Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Is the accent on the Gaffe or on the Con?

by Fr. John Hollister:

The “Jerusalem Declaration” issued as part of the “Final Statement” from last week’s GAFCON conference sounds just wonderful. Warm, fuzzy words abound and the whole thing sounds just like what real Anglicans might have said back in the 1950s, had there been any need to say them.

The problem is just that: Words. A word means something only if both the writer and the reader understand it the same way; otherwise, it is not a means of communication but an obstruction to communication. That is why elementary Philosophy classes used to be taught: “First define your terms”.

“Doonsbury”, the newspaper cartoon, currently has a theme about Berzerkistan, a “former Soviet republic” where the psychopathic dictator renames everything in sight with the most beautiful word he knows – his own name. In such a fantasy realm, no one can ever be sure what someone else refers to because the key word has so many potential meanings. For other examples, just read the “news” releases from the current government of Mugabeland (oops, I meant “Zimbabwe”).

The “Jerusalem Declaration” lives through the looking glass in that kind of country of slippery meanings. Its Paragraph 1 says: “We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans....” But it makes no attempt to define what “faithful” means. Does it mean “faithful to what Anglicans until the 1940s or ‘50s understood their faith to be”? Does it mean “faithful to the ‘Anglicanism Lite’ that rejects the authority of Holy Tradition and Scripture but thinks male-male and female-female sex is ‘yucky’”?

So as far as the GAFCON Declaration gives any guidance, anyone can call himself a “faithful Anglican”, provided he either bought a ticket to Jerusalem or knows someone who did. Even worse than what GAFCON did not say is what it said incompletely. Just look at the problems raised by some specific provisions of the “Jerusalem Declaration”:

“2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church's historic and consensual reading.”

But St. Paul’s Epistles, which up until now have been accepted as inspired Holy Scripture of the New Testament, state that a Christian minister must be “the husband of one wife”. And, the plain, canonical sense of the word “husband” means “a man married to one woman”. There are only two possible outcomes when this standard is applied to GAFCON’s present membership: either Provinces such as Uganda, Australia, and others must be made to conform their ordination theologies and practices to the New Testament or, just as Katherine Jefferts-Schori does, the New Testament must be made to conform to what GAFCON’s members do. The Declaration, however, gives no clue as to which option GAFCON is going to select.

“3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

The Eastern Orthodox say there are seven, not four, Ecumenical Councils. The Roman Catholics recognize those same seven, they just add twenty or so of their own local councils and label those, too, as “ecumenical”. So both major branches of the Universal Church are agreed that there are no fewer than seven Ecumenical Councils. Where GAFCON has decided to part company with three-fourths of all living Christians, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect it to explain why it did so?

“7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.”

But that “classic Anglican Ordinal” states that the “historic succession” is made up of men. So that brings us back to the “heuristic” problem – the problem of interpretive principles, or rather, of the lack of such principles – already discussed under Paragraph 2.

And how is the “classic Anglican Ordinal” upheld by another prominent GAFCON leader, Abp. Peter Jensen of Sydney, Australia, who teaches that ordination itself is unnecessary because laypeople may celebrate valid Eucharists?

“11. ... We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.”

Well, since the Jerusalem Declaration gives us no guidance as to what “orthodox faith and practice” mean, this paragraph is just a feel-good statement. Since, as to Alice’s Red Queen, the words may mean whatever the writer wants them to mean, and since to some of GAFCON’s most prominent figures they may include both beliefs and practices that, until recently, all Anglicans universally rejected, what principled basis are we left with for saying that Katherine Jefferts-Schori’s beliefs and practices are not equally “orthodox”?

The problem is that just as frustrated traditional Roman Catholics talk about “supermarket Catholicism”, where the worshipper as shopper takes only what he wants and leaves on the shelf anything that doesn’t appeal to his personal taste, so GAFCON brought together in Jerusalem many who actually expound “supermarket Anglicanism”. That is what renders meaningless a statement such as:

“12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters.”

