Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bishop Iker on Continuing Anglicans

At the final press conference of the Network meeting just completed (which can be seen here), the Bishop of Fort Worth Jack Iker, sitting between Primate Venables and REC Bishop Ray Sutton, said the following:

We’ve been given an opportunity to make a common cause with groups that have largely been ostracized by the Episcopal Church, certainly excluded, looked down upon, and regarded in a condescending kind of way. I mean The Episcopal Church would say that the people we are making common cause with are largely not really Anglicans. . . . they don’t really matter. . . . That’s been demeaning to those bodies of Christians and fellow pilgrims. I think this is an opportunity for us to reach out to them and to affirm them and be enriched by the gifts they bring to us as fellow Anglicans.

I don’t think Bishop Iker was responding even indirectly to Ephraim Radner. But the contrast with Dr. Radner’s statement today is obvious.
Ephraim Radner Steps Over the Line.

I’ve long respected Dr. Ephraim Radner, though I’ve sometimes found him exasperating.

But today he stepped over the line.

Not that he resigned from the Network. He feels the Network is now going in a direction he can not go, so resigning is a perfectly honorable thing to do.

He stepped over the line in his resignation statement, particularly here:

Bp. Duncan has, in the end, decided to start a new church. He may call it “Anglican” if he wishes, though I do not recognize the name in these kinds of actions that break communion rather than build it up . . .

So if an orthodox Anglican feels that to be faithful to the Anglican tradition, he must leave the Episcopal Church and perhaps the Anglican Communion, he is no longer Anglican? If a new North American province is formed (which I think likely), but ++Rowan doesn’t recognize it (And I don’t think he will.), will that province be “un-Anglican”?

I’ve seen this sort of denigration of the Anglicanism of those not in perfect communion with Canterbury from liberals. I did not expect to see it from Dr. Radner. It is completely uncalled for and below the belt. Further, it does not the Lord's work but the liberals' work of undermining faithful orthodox Anglicans.

I certainly hope he and the ACI refrain from further undercutting those orthodox who feel they must leave TEC. Kicking them on the way out may be a more graphic way of putting it.

Those orthodox who feel they must remain in TEC on principle, such as Dr. Radner, may be mistaken, but they deserve respect for their difficult stand. Likewise, those who feel they must leave TEC deserve more respect than Dr. Radner exhibited today.
University Lectures: The More Things Change . . .

This is a 14th century manuscript illumination portraying Henricus de Allemania lecturing on Aristotle. The illumination appears in his commentary on Aristotle's Ethics. Note that the students are following along in their manuscripts . . . or are engaged in conversation or sleep.

By the way, less than one month until Oxford.

(A larger version of the above illumination may be found here.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Network Meeting: A New Province in the Works?

I’ve been out most of the morning. And I don’t want to jump the gun. But from what I’ve gleaned from the Anglican Communion Network meeting over at Stand Firm, it sure sounds to me that Bishops Duncan and Iker intend to lead orthodox U. S. Anglicans OUT of the Episcopal Church and to form a new province.

Among other interesting statements, Bishop Duncan described the Global South Steering Committee’s view as follows: “The American province is lost. And something will have to replace it.” And the context indicates that is his view as well.

And it sounds like he’s willing to separate from Canterbury as well to go into “new structures.” Duncan: “All of the Western structures of Anglicanism are failing,” including Lambeth and Canterbury.

Also, a number of bishops from the APA and REC are there.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What’s Missing?

In the Telegraph’s interview with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, something is missing. Can you find it?

"The thing that unites all Christians is our faith in the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and what makes us Christians is that we participate in the death and resurrection of Christ.

"The other thing to remember is that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.

"As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message.”

Do you see what’s missing?

The authority of scripture, of course. And I contend that the authority of scripture more than “really helps” and is most certainly a part of the core message of Christianity.

Buy, hey, I’m quibbling. After all, leave out the authority of scripture and it’s so much easier to make convenient statements like this:

"And I haven’t found that in Ecusa or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. . . .

