Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Nobody gives a ..."

A good reason why we are Continuing Anglicans.

In a recent exchange, a conservative Episcopalian who considers Women's "Ordination" to be unimportant, made the following comment to a reader of The Continuum:

"There is, likewise, a reason there are no sites with comparable readership [to Stand Firm] that focus primarily on the matter of women's ordination: NOBODY GIVES A S... "
Greg Griffith of Stand Firm in Faith

(expletive, as in profanity, deleted by me.1)

This statement is worth thinking about. How can anyone fail to consider that the Episcopal Church lost more than a third of its entire membership in the late 1970s and early 1980s due wholly to this one innovation of women's "ordination?" And, why is it that all of us in the Continuing Churches have been dismissed by this high profile individual with the word "Nobody?" If "nobody gives a ...", then I take it that all of us are nobody.

Why do conservative Episcopalians imagine that the issue of women's "ordination" has not been a cause of major concern? The answer is that people enclose themselves in circles where mutual affirmation of a position, be it fact, theory or delusion, takes the place of proof and lends undue confidence. Among conservative Episcopalians it has become a cornerstone and sure foundation of faith that women's "ordination" does not really matter very much, even if it its opponents might be correct. It is, in their estimation, a secondary issue. What matters, in fact all that matters, is that the Anglican Communion is being torn apart by the issue of "Gay" bishops and Same Sex Blessing.

Yet, even among these conservative Episcopalians who cannot understand the importance of correcting the Women's "Ordination" heresy, one wonders why it is the issue of Same Sex that creates an emergency. With marriage having been relegated into a place of insignificance by no less than the examples of several bishops leaving their wives to marry other women, with liberalism about abortion, with essential doctrines such as the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, the Trinity, the Resurrection of Christ, the authority of scripture as the inspired Word of God as received and taught by the Church, all thrown on the ash heap and treated as merely optional, why do they finally wake up over this one issue? The homosex issue of the Episcopal Church is not the first issue in the heresy line. It has come at the end. And, those who have awakened only now are not in a position to demand credibility as spiritual, wise or orthodox people. They are not orthodox, even if comparably orthodox against someone even worse. They have tolerated every heresy that has led to this homosex crisis, and have exposed their own children to the evils and infidelity of the Episcopal Church for decades. Now, one prominent person of their number has spoken truly, but only about his own tolerant fellow conservative EUCUSAns, "nobody gives a ..." Yes, and that has been their problem all along. We are not impressed.

I quote myself from Touchstone, A Journal of Mere Christianity:

" After all, what the homosexualists have been able to do is to base their arguments upon a foundation already laid for them. That foundation has included relaxation of the moral laws about sexual behavior. It has also included the confusion of sex roles ever since women were first “ordained” in the Episcopal Church. The conservatives have accepted these things, but hope now to credibly and effectively oppose the homosexualist cause. This cannot be done."

Besides, as our brother Ed Pacht has pointed out, this is not about orthodoxy, but about "the Yuk factor." They can live with denial of the major doctrines of the Faith, and with acceptance of immorality and notorious clergy. But, homosexuals are gross. On that they draw the line. Gee, how orthodox.

Also, how much of this is a revulsion to homosex, and how much is a revulsion to the solution it requires of many individuals, namely, celibacy? The worship of the creature over the Creator is where the path begins to that damned state of being "given over," as St. Paul warns in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. Same Sex attraction that is acted upon is only the last step there. It begins with worshiping the creature of sex instead of the Creator. But, what causes conservative Episcopalians to get upset is this above all: That anyone could be a celibate.

1. Is there any site that focuses primarily on women's "ordination?" I think not. Nonetheless, both The Christian Challenge and New Directions, each of them respectively, have more readers than Mr. Griffith's site.


Anonymous said...

I well recall the hot August afternoon when I made up my mind on the matter of WO. This was in 1963, when the Presbytery of Granville, in the Synod of North Carolina, in the no longer existent Presbyterian Church in the United States (a delightful relic of the Presbyterian Church CSA and Old School Presbyterian Church) was in Called Meeting, to consider a revision to the Book of Church Order permitting females to be ordained as Teaching and Ruling Elders as well as deacons. I was a very young and timid Teaching Elder (just weeks out of seminary) and this was a very liberal (by the standards of 1963) Presbytery.

