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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.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Fun Begins

One of the songs I remember fondly from high school days, blasting out of the radio while I bopped around in my pickup truck, was the legendary Alice Cooper's "No more Mister Nice Guy" (and isn't that a fine beginning to a posting on an Anglo-Catholic's blog? Never mind the locale was Greenwich, Connecticut and the pickup truck was Japanese: I was a rebel at heart, promise!). That fine ol' bit of rock 'n' roll came flooding back to me yesterday when I read the letter fearless +Iker of Fort Worth fired off recently to +Lee of Virginia, wherein he sends his regrets he is unable to lunch today to discuss Alternative Primal Oversight. Oh, and +Duncan of Pittsburgh wouldn't be able to make it either. As a matter of fact, none of the eight bishops requesting APO would be at this meeting (it will no doubt go much smoother than the last one).

Well, huzzah, huzzah, it's about time! Our orthodox leadership, having these past 30 years being regarded and treated by the inclusive New Religionists as creatures found crawling under a rock, has finally had enough. They will no longer go along with the charade of countless meetings whose only purpose is to spoon pablum to the orthodox while giving more time to their innovative betters to plan the next innovative assault. Iker said at the end of the last go-round he was "not interested in having more meetings to plan to have more meetings" and it looks as if he meant it. Katharine Jefforts Schori has made it clear she's ready to bring out the big guns to deal with the pesky reactionaries. Bring 'em on, I say, but she's going to have to move fast. The Diocese of San Joaquin is voting this weekend to abandon the foundering ship that is the Episcopal Church. Should they do so, others are sure to follow and 815 Second Avenue will soon find itself trying to fire artillery from the bottom of the ocean.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Musings from Someone "Better Educated"

From the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori:

Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations.

From Mark Steyn:

If you measure the births of the Muslim world against the dearth of Bishop Kate's Episcopalians, you have the perfect snapshot of why there is no "stability": With every passing month, there are more Muslims and fewer Episcopalians, and the Muslims export their manpower to Europe and other depopulating outposts of the West. It's the intersection of demography and Islamism that makes time a luxury we can't afford.

This is but a mere sampling, read it all. Steyn's ability to eviscerate the fatuous is a wonder to behold, nobody does it better. As Waugh said of Wodehouse, "He is the master of us all." (Thanks to Bro. James.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Baste me in Butter and Call Me Slappy"

Happy Thanksgiving! From the New York Times: A hilarious piece on personal ads in the London Review of Books (I can't believe I beat titusonenine on this one!).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Looks As If It's Getting Serious

Our Presiding Bishop has sent, and released to the public, a corker of a letter to the Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev'd John-David Schofield. In this strongly worded missive she warns him the serious consequences of his recommending to his parishes they ditch the Episcopal Church. She also advises if +Schofield doesn't like the New Religion of the modern Episcopal church, "he seek a home elsewhere" and continuing, in a richly ironic vein, "our forebears [did not] give liberally to fund endowments with the intent that they be consumed by litigation."

You know, in a way, I like this woman: She takes no guff and unlike her mincing predecessor, she lets you know exactly where she stands. Clarity is her byword, at least when she's not talking theology. She no doubt feels noisome rebels like +Schofield are long overdue receiving their easily delivered comeuppance (I'll bet Leo X was similarly confident).

We shall see. Much as I like KJS's directness, I wonder if she also doesn't have her head in the clouds (to use the politer of the two expressions). Can she really not see she and her colleagues' "religion" is so utterly removed and detached from that of +Schofield, +Ackermann, +Iker, et al., that, in effect, the abandonment has already taken place; that it is academic to try and determine who abandoned whom?

If the Diocese of San Joaquin does vote secession (and they likely will, by a substantial margin) then KJS's only recourse is to deplete that endowment for which she express so much concern, trying to force it back. She and TEC will fail. The best she can hope for is the courts in California, going against precedent, will let TEC keep the buildings. The people, of course, will leave and TEC will find itself on an irreversable course, similar to that of the Christian Scientist Church: A large, if diminishing,endowment, magnificent, if deteriorating, buildings and a small and dying membership.

