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Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Appeals to Tradition; Hell Freezes Over, If There Really Is One.

For five years my wife and were members of St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California (1997-2002). Our rector at the time was the Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, president and CEO of the American Anglican Council, the ecclesiastical Green Zone for the U.S. Anglican traditionalists trying to secure orthodox dioceses and parishes from hostile assimilation into the Borg of Anglican liberalism. For this reason, as well for another reason, I've had more than a passing interest in what is going in the World Anglican Communion.

In the midst of catching up on the recent goings on in the Anglican world, I just saw this entry (authored by Margaret Cabaniss) on the Inside Catholic Blog

The Anglican Church's Lambeth Conference is currently underway, and high on everyone's list of concerns is a potential split between Canterbury and the more traditional wing of the church. More than 200 conservative bishops have boycotted the conference in protest of the communion's official stance on gay clergy and women bishops, and rumors continue to swirl about the rift becoming permanent, with separate provinces being established under their leadership.

But Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church here in the States, isn't taking their insolence lying down:

[She] has vowed to ask [Canterbury Archbishop] Dr Williams "to encourage other parts of the Communion to cease their incursions" while they are together at Lambeth.

She said: "It's totally opposed to a traditional Christian understanding of how bishops relate to each other. That's the biggest difficulty. They're setting up as something else in the same geographical territory."

The female bishop -- the one in favor of practicing homosexual clergy -- is trying to argue from tradition. Irony is fun. (H/t Father Longenecker)

You just can't make this stuff up.

Comments (10)

So typical it's boring. File under unwieldy category "Modernist/Progressive/Liberal Trips Over Self when Confronted by Monster Named Consistency".

One is expected to lie still in the shadows and not respond to the twitches and urges of the makers of the New Age. Such refractory behavior is viewed as both primeval and insubordinate and is totally unexpected to those for whom societal construction is regarded as a birthright.

So a shocked bishop, unimaginable that the little oarsmen of life's trireme's should seek the freedom of action that a goddess of enlightenment and liberation takes as her own.

Somewhere in the bishop's bosom a voice cries out, "Squash them".

Yes, a fun reversal of positions: Those who style themselves the keepers of tradition running roughshod over traditional Anglican taboos, and their opponents appealing to the notion of tradition. But the real fun (& true irony) starts when - inevitably - you get someone like Cabaniss, who can apparently see only one side of it, and points out that one side can't see the irony of situation. No, you really can't make this stuff up.

And, yes, I know: traditionalists will make the case that this is a special case where there's justification for breaking tradition - just as those on the other side will argue that this is one tradition worth following. Doesn't mean it's not still fun!

While I admit I am not in sympathy with Mrs. Schiori on many things, not the least of which are her pretensions to membership in the catholic apostolate, I'd hesitate to refer to her as "that broad" for fear of perpetuating the sterotype of the Catholic clergy as a bunch of misogynistic members of the old boys club. Not that this stereotype isn't in some sense true-to-life. But I'd hate to personally contribute postive evidence in favor of it's perpetuation. Clearly, Ireneus (the poster, not the bishop/saint) has no such qualms.

Isn't this all very familiar to Roman Catholics? I remember Fr. Neuhaus a few years ago (I think it was he) remarked in "While We're At It" that some RC bishop on the Left Coast referred to offering Mass facing East as a "liturgical innovation." Ever since Vat. II, the notions of "tradition" and "obedience" and so forth have been brought in (I had thought) with a vengeance to squelch traditionalist Catholic resistance to what are, in actuality, innovations. I realize I may be opening a can of worms by bringing this up, but my impression had been that any traditionalist Catholic who has been conscious in the past thirty or forty years has seen the heavy fist of authority brought down and weird, upside-down invocations of "tradition" of this sort innumerable times in his own communion.

