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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two Favorite Authors in One Book

One advantage to reading book reviews is that doing so, ninety percent of the time, obviates the need to read the book, even if the review is favorable (and I write as one who used to be a paid book reviewer). The New York Sun, however, has a review of a book for which I might even pay cash money and read, it being about two of my favorite authors, George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh: David Lebedoff, The Same Man: George Orwell & Evelyn Waugh in Love and War (Random House). The author's aim is to illustrate the similarities between the two, including their shared sour outlook on the modern age, their superb gifts for prose and the integrity they applied to their art.

Waugh and Orwell were not two peas in a pod, of course: if Orwell, famously atheistic, was (as he described it) from a "lower-upper middle class background," Waugh, a Catholic convert whose father was in trade (albeit publishing), was (as he did not describe it) from an "upper-lower middle class background." Waugh's aim was to rise higher in society and he did so brilliantly, becoming a darling of the upper classes, delighting them with his skewerings. Orwell, on the other hand, striving to become an man of the people, associated with the working class. He was not successful, however, lowering his station and as Eric Ormsby, the Sun's book reviewer amusingly recounts: "When [Orwell] consorted with hoboes, he was immediately recognized by his Eton accent and addressed as 'Sir,' much to his annoyance."

Don't you just hate it when that happens?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Progressive Episcopalian Speaks Her Mind

From the Telegraph:
The Rt Rev Catherine Roskam, Suffragan Bishop of New York, said domestic violence is deemed acceptable in some parts of the world and that "even the most devout Christians" are guilty of it.


"We have 700 men here [at the Lambeth Conference]. Do you think any of them beat their wives? Chances are they do. The most devout Christians beat their wives. Culturally, many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife. In that regard, it makes the conversation quite difficult."
The liberals have been instructing us for nearly fifty years the gross unfairness of stereotyping and I must say they have made a good job of it. These days, that sort of crude reactionary thinking can only be found among the most boorish and unenlightened people.

Famously Foolish

John McCain could win the presidency if he runs more hard hitting ads, like the one above, that suggest Barack Obama's celebrity is inversely proportionate to his experience and wisdom. A nice touch in this ad is the fleeting image of celebutard Britney Spears, which has caused, not surprisingly, a prominent liberal blogger to play the race card: "I note with interest today, John McCain's new tactic of associating Barack Obama with oversexed and/or promiscuous young white women." Since charging racism is default strategy of the left when it can come up with no legitimate rebuttal to a valid accusation, we can only assume Mr. McCain's campaign committee has hit the bull's eye with this spot.

Meanwhile, and speaking of celebrities, Jon Voight has blasted Obama in the Washington Times op-ed page, writing
If, God forbid, we live to see Mr. Obama president, we will live through a socialist era that America has not seen before, and our country will be weakened in every way.
Read it all. Voight takes no prisoners and thus ensures his pariah status in the left-wing Hollywood community. I suspect, however, he will not lose sleep over it.

Hold Page One!

The Instapundit reports:
EARTHQUAKE disrupts California Bar Exam.
Oh. My. God.

Monday, July 28, 2008

De Gustibus...

Wow, the kids claim the ad below is funny. Maybe it's a generational thing so perhaps a kind reader will explain to this befuddled blogger where the chuckles are.

MoveOn will also drop a 150 grand airing this spot: now that I find hilarious.

Explaining the Anglican Code of Canon Law

Truly a truly dazzling performance, the man obviously sat at the feet of former PM John Major.

Here's a fun game to play with your friends: see how far you can get through this thing before your head starts spinning. Pay attention, though, there will be a short quiz at the end!

(h/t Damian Thompson)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Associated Press Throws in the Towel on Iraq

(Via the Instapundit)
Analysis: US now winning Iraq war that seemed lost

By ROBERT BURNS and ROBERT H. REID – 15 hours ago

BAGHDAD (AP) — The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost.

Limited, sometimes sharp fighting and periodic terrorist bombings in Iraq are likely to continue, possibly for years. But the Iraqi government and the U.S. now are able to shift focus from mainly combat to mainly building the fragile beginnings of peace — a transition that many found almost unthinkable as recently as one year ago.