It's a Religion of Peace . . .

. . . But that doesn't preclude some good ol' American-style provocation. We will not toleratate your intolerance!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quo Vadis?

In my late teens I found my way back to the Episcopal Church from which I had fallen away when younger. I attended confirmation classes under the inspiring tutelage of the Rev'd G. Harris Collingwood at the Church of the Advent in Boston and was later confirmed at that same wonderful institution. It was was a joyous occasion and the Advent, then as now, was a glorious shrine to Anglo-Catholic worship. The year this happy event took place, unfortunately, was 1976, thus at precisely the time I returned to the church the church began to leave me. I nevertheless persevered, over the years hanging on; turning the other cheek, seeking out the fewer and fewer orthodox churches wherever my life's journey took me. All the while I hoped and prayed the leaders of the Episcopal Church would see and repent the errors of their ways. They have not and, apparently, will not.

So what to do? I have seriously considered "poping" and have discussed it with two close friends, both of whom are devout and traditional Romans. They both advise against it, one of them writing me, with beautiful succinctness, "I am bound in conscience to tell you that I believe the Catholic Church in the United States as it is presently constituted would pose severe temptations for you against the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity . . . I would far prefer to see you remain a Christian in a corrupt church than to become an apostate from the true one." I have followed that sage counsel.

So here I stand, a Christian in a corrupt church but I will stay put for now. I still cannot believe the majority of us in the pews support the heresies espoused by our leadership. I still like to believe that those of us in the pews will one day come to our senses and wrestle our church back from the New Religionists. I still want to believe that Canterbury will one day take a real stand on the matter and encourage us to take our church back. If not, well, the matter will take care of itself: the Episcopal Church's leadership will devolve into a ragtag collection of goddess worshipers, tree huggers, wiccans, queer-studies types etc., all at cross-purposes with one another with their conflicting pantheistic beliefs. Like brigands they will quarrel over the spoils, the quarrelling will get violent and the institution will eventually be destroyed from within. Those few remaining orthodox, if any, will then have but no choice to walk away and find a new home, a true home; a home that may well have a Roman address.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just Because You're a Bishop Doesn't Make You God

A commenter on Whitehall links to a piece in the Daily Mail (UK) about a bishop in the Church of England, the Rt. Rev'd Tom Butler of Southwark, who officially speaking for the Church proposes that doctors be allowed to let sick newborn babies die: that "there are occasions when it is compassionate to leave a severely disabled child to die." While this may seem a reasonable point of view to the compassionate, if casual, thinker, in reality it is a dangerous notion and, unfortunately, all of a piece of the New Religion: that God should serve the individual, not the other way around; that if a dogma results in suffering, the dogma is faulty and must be revised, for God does not intend for us (me) to suffer. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

As Christians, we must believe life is a gift, the greatest gift, from God, as recounted in Genesis. If God is omniscient and omnipotent, as we believe Him to be, we cannot dictate the terms of His gift to us, otherwise we are questioning His supernal qualities and making Him one of us. If he really is one of us, however, we really don't need Him, do we? We can handle matters quite well without Him, can't we? If we do so, however, we are playing God ourselves, and unfortunately we are just not that good at it.

Consider the following quotation then guess who owns it.

Today, however, civilization has brought sympathy, pity, tenderness and other lofty and worthy sentiments, which interfere with the law of natural selection. We are now in a state where our charities, our compensation acts, our pensions, hospitals, and even our drainage and sanitary equipment all tend to keep alive the sickly and the weak, who are allowed to propagate and in turn produce a race of degenerates.

Give up? Those are the words of the patron saint of feminism, Margaret Sanger (you won't find them on the website of Planned Parenthood, the institution she founded, nor will you find mentioned the fact she accepted an invitation from the K.K.K. to speak about the very "problem" of which she wrote: the "race of degenerates"). The "civilization" and the attendant qualities she questions are, of course, Christianity and Christian charity. I would not accuse +Butler of espousing such hideous notions as Sanger's, he surely does not, but unless one is uncompromising when it comes to the sanctity of life, it is all too easy to slip into thinking thoughts as, "Surely God did not intend this person to suffer so" or "Isn't keeping this poor soul alive costing a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere?" Thence leads to the murderous philosophy of Utilitarianism and its weaseling proponents like Peter Singer (a professor of bioethics at Princeton!) and from there it is but a short journey to Final Solutions.

