Friday, April 29, 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Hey, sorry, but some travelling is dominating my life right at the moment. Plus I think a couple days break from the blog would be good. So I might post again Friday, but almost certainly not until then. Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Bedford Communique

As mentioned here, the Anglican Communion Network Council met in Bedford last week. They issued a strong communiqué. I found the following paragraph especially encouraging:

We express our urgent desire that the Anglican Communion Network continue to work diligently to build formal relationships with Anglican jurisdictions not currently in communion with Canterbury, to solidify those relationships, and to work for structural unity with them.

This is nothing that new. There are been a number of contacts between the Network and Continuing Anglican bodies like the Reformed Episcopal Church. Network head Bishop Duncan has taken some grief for those.

But I cannot recall the Network’s intent to work to include those bodies ever being stated in such strong and clear language. As a member of the REC who wants stronger links to other orthodox Anglicans, I’m encouraged!

With links to the Network and links to Primates Akinola, Gomez, and Venables, the REC and other orthodox non-ECUSA Anglicans in North America could find themselves a part of an orthodox Anglican Communion before too many years. We could be more connected to the Anglican Communion than the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada.

Wouldn’t that be sweet irony.

Another paragraph from the communiqué I find interesting:

The primates of the Anglican Communion at their meeting in Newry called “as a matter of urgency” for a panel of reference (paragraph 15), and yet as of this date, the panel has not been organized. We implore the Archbishop of Canterbury to organize this panel immediately to help ensure the protection of beleaguered parishes and clergy of the Episcopal Church.

Sounds like some polite but public impatience to me.

I, too, am wondering why the Panel of Reference hasn’t been yet formed. With situations in Connecticut, Brazil, and elsewhere, the need is urgent, and the Primates were right to say so. I realize there are probably procedures to follow, consultations to make, etc. But I’m scratching my head about the delay.

My impatience has been proved mistaken before. So I’ll say no more . . . for now.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Benedict very interested in Anglo-Catholics

Even before his inaugural mass, Pope Benedict XVI has met with Traditional Anglican Communion representatives about a possible Anglican rite church in communion with the Vatican.

That this is one of his first items of business and that, as cardinal, he strongly supported forming an Anglican Rite Catholic church is very interesting indeed. As the Good Professor Tighe commented:

This report is to be taken with the *utmost* seriousness. I know from several persons (on both the Catholic and the Anglican sides) that when these conversations between the Vatican and the TAC began in 1995, they were “sidelined” by “professional ecumenists” in Rome because of the damage that they would do to Rome/Canterbury relations. When an attempt was made to restart them, they encountered similar problems. Two cardinals in particular did a great deal to overcome this roadblock, and both of them have indicated their strong support for an “Anglican-Rite Catholic Church” in communion with Rome. One of these cardinals is now pope and depending on the length of his pontificate, the other cardinal may well be pope after him.

I’m not interested in becoming Catholic myself (for reasons I might spell out some time), but there are any number of Anglo-Catholics for whom unity with Rome would be the fulfillment of ardent desires.

And it just might be Benedict’s desire as well.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

An open letter to the Majority Leader of the U. S. Senate

Sent this morning via e-mail:

Dear Senator Frist,

I appreciate your support of ending filibusters of judicial nominees. However, I'm concerned about reports of GOP senators backing away from changing the rules to end that practice.

I urge you and the other Senators to stand firm and end judicial filibusters. For the Constitution is more important than any other business of the Senate. The Constitution is more important than any polls. Most Senate Democrats are using unconstitutional means to subvert the Constitution by filibustering the appointment of judges who will defend, not mangle or ignore, the Constitution. Those so-called Democrats, who by their actions show contempt for both democracy and the Constitution, must be stopped.

Failure to stop this practice of filibustering judicial appointments endangers not just the appointments, but our Constitutional republic. For if the Democrats and the liberal groups behind them succeed in letting only judicial appointments acceptable to them pass, then we will be condemned to governance where the Constitution doesn't matter, but only what activist judges want the Constitution to mean.

We will be condemned to a long dictatorship of the Black Robes.

This must not happen. You must not relent. Defend the Constitution.

Stop these filibusters against our Constitution and those judges who would defend it.

