July 11, 2010

The real revisionists

Over in Church of England-land the General Synod is on its Sunday break, after narrowly defeating the Archbishops' "Have Your Cake and Eat it Too" Amendment that would have allowed for a kind of shadow episcopate -- in dioceses with a woman diocesan -- to cater to the insulation/isolation needs of those parishes who do not recognize the rightness, or in some cases the possibility or reality, of a female bishop. Canon Chris Sugden* of Anglican Backwater Mainstream noted in response:

The problem the Archbishops were trying to address was trying to address was the problem of monoepiscopacy, the belief that only one bishop can have jurisdiction in one geographical area.[sic]
Two comments:
  1. Is there an echo in here?
  2. Since when is monoepiscopacy a "problem" -- as it seems to me that since Nicea it was seen as the solution to the problem of partisanship. Oh... now I understand. What is it with these revisionists!!??
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
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* As far as I know no relation to the late Mollie Sugden, and obviously not easily mollified.

24 comments:

Jim said...

It is consistent though. The revisionists have been seeking a jurisdiction in which they can win. When they lost in diocese, it had to be General Convention here or maybe Lambeth. One can find them suggesting the Queen give them control of everyone else. So, why not redefine the episcopal office? After all they have redefined Lambeth, the Windsor report redefined history so they are at least what one expects.

FWIW
jimB

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, Jim. From the looks of it, it also seems they've redefined arithmetic! And they are working overtime behind the scenes to gain by manipulation what they cannot gain by honest debate and decision...

Paul (A.) said...

Spanish-speaking Anglicans will realize that a monoepiscopacy should be the jurisdiction most pertinent to a primate.

JCF said...

Preach it, Tobias!

[I said of Anglican {cough} Mainstream, "Raise curtain: enter the Drama Queens!" . . . but apparently that was a bit much for Thinking Anglicans. ;-/]

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, Paul and JCF.

Grandmère Mimi said...

"So then, monoepiscopacy is a problem to be solved." - GM

I said it, too! Even before I read the Wisdom of Tobias. :-)

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, Mimi. Great minds run in the same grooves....

Davis said...

No relation to Mollie, perhaps, but Canon Sugden is always unanimous in everything.

david virtue's bountiful bosom said...

Are you referring to The Rev. Canon Dr. Mr. Dr. Canon Rev. Chris Sugden here?

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Davis, personal unanimity beats schizophrenia. Or does it? Perhaps it's a symptom?

DVBB, so that's where the echo comes from! The conservative blogspace does seem to be rather an echo-chamber (e.g., Anglican Minefield's "no comments allowed" mode of conversation). And what's with the hubristic titles? ("Mainstream" "Institute" etc.)

C. Wingate said...

Well, the blogsphere as a whole is an echo chamber. There aren't a lot of people who are willing to put up with the punishment one gets put through in crossing factional lines. And I have to say I'm not any more impressed by "thinking" Anglicans than by "mainstream" Anglicans.

Be that as it may, it occurs to me to ask what skin it was off anyone's back to allow the troglodytes-or-whatever-you-want-to-call-them some room.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Dear C.W., I disagree with your presentation of the situation re the blogosphere. I find there are many instances of dialogue on sites like "Thinking Anglicans" and indeed on my own blog. I have only "rejected" literally a handful of comments over the nearly 700 posts on this blog -- usually for foul language or "mere contradiction" -- and I welcome reasonable dialogue.

Secondly, a comment is not the place to elaborate on the difficulties with the demands of the traditionalists in the Church of England, beyond noting that they want more than mere accommodation, and desire an entirely separate episcopate. You may not see that as a difficulty, but it appears that the majority do not regard it to be a workable solution, and as to skin-off-backs it appears plainly to undermine any concept of the episcopate as center of unity.

The present scheme, if approved -- as I understand it -- will still allow them to remain female-free, even if their bishop happens to be female, through delegation. The the fact that a woman might be doing the delegating lies at the heart of their dismay. They are hardly troglodytes -- though I believe them to be in profound theological error, and engaged in a rear-guard action against both common sense and the Holy Spirit. As well as their own practical well-being.

IT said...

The the fact that a woman might be doing the delegating lies at the heart of their dismay.

Indeed, they do have accommodation. Their concern is of course the fear that a woman anywhere (even if far from them) has this kind of authority.

It's the same kind of thing that leads to people far from New Hampshire being dismayed that the people of New Hampshire chose a bishop who is gay.

It reminds me of Mencken, actually, who defined puritanism as "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy"

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, IT. Great to be reminded of a great Baltimorean.

WSJM said...

