Friday, 13 July 2012

The State of the Episcopal Church of the USA

The following article by Deborah Gyapong appears on the Anglo-Catholic Blog. It really shows the sorry state of the Episcopal Church and the way the CofE could be heading unless the liberal agenda it seems to espouses is curtailed.

“A most interesting observation from Charlotte Hays over at The Corner at National Review about "The Episcopal Church's" 77th General Convention in Indianapolis:

Can there be anything left to change after Indianapolis? Indianapolis voted for provisional liturgies for uniting same-sex couples (rings are exchanged), ceremonies for pet funerals (I guess my little cat died too soon), the ordination of transgender people to the clergy (why not — women and ex-women welcome?), and an apology to American Indians for having introduced them to Christianity.

It is interesting that so much of what happens at the General Conventions revolves around sexual issues. Sexual behavior, almost more than any other facet of our lives, involves an urge to do what we want to do, regardless of the rules. The Primal Episcopalian, Henry VIII, split with Rome because he wanted to do what he wanted to do with regard to a sexual issue. Women were allowed to be ordained because, well, women wanted to be priests. A Gospel or Tradition that says you can’t do this must be ditched in favor of a new discernment.

The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the homosexual bishop of New Hampshire, whose consecration in 2003 almost split the Episcopal Church, looked to be everywhere at the Indianapolis convention. At one point, the Right Reverend even took to the floor to deny nasty rumors that there was trouble in paradise between himself and his “beloved Mark.”

Thanks for sharing, Gene. Glad my mother didn’t live to see it, though. The Right Reverend spoke endlessly about his pet subject: sexual identity. “One striking point, at least to this writer, was the fact that there was no reference in any of the Bishop’s comments to the one aspect of sex that is relevant to the survival of the human species, namely, human reproduction. For all we know every other aspect of ‘sexuality’ is purely the result of human socialization,” a report in Virtueonline, a traditional Anglican website, noted.

In a way, that sums up the sad proceedings in Indianapolis: sterile.”


  1. Joseph Golightly14 July 2012 at 08:17

    So what is your solution? Is it to continue to rely on the Church Commissioners millions or be true to yourself? Surely what has happened is that catholics within the Church of England have failed to teach what they believe or maybe they don't really believe it but like dressing up, throwing incense around and all that sort of stuff. I guess it really is make up your mind time

    1. Your sarcastic comments, Mr Golightly, suggest to me that you have no feelings whatever for anybody's views other than your own.

    2. joseph Golightly14 July 2012 at 21:17

      I am attempting to find out what the views are. Fr Mervyn writes a story which offers in my view no solution. What Mr Hickey is the answer to the questions I raise and the subject matter of the original blog. By asking the questions I am trying to ascertain what the writer's views, and now interestingly yours, are. Simple really but I don't think sarcastic!

    3. Joseph Golightly could have done a greater service to his question by not asking it in such an ill-mannered way. I will attempt a remedy.

      Fr Jennings, the Church of England seems (to this outsider) to merely have postponed its latest innovation, rather than denied it. The issue of women bishops has not gone away, and their proponents and opponents will continue to battle it, in public and in private, until November, when everything will start again.

      I have been told, today, by an Anglican priest, that he, and people like him, were not wanted in the Church of England. This is a simple priest, who has done nothing "of note" with his ministry, other than to pastor a healthy congregation (or two, over many years). I will say no more than that, for fear of breaking a confidence. Suffice it to say that the priest in question is utterly heartbroken at the moment.

      I do not believe for a moment that there are many C of E bishops who would behave so appallingly towards their clergy, but neither can I ignore what seems apparent: that most C of E bishops are fully supportive of the idea that women can exercise episcopal ministry. (I am making no theological pronouncements; just observing an ecclesiogical fact).

      Given the foregoing, Fr Jennings, and without thinking about the alternatives (because they are not actually relevant to this question), do you not see your own ministry as becoming increasingly congregational in form? If, as still seems likely to me, at the November vote, your bishop expresses support for a theological position that is diametrically opposed to your own, and one which fundamentally alters the ecclesiology of the Church of England, will you remain in communion with him?