One of the hoary senior clergymen of the Presbytery discussed at length the "husband of one wife" passages in the Pastoral Epistles, but allowed that these should be disregarded because "we all know Paul didnt write these Epistles anyway." (We weren't debating divorce and remarriage; that was still unthinkable.) That didn't jibe with what I had learned about the authority of canonical Scripture. The next speaker (a learned gentleman who went on to become President of a major northeastern theological school) explained to us that the Biblical evidence was neither here nor there, since we are now blessed with "the continuing leadership of the Holy Spirit." At that precise moment, the alarm bells went off inside my head and suddenly I knew there was far more than ordination eligibility under discussion. This was not a discussion of females, but of the very nature of Christianity itself. If Sacred Scripture can be set aside at our convenience over a critical discussion of who wrote I Timothy, then Scripture has been effectively subverted as any kind of authority. And if this alleged "continuing leadership of the Holy Spirit" can lead us in one direction, then it can lead us in another. Thank God for what I had learned about the German Confessing Church and the Barmen Declaration. SSB wasn't even on the horizon in those days (Barth and Brunner were "orthodox," Tillich and Bultman were liberal, but I date myself as a boring relic.) I am proud to recall that I was one of about five members of the Presbytery who voted in the negative. The others were gentlemen in their 70's. From that moment I was a marked man.

How I became an Episcopalian is another story, but when I was confirmed on St John's Day, Dec 22, 1964, I never dreamed that this debate would dog my heels for the rest of my life.

I have become convinced that the discussion is an exercise in futility until we first of all decide what ordination is anyhow, and likewise what the sacred ministry is in its essence. I could never win a debate with, say, the earnest Christians at SFIF because we have no common ground regarding the theological foundations of Ministry in the historic sense of that term. When I state that I oppose the attempts to ordain women and Matt Kennedy states that he has a limited acceptance of this practice, it is as if I had said "I do not like runcibles for breakfast," and he responds "jlmuq is my favorite musical instrument." Courtesy, charity, and learned discussion cannot disguise the fact that between us there is a great gulf fixed. The two sides of that gulf can be described under various terms, but Catholic and Protestant will do as well as any.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

To all Anonymice:

Please create a handle or sign your name. It makes the discussions go better.

poetreader said...

Fr. Hart,
I've been following the discussion in my email (apparently I;m on the list of those to whom the blanket responses have been addressed. Somewhere after 50 I lost count of how many arrived in my inbox. I did stick my oar in twice, but stayed mostly out of it. This article is an exceptionally worthy summation and conclusion of this turmoil, much better than I could have offered. Thank you.

This particular anonymous (yes, please use a nickname - it makes it easier on us all) has made some really good points here. It becomes more and more obvious that Catholic Anglicans and this latest wave of Conservatives really don't have a whole lot in common.


Anonymous said...

It's very sad that discussions about homosexuality in the Church are so often all about the "yuk factor", as you call it. I have a number of friends who are gay; I also have friends who are post-gay (here I'm using both terms as they use them). My concern is theological: how do sexual relationships reflect the truth of the nature of God and of the Incarnation. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't want my personal like or dislike of something to be a factor in my discernment. I don't want to condemn something as sinful because I find it to be gross or unusual.

C.S. Lewis writes so well about this in "Surprised by Joy". He said that people seem to condemn homosexuality not because they think it's actually worse than many other sins, but because of the scandal traditionally attached to it. He said something along the lines of "The world will only lead you to hell, but sodomy might create a scandal and lose you your job."

Not that I am questioning the sincere conscientious objection of conservative Evangelicals, of course. But I wonder whether they might and up doing the right thing for a profoundly wrong reason. The evidence for this is that questions such as those surrounding WO - which are so very serious for the faith and order of the Church - are not taken seriously because they do not have the same "yuk factor". Nor should they have such a "yuk factor". I do not oppose the ordination of women because I find anything offensive about women in religious leadership. Far from it. The question is (and is only) about the sacramental nature of the priesthood, and the sacramental nature of sexuality. Not about any personal likes or dislikes. To make theology a matter of personal preference, or even (to a certain extent) personal conscience (although it must be understood that this is still important - again, to a certain extent), is to kill theology.

