rationed in ways that are, unfortunately, all too predictable. Human life stops being sacred and instead becomes a commodity with a balance sheet. If bureaucrats decide that a particular life, or a class of life, has become a net negative, then eventually they will find ways to eliminate the liability.

Totalitarian governments have always worked this way; the shock comes from the same impulse occuring in supposedly enlightened democracies. We’re seeing a new kind of government these nanny states, though — a democratic totalitarianism that makes all of the choices for its subjects after they willingly give the bureaucracy the power of life and death over them. It’s a voluntary totalitarianism, and it starts by assigning government the role of caretaker from cradle to grave, the latter point coming at their choosing.

Western civilization built itself on the sanctity of human life and the rights of the individual. It doesn’t take much for Westerners to give up that birthright. The only incentive for voluntary slavery appears to be low-cost prescriptions and catastrophic hospital coverage. Once we buy into that system, all manner of personal choices get removed: the foods you can eat, the beverages you can drink, your pastimes, and apparently your right not to be murdered just to clear a hospital bed. . .

Read it all.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

AnglicanTV: Interview with Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh

From Kevin at AnglicanTV, an interview with Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

You are welcome to embed this in your blog/website. However, you must credit AnglicanTV with a hyperlink.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Did I mention that I've left the Episcopal Church. . .

And this is one reason why:

“Today’s decision was difficult and emotional but a necessary action to care for the order of the Church, the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the collegiality of the House of Bishops.”

Bishop James Mathes of San Diego commenting on today's uncanonical and despicable action by the Episcopal House of Bishops, meeting this week.