Yeah. right.
Matt+ Kennedy on ++Rowan Williams and the Current Situation in the Anglican Communion

Matt+ Kennedy of Stand Firm has posted a quick analysis of the current situation in the Anglican Communion that I think is so on target, I’ll simply repost most of it here:

If we were to take a straw poll of the primates of the Anglican Communion on the question of human sexuality, we would, no doubt, find that somewhat more than 20 agree with Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

Were we, however, to ask which primates would be prepared to stand against or, if need be, apart from Canterbury if push came to shove, the number would be reduced to somewhere near 6 or, if we want to be optimistic, 8.

The fact is that while the vast majority of the Anglican primates hold fast to the orthodox position on human sexuality, only a small minority are willing to do much about it apart from issuing statements or voting “yes” on various orthodox resolutions.

It seems, unfortunately for us, that Canterbury knows this too.

He tested the strength of the Global South coalition in Tanzania and found, in the end, that only a small number of primates were prepared to walk if need be. The bold intransigence of these few courageous primates saved the day in Dar. But the damage was done.

The strength of the orthodox primates and the orthodox position within the primates meeting once lay in the potential loss of up to 20 provinces.

At Dar, the Archbishop of Canterbury put this potential to the test. He lost his gambit to push through the Sub-Group Report, but he gained a much greater strategic victory: knowledge.

Now he knows the real rather than the supposed strength of the orthodox primates. And this knowledge has added a certain measure of steel to his spine.

Why carry forward with the process articulated at Dar? Why heed calls from communion conservatives to appoint a provincial council? Why call a primates meeting after September 30th?

Politically speaking, there is no reason to do any of these things and every reason not to do them.

Knowledge of the real political weakness of the orthodox coalition is why we’ve seen, since Tanzania, such a noticeable and aggressive shift in Canterbury’s public position and posture beginning with his issuance of Lambeth Conference invitations.

The worst case scenario for Archbishop Rowan Williams, supposing he refuses to act in accordance with the Tanzania Communique’s Pastoral Scheme and/or refuses to discipline the Episcopal Church, would be the loss of some populous but politically isolated provinces in the Global South and the loss of several primates--primates who, frankly, threaten the power and position of the see of Canterbury and that of the Church of England.

Canterbury has nothing to lose.

This is a hard truth. I’ve written about it before. I do so again because I think it is something with which we must come to terms if we are to think clearly about the Network, Common Cause, the upcoming House of Bishops meeting, Lambeth, and the Communion as a whole.

This analysis may explain why ++Rowan seems to have suddenly shifted to more clearly taking sides, particularly with his Lambeth invitations.

For a long time in the troubles since 2003, orthodox Anglicans have hoped that ++Rowan would fulfill what he himself said was his role, to defend and facilitate the unity of orthodox Anglicanism, not to take sides in line with his own theological views. And they therefore hoped and even expected he would ultimately side with the orthodox in North American and in the Communion.

And I was one of those orthodox who had this hope. But this year I have disabused myself of that hope. And I think other orthodox Anglicans had best do likewise and pray and prepare accordingly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Attempt on the Life of the Bishop of Jos

For the second time in 18 months an attempt has been made on the life of Bishop Benjamin Kwashi, the Bishop of Jos, Plateau State in Northern Nigeria.

Early on the morning of Tuesday July 24 at 2.15 a.m. a gang of men, more than five in number bound the two security guards at the gates of his compound and locked up the four domestic staff,

Armed with guns and knives, they then battered through the doors of the house, went upstairs and marched Bishop Ben Kwashi downstairs and outside.

They told Bishop Ben they were going to kill him.

Read the rest here.

Islam is strong in Northern Nigeria not-so-by-the-way.

Folks, the persecution of our Nigerian brethren is very real. Yet they are standing for the truth without wavering. We need to be praying for them and supporting them.

Hat tip to titusonenine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Fixing of the NBA: Incriminating Numbers, Outrageous Playoff Calls . . . and Mark Cuban Exercising Restraint?!?

Some numbers on accused NBA referee Tim Donaghy are pretty close to a smoking gun.

In the two seasons in which the FBI is investigating Donaghy for allegedly fixing games for gambling purposes, Bell found that, in games when Donaghy was part of the officiating crew, NBA teams scored more points than Las Vegas expected (hitting the over) 57 percent of the time. With a league average of 49 to 51 percent, the odds of such an occurrence are 19 to 1.