Since GAFCON does not tell us which issues are “primary” and which are “secondary”, and since some of the best-publicized GAFCON leaders think that an issue such as the nature of the sacramental ministry can be “secondary”, we are left to conclude that absolutely anything on which we disagree is “secondary”. But if everything is “secondary”, then nothing is “primary”; in other words, we actually have no fundamental beliefs, just esthetic preferences of the moment.

“13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.”

Since GAFCON either does not know what “orthodox” means or, if it does know, it is unwilling to say what it is, it is going to be very difficult to find anyone who can be shown to “have denied the orthodox faith”. If that faith has no fixed or certain content, then there is no way anyone can show persuasively that Katherine Jefferts-Schori, who says that she is “orthodox”, is not telling the truth.

Supporters of GAFCON claim it is a great step forward and say its critics are being unfair. What these people overlook is that the crisis in Anglicanism, indeed, the crisis in modern Christianity in general, is not about specific distasteful teachings and practices or even about one deviate bishop in one New England state. It is about what lies behind those distasteful teachings and practices and what made it possible for a pervert to be elected a prelate.

“Epistemology” is a branch of theology and philosophy that examines the concept of Truth. It asks questions such as, “What does it mean to say that something is ‘true’? How do we test propositions that are offered as ‘true’? To what sources do we resort to discover potential ‘truths’?” Until recently, Catholic Christians, including Anglicans, have always looked to revelation as the primary source of Truth, have believed the plain meaning of Scripture is the principal record of that revelation, and have interpreted the Scriptural texts by first looking to the consistent understanding of the Universal Church that, under God’s inspiration, wrote that Scripture in the first place.

Within the lifetimes of many of us, however, that objective epistemology (truth method) has been replaced, first within PECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada and now throughout most of the Lambeth Communion, with a new, subjective epistemology. This new method looks not to what the authors and millennia of worshippers have understood the texts to say but to how those texts conform to the worshippers’ personal lifestyle choices. Where once Christians were called to remake their lives into what God said they should be, now God is being called to remake His Word into what His worshippers say it should be.

GAFCON supporters tell us that women’s “ordination” is not a salvation issue, and offer only this as proof: GAFCON’s members cannot agree about it. But actually it is a “salvation issue”, as is the toleration of openly homosexual clergy. This is because those innovations, and others like them, can only be accepted by those who have first accepted the new epistemology, the one which says that which was false in our grandparents’ time is now true for us.

Those who accept either or both of these new things have no understanding of how Christians have always sought for, tested, and recognized Truth. But if a church group cannot lead its members to Truth, what possible use is it? What use are the discussions it has in public conventions or meetings?

And these tests for Truth govern all areas of the Church’s life. Once a church group has declared that Christianity’s distinctive interpretive methods do not apply to one issue, such as who is ontologically (“as a matter of ‘being’") capable of receiving ordination, that same group has given up all principled ways of judging other issues, such as morality. Then the rejection of previously unacceptable lifestyles ceases to be a moral judgment and is reduced to a merely esthetic one: they are distasteful.

But the “yuck factor” is not a reliable guide through life and to Heaven. Furthermore, a church group like GAFCON that has women's “ordination”, or that is in communion with those who have it, has a highly defective understanding of the very nature of the Church. So how can GAFCON’s leaders show Christ’s sheep the way back from the wastelands into safe pastures if they themselves do not know what sort of institution it is that they are supposed to be leading?

Their toleration of women’s “ordination” means they have a defective concept of the ministry and no understanding whatever of the nature of the Sacraments, or of the fact that it was Our Lord Himself who ordained the Sacraments for our welfare and salvation. Thus they are oblivious to the fact that when a church group tolerates women’s “ordination”, it will henceforth live with only the Sacraments of Baptism and, perhaps, Matrimony. Prideful and disobedient, it thereby rejects the other five Sacraments Our Lord has ordained as His means of bringing Grace to us.

