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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Clarity vs. Obsfucation

My, oh my, there must have been a lot of clucking today at 815 Second Avenue! His Grace John-David, Bishop of San Joaquin, has replied to the Presiding Bishop's threatening letter concerning San Joaquin's upcoming vote whether or not to secede. +Schofield wastes no time getting down to business: "Dear Bishop Schori: Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ." You gotta love the use of the word "only," which ribs KJS's earlier universalist assertion, made in a New York Times interview, that contrary to John 14:6, insisting Jesus is the only way to the Father "puts God in an awfully small box" (who took the measurements?). Then it's straight to the matter at hand, +Schofield's alleged violations of his vow to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God.” Well, no, he replies, it is actually the Episcopal Church that is in error, that "as an institution, [it] is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God’s Word are forced to make painful choices;" that it is his diocese, not he, that will make the decision whether or not to take the highway. +Schofield, however, certainly indicates the desire and certainty the vote will indeed be to ditch and that he is prepared to lead his diocese on a journey that could prove to be very difficult. Yet there is a remarkable absence of animosity in his letter, just an expression of quiet joy, lucidly written, in being allowed to do all such good works as God has prepared for him to walk in. Do read it all.

Now, just for fun, compare and contrast +Schofield's letter with one just sent off to Cantuar by the Presiding Bishop and her friends in which they make a proposal for (would you believe it?) Alternative Primatial Oversight. Yep, of all things! You get the feeling those New Religionists over at 815 have finally realized there just may be a touch of unrest among a segment of Episcopalians over the wholesale makeover of ritual and theology these past thirty years. Well, that does show a certain sensitivity and I suppose we should be grateful. But gee whiz, after slogging through the turgid prose in the letter (these innovators are astonishingly bad writers, nearly as bad as the educationists in our public schools), it's hard to get excited about this proposal.

It starts of promisingly enough, with a statement that appeals for APO are being taken "seriously," but quickly goes downhill when we learn in paragraph 2 APO takes the shape of a "Primatial Vicar" appointed by none other than the Presiding Bishop herself (in "consultation" with Canterbury, we're assured). We learn further this Primatial Vicar "would be accountable to the Presiding Bishop" and, of course, a committee (what would 815 be without committees?). But what really brings this turkey crashing to earth is paragraph 3.

This arrangement for a Primatial Vicar does not affect the administrative or other canonical duties of the Presiding Bishop except to the degree that the Presiding Bishop may wish to delegate, when appropriate, some of those duties to the Primatial Vicar. The Primatial Vicar and the Advisory Panel shall function in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.

I read the above as TEC saying, "you can have your silly old APO but only when it suits us and only if it doesn't conflict with any of our essential and urgently needed innovations, both existing and to come." The position of Primatial Vicar is clearly one of a toothless and functionary hack and will in no way assuage reasserters here nor effect any healing of impaired communion abroad. What this clunker of a proposal does indicate, however, is the dawning awareness of TEC leadership they have serious problem on their hands, one much more serious than they realized. This cobbled together proposal is their panicked attempt to deal with it. Forget it: The movie sucks and the people are headed for the exits; the management is trying to lure them back with an offer of a small popcorn (without even butter-product!). It won't work.

(Thanks to titusonenine, that indispensible resource in the Anglican Blogosphere.)

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