When Bell analyzed the numbers from the two seasons before the two in question, he discovered that, in games Donaghy officiated, NBA teams scored more points than Vegas expected just 44 percent of the time.

Although the 13 percent difference might not seem that jarring to the casual observer, it's jaw-dropping in the world of sports gambling. Bell said the odds of a 44 percent probability happening 57 percent of the time are about 1 in 1,000.

"There's a 99.9 percent chance that these results would not have happened without an outside factor," Bell said. "Something abnormal was going on here."

And knowing that “something abnormal” was going to happen in a large number of games would likely make serious money for crooked gamblers.

And there’s this:

According to FoxSports.com, over the last two seasons, Donaghy led the NBA in technical fouls, free-throw attempts per game and foul outs per game.

If you make intentionally bogus calls, that would certainly make those numbers high. (My thinking on the technical fouls is that if you are making bad calls, you are more likely to have players and coaches go ballistic.)

(UPDATE: Since I posted, I see that the technical foul number is disputed at the least.)

For a sample of Dohaghy and the NBA’s work, view these lowlights from Game 3 of the infamous Suns-Spurs playoff series. This will give you an idea why the NBA has zero credibility with many. (Suns’ fans, you have my deepest empathy.)

Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has weighed in . . . and has exercised amazing restraint and even expressed confidence in NBA commissioner David Stern. Given how Stern has fined him millions of dollars for criticizing NBA refereeing and how referees virtually fixed the 2006 NBA Championship by calling fouls every time a Maverick breathed on Miami Most Holy Star Dwayne Wade, the restraint is very gracious.

But I have no confidence in David Stern myself. His willful negligence has enabled NBA referees (Yes, the plural is intentional.) to fix games. There is really only one thing Stern can do to bring any reasonable hope of credibility to the NBA – resign.

Time to watch Stern’s press conference. . . .

Monday, July 23, 2007

An Interesting New Blog on Building a Home

I’m in the process of building a house (largely put on hold until next year). So I find this new blog interesting. The Koops are a Catholic family about to build a home in Minnesota. They hope to include a chapel in their plans.

I can be guarded about my privacy, but this new blog makes me think it might be good to blog on my relevant home building experiences at some point. God certainly has been at work to provide me a wonderful personal home as he has in providing a church home.

He’s been so good to me in fact, it’s almost embarrassing. But I may at some point post on his providing a home anyway.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Now Even the Feds May Say NBA Basketball is Fixed.

I was sorely tempted to post my disgust with the NBA after last year’s fixed championship. You know, the one where Dallas couldn’t even breathe on Miami’s Most Holy Star Dwyane Wade without a foul being called. And I was tempted again this year after the NBA Commissioner himself rewarded the San Antonio Spurs’ thuggery and practically gave them the playoff series against the Phoenix Suns. I HATE fixed sport with a passion.

But I thought, no, I’d just look like a partisan whiner (even though I was a long time San Antonio fan until they played goonball against Phoenix). And I thought most of you didn’t care about the NBA anyway and certainly didn’t come here to see me rant about it.

Oh, how I now wish I had given into temptation.

Because if had, I could now say, “I told you so! The NBA is fixed!” And apparently fixed by a gambling referee in bed with the Mafia no less.

The NBA hasn’t been a level court for years. They, and Commissioner David Stern in particular, deserve the storm descending upon them.
BREAKING: A Statement from the Global South Steering Committee

The Global South Steering Committee has just issued an important statement. The following stands out.

5. We have also been pained to hear of the continuing and growing resort to civil litigation by The Episcopal Church against congregations and individuals which wish to remain Anglican but are unable to do so within TEC. This is in defiance of the urgent plea agreed to by all of the Primates in the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. This approach to use power and coercion to resolve our current dispute is both enormously costly and doomed to failure and again, we urge the immediate suspension of all such activities and a return to biblical practices of prayer, reconciliation and mediation.