The struggle over the meaning of Truth is the great battle of our time; individual issues, such as women’s “ordination” and buggering bishops are merely particular manifestations of the new interpretive techniques. Yet both the GAFCON “Final Statement” and the “Jerusalem Declaration” are completely silent about it. In vague, uncertain, inconclusive terms they dance around the symptoms, all the while utterly ignoring the real cause of the disease. They offer cool compresses for our heated brows while they pretend there are no germs that caused our raging infection. So long as they refuse to bring in the surgeons and the antibiotics, and prescribe placebos, they let the patient die.


Anonymous said...

The main churches behind the Jerusalem Declaration are hardly dying. They are doing just a bit better than Continuing Anglican bodies by the way.

Perhaps they don't narrow things down to your tastes because they don't want to exclude any genuinely orthodox Anglicans.

John A. Hollister said...

Wannabe Anglican said that "The main churches behind the Jerusalem Declaration ... don't narrow things down to your tastes because they don't want to exclude any genuinely orthodox Anglicans."

If they can't define what "orthodox" means, they have no way of knowing whether they've excluded truly orthodox believers or, on the other hand, have over-included heterodox imposters.

That goes back to my basic point: those who do not define their terms are not seeking honestly to communicate, they are simply upping the noise to signal ratio to the point where no communication is possible. Their fine-sounding words, when examined closely, exalt form and banishing substance.

And by the way, Wannabe, when you have learned that raw numbers are not enough and that we must also examine the quality of those numbers' understanding of the faith, you will have moved a long way from aspiring to be an Anglican to actually being one.

If numbers were all we were after, we could all be out there building "mega churches" that entertain their "worshippers" while making no behavioral or intellectual demands on them.

John A. Hollister+

"gagoufs": what an eerily apposite word to verify this posting.

John Dixon said...

Bravo Canon.

If numbers alone convey truth then perhaps 'wannabe mormon' or 'wannabe assemblies of god' would be a better aspiration since those churches have more membership than any US based anglicanism and are growing at a rapid rate. By wannabe's standard we should all accept the Mormon teaching that each of us will rule his own planet as a god.

In fact did not most of the jews choose to stay in bondage in Egypt rather than journey into the wilderness? And was not the truth conveyed to this minority. Is not this principle repeated down through the historic witness until it is finally given to just 12?

Just how do we know these bodies are doing better? Many have only just been formed. The CC despite it's shortcomings has turned 31. Only 9 more years and our time in the wilderness will be complete.

Anonymous said...

The main churches behind the Jerusalem Declaration are hardly dying. They are doing just a bit better than Continuing Anglican bodies by the way.

I trust, wannabe, that you are on your way to Roman Catholicism. After all, it is larger and more "successful" than all of Anglicanism put together. And it certainly - despite occasional troubles here and there - is doing "just a bit better" than the Anglican Communion by the way.

What? You're not? Oh... so you must have some other criteria than "size" or "social success" or whatever by which you're making your choices. Otherwise you'd be a Roman Catholic.

Unless you can articulate what those criteria are -- and why they have you in whatever body you are now (PEcUSA? AMiA? REC?) rather than Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy, or the anglocatholic Continuum -- how can you expect us to take seriously complaints that are based solely on objections which (apparently) you don't actually take seriously yourself?


poetreader said...

I don't want to exclude any genuinely orthodox Anglican either, and my standards of acceptance may be a bit broader than those of my good friend Canon Hollister, (By the way, Fr. John, that is an excellent article, thanks!) a bit broader, perhaps, but not so broad as to accept the dismantling of the historic apostolic ministry as "orthodox". That, I suppose, produces a perfectly respectable Proestant denomination, but it is an abandonment of the central Tradition of Catholic Christianity. Either one regards that as something to be treasured or not. Authentic Anglicanism treasures it. If you truly wannabe Anglican, that's a good place to start.


Anonymous said...

Anglican history over the last 30 years or so (perhaps longer) is littered with examples of "important" meetings, which drew big crowds, enjoyed lots of thrilling speeches and "fellowship," adopted high-sounding resolutions and pronouncements, were followed up with lots of commentary on their earth-shaking importance, after which life went on unchanged. For all the contempt and disdain which Wannabe dishes out to us lowly and insignificant Continuers, probably the 1977 Congress of St Louis was blessed with more lasting significance and
tangible results than any of these.