Despite the occasional bursts of violence, Iraq has reached the point where the insurgents, who once controlled whole cities, no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of the central government.
The AP conceding victory on Iraq can only mean one thing: the media campaign for Barack Obama has entered a new phase. Since Obama's long-time championing of surrender and defeat in Iraq is a painful and obvious fact and one that will figure largely in the Republicans' campaign against him, look for the media to inundate us over the next six weeks with Iraq victory stories, heaping praise on our brave troops (as Obama is already doing), in the hopes that by September, with the conventions over and the presidential campaign beginning in earnest, the Iraq war will be a dead issue. Should John McCain have the temerity to raise the issue of Obama's turncoat position on Iraq, expect Obama and his media cohorts to respond with a collective rolling of the eyes accompanied by exhortations it's time to "move on" from Iraq. They may even get away with it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back to the Future

The Vatican announced it has approved the use of a new translation of the mass, one that adheres more closely to the original Latin in the Missal. According to Catholic World News, some of the changes include:
At the Consecration, the priest will refer to Christ's blood which is "poured out for you and for many"-- an accurate translation of pro multis-- rather than "for all" in the current translation.

In the Nicene Creed the opening word, Credo, will be correctly translated as "I believe" rather than "we believe."

When the priest says, "The Lord be with you," the faithful respond, "And with your spirit," rather than simply, "And also with you."

In the Eucharistic prayer, references to the Church will use the pronouns "she" and "her" rather than "it."

In the Agnus Dei, the text cites the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world," rather than using the singular word "sin."

In the preferred form of the penitential rite, the faithful will acknowledge that they have sinned "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."
Note that the new translations cited above are not only improvements, they are more accurate. One needs only slight knowledge of Latin to know that "Credo" translates to "I believe" not "We believe" ("Credimus"). Nor does one have to be a genius to discern in the response to Dominus vobiscum ("The Lord be with you"): "Et cum spiritu tuo," the word "spiritu" cries out for the English "spirit." The present translation, "And also with you," is not just wrong, it is ungainly and ugly compared with the graceful new (old) translation, "And with your spirit" (as any traditional Anglican would recognize).

The new translation of the mass, then, is further evidence the Vatican is rolling back many of the terrible "reforms" promulgated by the now-aged hippy-dippy post-Vatican II innovators. There will be much weeping and gnashing of the teeth from that quarter but the fact is their day has come and gone and all in all, they are getting off rather light for the considerable havoc they have wreaked over the years. Deo Gratias.

Friday, July 25, 2008

We Hear You Knocking . . .

The Traditional Anglican Communion, a breakaway Anglo-Catholic organization, created a stir last year when it petitioned Rome for “full, corporate and sacramental union,” i.e. admission into the Holy Catholic Church en masse. While there has been much buzz the Vatican is inclined to say yes, apparently not yet; the TAC is going to have wait a bit longer for an answer, given the letter (copied below) it has received from the Cardinal Levada of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Levada to TAC

The good news for the TAC is Rome has certainly not said no. It might well be the Vatican is awaiting a more appropriate time, e.g. not in the middle of the Lambeth Conference, to give the TAC the nod. Let us hope and let us pray.

(Thanks to William Tighe)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Maybe At Least Wait Until You're Nominated?

Obama Team Begins Work On Presidential Transition

24 Jul 2008 08:55 am

With less than six months to go before he would be sworn in as the nation’s 44th president, Sen. Barack Obama has directed his aides to begin planning for the transition.

"Barack is well aware of the complexity and the organizational challenge involved in the transition process and he has tasked s small group to begin thinking through the process,” a senior campaign adviser said. “Barack has made his expectations clear about what he wants from such a process, how he wants it to move forward, and the establishment and execution of his timeline is proceeding apace.” (Marc Ambinder in
On the other hand, he is giving his inaugural address in Berlin today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama the Tautologist

Barack clarifies his position on the Iraqi surge:
"Here is what I will say," Obama said, "I think that, I did not anticipate, and I think that this is a fair characterization, the convergence of not only the surge but the Sunni awakening in which a whole host of Sunni tribal leaders decided that they had had enough with Al Qaeda, in the Shii’a community the militias standing down to some degrees. So what you had is a combination of political factors inside of Iraq that then came right at the same time as terrific work by our troops. Had those political factors not occurred, I think that my assessment would have been correct."
In other words: "If I hadn't been wrong I would have been right."

Monday, July 21, 2008

They're at it Again!

And the silliness continues:
A group advocating for the ordination of women held a ceremony yesterday in a packed Protestant church at which it declared three women to be Catholic priests and a fourth woman to be a deacon.