Friday, April 22, 2005

What a week!

Wow! What a week to be Anglican or Catholic!

So much has happened with the new pope and a plethora of Anglican doings, I can’t keep up.

I will note that this was a bad week for the ECUSA bishop of Connecticut, Andrew Smith. Even most of his fellow revisionists in his diocese don’t support his actions against the Connecticut Six. Could he now be looking for a face-saving way out?

Oh, and that letter ECUSA bishops sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury? ++Frank Griswold is not pleased about it.

All these happenings have nearly overshadowed a meeting of the Anglican Communion Network in Bedford, Texas. But that meeting may prove to be very significant. I’ll address that later on sometime. But for now, I’m swamped!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

STOP CALLING THEM INSURGENTS!!!

Excuse me for shouting. But I have had it with the news media calling the terrorists in Iraq “insurgents.”

By definition, they are not insurgents. Many (most?) of them are foreigners trying to cause as much trouble as they can. The vast majority of Iraqis hate them. And most of the terrorists have genocidal hatred for Shiite Muslims.

By their actions, they have proven themselves to be terrorist scum.

So journalistic idiots, stop giving them dignity they do not deserve. STOP CALLING THEM INSURGENTS!!!
A letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Eighteen diocesan ECUSA bishops have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury asking for an emergency meeting on the current situation in the Episcopal Church.

(In a second letter, they have written ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold asking for a commission. I honestly have trouble seeing what good another commission would do, however.)

The list of signatories is interesting. They are by no means all Network bishops. The bishop for my area, James Folts, signed as did +Don Wimberly. (All Texas bishops signed.) +Folts has been adamant in not joining the Network and both have a history of trying not to take sides (to put it nicely).

Interpret this development as you please.
Connecticut situation

So much I could post on. Anyway, after a Monday meeting with the Connecticut Six that did not go well, Bishop Andrew Smith is calling the clergy of his diocese together for a meeting on the situation this morning at 10am. It’s unclear whether the Connecticut Six are invited. At least some of the six say they will be there regardless. And given +Smith’s past games with half-truths, I agree they need to be there.

Richard Kew has a succinct analysis of the Connecticut situation. This excerpt especially cuts to the core of the matter:

Bishop Smith diverged from Scriptural doctrine and the historic tradition of the church but still demands obedience to Nicaean structures. He seems to want it both ways, and that is not consistent. He is, in effect, saying, "I want to be a heretic when it comes to theology and ethics, but I want to be orthodox when it comes to historic structures, because it is from these historic structures that I derive my authority. I want to have bishops in the church who have geographical dioceses who are living in an immoral relationship, but I will not accept Nicaean Christians in my geographical diocese who oppose such a compromise with a fallen culture with heart, soul, mind, and strength. I want tolerance, but I define tolerance MY way."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Eggs Benedict

Some liberals are acting as intelligent as poached eggs in the aftermath of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold somehow used the occasion to push his pluriform theology. Maybe he hasn’t gotten over Cardinal Ratzinger showing himself a friend of orthodox Anglicans in his letter to the first Plano conference .

United “Church of Christ” head John Thomas actually expressed “profound disappointment” in his statement and tore into the new pope.

On a message board I frequent, several posters were expressing their wish for a speedy death of the new pope. Yes, pretty vile stuff.

Much of the wailing and knashing of teeth centers around the new Pope’s history of excellent exposition and dogged defense of Catholic doctrine.

In other words – yes – the Pope is still Catholic. How terrible.

And because of that, liberal heads are exploding everywhere . . . which makes me like the choice of Benedict XVI that much more.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cardinal Ratzinger’s homily

I’m very impressed by Cardinal Ratzinger’s homily at the Mass for the election of the Pope. He’s not the most popular or charismatic guy around, but the man has a clear and wide-ranging vision of truth and the Christian life. It’s no wonder John Paul gave him so much responsibility.

I enthusiastically commend the homily to you.

UPDATE: Well. He apparently made quite the impression on the Conclave as well. He is now Pope Benedict XVI.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A reality check . . . from a bishop.

