Admiral of Morality: A Swinish Episcopacy

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Swinish Episcopacy

Network Bishops roll in the Mud, Again
When will the Church remove from authority those determined to destroy it?


The latest statements and activities from the bishops of Springfield and San Joaquin show, again, the need for the Episcopal Church to put its house in order. It is high time the Church came to terms with the fact that it cannot maintain its integrity and offer effective mission in the world, while permitting some of its own bishops and clergy to operate to destroy her. This is illogical, destructive, and dangerous.

The activities and words of the bishops of Springfield and San Joaquin have long since passed from loyal dissent into outright hostility and hatred for the wider Episcopal Church. They work regularly to divide the Church from itself, and from the wider Communion. In their statements about the leadership of the Church and anyone else they disagree with, their words show none of the cardinal, much less heavenly, virtues. What they do reflect is the very worst of a partisan inspired politicking that has no place in our Church.

In a recent interview with The Chicago Tribune, Peter Beckwith, the bishop of Springfield, uses the word "prostitute" when discussing Presiding Bishop Katharine, even as he would have us believe it is not her, but her theology, that he calls the prostitute. He also arrogates to himself the authority and insight to determine which dioceses of the Church Springfield is in communion with, and which not. In the name of spreading the Good News, he refuses to confirm anyone and cancels the lay licenses, of anyone whom he suspects of some wrongdoing. In this case, of course, the wrongdoing is disagreeing with Beckwith.

John Schofield, bishop of San Joaquin, only recently cleared of abandoning the communion of the Church, is preparing to do just this. In a recent letter to his diocese, he reserves to himself the right and authority to remove property from the Church as he sees fit. He calls on his upcoming diocesan convention to alter its constitution to sever all ties to the Episcopal Church. To get there, he relies on lies and accusations.

Both of these men are nearing mandatory retirement age, a fact which may give the wider Church some hope that their destructive activities and words will be limited in their impact.

But limiting the destruction should not and must not be the goal. These men preach division, hatred, and a warped view of Christianity that in the name of abstractions or adherence to what they consider the faith, does spiritual violence to living people whose only goal is to follow and worship Christ.

The Episcopal Church has not once offered a rationale for why it is acceptable for bishops and other clergy to preach such hatred, lies and condemnation and to do such spiritual violence to the Church, much less to the souls who comrpise her. It has not once delivered a rationale stating why preachers of division must be given free reign to attack and undermine the Church from inside itself. It has not once made the case for why bishops, especially, must be the ones to undermine and attack the Church.

The Church must not continue to suborn this type of hatred and bile by turning a blind eye to it. It is a spiritual violence that has spread too far and that must be confronted and stopped. The Church must take clear action to remove such men from their positions. They are supposed to be symbols for, and real examples of, Christian unity. But what too many of them have become are real examples of a corrupt and swinish episcopacy.

11 Comments:

Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

Agreed, it's already time for our new Presiding Bishop to go "shark" hunting/hooking...nothing like cleaning up the Episcopal Church environment with some thoroughly planned "bottom fishing." Netting murderous and greedy spiritual predators who are dangerous to everyones health (including their own) is a good thing. Shame they can't be "caught" and "cleaned" and then packed into a Nigerian "can" for a few years to think *things* over with a 6'7" 250 lb. Stingray cellmate!

11/15/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got it. Yup. It's the crazy fundies out to ruin the church.

Does anyone else find it very funny that KJS has been mistaken for a Unitarian? She really was...the interviewer actually thought that.

11/16/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cheezit59 said...

The Episcopal Church has not once offered a rationale for why it is acceptable for bishops and other clergy to preach such hatred, lies and condemnation and to do such spiritual violence to the Church

Obviously "unity" and "the Church" are more important than "truth" and "faith". Where were you when Spong denied the virgin birth, the physical resurrection of Jesus, and relegated the Scriptures to the level of an historical novel? Are these basic tenets of our faith merely abstractions or just not as important as "unity"? The shoe is on the other foot, and the Progressive TECites don't like it. NOW you want talk about discipline - 'cause bishops are saying what YOU disagree with!!??!! Isn't that a bit of the pot calling the kettle black?

11/16/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger john4woman said...

"In John 14:6, Jesus -- in responding to a question posed by the disciple Thomas -- said: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." But Jefferts-Schori says she disagrees with the idea that salvation comes only through trusting in Jesus Christ. "It's this sense that one person can have the fullness of truth in him or herself, rather than understanding that truth is -- like God -- more than any one person can encompass," stated the soon-to-be ECUSA leader."

It's stuff like the above that convince a layperson like me that the Episcopal Church has gone off on its own. The New Presiding Bishop does seem more like a Unitarian than one who proclaims the Good News of Salvation through Christ.

11/16/2006 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope they follow through on your suggestion. Parishioners will just make their decisions sooner and leave, like I have, the ECUSA otherwise known as the "Unitarians in Drag".

11/17/2006 05:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It has not once delivered a rationale stating why preachers of division must be given free reign to attack and undermine the Church from inside itself. It has not once made the case for why bishops, especially, must be the ones to undermine and attack the Church."

Try the ordination vows from all versions of the Book of Common Prayer preceding the 1979 version:

Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word; and to use both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole, within your Cures, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given?
Answer. I will, the Lord being my helper.

Or how about the Articles of Religion, which were adopted by the PECUSA in 1801?

XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

Blessings, wportbello

11/17/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger R said...

Nice research, wportbello! Who exactly is "so expound(ing) one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another" I wonder? Also, who needs "to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word?" It all gets down to interpretation - and the majority has laid out its interpretation in the latest GC's (which conveniently for me, closely matches my own interpretation of God's word and prescense in the world). Still though, I try not to banish the *people* with strange doctrines, even though they are in the minority in TEC.

-Ryan

11/17/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last one out, please don't forget to put out the Sanctuary Light...

11/17/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dumb Ox said...

Leonardo,
I still do not understand why you use such unpleasant words ... it is not the Christian way and will Jesus not want that kind of words from your mouth. You shouldn't talk about people as murderers.

11/17/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous J.C. Fisher said...

Geez, AoM, did you tagged at T19 or somesuch? The "We come to BOTH insult TEC and bury her" crowd!

As far as the swinish bishops go: in general, I'm of the "forgive 70 x 7" school. But at SOME point, one has to say "there is no Episcopal bishop in _____ anymore: we'd better send a missionary bishop there!"

Thank God *I'm* not one who has to decide when that point has arrived... :-/

11/19/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger The AoM said...

Greetings, J.C. Fisher.

Of course we must forgive 70x7.This is our Lord's command as well as His own promise.

But this is not an issue of forgiveness.

We forgive the thief, the abuser, the murderer, and the liar.

But we do not encourage him in his wrongs or permit him to harm.

Stewards especially, have a particular responsibility to promote well being, health, stability and integrity.

11/20/2006 02:15:00 PM  

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