The ceremony, like several others that have taken place around the world over the past six years, was denounced by the Roman Catholic Church, and critics said the event was a stunt with no religious significance. The Catholic Church has consistently taught that only men can be ordained as priests, and the Archdiocese of Boston said that the women who participated in yesterday’s ceremony had automatically excommunicated themselves by participating in what it said was an invalid ordination ceremony.
Nahhhh, really? But hold on a minute, this time the womynpriests rolled out the heavy artillery:
The former president of the Massachusetts conference of the United Church of Christ, the state’s largest Protestant denomination, was among several Protestant clergy who attended the ceremony to express their support for the women seeking ordination as Catholic priests.
Boy, oh boy, if that doesn't get the Holy Father's attention, I give up.

Hairstyling by Johnny Cash

(Thanks to the MCJ.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mr. Can Do

Barack Obama announced that "two goals of his administration would be to secure all loose nuclear material during his first term and to rid the world of nuclear weapons..."

Good for him, I was getting so tired of those pesky things--and he'll do it in the first term, even!

'Twixt Scylla and Charybdis

Filipino Catholics show the Americans how.
Filipino archbishop bars pro-abort pols from Communion

Manila, Jul. 14, 2008 ( - In a debate reminiscent of recent disputes among American bishops, Church leaders in the Philippines have taken up the question of whether pro-abortion politicians should be barred from the Eucharist-- with one archbishop answering with an emphatic Yes.

Archbishop Jesus Armamento Dosado of Ozamis has announced that politicians who support legal abortion will not be allowed to receive Communion.


...Another ranking Filipino prelate, Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Linguyen-Dagupan, said that the ban on Communion for pro-abortion politicians-- which now covers only the Ozamis archdiocese-- could be extended throughout the country.


...Archbishop Cruz supported his fellow prelate, saying that denial of the Eucharist is an appropriate ecclesiastical sanction. He told Radio Veritas, the bishops' broadcast outlet: "If a priest or bishop does not punish a public sinner, it is the priest or bishop who is wrong." (Thanks to Catholic World News.)

Many Catholics must tear their hair out wondering, why, oh why, cannot our American bishops show spine, like those Filipinos, when it comes to an obvious and grave matter like abortion? A possible explanation is American Catholic bishops are for the most part liberal, marching in lockstep with pols like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy. Unfortunately for them, to be opposed to abortion, as they must be, is to be identified with the mossbacks on the right and their conservative agenda, something they must find repugnant. Unlike thirty years ago, it is not tenable for a liberal politician to be opposed to abortion yet liberal bishops may be aghast at the notion keeping company with conservatives and their hidebound positions, even on the abortion issue.

Liberal Catholic bishops are thus in the difficult position of attempting to navigate between Holy Mother Church and her uncompromising teaching on abortion and angry modern leftists for whom abortion on demand is an article of faith; who will bite off the heads of those opposed to it. The way the bishops seem to deal with the conundrum is to preach vigorously against proponents of abortion then administer communion to the very same proponents they preached against earlier.

Bishops who do break bread with pro-abortion politicians might consider this, however: if they were to summon up the courage and refuse to allow those who are Catholic from receiving, they would find themselves cheered by huge numbers of other Catholics (maybe even some liberals among them) grateful to the bishops for standing firm for the faith. At the same time their standing among modern leftists would remain unchanged: despised because they are Catholic. So what have they got to lose?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Steenson Explains

The former Bishop of the Rio Grande (Episcopal), the Right Reverend Jeffrey Steenson, was received into the Holy Catholic Church in December of last year. Recently he addressed the annual convention of the Anglican Use Society and offered his explanation why he embraced the full faith. On the eve of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, which promises either to be chaotic or uneventful but certainly not productive; the disarray of the Anglican Communion, which seems to increase daily, it behooves all Anglicans of a traditionalist bent, especially those pondering whether or not to set sail for Rome, to read that address. Some excerpts:
It all begins with the conviction that the Catholic Church simply is. She is not one option amongst many. People who become alienated from their own churches will sometimes think that the next step is to go down to the marketplace and see what is on offer: which church is going to give me the best deal? Those people seldom find the Catholic Church because they have missed the essential point – the fullness of Christ’s blessings is not distributed across the ecclesial landscape but flows from the one Church.


People come to the Catholic Church not because they have worked out every point of doctrine but because they trust that what the Church teaches is true. This is no blind act of faith but the conviction that the Church of Rome is the principal witness to the apostolic tradition. The early Church Fathers were very much aware of the unique vocation of the Bishop of Rome to speak with the voice of Peter in matters of faith. For some twenty years I have reflected on a famous text in St. Irenaeus: “It is necessary that all the churches be in accord with this greatest and most ancient church, whose foundations were supremely laid by the chief Apostles, Peter and Paul.” It really does all come down to the will, doing what you know to be true.


Anglicanism as a church of the Reformation raises difficult problems for serious ecumenism, and it must be admitted that the goal of corporate reunion based on the principle, “return to the rock from which ye were hewn” (Is. 51:1), is unrealistic. But it is worth noting that significant understandings were reached before Anglicanism veered away. Anglicans had begun to trust Rome and looked to her for leadership in many areas of church life. The Anglo-Catholics were well disposed, of course, but one of the most encouraging signs was the warm regard from the Evangelicals. The great scholar of the English Reformation, Dr. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes (d. 1990) told me that the Vatican II constitution on divine revelation, Dei Verbum, had essentially answered the Reformers’ principal criticisms and that there was no compelling reason for the separation to continue.
UPDATE: It may be surprising to many how well talks in the 'sixties and 'seventies were going between Canterbury and Rome about eventual reunification; so well I have long speculated an unspoken motive of liberals in the Episcopal Church (and later in the Anglican Church) for pushing through women's ordination and other innovations was their horror at the prospect of reunification with Rome and their desire to thwart it. If so, they were spectacularly successful.

(h/t William Tighe)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It Pays to Increase Your Word Power

Jesse Jackson said, charmingly, the other day of Barack Obama (not realizing a nearby microphone was turned on): "I wanna to cut his nuts off." Naturally this caused a bit of a tiff with the Obama campaign and today Jackson apologized. All the same, though, one really can't expect much better from a has-been racial extortionist.

Of far greater interest than the story itself is how the media covering this sensitive matter have managed to avoid quoting Jackson's vulgarism directly. There's an amusing round-up here (h/t the Instapundit ) but it omits the best and drollest description of Jackson's lapse found, not surprisingly, in the pages of the New York Sun where it is dryly noted: "Rev. Jackson used a crude reference that suggested he would like to perform an orchiectomy on Mr. Obama."

Well, your Bloviator will own up havin' a bit of book-larnin' but that's a word he's never seen before. It does fit the bill, however.

Navigational Aid

Bishop Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth is nobody's fool when it comes to the upcoming Lambeth Conference:
This is a set-up. We will produce a statement at the end of Lambeth saying that we hold different perspectives on the interpretation of Scripture, based upon our different cultural contexts, but that we must respect each other and remain united. We will ask, along with Pontius Pilate: "What is truth?" What a huge disappointment the Anglican Communion is becoming. There must be a better way! +JLI
(Thanks to the MCJ)

Indeed your Grace, there is a better way. Here's a map.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Indabamized for Your Protection

Note to Catholic readers: I beg your indulgence.

This is how business will (not) be transacted at what is likely to be the final Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion.
At the heart of the Lambeth Conference 2008 are the fifteen indaba groups. After two days of meeting together, each group will be asked to nominate the member of their group whom they believe to be most capable of carrying their views and the fruit of their discussion into the reflections process in a way which expresses the aspirations outlined above. This 'Listener' will then join a Listening Group made up of all the listeners under the chairmanship of Archbishop Roger Herft of Perth, in Western Australia. Working with the summaries of the fruit of indaba arising from each group, it will be their duty to generate a common text which reflects authentically the indaba and is loyal to the considerations set out above.

That text will be tested by the conference through two main routes. First, preliminary drafts of the Reflections document will be circulated to the indaba groups as the work progresses at regular intervals throughout the conference. It will be possible for bishops to respond to the developing text through their listener and the discussions within the indaba groups.

Secondly, on four occasions the Listening Group will meet in open session before any bishop who wishes to attend to invite comment on and response to the developing text. These hearings are an advertised part of the conference programme, and will take place on the Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the second week of the Conference.

