Comments: Pittsburgh: an email from the bishop

As I suspected, even before TEC has an opportunity to consider the moritorium suggested for it, the border-crossers have rejected the moritorium suggested for them.

Walsingham:

Do you see now why I was so skeptical of the "talk" at Lambeth?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 7:38pm BST

After this, can anyone still see the point of TEC agreeing to the proposed moratorium?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 8:54pm BST

Wow, that happened quicker than I thought it would. I figured the conservatives would insist on enforcing moratoria on gay/lesbian bishops and same-sex blessings while feeling perfectly free to continue diocese poaching or cross-border interventions. And so it begins on the moratoria:
"We can't go first, they have to go first!" "No we don't, you have to go first!" "You started it!" "Did not!" "Did too!"
I love +Duncan's denunciation of the equivalence of the three moratoria. After all, everyone knows that those immoral unbiblical uppity gay and lesbian people and their supporters can't possibly be compared to the pure, supremely moral actions of the saintly Elect of Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, et al.
The frosting on the cake was to complain about those nasty lawsuits by TEC and the Church of Canada. How dare those Provinces try to keep their property! The nerve!
Thank you Anonymous One(s) who forwarded a copy of +Duncan's letter to the good folks at Thinking Anglicans. You made my day.

Posted by peterpi at Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 9:11pm BST

It would seem, then, that the proposed moratoria have already been skittled - by this revelation of the intentions of the Global South and CANA etc. not to reverse their territorial incursions into the US and Canada.

The dubious question of the lack of a 'moral equivalence' put forward here by Bob Duncan is, surely, not to be taken seriously. If the re-asserters were serious about Church Order, then they would recognise the need for withdrawal from this patently political stance by Global South for moral supremacy. How does this square with their supposed status as 'Orthodox Anglicans'?

With this declared stance on the part of the defectors from the Canterbury-based Communion, how possibly can the ACC go ahead with the other moratoria? Perhaps Winchester is right - at least in one sense - that the defectors are actually planning to go ahead with their own theological and ecclesiastical set-up - regardless. Please, just do not allow them to retain the historical title of Anglicanism. Perhaps they might better join the Southern Bible Baptists?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 11:30pm BST

Echoes and resonances of the emperor in Star Wars telling Darth Vader and others: It is all going according to my plan, as I have foreseen it.

Just go back, not that long ago, and read through the conservative realignment plan - say, from IRD? You might have to decode IRD narratives a bit, but surely the sense is there. Or go back to the Chapman Memo?

In writing and in between the written lines, you will find the gist of what has happened, is happening, and per GAFCON or Duncan or ???? will continue to happen: If we cannot conservatively realign Anglicans worldwide, then we will destroy their famous big tents for everybody. Those whom conservative realignment has put asunder, let nobody (not even God in the big tent grace of Jesus or Elizabeth I for that matter?) put together again.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 12:51am BST

Exactly as expected really, and so the show goes on. Many people are wearing rose tinted spectacles at the moment, and they might want to enjoy the hue, but the Province of North America in GAFCON might lead to some being taken off.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 1:32am BST

The fundamental problem is, of course, that TEC isn't just defying the majority of the Anglican communion, or even just defying the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference and the Primates' meeting. If that were all, they would possibly get some support, or at least sympathy, for their [nice but misguided] commitment to the normalization of same-sex sex.

But the situation is much worse... they are defying the clear will of God - as revealed in both Testaments!! and taught by the Church for the last 2000 years! How can any Christian who is committed to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles, or to Christian unity, accept that?! [In case anyone is wondering that was a rhetorical question.. teaching people to sin is not exactly approved of in the Christian scriptures!]

ps peterpi, God loves all people, whatever their sexual orientation or desire, and He has His own views on about what is good and what isn't... which may not be heavily influenced by TEC's Canons, or even by liberal humanist values! I hope you can understand why non-liberals see those issues as rather more important than insisting churches and diocese, and their property, remain trapped in heretical provinces. It's not that we are better, or less sinful... but we do try to be obedient!

Posted by davidwh at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 1:56am BST

"suicidal"??

Posted by thomas bushnell, bsg at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 2:10am BST

Does anyone know how this letter was leaked? Those who will follow Duncan out are going. My concern is when will the purple shirts discipline their own? As this lingers on I find myself more and more angry at the clerics. At least in Pittsburgh, this mess has been clergy led. In many of the parishes Duncan's minions have blasted TEC as a new age religious drifting heretical organization. Shame on the senior bishops who voted no to his inhibition. Maybe Peter Lee wanted to keep his old family friend on the Christmas card list! Maybe after Duncan leaves for the SC we can even give him a severance pay, a house by the lake (already done) and the keys to the cathedral.