The basic idea behind theology is that, fundamentally, it isn't about us. One day I'm sure I'll end up paying for that statement, or at least called to eat the scroll (perhaps when I am forced to give up my own cherished opinions on various things because I find that they are not in agreement with Christian orthodoxy), but I must say it, nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart, I agree with Ed: great piece. I wonder, however, could you point me in the direction of the evidence you have for the celibacy 'yuk' factor. Apart from the fact that single people pass their use-by date and no longer become relevant to bum-on-pew-counters (who only count 'young people' and 'famlies'), I wonder what the problem is.

Anonymous said...

What Ed calls "the Yuk factor" is what for several years I've been calling the "deviance toleration limit (DTL)." I like Ed's term better - it's more likely to make folks smile and think at the same time, both of which activities the Devil hates as dire threats to his kingdom of joyless madness.

The response from the SFIF maven is to me clear evidence that these "New traditionalists" (see my article posted by Fr Hart on November 28 for definition and contrast) at some level know (1) that they are not catholics but merely social/religious conservationists and (2) that they therefore are unequally yoked with the professed catholics who are part of their current coalition and whose own consciences haven't yet got the better of them in regard to the partnership. Thus, when they are challenged, they do not respond with argument, but react with anger and crude references to the anatomical features of rodentine posteriors.

I think it is arguable that one of the features of the NewTrads as compared to mainstream Continuers (at least those of us who are genuinely concerned with continuing) is that they are at bottom minimalists, for whom the question is, "How little do I have to affirm in order to be considered an orthodox Christian." For us, the question is, "how can I be in fuller conformity to the catholic faith?" Reflect on the contrast of orientation here, and you'll likely get some insight into the difference.

Another point: If such as we are "nobody," what are the catholic-minded members of the SFIF-type coalition(s) to understand about the ultimate status of their own position on this question amongst their allies? Are they, too, "nobody" - or, to borrow Lenin's famous phrase, merely "useful idiots"?

Fr Samuel Edwards, SSM
P-i-c, St Stephen the First Martyr, Franklin, NC
(For which work I crave your prayers as the Lord seems to be opening a door for ministry here.)

Anonymous said...

I just joined the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (TAC) about two months ago, after being a member of the Anglican Church of Canada for almost fifty years. The SSB issue was only the catalyst to the extent that it was clearly one more innovation down the slippery slope. The real catalyst for my defection was the TAC proposal to the Holy See, which I see now as the only honest way forward now if one calls oneself a Catholic.

On the issue of WO itself, I have to admit that I spent many years trying to work this out myself but now realize, having seen the same tired justifications being trotted out for SSB as were used for WO, (not to mention the wrecking of our liturgy, and the emasculation of the Canadian hymnal by a cabal who happen to be members of Integrity), that it really and truly was the first salvo in a war on the Catholicity of the Anglican Church.

As you point out, the homosexualist issue, has all of a sudden become a single issue flashpoint for all of these so-called "orthodox" and "conservative" Anglicans, and if it had never happened everything would be just ducky for them and they could get back to merging with the Lutherans. I have to agree with you that it must be the "yuck factor" after all.

Now, as a newly minted member of the TAC I'm amazed at how detached I am from this issue all of a sudden. It's not my issue because there's absolutely no way it's ever going to come up. I'm just tired of the old "virtue out of necessity" unholy alliance with Calvinists and liberals and glad to be out of it.

Anonymous said...

I am the author of the first "anonymous" comment. I have the bad habit of forgetting to sign my name.
Why must Continuum be so hard to navigate, anyhow? And to correct myself further, St John's Day, the anniversary of my Confirmation, falls on Dec. 27, not Dec. 22. Pray forgive.
Laurence K. Wells

Anonymous said...

Just asking...

How does one either describe another or themselves as a conservative when identifing oneself when 1) the phrase "conservative" , political phrase, would be unknown to the early Church (which "Anglicans" claim to emulate and 2) as a matter of economy the "conservatives" have actually never conserved a thing yet?


Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"There is, likewise, a reason there are no sites with comparable readership [to Stand Firm] that focus primarily on the matter of women's ordination: NOBODY GIVES A S... "

Greg Griffith of Stand Firm in Faith

To be charitable towards Greg even though he has not been charitable towards me (given his approval of Sarah Hey's wrongful banishment of me at SFIF), what he is saying about WO is on a Relative scale, not on an Absolute scale.

He has informed me that there are two different attributes: One, Importance of topic, and Two, Degree of Caring that people have about the topic. He says that the two attributes are sometimes independent of each other. I.e., sometimes something is very important, but for whatever reason, people don't care about it.

Even so, I think his assertion about how much people care about WO is easily refuted. Even by his own writings he contradicts himself. Just looking at some recent topic threads at SFIF will clearly and easily refute his careless assertion.

But the undeserved grace that I will now show him is this: He is really trying to say that people don't care about the issue of WO RELATIVE to their caring about the issue of Same-Sex blessing and Gay Ordination.

And in that charitable sense, Greg Griffith is right. As PoetReader points out with his technical term of the "Yuk" factor, people are more revulsed over the gay thing than they are over WO.

So Greg Griffith's clumsy and crude expression, "on the matter of women's ordination: NOBODY GIVES A S...", he just needed to extend it a bit more to finish with "relative to issue of same-sex blessing and GLBT ordination."

P.S. It's the Christmas season and I'll charitably give grace to Greg and the SFIF blog even though Sarah Hey wrongfully and sinfully banished me. If anybody would like to know why I'm asserting this so definitively, please e-mail me at "truthunites@hotmail.com" for the particulars.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart's original post was an excellent article, as we would expect of him, which has brought forth some exceptionally profound comments.

I suspect the "yuck" factor in celibacy, which he posits and which Ms. McColl questioned, is our society's current underlying assumptions that everyone should be engaged in sexual activity at every possible moment, that human beings reach what the real estate industry would call "their highest and best uses" when entangled with partners, and that the life that is not spent in bed is a life not worth living.

Any questioning of this new social orthodoxy is "yucky" indeed. Why, those who come to doubt it might have to stop going out to clubs and other meat markets every weekend, stop buying deordants for every conceivable use, stop watching 90% of all television commercials, and then Western Civilization as we know it, based as it is on personal gratification, aerosol sprays and razor blades, would grind to a halt.

As to the comments, first, Anonymous (so far there is but one commenting on this thread, but if more arrive, the very first one) has vividly and persuasively explained why the entire Revisionist enterprise is, at bottom, an epistemological one. That is, it seeks to answer, in a wholly innovative way, the classic questions, Where do we look for Truth? By what criteria do we judge something to be True? What does it mean to say that something is True?

Women's "ordination" was merely what the medics call "the presenting symptom" of this disease and what politicians might call "the first plank in the platform".

Second, Michael hit upon a profound point when he said that theology ultimately is not about us. Once that is said, there is little else that needs to be said. (But of course, I'm going to go on and say it anyway.)

Finally, Fr. Edwards, unsurprisingly, has neatly summarized the differences between the "limited orthodox" and the "unlimited orthodox" as that between those who seek to do just enough to be catholic and those who seek to do all that can be done to be Catholic.

All in all, a very satisfying read. My heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sandra McColl writes:
I wonder, however, could you point me in the direction of the evidence you have for the celibacy 'yuk' factor.

First of all, I have known the new wave of Evangelicals for decades. My own personal experience proves to me that they believe the same thing that most modern western unbelievers do: They believe that everybody needs to "get some." If they divorce (and they don't believe in annulments because it's "too Catholic"), they look around, date and soon remarry. They use, recommend and approve of artificial contraception, never even considering the Traditional teachings of the Fathers (the ECUSAns have made it a doctrine that Christians have "the responsibility to limit the size of their families." What an abomination). In every way, they imitate the world short of cohabitation- sometimes. Obviously, many of the ones I have known over the years don't believe that people can live without "getting any."