It is hoped that in this way every bishop attending the conference will be given the opportunity to shape the Reflections document which arise out of the conference. The hope of the Lambeth Design Group is that this process will permit the development of a Reflections Document which will meet the objectives set out for it, and be available on the last day of the conference to be received as an authentic account of the engagement of the bishops together in the service of Christ.
Those of a certain age (en d'autres termes, moi) may recall "encounter groups," "rap sessions" and the like promulgated by high school administrators in the 70s, wishing to impose their will but in the guise of doing so democratically. My classmates and I (who represented a fairly broad range of perceptivity) were always able to see past the hippy-dippy blathering and recognize their words for the manure it was. It did not matter, however, to the cynical administrators we were onto their ruse: they would go through the charade, clap their hands and announce we had arrived, as one, at the same conclusion.

Similarly for the liberal autocrats staging "Lambeth: the Final Episode." They know bishops representing the majority of Anglicans are skipping it. They know those traditionalists who do bother to show will be "indabamized" and ignored. The liberals will blab on for days, issue their "Reflections Document" that calls for more "listening," "engagement," "dialogue" and such; return home, clap their hands and report to their flocks via diocese newsletters and the pulpit the brilliant success that was Lambeth; how it was infused with the Holy Spirit and served as a glorious paradigm of participatory democracy, that all is well.

And just as it has for years, the average Sunday attendance will continue its relentless plunge.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Good Call

Now that liberals in the Church of England have pushed through the notion of women bishops, it is worthwhile to revisit a prescient essay, written back in 1994, on the occasion of the C of E first allowing women into the priesthood. Entitled "The End of the Oxford Movement," it uncannily predicts the events now taking place in the Anglican Church:
As Newman himself was frustrated in attempting to link the early Church to an orthodox Anglicanism or Reformed Catholicism, modern Anglo-Catholics are realizing the impossibility of a via media between Rome and the Reformers. Fr. Ian Ker, the authoritative biographer of Newman, comments that the Synod's recent decision is a victory for the liberals and may mark the end of the Anglican Church's unity. He wonders how long Evangelicals will remain in harmony with liberals now that the Anglo-Catholics are leaving or are marginalized.

Fr. Ker repeats Newman's warning that the Church might become so "radically liberalized . . . as to become a simple enemy of the Truth." To him it seems "only a matter of time, how long the Anglican Church retains any part of the faith." At least one thing is clear: The Oxford Movement has served its purpose and has now come to an end.
This short piece, published in This Rock, is well worth reading in its entirety. Its author, by the way, was a young Rhodes Scholar, a recent convert from Hinduism to Catholicism, by the name of Bobby Jindal, now Governor of Louisiana and a possible vice-presidential candidate.

Whither Thou Goest

Quickly on the heels of the Church of England's decision to allow women bishops, Damian Thompson of the Telegraph gives us news of the impending exodus.
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, is to lead his fellow Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England into the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Herald will reveal this week.

Bishop Burnham, one of two "flying bishops" in the province of Canterbury, has made a statement asking Pope Benedict XVI and the English Catholic bishops for "magnanimous gestures" that will allow traditionalists to become Catholics en mass.

As I see it, the Church of England is now fractured into three parts: a dying liberal Protestant sect that will align with its counterparts in the United States and Canada, (a subset of the liberal Protestants are the so-called "Affirming Catholics," vested Unitarians who are otherwise identical theologically and politically); second, a growing conservative and Protestant sect, the GAFCON group, that will go its own way, taking with it the more evangelical C of E Membership; third, conservative Anglo-Catholics who really have nowhere to go in the Anglican Communion save the myriad alphabet-soup of continuing Anglican churches. They, of course, are most likely to pope for the goodness of their souls.

These observations are hardly earthshaking. What might prove surprising, however, is the number of members of the C of E, never dreaming of describing themselves as "Catholic" or even "High Church" but also not caring for the snake-belly low Protestantism of the GAFCONERs, who follow Bishop Burnham to Rome; who conclude having a Pope and Magisterium keeping watch over the faith is the only sure way to keep it from veering into heresy. Should the Vatican establish some form of Anglican Use that permits use of the modified Prayer Book and Anglican Hymnody, the number might even be greater. Additionally, when those wavering Anglicans factor in the singular benefit of undisputed sacraments, we may well be witnesses to quite a stampede to Rome in the near future.