Lydia, a good point. I think the difference here might be the "level" of innovation, if you will, and it's direct implications. While certain post-V2 liturgical innovations are certainly unfitting, they don't (generally) rise to the level of utter contradiction with Catholic theology in the way that WO does. As to my characterization of recent liturgical novelty, clearly some (for want of a better term and in great hesitance to use a term at all) Traditionalist Catholics (but not all) would disagree. But it's quite safe to say that a general concensus among Catholics who understand the Church's ecclesiology is that once you start ordaining women, all bets are off from there on out. You can't even pretend to talk about tradition or Tradition at that point. You could, of course, as a Catholic, go back one step and say that once the C of E changed to the Edwardine ordinal (1550), all bets were off. But there are some issues in there that aren't so clear cut, due to a subsequent reform in the ordinal and the "Dutch Touch" that could conceivably open the door in the future for a reconsideration of Anglican orders by Rome (although I wouldn't hold my breath for that). Anyway, that discussion is frought with much danger and I'd be surprised if you cared much about it.

But yeah, you've got plenty of American Catholics who will resent, on the grounds of "tradition," a priest coming in to do mass ad orientum --forty years of tradition as opposed to 1500 or so. It's weird.

Of course you're right about women's ordination being a deep-dyed throwing out of tradition in a way that other things are not. I'm a fierce opponent of w.o. myself and have been since I was a Baptist. (It's against conservative Baptist tradition, too, if one can talk about Baptist tradition.)

I suppose it's just that I've heard these stories over and over again regarding contemporary RC. I remember reading once in First Things about either a bishop or a priest who literally pulled a woman at Mass to her feet (I think it was a woman) because she was kneeling at the consecration and the priest had forbidden it. I'm not all that easily shocked, but that shocked me. And there's all this sort of backwards idea that you're showing that you're a _real_ Catholic if you "submit" to all of this rather than even driving a couple extra miles to church on Sunday to a parish where you don't have to put up with it. Again, the use of the notions of tradition, authority, and obedience in the service of distinctly non-traditional practices. Dawn Eden was recently talking on her blog about how "freeing" it was recently for her to agree to be an "extraordinary minister" in her parish (quote very much unquote, since I guess her parish has them on an entirely ordinary basis), even though she "disapproves" of extraordinary ministers. It gave her a chance to be _really_ obedient. I have to say, that sort of thing would send me running in the other direction even if there were nothing more strictly intellectual to my Protestantism.

But again, I do agree with you that women's ordination is in a class by itself.

I understand what Dawn is getting at, although in that situation I'd disagree with her conclusion that she is being obedient. You aren't ordered to be an EMHC, you are asked. She could have refused, and given that it is against her conscience (so it would seem), I think it was perhaps a mistake for her to agree. But that's her problem, I suppose. I've done a lot of traveling, and I've often had to put up with some very bad liturgies at masses I've attended while on the road. I just find the nearest parish and hope for the best, but often it's not good. That's when I get the opportunity to suffer in obedience in the way I think Dawn means (yeah, EMHC's have very much become OMHC's). And really, it's only suffering in a certain sense, since I am blessed to be able to find Catholic masses all over the world. Although in some countries it takes a bit of effort.

While we shouldn't disapprove of extraordinary ministers, since they are clearly allowed, we ought to disapprove of them being made ordinary, since not only is it contrary to the canons of the mass of Paul VI, it's contrary to the spirit of the liturgy itself. We should suffer obediently when necessary, but it's not always necessary to suffer bad liturgy. If the situation is to be turned around, people in Dawn's predicament need to speak up. Catholics have the right to good liturgy, and the Holy Father has been outspoken on that point in recent days (the latest Summorum pontificum motu proprio which does away with the necessity for permission from the local ordinary for celebration of the 1962 missal), as well as setting a good example himself. In the papal mass today at WYD, the people received (will receive? what time is it over there?) kneeling and on the tongue, according to the Holy Father's instructions. What a crazy innovation by a maverick pope. I recall that flap about the bishop castigating a woman for trying to receive communion in the proper way, in a way that is indeed sanctioned by the current canon. Indeed, it was shocking. That was pure intimidation. I wonder how that bishop feels now, considering the WYD mass?

Ho ho Keith, let's have some fun. Let's define tradition, what it is, what it means, what we'll call it today, and what we want it to mean by the moment and the vagaries of our moods.
Fun you can make up, tradition by normal human understanding you can't. One is for children, the other for practice and veneration.

Technically, heretical bishops have no jurisidictional rights, since they aren't bishops, at least by Eastern lights. So it could be that the traditionalists aren't running roughshod over anything.

As for small worlds, I helped co-teach a class on cults with Fr. Ken Hunter at that parish (St.James) in the mid 1990's.

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