As reported and commented upon at titusonenine, the Bishop of North Dakota is giving his diocese a timely reality check in asking his diocese the following:

The next General Convention is only 15 months away. Therefore, I call upon members of the Diocese of North Dakota, and especially vestries, the Standing Committee, Diocesan Convention delegates and General Convention deputies to engage in prayerful discussions about whether God is calling us to remain in the Anglican Communion or not.

Kudos to him. His call is straightforward without any convoluted happy talk. And people at every level of the Episcopal Church need to be alerted that expulsion or departure from the Anglican Communion is a real possibility and that hard choices will need to be made.
Friendliness may be more important than you think.

I used the following from Group Magazine in teaching youth Sunday School yesterday. I think it worthy of reflection. Commenting on a Gallup Poll done for Group Magazine:

A huge finding in the Gallup/Group study is that adults who feel their churches are friendly, and are thus very satisfied with their church, are experiencing spiritual transformation. They have more “firsthand” encounters with God in their lives than folks who go to less-friendly churches.

This startled me. Being a good friend to people, particularly in your church, is important beyond knowing.

That it’s easy to make friends at my new church is one reason I joined, by the way.
Watching the Papal Conclave begin.

I’m watching with fascination as the Cardinals process into the Sistine Chapel and begin the conclave there. The pageantry and chanting and singing are beautiful.

By the way, if you want to see a big event without too much yakking from commentators who won’t SHUT UP, tune to Fox News.

Friday, April 15, 2005

A great and much needed letter

Seventeen active ECUSA bishops have written an open letter to the Bishop of Connecticut, Andrew Smith, concerning his threats and persecution against six parishes and their rectors.

I’ve read this letter several times, and each time, my reaction is “YESSSS!” It is an excellent, strong, godly, and much needed stand by the seventeen bishops. The other day, yesterday morning I believe, I asked where are the Athanasiuses among active Episcopal bishops. I’m glad these men proved my impatience to be in error.

The conservative network bishops have been very restrained thus far, perhaps too restrained. But this letter makes clear that they will not stand idly by while liberal bishops persecute the orthodox. I believe this letter marks a new phase in orthodox Episcopal action.

Some highlights:

The clergy and people of the six parishes now in sustained conflict with you are in full communion with us. They preach and teach what the Anglican Communion preaches and teaches. They preach and teach what we preach and teach. It would be impossible for us to recognize any inhibition or deposition imposed upon them.

In standing in solidarity with the Connecticut Six, the bishops make clear they will not recognize any inhibition on them from +Smith. For a bishop to say he will not recognize the action of another bishop is very significant. There comes a time to tell apostate bishops that we will not recognize their authority. The Seventeen are doing just that, at least in this matter.

Was it also the case that financial demands were tied to any possible provision of such care… ?

A very pointed and on target question indeed! +Smith, for months, has demanded that parishes pay up to the diocese. One reason (Maybe the main reason?) he’s taking action against the six parishes is that they can not consciously give any money to him. Other bishops are pressuring orthodox parishes to pay up to Moloch or else. The Seventeen are gently, but pointedly, saying this is intolerable.

What are we to do? We have agreed as bishops not to cross diocesan boundaries. But was not this moratorium based on other moratoria being observed as well, and on the maintenance of status quo as regards actions against the conservative minority?

This is a shot across the bow. Several liberal bishops have played it both ways. They have torn up those parts of scripture and the canons that they don’t like and defied the Primates, while they suddenly become fuming fundamentalists when it come to diocean boundaries. And out of respect for the canons, conservative bishops, frankly, have let them get away with it.

The Seventeen warn those days may be (finally!) over if +Smith and the like continue to persecute the faithful. This is in the spirit of Athanasius, who considered defending the faith and the faithful more important than geographical boundaries.

Needless to say, if ECUSA orthodox bishops start boundary crossing, all hell will break loose. But a little hell should break loose on those apostates and heretics who oppress the faithful.

We also ask: was Title IV, Canon 10, intended to be used against clergy who have resolutely maintained their commitment to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, as these clergy have? What about due process and right to ecclesiastical trials, both of which are denied when this Canon on Abandonment of Communion is used in this way? Who is it that has abandoned the Communion?