But for the advent of VGR and his elevation to the Episcopate in a sect which had been apostate long before his election, Gafcon would never have taken place. I have remarked elsewhere that this was a world-wide festival in his honor. Without him, it was a meaningless exercise of politics making strange bed-fellows. When VGR disappears from the scene (as he surely will), I wonder how long the Gafconners
will find anything in common. Perhaps they can then direct their eloquence toward the Neanderthals who oppose WO and appeciate the beauty of Elizabethan liturgy; there are already forces in the blogosphere eager to demonize Continuing Churches.

Wannabe, my request for a clarification about that apartmnt remark still stands.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Wannabe might be asking very honest questions, even if his understanding is a bit clouded, and his facts a bit off. Please, let's be charitable.

Albion Land said...

Very well said, Canon Hollister.

tdunbar said...

"The Roman Catholics recognize those same seven, they just add twenty or so of their own local councils and label those, too, as “ecumenical”."

For the record "twenty or so" is actually 14, ie the Catholic Church recognizes 21 ecumenical councils in total.

There's a very nice edition, with Greek & Latin original documents along with English translations: The Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils. They are, I think, essential volumes for those committed to the hermeneutic of continuity.

Anonymous said...

I did not see the request for a clarification on "the apartment remark."

Obviously, I'm not saying that churches that meet in homes are somehow deficient. And I am well aware that the early church met mainly in homes.

What I was referring to are those who are so reluctant to unite with genuinely orthodox Anglican churches that aren't just so that they'd rather be a very small enclave.

As for the other remarks on this thread, I am well aware that numbers are not the ultimate measure. I am a member of a small parish in the small REC after all. But we are not content with staying that way. We are actively seeking to be more catholic by joining with larger orthodox Anglican bodies. And I'm strongly convinced other orthodox Anglicans should do likewise. Our structures should look more like our belief in the "one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."

Anonymous said...

While not all Continuing bodies are interested in a relationship with the Communion, GAFCON is the first on-the-ground effort within the Communion to reintegrate those which do. About two-thirds of Continuers were represented at GAFCON.
from: HERE.

I would love to know where they came up with that figure!

I can only assume that they mean to include groups like the REC, the EMS, and the DHC in their count.

Plus, presumably, because it is connected with FIFNA the TAC... despite the fact that the TAC bishops, having signed the Roman Catholic catechism, will have even less in common with the angloprotestant Declaration of Jerusalem than Affirmation of St. Louis Continuers. (Unlike the clergy of the [non-Continuing] EMC and REC, I dont' think any TAC clergy were at the GAFCON meeting, were they?)

I guess that any Anglican group that left PEcUSA before about 2000 gets called "Continuers".

Still, I think this statement shows why the GAFCON supporters are so eager to claim that they "welcome" and "include" Continuers (despite the incompatibilities between the norms of the Affirmation and the Declaration many have discussed)... because they want to present themselves as speaking for "all traditional Anglicans" to establish their own credibility and "orthodoxy". Never mind those piddling "secondary" issues like the ordination of women, the new confessional status of the 39 Articles, the rejection of the authority of three of the seven Ecumenical Councils, and a protestant sacramental theology.

This is also, I suppose, why the GAFCON-is-perfect sites, like SFiF, rigorously ban anyone who objects - from the more conservative and traditional side - to that party line.

I happened to catch this morning -- I think it must have been in a window of only about 30 minutes -- a post which was quickly banned on SFiF. I was sufficiently amused by it -- thanks for the support by the way (though it's pointless, because they'll delete such posts to prevent anyone from reading and considering them) -- that I took a page image and so can quote it.

Greg Griffith was praising himself and SFiF for allowing "Fr. Jake" to keep posting, despite the fact that his posts are only to "spew venom" (GG's own description) and to insult other posters (e.g. calling GG an "asshat"). The now-banned anonymous poster replied:

--- [quoting GG]
It was Terry who made a habit of dropping by, spewing some venom, getting piled on by the commenters here, then swearing never to return… only to drop by again a couple of months or so later, spew some more venom and… well, most of us know the routine. To this day his account remains open, and he is free to post comments here. Long-time readers will recall it was Jake who called me an “asshat” about some remark or another I made.
How proud you must be… and how ironic.