      Note: I am neither Anglican nor Roman Catholic, but I have a deep love for the Church of England, and I believe that the Ordinariate is God-breathed. That said, I emphatically do not believe that it simply a case of choosing between the Ordinariate and the Church of England. I have no "dog" in the fight, as one might say, but I am curious - as well as concerned - for those who do.

    4. Yes, you are correct Stephen - the CofE will make their decision in November. Of course, the motion could be (but probably won't be) defeated. The Bishops might withdraw their amendment(highly possible)or they might have the courage to stick to their guns. So what is the future? I co-ordinate an Ordinariate Exploratory Group which continues to meet monthly to consider the next step. At the moment I would see the Bishop of Richborough as "my" Bishop. This may not answer your questions or Joseph Golightly's; perhaps the matter which is the subject of prayer will be come clearer in the weeks/months ahead. I so feel for your friend; I will remember him, and the many other priests and laity, who are distressed by what is happening in the CofE when I celebrate Mass for the Ordinariate Group on Wednesday this week.

    5. Thank you, Fr Jennings. I agree that prayer is the only remedy for this illness that is likely to have any effect. Re my friend, I suspect that if you don't know who it is already, you will probably find out soon enough.

      I suppose that the provincial episcopal visitors are similar to the ordinary of a regional ordinariate in the sense that they largely fulfil the role of the diocesan bishop. I have difficulties with this too, but they aren't limited to PEV's and the ordinariate, and in any case it's not something that I personally have to worry about.

      One further question, though: if the women bishops legislation is passed by General Synod, will that automatically end the jurisdiction of the PEV's, or will that require further legislation? Actually, two questions: if the PEV's continue to exist beyond the event horizon, will it be possible for parishes to petition to be placed under their care, or will they exist to care only for their existing parishes, until such time as they are made redundant?

  2. I believe the Code of Conduct will spell out the role of the PEV's after the legislation. I suspect that they will continue for those parishes who decided to petition for a male bishop and one who hasn't been consecrated by a woman. To a large extent this is perhaps quess work. The whole thing is a mess!

    1. Ah, then that would explain something I heard a while back, where someone opined that the code of conduct is actually blatantly sexist, and really does create women as "second class bishops", who can be sidestepped for "important" matters.

      Surely someone is either a bishop or they are not a bishop? If they are, then they exercise episcopal authority (both spiritual and administrative) throughout their diocese. If not, then they cannot exercise any sort of episcopal authority. Am I oversimplifying?

      "The whole thing is a mess!"
      On that point, we are in whole-hearted agreement.

    2. "Surely someone is either a bishop or they are not a bishop?" Exactly. Traditionalists, (Anglo-Catholics and Conservative Evangelicals) don't believe that women can be priests and, therefore, bishops. So they are not 2nd class bishops - they will not be bishops at all.

      Under the Act of Synod,parishes have been able to request the episcopal oversight of PEV's and the Diocesan Bishops have delegated some of their powers to the PEV's. This has not diminished the Diocesan Bishops and I can see no reason why a similar arrangement would diminish a female. (The Act of Synod will cease under the new legislation to be replaced by the Code of Conduct)

  3. Just noticed that my first post has a mangled sentence at the beginning of the third paragraph that rather detracts from the sense. For: "I have been told, today, by an Anglican priest, that he, and people like him, were not wanted in the Church of England."

    Please read: "I have been told today by an Anglican priest, a friend of mine, that he was recently told by his bishop that he, and people like him, were not wanted in the Church of England."

    I must learn to use fewer subordinate clauses!

    1. Sadly this is not the first instance of this type of comment from our supposed Fathers-in-God. As I said previously I will remember him and all others in a similar position at Mass on Wednesday

  4. joseph Golightly16 July 2012 at 13:18

    "A Code of Practice will not do" was the mantra of those who objected to the innovation - I seem to recall that (was it) 4000+ priest signed something a little while ago.

    Can somebody please explain if the Synod vote this through in November is what being offered no more than a Code of Practice?