A withering attack on +Smith’s disregard for due process. Now, I don’t think the Seventeen are hinting that they may consider +Smith to have abandoned communion. (But, of course, by departing from the faith and attacking the faithful, he has.) But “Who is it that has abandoned the Communion?” is an extraordinary question to ask in a formal letter from seventeen bishops.

This is a painful letter for us to write. We pose much of this letter as questions. Is there some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops?

The tone of this letter is masterful. The bishops say some hard things and yet leave the door open to peace. Nevertheless, they make clear that if things continue as they are, there will be “terrible confrontation.”

And there should be.

Thank God for these Seventeen bishops who are acting as men of God on behalf of the Faith and the faithful.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Griswold household years ago . . .

Prebishop Griswold:
We are acutely aware that we meet in a time of great distress and need in the wider world. War, famine and disease stalk the earth. We express our passionate commitment to the mission of this household, the church and the United Nations.

We are unanimous in our desire to do all that we can to preserve and further the bonds of affection. We are mindful that Christ has made us members of one body, and that no part can say to any other "I have no need of you." At the same time we wish to express our openness to the concerns and beliefs of others. In that spirit, we agree to your request.

Mama Griswold:
Goodness! I only asked you to take out the trash!


(Sorry, I couldn’t resist. See yesterday’s linked statement if you don’t get the joke.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Relative sanity somewhat prevails.

Well, it looks like sanity prevailed in the ECUSA for a change. Today, the Executive Council decided to meet the Primates’ request and not to send voting representatives to the Anglican Consultative Council.

Here’s the relevant statement .

I’m a bit pressed for time. I might say more tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

On a lighter note . . . Blue Angels!

With Gene Robinson lending his auspices to abortionists, with the Bishop of Connecticut saying he’s oh-so very sorry about the Connecticut Six with crocodile tears and a big croc grin, with the ECUSA Executive Council meeting tomorrow, it’s time for some relief. And that not just from the Primates but also from the Blue Angels!

For four days, I had the Navy Blue Angels flying around me. It was like a personal air show. At the end of their visit, they flew in formation directly over my house. My friends and I went nuts. It was a serious rush.

So I wanted to write them a note. I didn’t see any contact info on their site, however. So I present to you the following open letter instead:


Dear Blue Angels,

Concerning your air show and practices this past week at and around the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station:
You, sirs, repeatedly buzzed my house, creating not a little noise and mayhem. In fact, you more than once went directly over my house at very low altitude. Further, I have strong reason to believe you were even using my house for navigation. You know the one – [description omitted for security reasons]. Yes, that one. Don’t pretend you don’t know which one I’m talking about.

Well, I have this to say to you . . . Please continue to do so.

You can navigate by my place all you want. It was a rush. I felt like I was getting a personal air show.

Thank you and God bless. (And be careful.)

Gratefully,
Mark

(If any Blue Angels or their representatives see this, e-mail me at mark at godknows99 dot com and I'll tell you the house.)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Pro-choice? Yeah, right.

The so-called pro-choice lobby has once again demonstrated that they are not. They are up in arms that some businessmen actually want control over what they sell and don’t sell. Horrors!

Of course, what I’m referring to is that there are a few pharmacists who because of their convictions refuse to sell certain types of contraceptives that can be used to induce abortion. The abortion lobby wants to pass laws to force those evil mean pharmacists to sell those products against their will.

Hmmm, my book sales have been slow at times. I know! I will go protest in front of bookstores, demanding that they carry my book. And if they don’t, I’ll get a law passed! These unfair bookstore owners must be stopped!! They MUST sell my book!!!

O. K., maybe that’s a stupid idea . . . about as stupid as what Planned Parenthood et al are trying to pull.

The fact of the matter is that the “pro-choice” fanatics are pro-abortion authoritarians. They want pharmacists to be forced to sell products against their will. They want prospective doctors and nurses who refuse to assist in abortions banned from medical schools. They want us taxpayers to be forced to pay for abortions. And on and on.

But they don’t have the guts to tell us they are pro-abortion because they know most Americans are not. The pro-abortion crowd not only aren’t pro-choice; they are cowards . . . cowards attacking the most defenseless among us.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Gene Robinson’s Sin

No I’m not talking about *that* sin. I’m talking about a sin far greater than whatever he does with Whatshisname. I’m talking about his lending his support to those friendly baby killers of Planned Parenthood. He’s going to keynote their interfaith prayer breakfast. Excuse me for a moment.