6. Because of the categorical rejection of the unanimously agreed Pastoral Scheme and the urgent needs of the growing number of congregations now linked to various Provinces in the Global South, we have had no choice but to provide additional episcopal oversight from the concerned Provinces. We believe that failure to do so would have resulted in many individuals and congregations lost to the Anglican Communion. The rejection of the proposed Pastoral Scheme has also had a profound impact on those dioceses that had requested alternative primatial oversight. We are aware that they are exploring various ways in which they can maintain their Anglican identity apart from The Episcopal Church. We are encouraged by this and also that they are working together within the Common Cause Partnership to avoid unnecessary fragmentation. We recognize that this is a temporary measure and look forward to the time when it is either no longer necessary or they are all part of a new ecclesiastical structure in the USA.

7. We are aware of the anticipated visit by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC to the September meeting of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church USA. Sadly we are convinced that this decision, made jointly by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chair of the ACC, undermines the integrity of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We believe that the Primates Meeting, which initiated the request to the TEC House of Bishops, must make any determination as to the adequacy of their response. We strongly urge the scheduling of a Primates’ Meeting for this purpose at the earliest possible moment.

Much can be said. But note that they are not shy about standing up to the Archbishop of Canterbury, noting that he’s undermining the decisions of the Primates Meetings, and insisting he stop so doing.

Accordingly, they are calling for a Primates Meeting to respond to The Episcopal Church’s defiance of Dar es Salaam. I think it’s safe to say they don’t trust Canterbury to respond for them.

MORE: These are strong words about Lambeth:

9. We are concerned for the future of our Communion as a truly global fellowship and our witness before the world as a respected ecclesial family within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. In regards to the proposed Lambeth Conference in 2008, we are concerned that the publicly stated expectations for participation have changed its character and function. It is now difficult to see it either as an instrument of unity or communion. At a time when the world needs a vision of reconciliation and unity, our failure to restore the ‘torn fabric’ of our Communion threatens to show the world a contrary example.

10. We remain committed to the convictions expressed in the CAPA report “The Road to Lambeth” and urge immediate reconsideration of the current Lambeth plans. It is impossible for us to see how, without discipline in the Communion and without the reconciliation that we urge, we can participate in the proposed conference; to be present but unable to participate in sacramental fellowship would all the more painfully demonstrate our brokenness. The polarization surrounding the Lambeth meeting has been exacerbated because we are also unable to take part in an event from which a number of our own bishops have been arbitrarily excluded while those whose actions have precipitated our current crisis are included.

Hat tip to Stand Firm.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blue Guide Oxford and Cambridge

In anticipation of my Autumn (I’ve been repeatedly informed that’s the correct English term, not “Fall”.) in Oxford, I’ve gotten out my Blue Guide Oxford and Cambridge that I used for my Advent 2005 pilgrimage. And I’m once again impressed by what an excellent guide it is. It certainly far exceeds any other guide to OxCam that I’ve come across. And it will travel with me again.

If you have the least interest in the history and architecture of the two towns, I pound the table and insist you get this book! It’s very helpful with both the big picture and such details as what’s what in this hall or that chapel. For example, there’s over three pages on Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, with a wealth of information on when this and that was constructed and by whom. And there is an additional four pages (small print) on the rest of the college of Christ Church.

The guide also has plenty of useful information such as the usual opening times at the various colleges. And there’s a number of helpful maps. It does not at all neglect the logistics of touring the two towns. I think I found both my hotels from this book in 2005 and was pleased with both.

I’ve found it tells me almost all I need to know and gives a good education on Oxford and Cambridge. Yet, the guide is small in size, 7.6 x 4.4 x 0.6 inches. I found it easy to carry around as I walked about. And you will want to carry it around.

Do I need to say more? Well, yes. This guide is not easy to find in the U. S. And it can take way over a month for Amazon to deliver. So if you’re traveling to England, order it well ahead of time. You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It’s a cool, cool summer.*

Yesterday was a fun, but strange day. I took two church youth to the beach. Like all teen guys, they enjoyed riding in the back of the truck (You can still drive down the beaches here.) and scrambling on all fours over sand dunes.

But what was strange was it was cool -- in mid-July. Even the water didn’t feel like summer. And it wasn’t a very rainy or windy day. Just cloudy for the most part.

Now I realize “cool” in South Texas is hot a lot of places, but still. And we’ve had very little hot weather. Typically in mid-summer, you feel like you might die before you get to your car as you walk across a parking lot. Very few days have been that way this year.