Shame on the bishops!

Posted by Bob in SW PA at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 5:22am BST

+Bob of Quittsburgh and +Jack the Lion of Sp-Iker-land always make my day. They conspire to leave TEC and steal the silver on the way out, but claiming the high moral ground for their thievery and acts of deception. Deposition by the HoB's is the only solution to restore a modicum of order. Nothing else will stop the "drama queens" claiming victimhood.

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 6:08am BST

Davidwh:

I've called you on this before and I do it again: hubris! You do not know "the clear will of God" any better than I do.

Furthermore, if being a Christian were only about being "obedient" we'd have a law of our own as long and complicated as Leviticus. We don't.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 11:32am BST

ps The dioceses and churches that are opting out of TEC are only taking their own assets with them. TEC's behavior is just typical political bully-boy - I've beaten you and now I'm going to take your lollipop before I let you go home!

pps Very few people, even in TEC, argued the homosexuality was a "normal" sexuality until VERY recently. Both the orthodox parishes and diocese and the rest of TEC were paid for and endowed by people who would have rejected TEC's new, heretical beliefs and practices. If you could ask them they would probably suggest that TEC give ALL of its assets to the remaining orthodox!!

Posted by davidwh at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 11:50am BST

Davidwh - obviously another deluded person who feels he has a hotline to God's thoughts! - And only from the king James version, probably.

David, as a newcomer to this blog, you may not have heard the Good News of Jesus Christ in the gospels, which mainly informs the comments of our fraternity/sisterhood here.

Have you tried the Global South (Anglicans?) web-site? I think it might be to your taste. They have a good line on 'obedience' - to messrs Akinola, Duncan, Orombi, Jensen, et al. You might just be more welcome there to cosy up to the moral crusaders. Most of us want to try to encourage the Gospel qualities of Beatitudinal Christianity. No offence.

"God loved the world so much, he gave his Only-Begotten Son, so that all who believe in him might have eternal life" - Faith is a gift, just ask for it.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 12:41pm BST

Venables announced before Lambeth was even over that he would not cease his piracy in North America. About the same time Orombi stepped up and said the same.

It is absurd that people are still discussing the moratoria as though they meant anything. The proposal was dead before the bishops left Lambeth.

It's like everyone pretending that grandma is merely taking a nap on the couch, just resting her eyes a bit, even though the stench tells us otherwise.

Posted by JPM at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 2:46pm BST

I think we have Rowan Williams's own analysis of the Pauline text to show why there is no such "clear will of God" on this matter and that biblical literalism constructs very little.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 3:19pm BST

"they are defying the clear will of God - as revealed in both Testaments!"

Davidwh,
You accuse TEC of defying the clear will of God. Yet God's will is also crystal clear with regard to those who would oppress His children. Still, you have spoken in support of those who ignore the oppression of God's children; who by their words and actions help to create a situation where that oppression is considered not only acceptable, but virtuous; and, in some instances, have actively promoted such oppression. How is it that conservative defiance of God's will in this seems acceptable to you while liberal defiance is not?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 4:08pm BST

Note that Bp. Duncan's "moral equivalence" phrase does not appear at all in the Windsor Report and is not so far as I can see in any way implied in it.

The phrase does, however, surface in the Dromantine Communique. Who was the ghostwriter for that?

Posted by Paul (A.) at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 6:01pm BST

"ps The dioceses and churches that are opting out of TEC are only taking their own assets with them. TEC's behavior is just typical political bully-boy - I've beaten you and now I'm going to take your lollipop before I let you go home!"

Except the canons of the parishes and dioceses say quite clearly that those assets are held in trust for the entire church. You are espousing that these people violate the canons they vowed to obey and uphold at their ordinations and consecrations. Isn't there anything in your Bible about taking false oaths?

"pps Very few people, even in TEC, argued the homosexuality was a "normal" sexuality until VERY recently. Both the orthodox parishes and diocese and the rest of TEC were paid for and endowed by people who would have rejected TEC's new, heretical beliefs and practices. If you could ask them they would probably suggest that TEC give ALL of its assets to the remaining orthodox!!"

