Saturday, October 21, 2006

No Safe Place: Speaking of Vilifying, Herrrre’s the Bishop of Connecticut!

Yesterday, I quoted the following: “It’s interesting how . . . the Episcopal Church, is quick to vilify local churches who are simply trying to be obedient to the historic Christian faith.”

Well, as Monty Python would say, almost immediately the Bishop of Connecticut gives us a sterling example of such vilification in his address to his diocean convention no less. (Be sure to click on the link at Stand Firm to get the whole address in .pdf form.)

He begins tearing into the orthodox Connecticut Six parishes on page three and goes on for quite a while. You’d think those parishes suddenly attacked him and tried to close him down and kick him out instead of the other way around. Some lowlights:

In the meantime, for these past two years the five parishes and their clergy have continued to enjoy the benefits of The Episcopal Church [like bishops that raid parishes – ed.] while at the same time they refuse to contribute to our life and mission and they continue to pursue their own agenda. To turn a simile, it’s been a little like flying an airplane while some of the crew are working to dismantle it.

The agenda? In the press and in private communications they and their spokespersons continually misrepresent the issues and impugn the motives and character of this bishop. They refuse to support our common mission and life financially: in 2005, of the five parishes, two parishes contributed nothing toward our diocesan budget, and for the other three the contribution average for the year was $430.00.

They won’t fork over the money to a bishop who stands against just about everything they believe. Terrible. By the way, sir, if you don’t want people questioning your motives and character, don’t raid faithful churches.

He rants some more about money, then actually maligns the parishes’ efforts to reach a settlement. Then he winds up with this jewel:

To the clergy and members of the five congregations. Perhaps in your mind or in meetings some of you already have made the decision to leave this church. Perhaps you are caught in this fray. It is time for your yes be yes, and your no be no. If one church, or two churches, or all five churches will return to the life and mission and communion of this Church, and, clergy, if you will honor your ordination vows, the door is wide open. If you cannot tolerate the life and openness of The Episcopal Church, then honorably move on. Above all, stop the whining and the destructive behavior which diminish all of us and the Lord Jesus. This Church has gospel work before us, and we have been more than patient, and the attacks continue and it is time for us to say, enough!

What most hurts, in addition to our severely strained relationships in Christ, is the active nurturing of dissension and the diversion of our attention and assets away from our mission and ministry. While we could be saving thousands of children and adults who will die today of malaria, while we could be building and staffing churches and schools and clinics, while we could be forming microeconomic enterprises, while we could be supporting mission and missionaries abroad and here in Connecticut, we have been compelled to devote our resources and attention to five parishes and their demand for accommodations we cannot grant. Enough.

So malaria is these parishes’ fault, too.

Then he goes on for several pages in advocacy of same-sex blessings and the like. In fact, most of his address either tears into these parishes or advocates the gay agenda.

Such are the priorities of the Bishop of Connecticut and the liberal new orthodoxy.

Now, some may say that this bishop is particularly awful, that most of even the revisionist TEC bishops are not this bad. And that is probably true.

But in a denomination like the Episcopal Church, it’s only a matter of time until a parish will find itself under leadership bent on crushing the orthodox. It may not be until the next generation or the one after that, but the day is coming. The Bishop of Connecticut may be somewhat of an exception, but he’s by no means an aberration.

Remember what Fr. Neuhaus has said:

When orthodoxy is optional, it is admitted under a rule of liberal tolerance that cannot help but be intolerant of talk about right and wrong, true and false. It is therefore a conditional admission, depending upon orthodoxy's good behavior. The orthodox may be permitted to believe this or that and to do this or that as a matter of sufferance, allowing them to indulge their inclination, preference, or personal taste. But it is an intolerable violation of the etiquette by which one is tolerated if one has the effrontery to propose that this or that is normative for others.

And sooner or later, leadership will come along who will indeed not tolerate it. Again, that’s not an aberration; that’s to be expected under the liberal new orthodoxy.

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