Now, another bit of evidence is their shameless turning away from what all Christians everywhere, including Presbyterians, Baptists, etc., believed up until the middle of the twentieth century, namely, that Mary was ever virgin. The Perpetual Virginity of the BVM was seen as the fulfillment of the Old Testament types and shadows of the sacred vessels, set apart because they were sanctified strictly for holy use the temple. Remember what happened when Belshazzar drank his wine from the temple vessels, and was suddenly "weighed in the balances and found wanting."

But, modern Evangelicals have ignored the obvious fact, from St. John's Gospel, that the Lord committed the care of his mother to the Apostle John because she, herself, had no children except Christ. They have twisted excerpts from other gospels to "prove" that she had other children, as if they never read Genesis 13:8, where Abraham calls his nephew "brother" (אח). They refuse to believe the facts about Hebrew society and the meaning of the word אח. They have decided that Mary was not ever virgin (for which Luther, Calvin, even Zwingli, and certainly the English Reformers, would have considered them heretics).

In their warped "interpretation" of the Bible, even Mary is not allowed to be a virgin as the Church has always, everywhere confessed.

I know from these facts and many observations that they detest celibacy.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Lawrence Wells wrote:
Pray forgive.

Nothing to forgive Father. I thought that was you, and it helps to be sure.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the reaction to homosexual behavior is greater than the reaction to women's "ordination" involves our current culture: We have been carefully taught that EMOTIONS and emotional reactions are paramount, thus leaving thought a distance behind.
A reaction to women's "ordination" requires thinking; whereas, reaction to homsexual behavior induces immediate nausea.

The Rev'd William E. Bauer (EMC)

poetreader said...

Fr. Wells,

"Why must Continuum be so hard to navigate, anyhow?"

You aren't the only one to grumble and moan at the way the software works. My name is on the masthead and I do also.

But hey, it's a free site. This is the operating system they provided, and I guess it's appropriate to accept it thankfully (even with a grumble or two).

On topic:

I've been a single adult most of my grown life (except for the 14 years of my marriage - and then we were a childless couple - another anomaly). I've always been more than a little annoyed at the espectation (current even among my peers in High School, back in the 50s) that it was highly unnatural and probably either impossible or downright unhealthy to go without sex. This, in my experience, has been the one thing that ordinary, 'respectable' family people, unmarried cohabiters, promiscouous 'straights' and 'gays' are entirely agreed upon. One begins to suspect that they believe that it was Eros that said, "no other gods before me."

Celibacy is, among other things, an affirmation that God, the true God, still merits the absolute commitment of His people. The world-spirit does not like that.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

How does one either describe another or themselves as a conservative when identifing oneself when 1) the phrase "conservative" , political phrase, would be unknown to the early Church (which "Anglicans" claim to emulate and 2) as a matter of economy the "conservatives" have actually never conserved a thing yet?

I used the term "conservative Episcopalians" in "The Gay Divorcee" published in Touchstone in April 2004 (the one that I linked to this article). Fr. Samuel Edwards had, in an earlier article, diagnosed the problem of Liberal Episcopalians as being "conservatives" who conserve the current status quo,whatever that is at the time (maybe he can help me get it exactly right). Is this what they call themselves? Not generally.

But, I am not going to call them "orthodox," "the faithful remnant," or "Traditional."

Alice C. Linsley said...

TEC has influenced its members, (even those who oppose her radical agenda) to think "unisex" rather than in the binary supplementarity that characterizes the biblical worldview. These same people hold to the "headship principle" without real understanding of what the Bible teaches regarding gender roles.

Fr_Rob said...

I think we need to be careful in making generalizations about "conservative," "orthodox," or other types of Episcopalians fleeing TEC these days. I have had several of them join or attend our new ACC church in Virginia Beach, and they've told me that the Gene Robinson affair was not by any means their only or prime concern, but more the "final straw," or "issue that broke the camel's back" as far as their staying in TEC was concerned. We need to remember that WO and Prayer Book revision occurred over 30 years ago. Thus, for TEC people under the age of, say, 45 or 50, they have never known a Church without women priests or not using the '79 BCP. Moreover, the average Episcopal layperson of our current generation can hardly be expected to fully understand and appreciate why women cannot be priests or even why this is an issue at all.

We need to be willing to reach out to and teach the new crop of departees from TEC. Obviously, if they have already made up their minds on WO and related issues a la some of the leading lights on SF, they're not going to come into the Continuing Church. But I suspect there are many who have no such fixed views and simply don't know any better.

I can recall, as a somewhat fallen away Episcopalian teenager, being told breathlessly by a high school friend in 1976 when ECUSA voted to ordain women to the priesthood. I thought to myself, "Why do I care?" I knew that changing the Prayer Book was wrong but had no real frame of reference with which to view WO. It was only several years later, when I joined the ACC, that I learned about the WO issue and why it was/is important. I suspect many of those today are in a similar mindset.

The aggressively open embracing of homosexual behavior by the Church, highlighted so plainly to the average man or woman in the pew by the Gene Robinson consecration, is, however, a pretty clear departure from Biblical and Christian moral standards. That, I think, better explains why some of the current crop of folks are departing TEC rather than simply the yuk factor.

And let's not forget our Lord's parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. All, even those who came in at the eleventh hour, still got paid their day's wage.

Anonymous said...

Hullo, Tracy H. Although this isn't my combox, or my blog and I certainly claim no proprietorship over the TAC, permit me (if Albion will permit me) to offer you a warm welcome.

Anonymous said...

I thank Fr Rob for his caution and reminder, which rings true to me - especially the bit about the laborers in the vineyard. God is not proud; ergo, neither should we be.

As we Continuers have a sizable contingent who have no living memory of the ECUSAn Egypt ("that's the church my parents left when I was a child / before I was born"), so likewise many current ECUSAn refugees never knew anything but the 1979 Book of Very Common Liturgical Options and priestesses.

Fr Rob quite correctly points out the need to carefully teach the new crop of refugees: Done rightly (which Fr Rob is clearly able to do - I've had a look at his way-cool web site) such instruction will only increase their gratitude for their late-in-the-day deliverance from the ECUSAn madhouse.

Based on my experience in both ECUSA and the Continuum, I would expand on Fr Rob's recommendation and say that we need to reach out and teach ALL departees from ECUSA, whatever their vintage. The bane of many a Continuing parish are people who have hauled their bodies out of the fire, but have not surrendered a good bit of the psychosocial attitudes associated with ECUSA. We do them no service by allowing them to think that they have found a place where they can be Episcopalians like Episcopalians used to be. Instead, we must call them further up and further in.

Speaking anecdotally, this is why, when I took over as p-i-c of St Stephen's mission station in Franklin, one of the first things I did was to have its tag-line changed from "Church the way church used to be" to "Church the way church ought to be."

A catholic's orientation is toward eternity; a mere conservative's is toward the past and the seductive mirage of the golden age, which (to use a metaphor that just now popped into my head) is but the reflection of the light of heaven from the mist that lies over the past.

Fr Samuel Edwards

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Rob is right. I wish to clarify that my comments were aimed at those who are old enough to have acquiesced with culpability. Some of the people Fr. Rob refers to are the grown children of lukewarm parents. Blame lies on parents who protest the evils of ECUSA, but raise their children in it.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Edwards,

You have written a very good analysis. However, I have a very hard time considering your "NewTrads" as any kind of Traditionalists whatsoever. In that your NewTrads are invariably evangelicals who attach little or no significance to Church Tradition, it does not make much sense to me to consider them as any sort of Traditionalists. Indeed, in terms of politics, the same people tend to consider themselves "conservatives" (by today's novel definition, whatever that may be), and as one reader recently quipped, "Today's conservatives are yesterday's liberals" (often even Trotskyites for that matter). There tends to be a relationship between one's theology and politics which reflects a consistent world view and, no matter how you slice it, I have to see those you label as "NewTrads" as some form of "conservative" by today's strange definition (i.e. someone who is somewhere, anywhere, to the right of a so-called "liberal" on a relative scale, with no necessary consistency to their views over time, and no necessary adherence to any pre-established tradition).

But what to call these different groups? The RCC seems to distinguish the Conservative from the Traditionalist according to his reaction to Vatican II: the Conservative accepts Vatican II's compromise with modernity (and break with *tradition*) while the Traditionalist does not. I believe the Sedevacantists are considered Radical Traditionalists because they have even entered into schism in order to uphold Tradition. Can we apply something similar to Anglicanism? I believe so.

