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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where Did They All Go?

A friend writes:
Did you ever meet this guy?... He was one of the kindest souls I ever met. Your old church used to turn out men like this the way Ford made cars. What a sad change!
Obituary from the (Lewiston, Maine) Sun Journal:

Rev. John L. Scott, Jr.

John L. Scott Jr.
1923 - 2010
PLANTATION, Fla. — The Rev. John L. Scott Jr., 86, of Auburn and Davie, Fla., died peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at Westside Regional Medical Center after a long illness.
He was born in Lewiston, March 27, 1923, son of John L. Scott Sr. and Alice Beaumont Scott. He enlisted and served with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. In 1945, he graduated from Bates College and continued his studies at Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., graduating in 1949.
He was ordained priest on March 25, 1950, at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland. During his 59-year ministry, he touched countless lives in the communities and congregations of St. James Church, Old Town, All Saints Church, Springfield, Mass., Grace Church, Amherst, Mass., St. Paul's Church, Norwalk, Conn., the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York, N.Y., Trinity Church, Lewiston, St. Michael's Parish, Auburn and, for the past 17 years, he served as a retired assistant priest at St. Benedict's Church in Plantation, Fla.
Active in the 1960s civil rights movement, he was honored to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala. He also served as chaplain and professor of religious studies at St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's Independent School in New York, N.Y., from 1974 to 1983.
A man who lived in constant awe and wonder of the Lord's divine creation, ‘Father John' will also fondly be remembered enjoying the simplicities of more ‘earthly' pleasures: breakfast with the ‘regulars' at Roy's Hamburgers, a burger and hot chocolate at Taber's on a cool summer evening and companionable conversation overlooking another ‘most memorable' sunset from the porch at Taylor Pond. One phrase guided his life from beginning to end: "Our Father who art in Heaven..." Indeed!

He married his beloved wife, Barbara S. Grant in September 1954; she predeceased him in August 1994...
In answer to the question no, I never met Fr. Scott (at least I don't recall it), which is somewhat surprising given he ministered in locales near where your Bovina Bloviator was calved, raised and educated and summered as a youth. But in a way, I did know the late Fr. Scott, or at least many his sort. Once upon a time the Episcopal Church (and Anglicanism), for all her myriad flaws, managed to produce bevies of splendid priests like Fr. Scott. Yes, their theology might have been a little week; yes, they might have been reluctant to take firm stands on moral matters and heterdoxies that were already rearing their ugly heads when I was but a lad, but there was also a genuine decency and goodness--godliness, you might even call it--among them, which substantially made up for whatever their theological deficiencies.

Unfortunately, without magisterium, decency and goodness were no match for the innovators, who in the 1960s began picking away at the chinks in the Episcopal Church's facade, their task no doubt made easier by the liberal leanings of church patricians like Bishop Paul MooreJohn Shelby Spong and possibly (if he were liberal, which he probably was) even priests like the late Fr. Scott, albeit unwittingly. Beginning, perhaps, with the unprosecuted heresies promulgated by Bishop Pike (a divorced and re-married Catholic who washed up on the shores the Episcopal Church, like so many of her gadflies), by the late 1970s the innovators had accrued sufficient power to effect the spoliation of the Prayer Book and ordination of women. The destruction has continued to the present day, to the point where the Episcopal Church must have seemed barely recognizable to Fr. Scott at the time of his death. He, similarly to so many other clergy I have known, most likely put on the blinders, did his level best to mind his flock and ensure that services were conducted with a modicum of decency (whichever Prayer Book was used), paying as little attention as humanly possible to the astounding goings on in the church at the national level.

So what has happened to all the righteous Episcopal priests like Fr. Scott? They are still around (these two, for example) though in far fewer numbers. With most of them getting along in years, when they eventually retire they will be difficult to replace (younger sound Episcopal priests, we must pray, will accept the invitation from the Pope via Anglicanorum Coetibus to embrace the full Catholic faith). Additionally, Management of the Episcopal Church is hell-bent on getting as many women into the pulpits as they can, by whatever means, particularly in those few remaining parishes still insisting men alone may stand in the place of Christ and act in His Person.

William Thomas Manning (1866-1949), Bishop of New York, when asked if salvation could be found outside the Episcopal Church, replied (possibly with tongue in cheek): "Perhaps so, but no gentleman would care to avail himself of it." Having traveled so far down the road to perdition, today no gentleman would care to avail himself of the Episcopal Church, especially as clergy. Say a prayer, however, for those splendid and godly gentlemen clergy of her past. They were truly grand.

1 comment:

Augustine said...

I knew Fr Scott slightly while I was an undergraduate in the City of Lewiston. And my elementary school chaplain went on to be the long-time rector of Saint Benedict's in Plantation. (just down the road from cities of Banana Republic and Cargo Cult).