BRAINIAC

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 | Uncategorized

I said once before that if one of the marks of a genius was the ability to drive otherwise-sane people absolutely bat crap, then Pope Benedict XVI is Albert Einstein.  Come to find out that some Episcopalians are STILL bent about the Ordinariate.  Last weekend, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly did a story about a Maryland Episcopal parish that recently swam the Tiber:

In Bladensburg, Maryland, the Catholic service unfolds smoothly, a comfortable routine for priests and parishioners alike.

But one year ago, members of St. Luke’s parish were devout, devoted Episcopalians. This is the first Episcopal church in the country to convert to Catholicism under Vatican rules designed to attract disaffected Episcopalians.

Father Mark Lewis and his congregation preferred Roman Catholic order to the Episcopal tendency to make crap up as they go along.

We left the Episcopal Church not because we were running away from the issues of the Episcopal Church. We left the Episcopal Church because we were running to the Catholic Church. We came to the point where we realized the theology of the Episcopal Church is what was lacking. The theology of Rome, the authority of Rome, the unity in the Holy See and in the bishops: that was appealing to us.

As did Father Scott Hurd.

There is a real hunger amongst some Episcopalians and Anglicans for authority. It was the question of where can true Christian authority be found that was a key element in this community’s journey.

There wasn’t one particular reason, said congregant Stephen Smith.  There were a whole lot of reasons, each building on the last.

There’s not any one real incident you can point to, but it’s like the strands of a rope giving one by one, and each one weakens the rope as a whole.

Anne Marie Whittaker agrees.

All of a sudden it was do-your-own-thing mass, and there was a lot going on, for instance, a clown mass. I would come in and someone put a red nose on me! I saw children circling altars. One by one, parishes started to succumb to some of these practices in order to attract people, and it made it difficult for me to worship in that atmosphere.

Maryland Episcopal Bishop Eugene Sutton tried hard to be diplomatic.

I like to say that we are really one spiritual family. We believe about 90 percent of things in common. Where we disagree is on matters of authority and some other spiritual matters. But the important thing is that we are not fighting; we are not in competition with one another.

On the other hand, the Rev. Ian Markham, president and dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary, didn’t even try to hide his anger at the papists.

There’s quite a lot of traffic currently going both ways between the two traditions, especially at the level of congregants. What’s interesting here is you’ve got entire congregations and clergy making the shift. So, yeah, I think the Roman Catholic Church is a threat, because we’ve lost the sense of our theological understanding and identity.

How so?

There was a perception that this was poaching by the Roman Catholic Church of Anglicans around the world. It was discourteous, it was stealing sheep, it was unecumenical.

Stealing sheep?  Unecumenical?  In what way?

It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.

I’ve been covering the Current Unpleasantness since it began nine years ago.  And while some of you might feel the need to get into a theological argument with that line, I have arrived at a point where words like those just make me smile.

I wonder if Markham realizes how pathetic he sounds; I can’t conceive of an Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christian uttering those words or ever feeling the need to.  Because those words could not possibly occur to any person who is confident about his or her Christian tradition as Markham seems to imply here.

I think this could be quite a healthy movement for the Episcopal Church, because what it does is it keeps the Episcopal Church focused on providing a theological rationale for the things that we do. Too often we couch our changes in terms of policy or positioning on questions like sexuality, in terms of secular discourse. We as a tradition need to be as self-confident as Roman Catholics are. We need to be equally robust in saying, look, we actually think we have discerned what God requires of us as a community in the world. And we need to put our vision up against the Catholic vision.

Essentially, Markham is demanding that the Vatican recognize that the Anglican tradition, of which the Episcopal Organization is a part, is a Real Apostolic ChurchTM so that Rome must, to paraphrase Eric Cartman, ”RESPECT MAH ECCLESIATICAL AUTHORITAY!!“  And that’s just not how it works.

I think Rome has finally figured out that the Episcopalians are universalists who wear miters and carry croziers.  Any “ecumenical” talks between the Roman Catholic Church and the Episcopal Organization are merely attempts by Rome to get Church Center to convert to Christianity.  Father Hurd confirms that the Ordinariate is nothing more than Rome showing hurting Anglican traditionalists where the front door is.