You praise yourself that “his account remains open” even when you know and openly declare that his purpose here is to “spew some more venom” and insult you and others. Why, what wonderful open dialogue you permit.

And yet far more serious and polite people—who wish to discuss in charity, not spew venon, and who never descend to insults like “asshat”—regularly get banned if they articulate a more traditional Anglicanism than this site advocates… people like Dr. Tighe, Fr. Wells, Fr. Hart (host of the AnglicanContinuum blog)—and now, I see, LP.

So much for your “open, honest debate anywhere”. Maybe you should be honest and change that to “open, honest debate but only with people who are more liberal than our moderators”. Now that would be open and honest about it!

After checking the headlines I went bacl to see what responses this observation had gotten from other readers. The post had already vanished, with the following justification:
[yes indeed, we are always proud to ban those who—obsessed with their particular topic of choice—refuse to follow the rules of this blog and move deliberately and consistently off-topic; comment deleted, commenter banned]

Looks like those who are "obsessed" with their "topic of choice" -- i.e. traditional and catholic Anglicanism -- and who attempt to discuss the issue when it is pertinent and of interest to other posters qualify as "consistently off-topic"... whereas those who consistenly post only to spew venom and insult, like Fr. Jake, remain welcome and "on topic". I wonder if this is, just possibly, because folks like "Fr. Jake" (unlike our own Fr. Hart) allow the SFiFers to be thankful that they are "not as other men are".

Ah well... probably a good thing they banned this poster before he (or she?) could comment on the story noted above... couldn't have anyone allowed to post who might, as I noted, contest this rather wild claim that nearly 70% of the "Continuing Churches" support GAFCON, now could we?

This strikes me as yet another sign that the GAFCON movement is in danger of shooting itself in the foot.

By trying to speak for "all" or even "most" of traditional Anglicanism -- when it's quite clear that they do no such thing -- they are increasingly going to have to embrace that very theological incoherence and ambiguity which has allowed the disintegration of the Anglican Communion in the first place.

It would be far better for their long-term survival to clearly articulate a coherent Protestant Anglicanism without trying to pretend they are doing otherwise, to admit that there is a "catholic" tradition in Anglicanism (one which, in fact, pre-dates the "protestant" one) which they are intentionally excluding, and to get on with their project of being liturgical Protestants who reject many of Tradition's clear norms for belief, practice, sacramentality, and clerical orders.

Instead of doing all that while still, rhetorically, trying to claim that others are welcome ("all are welcome!")... provided that they don't object to that party line. I.e. "anglocatholics are welcome in GAFCON provided that they give up their anglocatholic beliefs and practices... though we'll let you do a high-church liturgy from time to time if you really must."

Several years ago -- around 2003 I think -- I posted somewhere that I expected the 2000s to see a large angloprotestant breakaway group which would, initially, have lots of energy and (because lots of $, relatively speaking -- e.g. compared to the Continuum) growth... but which would, before the end of the century, slide into toleration of more and more heresies (be they moral teaching or whatever) and become just another generic Protestant group... or, more likely, groups.

By contrast, I said, I expected anglocatholicism to continue, initially, to struggle, both poor in money and small in numbers, but to slowly and steadily grow -- with increasing jurisdictional re-union around that traditional anglocatholicism described by the Affirmation -- until by the end of that same century it would be well-established institutionally, theologically, and jurisdictionally... and maintaining (unlike the angloprotestants) a coherent and uncompromised commitment to Scripture and Tradition.

I have no idea, of course, if the situation in 2100 will match that prediction... but, at least in the 5 years since I made it, it appears to be staying on target! Move over Hari Seldon! :-)


Albion Land said...

Can someone explain what this means? It was in the FIFNA statement.