How Socialism Makes Us All Millionaires

I had no idea it was so simple . We'll have poverty licked in no time...sort of.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

This is Almost Too Exquisite

Image from Infinite Monkeys

From the Washington Post:
15 Hostages Rescued in Colombia

Military Tricks Rebels Into Freeing Politician Betancourt, 3 American Contractors

Colombia's military yesterday rescued the most prominent of several hundred hostages held by Marxist rebels, a group of 15 that included the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three American Defense Department contractors who had been imprisoned in remote jungle camps since 2003.

In what Colombian officials called an elaborate ruse, commandos deceived a rebel unit entrusted with the prized hostages into turning them over in a grassy field deep in southeastern Guaviare province. The prisoners, who included 11 Colombian soldiers, were then flown to freedom in what amounted to a powerful blow to a fast-waning insurgency.
Here's the best part.
Yesterday, two white helicopters arrived in a jungle clearing where the hostages were being held. The men in the helicopters looked like guerrillas, Betancourt later said, describing details of the rescue at the military airport.

"Absolutely surreal," she said, noting that some of the men who got off the helicopter wore T-shirts emblazoned with the iconic image of the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. "I thought this was the FARC," she said.
Nope, it wasn't the FARC, nor was it myriad deluded college students and 'sixties hangers-on: rather, it was freedom-loving Colombians, down in the trenches (unlike those pseudo-warriors previously mentioned), who have seen the true and ugly face of communism up close and are fighting against that wretched tyranny. What a splendid and appropriate gift the people of Columbia have offered our nation on the anniversary of its founding.

Happy Independence Day.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Independence Day, 1968

Here's how the Philadelphia Inquirer's distinguished columnist Chris Satullo, overflowing with nostalgia for the good old days, want us to observe Independence Day this year:
Put the fireworks in storage.

Cancel the parade.

Tuck the soaring speeches in a drawer for another time.

This year, America doesn't deserve to celebrate its birthday. This Fourth of July should be a day of quiet and atonement.

For we have sinned.

We have failed to pay attention. We've settled for lame excuses. We've spit on the memory of those who did that brave, brave thing in Philadelphia 232 years ago.

The America those men founded should never torture a prisoner.

The America they founded should never imprison people for years without charge or hearing.

The America they founded should never ship prisoners to foreign lands, knowing their new jailers might torture them.

Such abuses once were committed by the arrogant crowns of Europe, spawning rebellion.

Today, our nation does such things in the name of our safety. Petrified, unwilling to take the risks that love of liberty demands, we close our eyes.

We have done such things, on orders from the Oval Office. We have done them, without general outrage or shame.

Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo. CIA secret prisons. "Rendition" of prisoners to foreign torture chambers.

...and on and on and on, ad nauseum. Read the whole thing (if you can take it) and for relief, read some of the comments spawned by Mr. Satullo's pearls of wisdom.

Thanks to Banished Child of Eve.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the meeting of mostly evangelical Anglican primates held in Jerusalem last week, finished its business Saturday and the primates issued a statement outlining their future intentions. While their statement makes clear the primates do not recognize the authority of apostate primates in the west nor, any longer, that of the Archbishop of Canterbury owing to his aggressively lethargic stance dealing with the apostates, they do seem to genuinely regret having to take that action.

"Regret" is not a word that comes to mind when reading the statement released yesterday by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, in response to the GAFCON statement. The words "sputtering, incoherent rage," however, do readily come to mind:
Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission from GAFCON. Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable. This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers. Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve the hungry and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships with others across the globe, despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the influence of the gospel. We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth Conference for constructive conversation, inspired prayer, and relational encounters.

Not surprisingly, many Anglican conservatives are upset at what they see as the patronization and downright rudeness of Ms. Schori's response (her use of the word "emission" is a particularly nice touch) but I, for one, am willing to cut her some slack. In her tenure as Presiding Bishop, Ms. Schori has committed so many jaw-dropping gaffes one has to conclude she is simply unaware of her own boorishness. That despite the bedazzling brilliance her supporters insist streams (or emits?) from her, she is quite possibly the dimmest, albeit driven, Presiding Bishop (notwithstanding a lengthy succession of fifteen-watt bulbs in that office) in Episcopal Church history; so dim, she is blissfully unaware of her fearsome ineptitude.

It recalls the famous counsel of Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, the distinguished German general (and ardent foe of Hitler), on the proper selection and deployment of officers.

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

Alas, for the Episcopalians it is far too late to remove Ms. Schori.