Monday, March 20, 2006

A Note from the Late Fr Tarsitano

This was forwarded by Fr Robert Hart

A Note to Some Friends

While I deeply sympathize with the disappointment felt by so many over the Robinson debacle, I'd also like to point out one of the main features of the Anglican Way that often goes unobserved or unrecognized.

At the heart of the Anglican Way is the freedom to say "no" to error, just as long as one is prepared to bear the costs of that freedom. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not a pope, and the primates are neither cardinals nor a legislature. While the support of our brethren in other countries is precious, the fact remains that one can continue to be an Anglican without permission for as long as he has the guts for it. One can't be a Roman catholic without the pope's permission, nor a canonical Orthodox church without the recognition of the other churches of that household. But it is an Anglican witness that makes an Anglican church, with or without anybody else's recognition. After all, the first American bishop was not consecrated by the Church of England, but by Scottish bishops not recognized at that time by the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc.

These observations may represent a new point of view for some of us, but those of us who could not, for example, live with the innovation of the ordination of women faced this problem a long time ago. We continued on as Anglicans, even when expelled from the ECUSA, and there are hundreds of parishes that have come into existence in the process. We had our property taken away from us, mostly for not accepting the ordination of women, sometimes by some of the very same people who are protesting Gene Robinson's blasphemous "consecration."

We said "no," we paid the price, and we are free. We still pay some, too, in the dislocations and sometimes petty controversies involved in starting over. Anyone who has ever moved his family from one house to another has experienced something like the same sorts of tensions in his own household. And we aren't done rebuilding. It's hard to rebuild in a generation what took centuries to build in an era without major doctrinal controversies. But, if the Lord tarries, the beauty of holiness will be raised up again in splendor, and without the burden of impaired, semi-, hemi-, whatever "communion."

This is not an "I told you so," or at least I don't mean it to be. It's just my witness that when my Episcopal parish was sued out of existence I thought at the time it was the worst thing that could ever happen. Almost twenty years of experience since those days has taught me that the only calamities are to lose the faith and to lose the will to say "no" when that is our duty. Call me crazy, but my kids have grown up in the traditional doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Anglican way, and while it is arguable that they've had an odd-ball or two among their bishops, they haven't had a bishop since our expulsion from the Episcopal Church who was a heretic, a feminist or homosexualist ideologue, a supporter of elective abortion, a Gaia worshipper, etc. Despite whatever regrets I may have about this or that, I think this has been a gift and an inheritance to them greater than rubies, and that's a lot to accomplish in one lifetime, especially in the circumstances of this time. The kids aren't bigots, but neither are they over-burdened with doubts about what is right and acceptable before the Lord.

Just say "no" and be free.

The Reverend Dr Louis R Tarsitano died on Jan 15, 2005

No comments: