Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pluriform Truths, Two Integrities and Double Think

"There are, as have been described, two integrities: those who believe that women should not be ordained at all and those who do believe that women can serve in ordained ministry– although within the latter group there are differing understandings as to whether this includes priesthood and extends to congregational oversight and serving as bishops...We will keep our promise to honor both integrities within CANA and fulfill our commitment to the full participation of women, in the life and leadership of the church."
Bishop Martyn Minns, Dec. 9, 2007

"As Anglicans we interpret and live the gospel in multiple contexts, and the circumstances of our lives can lead us to widely divergent understandings and points of view. My first reading shows the [Windsor] Report as having in mind the containment of differences in the service of reconciliation. However, unless we go beyond containment and move to some deeper place of acknowledging and making room for the differences that will doubtless continue to be present in our Communion, we will do disservice to our mission."
Former TEC Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Oct. 18, 2004

Well, I suppose we are supposed to be delighted that Judge Bellows found in favor of the CANA churches in Virginia. I am partially delighted, because Katherine Jefferts-Schori has lost, for the time being. But, when I consider that Bishop Martyn Minns has been using the term "two integrities," I find it difficult to see a hopeful amount of difference between him and Jefferts-Schori's predecessor, Frank Griswold. He coined the term "pluriform truths" to smooth over the problem of hopelessly irreconcilable convictions by a method he considered quite clever, but that we may call psychosis, or split personality. George Orwell called it "Doublethink," an idea he owed to Saint James. "
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)

Try, just try, to convince the CANA people that if sex in one sacrament makes no difference, that is, if a woman can be a priest (bishop or deacon), then it matters not a whit in another sacrament, and Adam may marry Steve instead of Eve. In the new TEC heresy about Baptism, the sacrament is not a cause to reckon ourselves indeed dead unto sin, but rather to eat, drink and be merry; for tomorrow we die. To apply this reasoning to Holy Orders, but not to Matrimony, to think that there is no connection between women's "ordination" and blessing of same sex unions, is to miss a fact as basic as two plus two equals four. If the authority of the Church to teach the meaning of scripture is overturned about sexual identity and Holy Orders, no force on earth can prevent the gravity of logic that carries it all the way.

So, I would like to rejoice in the legal decision; but, I see plainly enough that it is only a matter of time before the supposed "good guys"of CANA are back to the very problem, Homosexualism, that has led them to seek refuge from TEC. Of course, by that time, TEC will be blessing inter-species Unions, and so the Reasserters, that is, the Neo-Orths, will be relatively orthodox. That is, by comparison (which is another way of saying, in a pig's eye).

In a 2003 meeting now infamous due to my widely read article, The Gay Divorce', I recall a speaker from that AAC organization in TEC (or, as we called it in those days, ECUSA) making this brilliant observation about what would save the Episcopal Church: "We need to take our church back to where we were before the vote to consecrate Gene Robinson." I stood up, and addressed those poor ECUSAns thus: "So, you think it would be a great victory to go from being the 'church' that has already done the deed to being the 'church' that is about to do the deed."

Of course, we all know, don't we? that the whole problem started with those nasty queers; there were no symptoms of any problems by which anybody could see it coming.

Yeah, the Reasserters impress the hell out of me.


William Tighe said...

A slight correction, if I may. Mr. Mynns did not "coin" the phrase (or concept) "two integrities:" its provenance seems to be the Forward-in-Faith/UK organizations, and they have been employing it for at least ten years, and probably closer to 15, if I am right that it emerged in 1993-94 at the time that WO began in the Church of England, and at the same time the Provincial Episcopal Visitors scheme (PEVs, or, more colloquially, "flying bishops") was created to keep opponents of WO from leaving the CofE.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Thank you, Bill. I will have made a correction by the time anyone sees the article again. Nonetheless, the term is very unfortunate, and ought to be tossed into the waste basket for its banality, no matter where it came from.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem may well be that these "reasserters" really either don't accept catholic sacramental theology -- or they understand but reject it.

And the "conservatives" who are opposed to WO, who presumably are being "appeased" by this "solution", obviously don't understand it either -- for if they really did have a theological and sacramental understanding of the issue (rather than being, say, just personally opposed to it out of misogyny or aesthetics), then they'd recognize that by staying within a jurisdiction which ordains women they are de facto approving and accepting it, even if it doesn't happen to be exhibited in their own parish.

But it may well be that there are no genuine anglocatholics left in either PEcUSA or the "reasserters" (i.e. "moderate revisionist") crowd... so that it may well be that most everyone over there really thinks that this "two integrities" solution really is a solution -- rather than what it actually is, i.e. the selling out of orthodox and catholic sacramentality and ecclesilogy under a pretty, fuzzy, misleading rubric & policy.

But whether or not they recognize it for what it is, the fact remains -- as you point out -- that it in no way gets them off the slippery slope down toward apostasy, it simply slides them up it a few paces from where PEcUSA is.


Anonymous said...

I believe LP is quite correct in that assessment. He does not touch, however, on the eagerness of the new crop of breakaway bodies (which I call neo-Anglicans) to co-opt or absorb any old-line Continung Anglicans that may be out there. The cant phrase is "Common Cause."

Also of interest (and this supports LP's point) is the fascination of the neo-Anglicans with the 1662 BCP. What explains this? Possible answers: (1) they have trouble admitting their mistake in embracing a generation ago the abomination of 1979; (2)they reject the Catholicism of 1928 BCP's Eucharistic rite; (3) the 1662 Book is a fairly rare volume, not easily obtainable, allowing the pretense that it is adopted only as a doctrinal norm but not for actual usage.

The problem with Reasserters is that they really have no theological foundation of their own. A little JIPacker, a little Rick Warren, all glued together with praise choruses and tamborines. If VGR had never been elected, their movement would never have gotten off the ground. The stand firmly for little or nothing.
Laurence K. Wells

Elijah said...

Bishop Martyn Minn's statement shows a certain amount of political genius. It could possibly be comforting to a member of CANA who was not really paying attention to what he is saying. It has great words like "integrities," "honor," and "promise." Furthermore if anyone analysing the statement finds ways to criticize it, as several here have done, they can be rebuffed without actually clarifying the statement. Of course, like all great modern politicians, he avoids outlining any course of action or any principle on which a course of action can be founded. One perfectly valid interpretation of the statement is that no women will be ordained in CANA, but those that feel that they should be ordained will be "honored." An equally valid interpretation is that women will be ordained, and those who disagree with the practice will be "honored." The sad thing is that Bishop Martyn Minns, who apparently had the intestinal fortitude to put his foot down with Jefferts-Schori et al, is now pandering to CANA's "integrities." It is a very bad omen if this is the kind of rhetoric that follows on the heals of the CANA "revolution."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Of course, the people now praising the 1662 BCP seem to think it was produced by Calvinists, if not Puritans. But, at the time it was produced the Caroline divines had prevailed. That is, the grandfathers of Anglo-Catholicism.