I think it’s very important that this initiative is identified as a response and not an offer. You know, we’re not trying to steal sheep or to poach. We’re trying to pastorally respond to those who wanted to come in this direction for some time.

And leave it to a lay person to jack one out of the park.  If the Episcopalians had been doing what they were supposed to be doing, says Anne Marie Whittaker, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Let me tell you something about sheep stealing. You cannot steal sheep if the shepherd is doing his job, and that’s the bottom line. If the shepherd is doing his job, the flock will stay.

Amen.

34 Comments to BRAINIAC

SouthCoast
August 7, 2012

“It was discourteous, it was stealing sheep, it was unecumenical.” I BEG your pardon! I was NOT stolen. I stampeded to Rome as sheepily swiftly as I could, under my own ovine steam!

Brize
August 7, 2012

“It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.”

And just why in the name of whatever TEO is worshiping this week should they expect the RCs to respect their traditions when they clearly don’t respect them themselves? Unless, of course, “tradition” is redefined as “whatever we want to do next.”

The Pilgrim
August 7, 2012

Ah yes: tradition. Rooted in the distant past, or at least as far back as 2003…

LaVallette
August 7, 2012

Stealing sheep indeed: Just about very Epicopalian mission to South and Central America and every mission to Hispanics within the USA is about “stealing” sheep.

Allen Lewis
August 7, 2012

Yeah, but the Episcopal Church does not mind in the least “accepting” such luminaries as Matt Fox and Albert Cutie when they abandon the Roman Catholics. And how about all those Roman Catholics who joined the Episcopal Church because of “mixed” marriages, divorce, etc., etc.?

Nobody complained then, did they?

Thought not.

Chris M
August 7, 2012

well.. I mean.. wasn’t there a big blowup about ‘sheep stealing’ waaaay back in the 16th century? ‘enery the eighth, looting monasteries, and all that?

It’s less stealing than returning stolen property.

FW Ken
August 7, 2012

Ordinariate 101 – they exist because some Anglicans went to the Vatican and asked if they could become Catholics and bring their music along. What Catholic in his right mind would turn down that deal (heard our music lately?). So when the theology checked out (thank goodness! we really did want that music), they came over. So that’s that.

And it really does aggravate me to hear – again – that St. Luke’s was the first parish to convert. St. Mary the Virgin, Arlington, was the first corporate conversion, in ’94, I think. Ok, that was under the Anglican Use, but I’m in a fussy mood.

Dale Matson
August 7, 2012

The Ordinariate is not sheep stealing. It is rescuing sheep from the wolves.

Bill2
August 7, 2012

Funny, I don’t remember RC bishops barging into Episcopal parishes saying “It’s mine, all mine!” as soon as the ordinariate was announced. I mean who’s done that except maybe Henry VIII?

Lefties just can’t stand the marketplace of ideas do they?

Michael Berry
August 7, 2012

It’s not sheep stealing if the shepard wanders off.

Gregg the Obscure
August 7, 2012

There was a similar situation a few years earlier where a Catholic bishop took back a church from sundry modernizing influences.

The Catholic bishop wrote: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-10 KJV)

That fellow also wrote to another church that was headed down a path nearly as bleak as that now pursued TEO – debauchery and incest were not only tolerated but celebrated. Those were his letters to the Corinthians.

Scott W.
August 7, 2012

Please. More people are leave TEC than if the churches were on fire. They are only landing in the RC because most of the other mainstream denominations have been swallowed by leftist universalism and now live in its belly.

Jacob Morgan
August 7, 2012

First, homeless Anglicans went to Rome and asked for this. They went knocking on Rome’s door, not the other way around.

Second, why doesn’t Rome get credit for allowing Anglican-use Masses? That seems to be rather ecumenical, stating in effect that the Anglican liturgy is 90%+ correct. As is permitting some married Anglican priests to become Catholic priests. They bash Catholics for a closed comunion, but does the ECUSA allow Parishes to have a liturgy that is almost completely Catholic?

Third, by allowing Anglican-use liturgy and by having ordinariates who will keep what is best from Anglicanisim, these parishes may be all there is to show of Anglicanisim in the Western world a generation or two from now.