"While not all Continuing bodies are interested in a relationship with the Communion, GAFCON is the first on-the-ground effort within the Communion to reintegrate those which do. About two-thirds of Continuers were represented at GAFCON."

Anonymous said...

I too went bugged-eyed when I saw that "75% of the Continuing Churches" garbage. The writer(s) of this article would probably defend it on the basis of Bp Paul Hewett's representation of something called Fellowship of Anglican Churches of America, one of those amorphous and useless groupings which holds meetings from time to time. Goodness only knows who really belongs to it.

The statement reflects a double problem of the Continuum: (1) exactly which bodies really belong to it? There are question marks around REC and APA (neither of which subscribe to the Affirmation of St Louis or belong to the succession deriving from the Chambers consecrations). (2) No CC body, whether we use a looser or narrower definition, even after 30 years, has been able to compile anything like reliable statistics of membership. ACA/TAC frequently tosses about an enormous world-wide figure ranging from 400K to 700K, but nobody believes it.

But there must be a lot of us. If there were not, why would the neo-Anglicans show such anxiety in having us in the head-count? Every time they hold another important meeting or have pamphlets for sale, they try hard to make nice with us. The rest of the time, we are just a bunch of negligible reactionaries, going the way of the dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

"After checking the headlines I went bacl to see what responses this observation had gotten from other readers. The post had already vanished"

LP, another comment was subsequently deleted for daring to make a similar observation. Sarah Hey & co. sure know how to alienate people...

John A. Hollister said...

Another lick or two of the quirt on the same poor old horse:

Wannabe Anglican ("W.A.") referred to "those who are so reluctant to unite with genuinely orthodox Anglican churches that aren't just so that they'd rather be a very small enclave."

The problem with this is that one must first know what criteria W.A. uses for identifying "genuinely orthodox Anglican churches" ("GOACs"), followed by, from the other side, what criteria each church, that W.A. charges with wilfully remaining a small enclave, itself uses for identifying GOACs.

For example, several small groups near and dear to my heart have a hard time accepting as "genuinely orthodox" any church group that ordains women. Those same small groups, and some others, similarly have doubts about the orthodoxy of any group that does not overtly commit itself to traditional methods of Biblical interpretation and that does not reject subjective personalist methods of such interpretation.

So if such a group believes that the traditional ministry and traditional hermeneutics are essential to genuine orthodoxy, is it wilfully remaining isolated when it does not reach out to other groups that claim to be genuinely orthodox but whose self-definitions permit them to alter the traditional ministry and adopt the new hermeneutic?

Once again, W.A., please define your terms.

John A. Hollister+

John Dixon said...

fr. robert hart said...

Wannabe might be asking very honest questions, even if his understanding is a bit clouded, and his facts a bit off. Please, let's be charitable.

I sowwy Fadder.

Hey wannabe what say we stop pickin' on each other and let's go moon some Episcopal Churches?

Anonymous said...

Thanks anonymous! Can't say I'm surprised it was deleted.

LP, another comment was subsequently deleted for daring to make a similar observation. Sarah Hey & co. sure know how to alienate people...

It's not just that -- it's that they have to actively hide the prejudice and dishonesty they've used in banning more and more of the traditionalists and anglocatholics from that site.

And, because they delete all evidence when they do so, there's no way to check the facts on SFiF. I've posted here copies of posts that were deleted and the reasons given for them which document in black and white that dishonesty -- and others have or can do the same with their own examples -- but how many people from SFiF are going to bother to check up to see if Ms. Hey and her cronies are the treasures of objective editorial disinterest and moderation they wish everyone to think they are?

For that matter, how many even know when someone has been banned unless they happen to run across the tiny little note ("commentator banned") in a single post, often tucked away toward the end of a long discussion.

*THAT* is why they don't want attention drawn to their behavior. Sure, I'm sure that sometimes when they ban someone it is justified -- heck, it has *got* to be a really offensive liberal who gets banned, when people like Fr. Jake are still welcome to post!

But everyone is supposed to take their word that their banning of all the traditionalists and anglo- or other catholics (like Dr. Tighe) are equally justified... assuming they can't just cover up the fact that such bannings happened at all.