Continuers would be RadTrads since they are Catholic Traditionalists who have broken communion.

The CCP crowd would be RadCons since they are evangelical conservatives who have broken communion.

But I suppose you wish to distinguish between Conservatives who have no problem with the modern liturgies and those who wish to adopt the more traditional 1662 BCP (like Toon, for example). The best I can do there, as bad as it may seem, is to call the latter Traditionalist Conservatives or TradCons. It looks weak but, really, it is the latter of the two words which makes the point. Today's Conservatives are a whole different ball of wax from Traditionalists, and Toon, even with his old liturgy, does not qualify as any sort of Traditionalist on any day.

If you can flesh out your argument more, I would appreciate it. As far as I can tell, no one has yet conceived of a truly useful taxonomy for all these disparate Anglican groups. So this is indeed an important effort.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I am going to take the liberty of posting Fr. Edwards' article in the June 2002 Touchstone, A Journal of Mere Christianity, because 1) I referred to it, and 2) unless he corrects my assumption, it answers a great deal of what "Agrarian" has asked.

John A. Hollister said...

In his exploration of taxonomy, Agrarian made the comment that "The CCP [Common Cause Partnership] crowd ... are evangelical conservatives who have broken communion."

I'm not qualified to assess either what Gospel they are spreading (i.e., their evangelicalism) or what it may be that they seek to conserve. I am quite certain, however, that they have not broken communion, at least not with PECUSA/ECUSA/T?C.

Somewhat like the old triple play routine, "Tinker to Evers to Chance", P./E./T. is in communion with, just to name three, the Provinces of the Southern Cone, Nigeria, and Central Africa; S.C., N., and C.A. are in communion with Rowan Williams (and a host of others); R.W. (like that aforementioned host) is in communion with P./E./T.

So at the end of the day, C.C.P. IS in communion with P./E./T. and all the chopping and changing in the world can't disguise that fact.

Personally, that renders even more opague whatever it may be that C.C.P. is trying to conserve. But then, what do I know? Maybe there's some magical formula that's only taught at P./E./T.'s seminaries and that makes it all crystal clear to the cognoscenti.

On the other hand, that explanation flunks the test of Occam's Razor because it multiplies predicates unnecessarily. So maybe the simpler (hence more probable) explanation is that it only becomes clear to those who are smoking rope.

John A. Hollister+

Nancy D. said...

When one denies the inherent, ordered, complementary nature of The Truth of Love from The Beginning, and the fact that all persons, regardless of race or ancestry, have been created equal as persons, while being complementary as male and female, created in God's Image as male and female, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters..., to live in a communion of Love while being called to The Perfect Communion Of Love, everything becomes permissible.

Without The Truth of Love, there can be no cohesiveness of belief. Without a cohesiveness of belief, there can be no cohesiveness of Faith. Without a cohesiveness of Faith, His Church cannot be One.

The Truth of Love is not a matter of opinion, which is why Christ Has revealed Himself to His Church in the trinitarian relationship of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and The Teaching of The Magisterium.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, Nancy, there has been a lack of Christian charity on the part of Greg Griffith, Matt Kennedy and Sarah Hey because they are determined to stay on what Bishop Haverland calls "the slow lane to modernist mush."


True love isn't sentimental. It is willing to consider the evidence in humility, recognizing that all are prone to error and need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Even the members of the Magisterium. :)

N.D. said...

To be clear, a magisterium that exchanges The Truth of Love with a lie from The Beginning, would not be an authentic Magisterium to begin with.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

After three and a half years since I posted this, I am amazed anyone found it.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Fr. Hart,

I read the Continuum though I don't often post a comment. This thoughtful article is likely to gain importance as time passes. You might consider republishing it, perhaps with some additional notes to illustrate how relevant it is.

I had a chuckle about the Stand Firm crew as I was banned there once, or so I thought. Apparently, I was mistaken, but given the quickness with which people who mention WO are banned from that site, my suspicion was not without grounds. My name is forever mud with that group as the comments here reveal:


Congratulations on your brother's winning of the Michael Ramsey Prize. Your family rocks!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I believe that Stand Firm is working as hard as possible to ban every reader they have ever had.