Marie Blocher
August 7, 2012

“You cannot steal sheep if the shepherd is doing his job, and that’s the bottom line. If the shepherd is doing his job, the flock will stay.”

Not only that, but if the shepherd is doing his job well, and the sheep feel really cared for, they will lead any strays they find into their fold. I know I was led into the Episcopal church by the light from the lives of a couple of friends from the local gun club.
Their lives were testimony to their faith, and I said “I want what they are having.”

Steve L.
August 7, 2012

Jim N, the Bishop of Brandon (ACoC) accused my wife of the same thing. She chased him from the hall into the Cathedral and set him straight. She said something about us not having diosces issued ear tags.

James Isabella
August 7, 2012

“We as a tradition need to be as self-confident as Roman Catholics are. We need to be equally robust in saying, look, we actually think we have discerned what God requires of us as a community in the world.”

But *how can* Episcopalians be self-confident about their discernment?

At one time they said that homosexuality was a grave sin and that marriage was only between a man and a woman. Now they say the exact opposite.

So, were you mishearing God then and are discerning his voice better now? If so, how do you know you’re right now?

Traditional Protestantism has bible literalism.
Orthodox Christianity has scripture and sacred Tradition.
Catholicism has scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.
Mormon’s have their prophets.
JW’s their Watchtower.

If you don’t have something to point to that you think is “infallible” or “inerrant”, all it really comes down to guesses, doesn’t it?

How can you be “As confident as the Catholics” when all you have is guesses and the guesses contradict over time?

JFKAR
August 7, 2012

I’m not a sheep. I can’t be “stolen.” I’m a free agent, an adult human being, and I can move to any church I want. Whoever refers to the pastor I choose as a “sheep stealer” is insulting *me*: I resent being spoken of as a (dumb) sheep!

PS: I’m not “the big toe” (in the body of Christ), either!

Dave P.
August 7, 2012

…does the ECUSA allow Parishes to have a liturgy that is almost completely Catholic?

I can’t find the website at this time, but there is an Episcopalian cathedral which lends out its facility to a married Catholic priest for Mass. We also know that the ECUSA has no qualms accepting disgruntled Catholic priests into its clerical ranks.

Dan
August 7, 2012

“…focused on providing a theological rationale for the things that we do. ”

And there, friends, is the nut of the issue. The Catholic Church, and indeed all Christians, look at Scripture and Tradition and ask “What does God want of us?”

TEO, and all the modernist/liberal churchpersons, look at what they want and ask “How can I gussie this pig up so the hicks and mouth breathers, (excuse me, I mean believers) will go out with it?”

Marie Blocher
August 7, 2012

Right on, Dan!
TEO still hasn’t come up with “a theological rationale” for making Bishops out of practicing homosexuals. And they can’t come up with one for marriage other than the one man, one woman model.

Just me
August 7, 2012

Dear Chris:

For some reason I decided to check the website of a church I have not attended for nearly 50 years. I loved this little church and as a teenager with driver’s license I would frequently stop there on my way home from cruising the infamous Sunset Strip on Friday/Saturday night. It was always what was referred to as “high church”.

After reading what has gone on there:
http://www.stmaryoftheangels.org/st-mary-of-the-angels-resources/news-announcements-menu/122-rectors-official-statement-on-recent-events

I decided to check with you and see what the most recent events are–to my dismay it appears that this link is appropriate at this time. If anyone here knows more about my dear little church, please update . Thank you.

Fuinseoig
August 7, 2012

Speaking of being offended – who do I sue for this?

Hmmm – Australians are subjects of the Queen, who is Governor of the Church of England, which is the mother church of the Anglican Communion, of which TEC is a constituent part – reparations ahoy!

:-)

Katie Taylor is fighting in the semi-final tomorrow at 2 p.m. GMT against a Tajik opponent; if she wins, she is guaranteed a silver medal and goes into the final for Thursday. Boxing enthusiasts, these are matches well worth a look; women’s boxing is not just a freak show anymore but is developing (at least in amateur lines) as a proper sport.