And this while the Western U. S. has been burning up. Go figure. It certainly helps that it’s a very wet summer here. That is also unusual. Heck, Corpus broke a record for July rainfall by the 4th!

We’re having a pleasant light cool rain at the moment. I love it!

(And, by the way, if you’ve been through a couple of Texas-sized droughts like I have, you’d love it, too.)

*The title is from an old Bananarama song, of course.

Monday, July 16, 2007

++Rowan’s Lambeth Invitations Aiding Persecution of the Faithful

As we know all too well, the Archbishop of Canterbury invited every TEC bishop to Lambeth (except Robinson), but did not invite CANA bishop Minns or any AMiA bishops even though they are duly consecrated bishops of Nigeria and Rwanda respectively.

What I find especially galling about this is that he’s invited bishops who are persecuting the faithful while excluding bishops who are shepherding those faithful. And this has effects beyond who gets to go to tea at Lambeth.

A letter from one persecuting bishop, -Lee of Virginia, threatening clergy who have left the Episcopal Church is Exhibit A that ++Rowan’s invitations are already undermining persecuted Anglican faithful and aiding and abetting their persecutors. From the letter:

I hope you have noticed that the Archbishop of Canterbury is not inviting Bishops from the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) nor from the American Mission in America (AMiA) to the Lambeth Conference which raises the significant question whether churches associated with groups like that can be considered Anglican. My hope is that you will give prayerful consideration to returning to the communion of the Episcopal Church and offer your considerable gifts within our community.

Translation: if you don’t return to the Episcopal Church, even ++Rowan says you’re not Anglican. You’re certainly not in full communion with him like moi. And, oh, that undermines you -- particularly in my lawsuits against you and your parishes.

And ++Rowan has indeed undermined the faithful in a big way.

As the bishops of Rwanda have recently noted, he has taken sides with his Lambeth invitations. He has chosen to side with the persecutors of the faithful. The consequences of that choice have only begun to be evident.
Network Meeting in Ft. Worth

I found out this morning that the Anglican Communion Network will have an interesting meeting in Ft. Worth at the end of the month. Primate Greg Venables will among those there.

The agenda is a little murky and a number of meetings will be private. But “the Rev. Ryan Reed, dean of the [St. Vincent’s] cathedral, said network representatives will discuss how to work more closely with other conservative Anglican groups.”

Can you say "new province"?

I’m tempted to go and see how many meetings I can crash. :)

Hat tip to titusonenine.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Six More Weeks to Oxford

Time is sneaking up on me. (Doesn’t it always?) There’s only six more weeks until Oxford.

There’s a little more urgency to my preparations now. Yes, I’m getting excited again, too.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

++Orombi in First Things

My favorite journal, First Things, has scored quite a coup with “What is Anglicanism?” from the Archbishop of Uganda Henry Luke Orombi.

So much can be said about this excellent article. I’ll confine my comments to excerpts I find particularly interesting in light of the current Anglican troubles.

Right up front he makes a bold statement:

But however we come to understand the current crisis in Anglicanism, this much is apparent: The younger churches of Anglican Christianity will shape what it means to be Anglican. The long season of British hegemony is over.

He then rightly asserts, “Scripture must be reasserted as the central authority in our communion.” And he eloquently recites some of the history of how important scripture is to the Ugandan church. Then he makes another bold statement:

From Thomas Cranmer to Richard Hooker, from the Thirty-Nine Articles and the 1662 Ordinal to the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the authority of Holy Scripture has always held a central and foundational role in Anglican identity. This is true for the Anglican church in Uganda; and, if it is not true for the entire Anglican Communion, then that communion will cease to be an authentic expression of the Church of Jesus Christ.

This is not an archbishop who will stay in communion with Canterbury at all costs. And this TEC “new thing” crap has got to go:

The insistence from some Anglican circles (mostly in the Western world) on esoteric interpretations of Scripture borders on incipient Gnosticism that has no place in historic or global Anglicanism.

And he’s not going to “meet” forever if the decisions of those meetings are continually undermined.

The resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops have always had a moral authority among the communion’s autonomous but interdependent provinces, yet some of those resolutions are now flagrantly defied and even mocked.

We primates have worked hard in recent years to find consensus even in our present situation of broken or impaired communion. Through the grace of God, our communiqués have been consensus statements, unanimously agreed upon, and they are evidence of our commitment as primates to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Yet some provinces have not taken our communiqués seriously, and the primates, as an instrument of communion, have been scorned.

And he’s right. The arrogance of the Episcopal Church and even of the Archbishop of Canterbury in undermining the Primates Meetings has gone beyond what is tolerable. Speaking of meetings whose resolutions are ignored, you can forget about Lambeth.

In December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda unanimously adopted “The Road to Lambeth,” a statement drafted for a council of African provinces. Among other things, it stated, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution [1.10] are also invited as participants or observers.” Accordingly, if the present invitations to the Lambeth Conference stand, I do not expect the Ugandan bishops to attend.

But then he makes an important clarification (The emphasis is mine.):

It is important that this decision not be misunderstood as withdrawing from the instruments of communion. On the contrary, our decision reflects the critical importance of the Lambeth Conference: Its value as an instrument of communion is greatly diminished when the persistent violators of its resolutions are invited. . . . An instrument of communion must also be an instrument of discipline in order to effectively facilitate meaningful communion among its autonomous provinces.

Consider this with ++Akinola’s recent statement in the Times interview:

So we are not breaking away from anybody. We remain Anglicans. We are Anglican church. We will die Anglicans. We aint going nowhere, as Americans would say. We aint going nowhere. But to gather as Anglicans with all these people, we must get it right.

These two clarifications make me think the schism won’t be as immediate or as certain as people think. As ++Orombi states earlier, the Global South Primates recognize that the future is with their churches more than with the heterodox Western Anglican churches. So they haven’t given up on the Anglican Communion altogether. Don’t expect a split with trumpets blowing next year.

Now, they won’t put up with business as usual. And they will continue to foster an evolving working together of orthodox Anglicans. But they aren’t burning their bridges. They are leaving the door open to continue in or to return to the Anglican Communion in the future should it decide to “get it right.” And with time and demographics -- and God -- on the side of the orthodox, they may well have the power one day to make the Anglican Communion “get it right.”

And ++Orombi’s and ++Akinola’s statements indicate they and those who come after them will be both more dogged and more patient about that than most people expect.

Hat tip to Titusonenine.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

“We don’t get to keep the traditionalists under our thumbs so much anymore. BOOOOO HOOOOO!”

A “Vatican II Catholic” whines about the Motu Proprio (from Inside the Vatican Magazine with a hat tip to the Good Professor):

VATICAN CITY - "This day is for me a day of grief. I have a lump in my
throat and I do not manage to hold back my tears. But, I will obey the
Holy Father, because I am a bishop and because I care for him. However,
I cannot hide my sadness for the putting aside of one of the most
important reforms of the Second Vatican Council." In fact, Monsignor
Luca Brandolini, Bishop of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo and member of the
Liturgical Committee of the Cei (Italian Episcopal Conference), hardly
holds back his tears when he is asked for a comment on the
reintroduction of the Tridentine Latin Mass: "Please, do not ask me
anything, I do not wish to speak [about it], for I am living the saddest
day of my life as a priest, as a bishop, and as a man."

Q: Monsignor Brandolini, why [are you] so upset?

Because he’s a big lib whiner?

A: "It is a day of grief, not only for me, but for many who lived and
worked in the Second Vatican Council. Today, a reform for which so many
labored, at the cost of great sacrifices, animated solely by the wish to
renew the Church, has been canceled."

Q: The optional return to the Tridentine Rite represents thus a danger
for the Church?

A: "We hope not. It remains to be seen in the future, but today an
important reform of the Council was undermined."

Q: Why are you so touched by the decision taken by Pope Ratzinger?

That’s Benedict, the Holy Father, to you bud.

A: "The episcopal ring which I carry on my finger belonged to
archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the father of the Conciliar liturgical
reform. I was, at the time of the Council, a disciple of his and a close
co-worker. I was close to him when he worked in that reform and I always
recall with how much passion he worked for liturgical renewal. Now, his
work has been canceled."

