February 4, 2010

Battle for Britain (well, England)

See here for a response to the Ashworth private member's motion referred to earlier, being distributed to the General Synod of the Church of England, concerning the "hounding" of "faithful" "Anglicans" by the leadership of The Episcopal Church. (Pardon the scare-quotes... I think I may have used my quota; though I found a hidden store overlooked by rightists who insist on writing about gay "marriage.")

I've also suggested the production of a postcard note saying something like this, to help the English put this in perspective:

Dear Synod Member,

Please consider the following for a moment:

1) What would be done in the Church of England if a bishop from the convocation of Canterbury were to announce one day that he no longer considered himself to be under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and had transferred his allegiance to the Archbishop of Tanzania, but intended to remain in his present location and exercise episcopal functions as a representative of his new archbishop?

2) What would be done in the Church of England in the case of a priest who announced that he no longer recognized his diocesan bishop as having any authority over him, but refused to relinquish his cure? And if he invited bishops from other dioceses or provinces to do parish visitations there?

3) What would be done in the Church of England if the clergy and parish council of a parish in, shall we say, Dibley, announced that it was no longer part of the Church of England, but considered itself now to be a congregation of the Church of the Province of the Sudan, altered all of their signage and other public information to reflect this change, purporting now to be part of "The Anglican Church in England" and invited bishops from the Sudan to function in the parish, refusing to have anything more to do with their C. of E. diocese or its leadership?

These are the kinds of things The Episcopal Church is having to deal with, as facts on the ground. Any depositions, inhibitions, or lawsuits are a result of and in response to precisely these sorts of actions. Consider carefully how you vote on the motion to come before you. You may soon be dealing with just such situations yourself.
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

22 comments:

susan s. said...

I like it!

And I was glad to see Simon's excellent paper to the Synod, and to know that you had contributed to it.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Let's do it, Tobias! Lorna Ashworth is No. 1 on my list.

MadPriest said...

Hey, don't close the door completely, Tobias. Alternative "EPISCOPAL" oversight may be my best and only option in the near future :-)

Geoff said...

What would be done in the Church of England in the case of a priest who announced that he no longer recognized his diocesan bishop as having any authority over him, but refused to relinquish his cure?

What do you mean "if"? Precisely that scenario is commonplace among the high-church (but ecclesiologically protestant) Forward in Faith set as I understand it.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, all. Susan and Mimi, give Simon the credit for spearheading the response, though others of us fed into it. MP, you're on! Geoff, I thought they'd made use of the flying bishops' scheme -- though I confess I'm not completely familiar with how the English handle this sort of thing...

MadPriest said...

Tobias is right about Anglo-Catholic reactionaries. They are covered by the flying bishop scheme and Anglo-Catholic churches are never rich enough to go it alone as they tend to be in poor, blue-collar neighbourhoods. Anyway, Anglo-Catholics just tend to ignore the rules anyway so, by staying in the C. of E. they get the church's money and their own way.

If you want to go it alone as a congregation in England you have to have enough money to pay for everything (vicar's wages etc.). Then you can refuse to pay parish share and go your own way. The churches that do this (we have two very close to me) are all fundamentalist evangelical. We hate them because the fact that they don't pay their share means that our parishioners have to pay more than they would if they did pay their share. They are parasites.

But, going it alone does require the vicar living for ever and never reaching the age of seventy. Because as soon as their is an interregnum the bishop will slam a suspension on the living and make their lives hell.

WSJM said...

A good postcard note, Tobias! Do we have any email addresses for members of the Synod?

As Geoff suggests, defiance of one's diocesan bishop is actually nothing new in the Church of England. Immediately there comes to mind Eric Mascall's famous verse, "The Ultra-Catholic," from his little book "Pi in the High" from about fifty years ago. Some readers will remember it; for others, I won't quote it all here but if you Google "Mascall Ultra-Catholic" you'll find a number of links to copies of it.

I heard Mascall preach at St. Mary's Bourne Street about 30 years ago. My recollection is that I thought he was well past his prime. He wrote some good books, though. I'm sure he would be appalled at the current state of Anglicanism, including me.

We certainly wasted God's time with a lot of nonsense in those days, didn't we? And I guess we still do....

PseudoPiskie said...

Well, Tobias, you could have St James acquire MadPriest's parish for TEC. That would provide employment for MP and let the English understand first hand what we are dealing with. 8-)

Geoff said...

Resolution C parishes have a tendency to view the flying bishop as "their bishop." In a profile of FiF UK Secretary Fr Geoffrey Kirk's parish of St Stephen's, Lewisham, the Southwark diocesan newspaper notes that "Neither Fr Kirk, nor his assistant priest ... consider themselves to be in communion with the Diocesan team of Bishops."

WSJM said...

Off topic, but as I write this is still the top post on the blog:

Somewhere a little while back, Tobias, you were commenting that Church Publishing was not giving your book any prime-time commercials. Fie on them. Comes today's mail/email, and we have (1) a review of your book in The Living Church by Ephraim Radner (God to Bill: "Don't say it! Don't say it!"), and (2) what I thought was a good and perceptive review in The Anglican Theological Review by Charles Hefling (Theology at Boston College).

I'm glad you're getting some attention and I hope it sells more books!

David |Dah • veed| said...

Is there any subject that Radner does not feel qualified to write about?

MadPriest said...

Toad sexing.

WSJM said...

Dah*veed:

No.

It's also a very long review. Quelle surprise.

(God to Bill: "I thought I told you not to say it!")

susan s. said...

Thanks, MP! And thanks for the question Dah.veed. . . I've been wondering about that myself.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks for the additional notes. I was out of communication yesterday, and busy today with a funeral. Thanks, Bill, for the heads-up on the reviews; I'd heard they were coming but have not yet seen either. I did hear that the ATR review was very positive, and that matters to me a great deal, as I always hope to find approval with those whose opinions I respect!

Anonymous said...

I might add one to the P.C.: If you were the real ecclesiastical authority of the church and the now declared Sudanese priest assaulted a parishioner or abused a child would you be willing to accept legal responsibility for the torts of clergy over whom you have no control or would you take all the steps you could take to remove them from your rolls?

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thank you, Anonymous. Please leave your name or a pseudonym in the future.

The legal issues of responsibility are key here -- I have no objection to, and support, freedom of conscience; but the other side of that is taking responsibility. The dissidents in all of this appear to feel so self-righteous, or so convinced of the rightness of their cause, that they will not accept the rule of church or state to the contrary. "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world..."

Anonymous said...

My apologies. I am the author of the above suggested addition to the P.C. EmilyH

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

No problem, EmilyH. It's just nice to have a name to identify who is who in a long thread!
I've enjoyed reading your comments at T.A., and in the days of yore prior to my giving up on it, the "other place."

Leonardo Ricardo said...

That was really, really timely...I think the ABC has considered these ¨items¨ on your list...frankly, they´ve seemed to boggle his mind!

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, Leonardo. I do keep hoping to break through!

Jim said...

In re: toad sexing. I am sure that Radner covered that in comments on Noah and the definition of marriage.

FWIW
jimB