. . .

Sorry. Combining “interfaith,” “prayer,” and Planned Parenthood makes me lose my breakfast.

I’m a very pro-choice kind of guy. So I say Mr. Robinson has a choice. He can repent. Or he can face the judgement that awaits those who use Christ’s name and offices to support abortionists and abortion on demand. To me, it's hard to find a worse sin a bishop can do than to gladly lend his auspices to killing children.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Is the Archbishop of Canterbury Serious . . . ?

Is the Archbishop of Canterbury serious about providing for orthodox parishes under pressure from liberal bishops as the Primates’ Communique called for?

We shall soon find out. For the Bishop of Connecticut, Andrew Smith, has moved to depose six rectors for abandonment of communion.

Never mind that the rectors haven’t abandoned communion, but have instead been far more faithful to it than the bishop. Not to mention that in the bishop’s haste, there’s been a lack of due process, to put it mildly.

In addition to blatant persecution of the faithful, this action is a thumb to the eyes of the Primates, who called for orthodox parishes to be sheltered, not crushed.

If there was ever a case that called for intervention by the Archbishop of Canterbury, this is it. We shall soon find out if he is serious about his pastoral care for orthodox North American Anglicans.

Here’s some relevant links: here, here, and here.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A visit to John Paul’s chair

My usual road trip takes me right by the little town of Panna Maria, the first permanent Polish settlement in Texas and probably the U.S.

After reading a Dallas News article (Sorry. I had trouble linking it.) on the town’s connections to John Paul, I decided to visit yesterday on the way to Corpus Christi. With his passing, I felt it was a very appropriate thing to do.

I went into the sanctuary of their Immaculate Conception Church to pray. There was a picture of John Paul on the right side. The chair he used during his 1987 trip to Texas was to the left of the altar.

The sanctuary as a whole is beautiful. A small triangular stained-glass window of the Holy Spirit as a dove above the altar especially stands out. I highly recommend a visit to anyone driving through the area (just north of Karnes City. There are signs from highway 123.).

I had a nice time of prayer, thanking God for John Paul and praying for other matters. For most of the time, I was the only one in there. Then I went to the visitor center across the street and bought a photo book and a jar of blackberry jam from the nice older lady there. It was a nice visit.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Another Episcopal Effort to Keep People in the Dark

The Bishop of Alabama censors and cancels a Sunday school class on developments in the Anglican Communion.

Do I sense a pattern here?
Executive Council meeting will be closed.

Well, well. The ECUSA Executive Council meeting which will decide whether to send representatives to the Anglican Consultative Council will probably be a closed meeting.

(Remember that the Primates have requested that the Episcopal Church withdraw from the ACC.)

Maybe there are legitimate reasons to close this meeting. But I doubt it.

Executive Council meetings are usually open in accordance with ECUSA policies. The timing of closing this one couldn’t be worse. It feeds the rampant (and justified) mistrust in ECUSA and makes a joke (again) of all the talk about openness and inclusiveness we hear over and over again from Griswold and company.

If a closed Executive Council defies the Primates and sends representatives to the ACC, all hell is going to break loose.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Something overlooked about John Paul II . . .

Something about John Paul II that hasn’t gotten much note – he resisted the tyranny of both Nazism and Communism.

The 20th century is rife with public figures who opposed one but had a blind spot for the other, mostly those who opposed Nazism but had a soft spot for the Communists and their aims.

But not John Paul.

As a Pole, he saw the evil of both firsthand. And he resisted both.

And he was on the bad list of both, to the point where his life was at risk from both time and again. It’s only by God’s providence that he lived to become pope, much less to the age of 84.

In his putting his life on the line to oppose both of the great 20th century totalitarian evils, John Paul II towers above the sad and often shameful history of that century.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II R.I.P.

A great man now hears the words he has longed for:

Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.
Chris Matthews on MSNBC

Chris Matthews just gave an excellent heartfelt tribute to the Pope on MSNBC. Considering what a hardened political operative he is, it was something. His voice was even cracking.

He's doing Hardball later from Rome. That might be worth watching, FYI.