Q: You will not accept the "motu proprio" of Benedict XVI, then?

A: "I will obey, because I care for the Holy Father. I have for him the
same sentiment that a son has for his father. And then, as a bishop, I
am bound to obedience. Yet, in my heart, I suffer deeply. I feel as if
wounded in my heart, and I cannot help saying it. Nonetheless, if anyone
in my diocese will ask me to follow the Tridentine rite, I will not be
able to say no. But I do not believe this will happen, because ever
since I have been the bishop of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, there has never
been anyone who has expressed a similar desire. I am certain that it
will always be like this in the future."

Probably because he’ll ignore the traditionalists now that it’s harder to suppress them.

My headline just about says it all. What a cry baby loser.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Neglected Questions

Sometimes in the midst of difficult issues, important questions are overlooked, not unlike not seeing the forest for the trees. Such is the case with Anglican’s current troubles.

So I will be so impertinent as to ask (and not rhetorically. These are genuine questions.): When does a church cease to be a church? If a church falls under the control of heretics who are not Christian and even anti-Christian with no reasonable prospect of wresting control from them, is it still a church?

Some orthodox are assuming that the Episcopal Church is still a church and may be thereby causing themselves needless agony by staying in it. But it is not at all clear to me that the Episcopal Church is a church anymore.

And if we do conclude that TEC is no longer a church, it certainly changes the equations of many Anglican issues. So as impolite and unAnglican as my questions may be, I think they need to be asked. They are certainly not being asked enough.
Neuhaus on the Motu Proprio

Just a quick post to let you know Fr. Richard Neuhaus has posted an excellent analysis of the Motu Proprio over at First Things. His post is quite perceptive, of course. I commend it to you.

Monday, July 09, 2007

These are not nice people II

A few days ago I mentioned an episode in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark back in 1997. The diocese ran an orthodox parish out of all its buildings and then used one of them to house a gay group led by one Elizabeth Kaeton.

Well, since then Ms. Kaeton, a “priest,” has become President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Newark. She is very much a leader in the Episcopal Church, not a fringe yahoo . . . at least not by Episcopalian standards.

So a recent post she made about the wife of a prominent orthodox Anglican blogger is, to put it very mildly, shocking. I’ll leave it to Stand Firm to fill you in on the details. Be aware that it’s disturbing stuff.

And, yes, I’m aware Ms. Kaeton has altered her post and apologized . . . or not. I, for one, do not accept her apology as it now stands. To call it inadequate is an understatement.

And I say it’s past time we stop treating these people as the Christians they are not. I mean it. To use the name “Christian” so foolishly is very closely related to taking the Lord’s name in vain. And it accordingly has consequences many are suffering now.

But that is a subject for another post another day.

MORE: Christopher Johnson has posted some pointed analysis as has Captain Yips. I heartily agree with the Captain's conclusion:

So the mask slips, and slips a little more in the follow up. Not terribly important to the debate, but endlessly important as showing that there's not much to be said between the two sides. Where are the common points of reference? The very words we use have different meanings.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Motu Proprio Interpreted

As promised, Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio was released today. The English version of the explanatory letter may be found here.

Upon a first reading, it seems to me he’s very nicely telling bishops, "Look, I understand your concerns about the old Latin Mass. But there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not opposed to Vatican II. It’s actually pretty darn good.

“And obstructing it as some of you are doing is unnecessarily alienating good faithful people. That’s a bad habit that has got to stop. So stop! We (and that includes you, my brother bishops) will freely allow the old Mass. If any problems come up, let me know, and we’ll deal with it. But we will not obstruct the old Mass any longer. Got it? Good!

“Thank you. Bless you. Drink German beer, etc.”

Well, he didn’t say the last bit. And that's my not so nice paraphrase. But you get the picture. If I see any particularly interesting or cogent analyses, I’ll post them.

It will be interesting to see how certain U. S. bishops respond . . . or not.

UPDATE: As is to be expected, a generous amount of thoughtful analysis is going up over at The New Liturgical Movement.