I have a cousin who was born paralyzed from the neck down but blessed (or cursed) with a first-class mind. The difficulty of her life I cannot begin to fathom but she bears her burden well and manages to possess a wicked sense of humor. Still, I wonder if +Butler, upon witnessing the protracted suffering my cousin has gone through in her life would think that it would have been better she had not been born or allowed to live. I hope, at least, he would ask her first.

Well, That Didn't Take Very Long, Did It?

"We're just as sleazy as the Republicans." Speaker-To-Be Pelosi gets off to a good start.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Real Islam

From the National Post of Canada: This should be required reading of all those idiots in Washington, the academy and the capitals of Europe; an interview with Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a well-educated Egyptian physician and former member of a terrorist organization. This man knows about terrorists and is now on a mission to try and break the multi-culti, moral equivalent mindset as to their motives. Surprisingly (perhaps not), it's about sex:

'Islam condemns extra-marital sex as well as masturbation, which is also taught in the Christian tradition. But Islam also tells of unlimited sexual ecstasy in paradise with beautiful virgins for the martyr who gives his life for the faith. Don't for a moment underestimate this blinding passion or its influence on those who accept fundamentalism.'

Dr. Hamid claims the fundamentalist Islam of the terrorists is the dominant sect, not the radical fringe. Their goal is imperialistic, world control, and despite the insistence of Western haters of the West is not influenced the slightest by Western polity.

He's exasperated now, visibly angry at what he sees as a willful Western foolishness. 'Stop asking what you have done wrong. Stop it! They're slaughtering you like sheep and you still look within. You criticize your history, your institutions, your churches. Why can't you realize that it has nothing to do with what you have done but with what they want.'

Alas, I suspect this modern Cassandra's warnings will go unheeded. But read them for yourself anyway and be very afraid. (h/t Instapundit)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just Wondering

I wonder if President Bush will offer Joe Lieberman a cabinet position, as a reward for his support and, of course, to eliminate a Democratic senator (Connecticut Governor Rell [R] would presumably replace him with a Republican). I suppose Lieberman would decline the job but it's still interesting to speculate.

Job Well Done

The midterm elections were the Republicans' to lose and last night they proved themselves up to the task. Good, they had it coming. It is not as if the GOP had plenty of warning either, a wide swath of respected conservative pundits have warned for many months a disaster was in the making. The countless scandals, out of control spending, waffling on Iraq and the overall smarmy hubris and deceit that has overtaken the GOP made the Democrats' victory inevitable, downright anticlimactic even (it was not a victory for the anti-war crowd, otherwise Joe Lieberman would be looking for a job this morning).

One thing we can be thankful for with the Republican loss: we will not be subjected to Democratic whinging, e.g. "What's the Matter with Kansas,� blaming the loss on the benighted American people. Even the dumbest Republican, even Denny Hastert, knows full well where the blame lies. So let these fools lick their wounds and ponder the future (can you say "Speaker Pelosi?" I like the way you say that.) As a palliative and corrective they might find it profitable to dig up their woefully unworn copies of the Contract with America from 1994, read it again and learn why they won then and lost last night. And let the purges begin.

Reaching Out to the Faithful of the New Religion

Forget the elections, here's some important news.

From the Onion: Frito-Lay Angrily Introduces Line of Healthy Snacks.

PLANO, TX�With the recent trend of wholesome snack foods reaching "truly ridiculous proportions," Frito-Lay announced Monday that it would, against its better judgment, roll out a new line of healthy fruit-and-vegetable-based chips next February.