You have a remarkable way of being very sure about stuff, David. You're sure about God's will, you're sure about how the now passed-on members of the Episcopal Church would feel about modern issues if they were alive today.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 10:25pm BST

Davidwh, I'm no canonical or secular lawyer, but I do know this. The TEC Diocese of Colorado has had to deal with parishes "seceding" from the Diocese of Colorado and TEC since the early 1980s over the ordination of women and the 1978 BCP. I have been told consistently ever since that time that the title to parish property is held in trust for the Diocese (and TEC) by the parish. The parish has full use of the property, but it ultimately belongs to the Diocese (and TEC). As one bishop has said, if you want to leave TEC, that's regrettable, but you are free to do so. However, you are not free to seize that which is not yours.
How certain is the Bishop of the Burgh of Pitt that every single parish wants to leave TEC? He can't make that claim. There may be parishes or substantial numbers within parishes who want to remain in TEC, regardless of whether they're theologically conservative, liberal or other. The polite thing to do is inform the bishop you're leaving (or if you're the bishop, inform the Presiding Bishop), drop off the keys to the parish or diocesan buildings, and find your own buildings.

Posted by peterpi at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 10:40pm BST

Well, David, we'll all find out soon. I just today received notice from the California Supreme Court that oral argument in the St. James, Newport Beach, case will take place on October 8, 2008. Its decision should issue by year's end. As you may know, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, found pursuant to the canons and settled United States and prior California Supreme Court precedent that the properties belong to the Diocese of Los Angeles and the national church, not to the parishes.

Posted by Richard Zevnik at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 12:07am BST

JPM wrote: “The proposal was dead before the bishops left Lambeth.”

Surely, it was dead before it was uttered. It was never seriously meant.

Paul wrote: “The phrase does, however, surface in the Dromantine Communique. Who was the ghostwriter for that?”

You mean Dromantine of Eucharist in-fame?

;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 8:15am BST

Pat, Ron

The mission of the Church is summarized at the end of Matthew's Gospel as follows: "... Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (NRSV)

Now you may think that I am deluded in thinking that this gives us some hotline to God's thoughts, and that obeying is a part of Christianity.... but I think that, by rejecting the scriptures, your christianity has become just something you are "making it up as you go along"!

The trouble with many liberals is, I think, being too married to your cultural milieu. But you cannot serve two masters. So you end up having to find reasons (just rationalizations in my view) to reject the plain moral teaching of the Christian scriptures, and of the Church.


ps Ford, supporting one belief (same-sex sex is sinful) is not the same as supporting everyone who espouses it. Much too simplistic thinking!

Posted by davidwh at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 12:48pm BST

"their own assets"

No, they're not. They are trying to take from TEC things that were given to God by their forebears, and which are held in trust by TEC. We are not congregationalists, Davidwh. Perhaps it is difficult to understand for someone from a more congregationalist tradition, and I figure, brought up to believe that a congregationalist model is superior, more free, and perhaps even by God's design. But the idea that the church building in which our congregation worships is owned by us, the parish, and not the diocese is something I just can't relate to. I can assure you that, were there ever a move to take our parish out of the ACC, I would vehemently oppose trying to take the building. It isn't our to take.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 2:18pm BST

Ford,

Even showing some graciousness to leaving congregations based, for instance, on their own contributions of the assets, is not being mooted. It's just nasty political calculation (in my somewhat jaundiced opinion) the maximizing of power and control.

TEC's liberals are just ungraciously fighting tooth and nail for every brick, and all the jewelry, because they reckon, rightly, that it will deter many people (clergy included) from doing what they want to do... join an orthodox branch of Anglicanism.

Posted by davidwh at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 5:46pm BST

"join an orthodox branch of Anglicanism."

There is no such thing. Besides, the only thing that word has ever meant in the history of Christianity is "We're right and you're wrong". You can expect a bit of ungraciousness when you leave if you have spent the last several years condemning your fellow Anglicans for faithless heathen reassessors who believe nothing and seek to bless sin in search of the approval of the world, and you are separating yourself from them as they are not "orthodox". Where is the graciousness of the conservatives? I can't see it, they have spent the last near decade supporting those who lie about, misrepresent, and generally slander me and mine. Where is the graciousness in their behaviour? We Christians should show graciousness to all, but it is a bit much for them to condemn the ungraciousness of others when their behaviour is anything but. Not saying they deserve mistreatment for their ungraciousness, just that there's a word for condemning in others that of which one is guilty onesself. And besides, graciousness doesn't even enter into it. The church buiilding is a gift to God, a testament of the faith of those who built it. it no more belongs to those who leave than it does to those who stay. Those who seek to take their buildings when they leave are showing another aspect of their"orthodoxy" that is anything but.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 6:58pm BST

David: it's clear you are completely uninformed as to the lengths the Diocese of Los Angeles went to accommodate St. James Newport Beach and the other three congregations before they debarked for Uganda, and it's also clear you are completely uninformed as to the "ungracious" manner in which the clergy of those congregations comported themselves with respect to the Bishop and the Diocese when they announced their decision. I do know, and your statements stand on nothing, and are worth as much.

