Back in the 1960s, a core of orthodox bishops variously exasperated by James Pike persisted in efforts to try him for heresy, to the point that Pike eventually demanded a trial. Pike was the prototype of the New Episcopal Bishop - personal life pretty much a mess, lover of publicity, seeker after the sensational, adopter of one cause after another - that is with us yet. In the long run, no trial occurred. Even some of the orthodox bishops felt that the cost of such an old fashioned thing as "heresy" would be bad for the church, so they managed to do the Episcopal thing - they referred the mess to committee, and the committee managed to speak out of both sides of its mouth by saying, "Yes, he says stupid things, but no, we're not going to remove him from office." And to be ever so slightly fair, we need to remember the temper of the time. 1967's summer of love (centered in Pike's San Francisco) was fast approaching, Viet Name protests were gaining massive publicity, and any publicity that the then-PECUSA would have gained from upholding Christian orthodoxy would have been negative - for a while. Yet Bishop Bayne was entirely wrong when he said that Pike's views "nowhere near threatening the church's jugular."
Those orthodox bishops could not have imagined that 40 years later the church that they sought to spare from scandal and notoriety would be engaging in bizarre (and definitely scandalous) manipulations of church law to silence and expel today's orthodox bishops. Whatever else may be said about them, today's revolutionaries have a zeal for ideological purity that accepts no compromise and does not shirk confrontation. . .
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