Frito Lay R

"Here," said Frito-Lay CEO Al Carey as he disgustedly tossed a bag of the company's new Flat Earth-brand snack crisps onto the lectern during a meeting with shareholders and members of the press. "Here's some s*** that's made from beets. I hope you're all happy now that you have your precious beet chips with the recommended daily serving of fruit, or vegetables, or whatever the hell a 'beet' is."

It has not been determined whether Mr. Carey is related to the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You


I have already spoken my piece on the investiture of the Presiding Bishop but please, please, just one last parting shot? Doesn't this remind you a little of those hats passed around to the young charges at children's birthday parties?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Forward

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (as it is legally known) today invested her new presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. As an Anglo-Catholic I cannot accept women in the clergy as there is no scriptural basis for it. Nevertheless, I watched some of the proceedings today on the Internet (scroll down) with the hope I might see some hints of the "reconciliation" Ms. Schori has spoken of and advocated so ardently and frequently since her election. They were not there.

What we got instead was a touchy-feely, happy clappy, new-age spectacle but with just enough references to Anglican services of old, via some of the hymns mainly, to painfully remind us the magnitude of what we have lost these past thirty years. In her homily Ms. Schori's made occasional obeisance to Christ and the Gospel but seemed far more concerned with what seems to be her real gospel, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals; that and world peace (something I support whole-heartedly and you too, I predict). Following the sermon a gathering of young women carrying large urns, containing holy water I think, danced around the picnic table altar then poured the water, with elaborate gesturing, into the baptismal font. To my naive eyes it seemed more like some sort of wiccan rite so I left the computer and went for a walk on this beautiful crisp fall day in Manhattan.

I fear there is no saving the Episcopal Church. The heterodoxies, beginning many years ago with the so-called ordination of women and the spoliation of the Book of Common Prayer continue unabated, with offences big and small, and culminating three years ago with the consecration of an adulterer as bishop of New Hampshire. Ms. Schori enthusiastically supported his consecration thus her election as presiding bishop served notice the Episcopal Church is not going back on any of these "innovations." However, as an institution it is sere and spent. Its membership is declining precipitously and consists primarily of aging baby boomers who will soon be dying off. With the declining membership comes declining pledges thus church leadership resorts ever more frequently to dipping into the capital to pay its bills. The coffers, once ample, are diminishing; the people who filled them are long dead and their progeny have stopped coming to church. Statistically, if the decline in membership continues at the present rate (a big assumption considering events of late) the last Episcopalian in the United States will be buried in 72 years. All of this is bad news for the Episcopal Church but it is not bad news for Christ�s Church.

Our Creed states "one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." Only one. And while I grieve as much as anyone over what has happened to the Episcopal Church I love, the Church of which I am a cradle member, I do not despair over her demise for good will come out of it. If there is to be only one church, there will have to be, to use modern business parlance (and forgive me for it) many mergers and acquisitions. Look around you. It is happening, via realignment within the vastly larger worldwide Anglican Communion and, and to me even more astonishing, the lion lying down with the lamb, the Evangelicals joining with the Catholics: the Common Cause Partners.

Where all this leads only God knows but I think it is all for the good. The Episcopal Church, sadly, is or soon will be history but if the result of her demise is the unification of her diverse surviving factions, that is cause to rejoice, for it is moving us in the right direction, albeit on a long and difficult journey: to one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An Important Discovery!

Just in time for Reformation Day comes this discovery of an important historical artifact.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

John Kerry's done it again, this time in a speech before college students where he questioned the educational accomplishments of our troops. Kerry insists he botched his line and that President Bush was his intended target. I, for one, believe him: Kerry's a dolt and a miserable public speaker to boot, even worse than our president. However, Kerry's far more serious mistake was his not immediately apologizing and releasing the actual text of the speech but going on the attack instead. That Kerry, the richest man ever to run for president, has image problems with working stiffs and the military is painfully obvious. His latest gaff furthers the accurate perception of the Democratic leadership as millionaire socialists, didacts all too eager to instruct us how to lead our lives on the income they allow us to keep, while at the same time living their own pampered lives of luxury and privilege at a far, far remove.

Update:

A grieving father states it far more eloquently.