This is sort of off topic for this thread -- I'm only posting this here as it's the only way to respond to you -- so I won't say more... but if you check out THIS thread on this site, as well as the one of which it is a continuation, you'll find in them copies (large parts of one, the entirety of another) of the posts which were so horrible and off-topic that I was banned for them... if you like, read them and judge for yourself whether or not the SFiF moderators really have a commitment to "open, honest debate" or not... and whether or not their quiet, below-the-radar bannings (and the justifications they give for them) measure up to any coherent definition of "honesty".

'nuff said on that! Thanks again for the support and appreciation (both here and on SFiF)!


Anonymous said...

Hey wannabe what say we stop pickin' on each other and let's go moon some Episcopal Churches?

Oh no! Please, dear friends, DON'T DO IT!!!

If you're not lucky, the folks over there in those 'piskie churches will ENJOY it!


poetreader said...


(that's "Rolling on the floor, laughing" for the alphagobbledegookly challenged)


John Dixon said...

Ok, now I really understand the "yuck" factor!

I hate to be cheeky but one has to admit if a full force CC 'mooning' took place around the nation it would be a much clearer statement than that of GAFCON.

Albion Land said...

In a preceding comment, Fr Wells said the Anglican Province of America (APA) does not subscribe to the Affirmation of St Louis. I was curious to confirm that, because I had always understood differently and have always included the APA among the ranks of continuing churches.

A look at the APA's Constitution provides the following statement, as part of the preamble:

"AND WE are determined by the help of God to hold and maintain the Doctrine, Sacraments, and Discipline of Christ as the Lord hath commanded in His Holy Word, and as the traditional Anglican movement hath received and set forth the same in the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung, or said in Churches, and the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, and in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of 1801; and IN THE SPIRIT OF THE AFFIRMATION OF ST. LOUIS OF 1977; and to transmit the same unimpaired to our posterity. (My emphasis)

Whether "in the spirit of" is as strong as "subscribe to" is not for me to determine, but it would be interesting if someone from the APA could clarify this for us (Fr Jones, are you there?)

Anonymous said...

I hate to be cheeky but one has to admit if a full force CC 'mooning' took place around the nation it would be a much clearer statement than that of GAFCON.

May I suggest that -- as you prepare the procession down to the local Episcopal parish for your cheeky mooning -- you select from one of these Scriptural passages to be a reading for the "Order of Mooning"? Or, perhaps, "Mooning Prayer"?

Job 25:4-6 -- How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Song 6:10 -- Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

or (my favorite) :

Jer 8:2 -- And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.

I would also suggest that this particular service begin as Compline does, with the following phrase:

The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect
. Amen.

Somehow, all this reminds me of the Feastday of St. Eromaticus.


Fr. Robert Hart said...


I do not wish to sound like Sarah Hay, but this is all rather off topic. Nonetheless, why no mention of turn the other cheek? you got me doing it.

Let's get back to the topic.

The Most Reverend Chandler Holder Jones, SSC said...

The Affirmation of Saint Louis is referred to in the Solemn Declaration of the Anglican Province of America as an authoritative document: 'we are determined to maintain the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of Christ... in the spirit of the Affirmation of Saint Louis of 1977.' Granted, that is very ambiguous language, but nevertheless it is there, and means that on some level we are committed to the doctrinal heritage represented by the Saint Louis Congress which gave birth to the Continuing Church movement. The APA has never taken a separate formal vote in Provincial Synod to accept the Affirmation as a binding document, but the Solemn Declaration of our Church, which is itself binding and inalterable, affirms the Affirmation a part of our doctrinal magisterium. Our Province is wed to the Catholic orthodoxy of the Prayer Book and still officially recognises the Affirmation of Saint Louis as a fundamental aspect of our history.

God bless you!

William Tighe said...

"The APA has never taken a separate formal vote in Provincial Synod to accept the Affirmation as a binding document"

Then why not do so asap to remove all doubts, and likewise insist that the REC do so as well. If so, then problem solved.