Posted by Richard Zevnik at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 7:15pm BST

"Now you may think that I am deluded in thinking that this gives us some hotline to God's thoughts, and that obeying is a part of Christianity.... but I think that, by rejecting the scriptures, your christianity has become just something you are "making it up as you go along"!"

To quote a well-known conservative politician: "Well, there you go again!"

Nobody here, not me, not Ron, is "rejecting the scriptures". We are looking at them differently than you do. Just as some Christians look at the scriptural banning of idols and take it to mean that statues and stained glass windows and even crucifixes (as opposed to plain crosses) are forbidden, whereas most Anglicans do not. Would you suggest one or the other of those two groups is "rejecting scripture"? After all, the banning of idols is right there in the very first of the Ten Commandments, while the vaunted proscriptions of homosexuality are buried in the long list of cultural laws in Leviticus, or in a single passage in one of dozens of letters sent by Paul to the early churches.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 8:23pm BST

TEC's liberals are just ungraciously fighting tooth and nail for every brick, and all the jewelry.

I don't know the details about US law, but in the UK there are specific powers for the Charity Commission (which regulates charities) to intervene in any case where are charitable assets are 'at risk of loss, damage or misuse'. If the Church of England allowed another body simply to take over substantial assets belonging to it (as would happen with breakaway parishes taking buildings etc), it would be in serious legal trouble itself. I suspect the same is true for TEC: the assets aren't legally theirs to give away in the normal sense.

Posted by magistra at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 9:53pm BST

You’re right, DavidWh. We liberals are totally self seeking. We have a masochistic streak in us, which is why we remain in the church when we know that we have to spend all our time there wilfully distorting God’s word to suit our immoral aims. There’s not an ounce of integrity in us.

The plain moral intentions of God are so obvious after all, and there is not an ounce of ambiguity in Scripture anywhere. We’re so astonishingly arrogant, we don’t only kid ourselves and need enlightened people like you to put us straight, we even seriously believe we can hoodwink God into forgiving us for our deliberate sinfulness.
It’s so obvious, isn’t it.

Now get real – if we were really like that, why on earth would we want to stay in the church and hang on to our faith? Why not just do what the majority of society does and opt out altogether?

Maybe because it’s just not that simple after all?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 9:55pm BST

Notice how davidwh's narrative takes as a given that everyone making decisions on behalf of TEC is pure evil, while the saintly schismatics are motivated by nothing but the pure love of the Lord. What self-serving tripe.

Despite the constant "conservative" lie, not a single Episcopal or Anglican cleric has been disciplined based on simple dissent from the liberal position. They have been deposed based on distinct and deliberate violations of canons that have exactly NOTHING to do with the matter at hand. And in general they have only been proceeded against following repeated violations of canon.

If the TEC and ACofC authorities were really the jackbooted thugs davidwh and his fellow travellers pretend, then they are the most feckless jackbooted thugs in the history of jackbooted thuggery.

The fact that those in leadership positions in any organization have a feduciary responsibility to protect assets is ignored in the "conservative" slander narrative. Similarly, the fact that numerous "conservative" leaders have deliberately misled (ie, lied) about the legal issues regarding the property is similarly glossed over.

Of course, this tactic has been successful in the past. The Calvinists used it very effectively in 1688, claiming that the proclamation of religious liberty by James II was really a plot to submit the CofE to Roman authority. Likewise, the lies and slanders that led to the Public Worship Regulation Act, the persecution of the ritualists and the slum priests and the martydom of Fr. MacKonichie.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 10:06pm BST

'The mission of the Church is summarized at the end of Matthew's Gospel as follows: "... Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (NRSV) - posted by Davidwh -23 August 2008

Precisely. Davidwh!

What you are saying here is that believers should follow the explicit teaching of Jesus - which is what some of us are striving to do, albeit imperfectly. However, the teaching of Jesus himself is contained in the Gospels. Whatever else is in the Bible is other people's version of what Jesus taught. Let's be quite specific here.

