My Blog List

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ugliness is Such a Bore

The Right Reverend Leopold Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida recently preached a confirmation sermon (h/t Cap'n Yips) which if nothing else will serve as a useful compendium of who and what the Episcopal Church has become. Getting off to a good start and establishing his 'sixties street creds, Frade begins, and lards throughout his sermon, the refrain of the Leonard Cohen song "Anthem" (I confess I am partial to Leonard Cohen but there's no denying his appeal is mostly to people of and over a certain age).

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

The point his Grace Southeast Florida tries to make is the expanding and increasing number of "cracks" in the Episcopal Church is actually a good thing and no effort should be made to patch them up. He then, like so much of ECUSA's leadership these days, dubiously equates the controversy over ECUSA's current apostasy with the heady and heroic days of the Church in the 'sixties, when she served on the front lines of the civil rights struggle.

Sadly, a merely silly sermon quickly deteriorates to downright ugly when +Frade levies perhaps the most staggeringly arrogant charge yet at traditionalists. Attempting to "explain" the plummeting attendance in the Episcopal Church, he writes,

Some talk about the decrease in membership in our church as a symptom of our discussion on sexuality. But they forget to mention that the main exodus from our denomination was not because of Prayer Book changes or the ordination of women or the acceptance of gays and lesbians, but it was mainly due to the departure of white persons who refused to worship next to a black person who had dared to enter into their beloved homogeneous, culturally friendly environment through cracks that were being made by our clergy and laity to end segregation and discrimination.

This is demagoguery. What evidence of racism in those leaving can Frade offer? Can he offer a single quote from them proving it? If they are such racists and bigots can he explain why so many of them, ironically including those in the Old Dominion, so urgently seek episcopal care from black-as-ink Nigerian, Rwandan and Ugandan bishops (and if Frade is so appalled by the alleged bigotry, why then does he engage in gratuitous Catholic bashing in the same sermon)? It is a common and cheap practice of the left to accuse opponents of racism because it is a charge for which there is neither defense nor refutation. Shrieking "racist" at an adversary not only garners clucks of approval from peers and the sympathetic media but also, in most cases, cowers the opponent into silence, lacking as he does any effective defense; in short, it is the tactic of bullies and their hangers-on, albeit desperate ones in this instance. For increasingly, the only people who buy into the crap offered up by Frade, Schori and the like to explain away the disastrous results their policies have wrought are their kindred spirits, everyone else having long ago wearied of it. And it surely indicates a gross intellectual deficiency of Church leadership to think they can insult and badger those departing into returning.

If Bishop Frade's mean-spirited rantings are the consensus of the leadership of the Episcopal Church, as I believe they are, than that institution has reached a new low, hit rock-bottom, and is fully revealed as the ugly, cowardly and unchristian institution she has become as well as an acrimonious bore.

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