The Editor
August 7, 2012

I haven’t heard anything.

bob
August 7, 2012

Around 1980 the Episcopal Bishop in Seattle lost four clergy and several laymen to the Orthodox Church (Katherine Schori’s mother was already a parishoner in the congregation they joined, but her daughter wasn’t on the radar yet). However in a fit of frustration that is similar to the current reaction to the Episcopalians leaving for Rome, the bishop reacted by complaining to the local priest’s bishop in the Orthodox Church — that he shouldn’t be receiving Episcopalians into the Church! Simply amazing. That year he also lost one cleric to the Roman “Pastoral Provision”, where he was one of the first few men received. They’ve had bad years like this FOR years. It means so much more to not be Anglican than it does to be Anglican. Muslims do that — also in Seatle, with the local bishop’s approval. I have that from him personally.

dwstroudmd+
August 7, 2012

It is the theology that is missing, Brainiac. Ever read TO SET OUR HOPE ON CHRIST, an alleged theological document?

Obviously: “So, yeah, I think the Roman Catholic Church is a threat, because we’ve lost the sense of our theological understanding and identity.”

or

Obviously not: “We as a tradition need to be as self-confident as Roman Catholics are. We need to be equally robust in saying, look, we actually think we have discerned what God requires of us as a community in the world. And we need to put our vision up against the Catholic vision.”

Good luck with that Dean&theological school thingy.

Katherine
August 7, 2012

Yes, “To Set Our Hope on Christ” was a pathetic and failed effort at a theological justification. The haven’t done any better since.

Fuinseoig, I can see why that article didn’t play well. I thought it was a whimsical attempt to play with words in a sports report and faintly amusing — but then I’m not Irish. It’s been many decades since the Irish in America have been subjected to discrimination, and I think not too many people think of the drunk Irish stereotype any more. After all, the mascot of the University of Notre Dame is the “Fighting Irish.” The author should have stuck with “fighting” and left the drinking alone.

Dave
August 7, 2012

“I think the Roman Catholic Church is a threat, because we’ve lost the sense of our theological understanding and identity.”

This yardbird said the words… I just don’t think he understands the implications of what he said!

“…we actually think we have discerned what God requires of us as a community…”

Care for a few more qualifiers, big guy?
Something like: ‘we actually think we kinda sorta know what God (assuming he/she/it exists) might kinda like us to do if we feel like it…’

or my favorite… I THINK I think, therefore I think I am (I think).

MargaretC
August 7, 2012

Like SouthCoast, I wasn’t stolen. Having noticed that the TEC shepherds were starting to look like Red Riding Hood’s wolf, I started looking for an alternative sheepfold before I got eaten.

And one of the things I, too, have always admired about Papa Benedict is his ability to make all the right people foam at the mouth.

FW Ken
August 7, 2012

The science in To Set Our Hope on Christ is bogus, to boot. Jackie Keenan does a good reply to it in As the Spirit Led Me.

Don Janousek
August 7, 2012

“Stealing sheep” and “poaching” tell you all you need to know about how this clown views episcopal Christians.

English translation – “The papists are taking away a bunch of our dumb animals.”

[...] here to read the brilliant rest.  The modern Episcopal Church is hemorrhaging members because it has [...]

Allen Lewis
August 8, 2012

Gotta love it when the pigs start squealing!

I remember a conversation I had with the priest of my former Episcopal parish back in the 90′s. VTS had just made the news over their professor of ethics. Basically this nitwit was reviving Joeseph Fletcher’s Situational Ethics.

Since Fr. Ted was a VTS grad I asked him about it. He was mightily embarrassed. We both agreed that was a wrong direction for VTS to go. But they went anyway, in spite of numerous letters from alumni in protest.

So I guess the current Dean does not recognize an act of Love when he sees it!

Jay Random
August 8, 2012

“Stealing sheep” and “poaching” tell you all you need to know about how this clown views episcopal Christians.

It could be worse. At least they didn’t say ‘pew potatoes’.

off2
August 8, 2012

Just me, David Virtue is posting on SMotA fairly regularly – http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=16358#.UCM7-6NKZZM

I was a member during tenure of Fathers Jordan & Barker. It’s horribly sad to see them in such a mess.

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