As many of us remember, when we first ordained women to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church there were many who did not agree, including leaders such as PB +John Allin and +James Montgomery of Chicago. The Church said, well, let's not push anybody, let's see how this all plays out and whether we can hear the Holy Spirit. Over the next generation it seemed to most of us that the Spirit had indeed been speaking. A small remnant were unwilling to hear (it seems to me), and in the US they have now turned aside to go to their own place. Meanwhile in England the ministry of women in the priesthood is very well established (and in the episcopate as well in a number of other Anglican churches). It's over. It's a done deal. The Anglo-Baptists and the Anglo-Papists are encouraged to stay, and we'll even try politely to ignore their whining, but no more blackmail.

(Incidentally, what's this about the Vatican claiming that the attempted ordination of women is among the "delicta graviora," along with the sexual abuse of children? Do these people have no shame at all?)

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Bill, I well remember those days, and both men (I was on John Allin's staff when dinosaurs roamed). +Jim Montgomery, the coelacanth of the Episcopal Church, is still going relatively strong, by the way! God bless him.

I think it is time for the C of E to move on. This movement is not without cost. I do sympathize with the priests and their families who will feel required to resign and go to Rome, where they will, if ordainable there and subsequently ordained, likely find their situations much diminished.

They are, in their own minds, required to stand by the principles they feel so strongly, at whatever cost to themselves or their families. (I suppose I feel a bit more for families than for them.)

But my sympathy only goes so far -- because I believe them to be so profoundly mistaken, and can only hope that they see the light and come to a better mind. In this, I find myself feeling more than a little bit like St. Paul in the 11th chapter of Romans!

As to the recent Papist classification of attempting the ordination of women as a "delicta graviora" -- this is the language normally applied to serious liturgical abuses; and the attempted ordination of a woman is, in Roman Catholic eyes, not unlike one of the current criminal abuses, "the attempted celebration of the liturgical action of the Eucharistic sacrifice or the simulation of the same." For instance, if a Roman deacon were to attempt to say a mass, he would incur "latae sententiae" the sentence of an interdict. BTW, it is also a crime of this same magnitude for a Roman priest to concelebrate with an Anglican!

So this current classification is really in keeping with that notion of liturgical good order. It is outrageous that Rome puts such things in the same category as child abuse -- but I'm not sure there's anything new in that, and it may explain why they took so long to act on the sex abuse scandal!

Grandmère Mimi said...

BTW, it is also a crime of this same magnitude for a Roman priest to concelebrate with an Anglican!

Certain priests fly under the radar. In the 1970s, I attended a good many masses concelebrated by an Episcopal priest and a RC priest when I was still a member of the Roman church. The RC priest retired recently uninterdicted, as he continued to serve as a pastor until his retirement. He is still a priest in good standing. The dean knew but looked the other way.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Mimi, I am shocked! Shocked! Concelebration at Rick's...

Paul (A.) said...

My own nuptial mass was officiated by both an Episcopal priest from my parish and an RC curate from my wife's church, where the ceremony was held. They managed to avoid calling it a "concelebration" but nevertheless not a word of it was breathed to the Monsignor.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Paul, there is truth to the old saying about it being easier to obtain forgiveness than permission ;-)

C. Wingate said...

My wife and I personally supplied the elements and the vessels for a Catholic mass celebrated (more or less) according to the 1979 BCP at which we were communed. I don't know whether the bishop knew about it but I doubt anyone was disciplined.

The sense I have gotten from various A-C commentators is that they do not trust any proposed code of practice to be sufficient or for that matter even honored. And I realize that I run to a cynical course, but I suspect that it may not be long before a woman is elevated who is then used for the kind of offensive demonstrations seen in the Diocese of Washington in Haines's reign.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

CW, I don't know enough about the present RC rules to know if that even constituted a similar "delict" -- again it sounds like an instance of what the bishop doesn't know can't hurt you ;-)

I think you are correct on this score -- there is fear a code will not provide a hermetic seal. There is still, though, the issue of any real role at all on the part of a woman bishop "delegating" -- and thereby exercising episkopé -- which forms part of the opposition.

The Haines incident comes up like Spong -- surely anomalous, though real instances of something one would hope to avoid. All of the women bishops I know are gracious and would not think of "forcing" the issue; but I can see why that is not enough for those who want an ironclad separation. Looks as if they are not going to get it, though stranger things have happened.

Erika Baker said...

"They managed to avoid calling it a "concelebration" but nevertheless not a word of it was breathed to the Monsignor"

Is this official RC doctrine?
My sister had a joint Lutheran/Catholic wedding 20 years ago, and her baby was then baptised by my Lutheran priest uncle while the RC priest stood by the font with the parents and the godparents.

That seemed fairly standard practice, I don't remember it raising any eyebrows.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Erika, for a number of years a special dispensation has been available for weddings, as a special case.

You can read the official rules by googling on "delicta graviora" -- it is fascinating to see some of the things that rise to that level of offense.