"A New Commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you. By this shall all (people) know you are my disciples - that you have love one for another". These words of Jesus were spoken after his battles with the Scribes and Pharisees, on their interpetation of the Law -which Jesus himself is sometimes known to have bypassed (eg. eating corn on the Sabbath - ignoring the requirement to wash hands up to the elbow before eating - conversing with women on his own - refusing to countenance the Law which required the stoning of an adulteress, etc.)

As Bishop Desmond Tutu has reminded the Church: Jesus said, "I when I am lifted up, will draw all people to myself" - ALL, not only the righteous

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 22 August 2008 at 4:42am BST

David W wrote: “The trouble with many liberals is, I think, being too married to your cultural milieu”

On the contrary, dear David, It is precisely the “cultural milieu” and the anti Moderns that are anti Gay. Whether “Christian” or Muslim they depend on Ancient Hellenism (Alexandria).

The famous clobber passages have been manipulated to express those cultural understandings: Philosophy contra the Gospel. First and foremost in the Parisian Versio vulgata of the Scholastics around 1200. So they are n o t “the plain moral teaching of the Christian scriptures” but “Culture”.

The last round of Social political change comes from the American Calvinist RSV 1952 and the Cambridge Roman translations 1966 (Father Zerwick SJ).

The heterosexualistic paradigmatic use of Genesis 1:24 and 2:27 dates from 1978, only.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 22 August 2008 at 7:43am BST

"It is precisely the “cultural milieu” and the anti Moderns that are anti Gay"

Exactly, Goran! I muse a lot on how it can be that people who basically support a societal structure that has existed for centuries can believe themselves free from cultural bias. Supporting the dominant cultural patterns is not "countercultural". Neither is blindly supporting all those who rebel against the established culture. Both sides, I think, get very muddy on what counterculturalism is in the Christian context. It means opposing ALL unjust cultural structures, whether or not they are new or old. Again, while I think both sides drop the ball on this, it still appears to me that the worst offenders in this are on the Right.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 22 August 2008 at 1:48pm BST

I have mused before about what would happen if a hypothetical liberal parish in the Diocese of Abuja declared themselves out of communion with Peter Akinola and claimed to be part of the Episcopal Church.

Would the Bishop of Abuja treat that parish the way the "conservatives" in North America claim to expect they should e treated? Would Peter Akinola let that parish keep the property?

Funny thing is, the "conservatives" never bother to answer.

If they say "no," it hopelessly undercuts their position.

If they say "yes," everyone will know they're lying.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 22 August 2008 at 7:42pm BST

Malcolm:

I think it entirely likely that Akinola would have the priest of such a parish immediately deposed and declare him apostate. If the parishioners insisted on their decision, he would undoubtedly close down the parish.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 22 August 2008 at 10:38pm BST

Indeed, Pat.

In fact, we have seen the evidence of what happens when anyone disagrees with the primatial invaders. Unlike the authentic North American provinces, where no "conservative" has been sanctioned except for deliberate (and often repeated) violations of canon law, simple dissent from the hardline fundamentalism is sufficient to have clerics deposed in the provinces of the Global South thieves.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Saturday, 23 August 2008 at 7:26am BST

Malcolm+ wrote:

"I have mused before about what would happen if a hypothetical liberal parish in the Diocese of Abuja declared themselves out of communion with Peter Akinola and claimed to be part of the Episcopal Church.

Would the Bishop of Abuja treat that parish the way the "conservatives" in North America claim to expect they should be treated? Would Peter Akinola let that parish keep the property?

Funny thing is, the "conservatives" never bother to answer."

Davidwh -- as a conservative yourself, maybe you could give us an answer.

Posted by Peter of Westminster at Saturday, 23 August 2008 at 11:34am BST

davidwh wrote:

"TEC's liberals are just ungraciously fighting tooth and nail for every brick, and all the jewelry, because they reckon, rightly, that it will deter many people (clergy included) from doing what they want to do... join an orthodox branch of Anglicanism."

Well, there is a vote of confidence by davidwh in his "orthodox" friends! Though by their own account they see God's will for us all most clearly, they will be deterred from doing His will by mere bricks and jewelry.

Posted by Peter of Westminster at Saturday, 23 August 2008 at 11:58am BST

"And there was silence in heaven for half an hour"

What's the matter, Davidwh, cat got yer tongue?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 25 August 2008 at 1:00am BST
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