UPDATE 2: As is also to be expected, the trads are celebrating.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Suggested No Smoking Signs for Churches

I’ve mentioned that it’s a matter of consternation, complete with civil disobedience from vicars and other silly people, whether U.K. churches need to and should put up no smoking signs to comply with the new smoking ban for enclosed public places.

To make things easier, here are some suggested signs custom designed for posting in churches. I hope my U. K. friends will find these appropriate for church.

I’m always glad to help.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Silly Smoking Vicar

Why did the silly vicar light up in a police station? To protest the new U.K. smoking ban for enclosed public places by getting arrested.

Well, he failed to get arrested. “What a pity.”

If he got arrested, perhaps he would have shouted, “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!”

With apologies to Monty Python, details and a video even may be found here.
Gutsy Letter

Chuck+ Collins, rector of Christ Church San Antonio, has sent a gutsy letter to TEC House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson.

In effect, he says, “Uh Bonnie, your count of parishes that are leaving is at least one short. We are leaving and have said so.”

I hope he’s ready to be sued, not by his bishop, who is a sincere and reasonable Windsor bishop, but perhaps directly by 815. It will be interesting to see if 815 will so act without the Bishop of West Texas.

Christ Church San Antonio is one of the larger parishes in the Diocese of West Texas.
The Times Interviews ++Akinola

Details of an interesting interview of Primate Peter Akinola by Ruth Gledhill of the Times may be found here and here. Reading both would definitely be worth your time.

Two things stand out to me. First, Gledhill states that in the Nigerian church ++Akinola “is almost a liberal. Those longing for his retirement, thinking that suddenly every African Primate will be sharing communion again with our bishops in the West, should be careful what they pray for.”

Second, ++Akinola says he’s not interested in leading a breakaway church. In ++Akinola’s words:

Look, that has never been on my mind. This is something the media are making. You see we have the scripture. We have our traditions. We have our Lambeth Conference resolution. We have the Primates communique. We have not broken the law. It is your churches breaking the law. You are the ones breaking rules not we. You are the ones who are doing what we said should not be done, with impunity. You are the ones breaking the law. We are saying you cannot sweep it under the carpet. You can't. Maybe in the past, but not any more. We have aged. We have aged. That is the point So we are not breaking away from anybody. We remain Anglicans. We are Anglian church. We will die Anglicans. We aint going nowhere, as Americans would say. We aint going nowhere. But to gather as Anglicans with all these people, we must get it right.

That’s an interesting statement. And it’s difficult to make portents from it. But I suggest that perhaps there won’t be a new communion formed with trumpets blowing. Instead, an evolving ad hoc working together of orthodox Anglicans may be more likely. We’ll see.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

These are not nice people (and shouldn't be invited to any Christian gathering).

I hope those of you who read this and other Anglican blogs have disabused yourselves of the naïve notion that Episcopalians are all nice Christian people. But in case you still think we’re all Christians here, read this.

The linked episode is from 1997. Persecution of the faithful is nothing new in the Episcopal Church. And, no, if wolves deny the faith and persecute the faithful, they are no Christians.

Nor should these wolves be treated as Christians as ++Rowan Williams has with his Lambeth invitations.

(And, yes, that he issued his invitations after the Episcopal Church went full speed ahead with their predatory lawsuits in spite of the Primates specifically asking them to stop is particularly galling.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

“Thank You for Not Smoking in Church”

This snuck up on me, but a U. K. ban on smoking in public enclosed places began over the weekend. Although I suspect the new law is overkill, I welcome it. I’ll have to deal with smoke much less in Oxford this Fall. I have to admit, though, smoke didn’t bother me too much during my trip to England two years ago. I can remember only one occasion when cigarette smoke was a big issue. But I am allergic to it and really don’t need to breathe it. Who does?

I do agree with banning smoking in the pubs. A broad spectrum of people frequent U. K. pubs much more than U. S. bars. I ate in pubs a lot myself.

One aspect of the new law that is causing consternation and amusement among church people is the requirement to put up no smoking signs. Whether churches are required to do so is a matter of debate. But many or most are putting the signs up.

Think of other activities that are illegal in churches (or anywhere else for that matter), and the possibilities for signs are endless!

Here’s some vigorous, often amusing discussion of the new law (with some ungodly language and sentiment) here. (The link may eventually expire.)