Why the Episcopal Church is on Life Support
Christopher Johnson, the non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, demonstrates in the following post at Midwest Conservative Journal why the Episcopal Church is dying and the Catholic Church is living:
Long-time readers of this site know that there are two Episcopalians that I don’t mention around here if I can possibly avoid it. One, of course, is former Newark Bishop John Shelby “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!“ Spong.
MCJ veterans have long since given up sending me e-mails with “Did you see what Spong just said?!!” in the subject line. Because I already know that whatever the megalomaniacal old fraud just said had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity and was sneeringly contemptuous of anybody who holds anything close to a traditional view of the Christian faith, in whatever Christian church they find themselves.
The other is homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, who is a homosexual, formerly of the Diocese of Nobody Ever Gave A Crap, Bitches, Shut Up. As most people figured out a long time ago, if you ever stand between Robbie and a camera, you run a considerable risk of a concussion when Robbie knocks you down and runs over you. Publicity is Robbie’s crack and I don’t want to feed his habit.
But every now and then, Robbie writes something so titanically and magisterially stupid that I’m forced to break my own embargo. In the Washington Post’s “On
No Particular Faith Of Any Truly Meaningful Kind” section, Bishop Stompy Foot is increasingly frustrated by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church refuses to be instructed by him:
Polling shows that ex-Catholics are the third largest religious group in the United States. Many Catholic laity are experiencing a painful disconnect between the official teachings and pronouncements of the Catholic hierarchy and what they believe in their hearts. It’s no wonder they are voting with their feet.
The Detroit Free Press recently reported on comments made by Edward Peters, who teaches Catholic canon law and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to advise the top judicial authority in the Catholic Church.
Peters stated that Catholic teaching makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. He goes on to write, “Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to ‘Catholic law’ and should not approach for holy Communion…They also risk having holy Communion withheld from them…being rebuked and/or being sanctioned.”
Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, offered this clarification: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”
Which is bad and stuff.
I believe that using Communion as such a manipulative tool surely profanes the sacrament. Perhaps these Catholic leaders should revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist. Reception of the body and blood of Christ at Communion is God’s gift to God’s people, not a reward for right behavior. We receive Communion not because we are worthy of it, but because God’s offers us the body and blood of Christ despite our unworthiness.
Two responses immediately suggest themselves. The first, of course, is, “Who the hell asked you, hot shot?” And the second is that before you suggest that bishops of another church than your own need to “revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist,” you might want to learn “their church’s theology of the Eucharist” yourself.
I’ll give you a head start. Two words. The first one’s “real” and the second one is “presence.” If you teach that Christ is really there in the Eucharist, then indiscriminately giving the real Lord Jesus Christ to everyone who calls himself or herself a Catholic but who takes it upon himself or herself alone to decide what that means is, at the very least, hypocrisy and, at the very most, blasphemy.
After all, Judas didn’t get the very first Communion, did he, Robbie? And then, blissfully unaware of the trap he is walking into, Robbie plays this card.
While some are seeking to withhold Communion from pro-choice and pro-marriage-equality Catholics, I have heard no call to withhold Communion from priests and bishops who have engaged in horrific sexual abuse against vulnerable children, nor their enablers. Bernard Cardinal Law, whose administration actively facilitated the moving around of known pedophile priests to other unsuspecting parishes, has not been denied Communion, but instead been rewarded with a prestigious church in Rome.
Picked it up yet? You get another guess since Robbie doubles down.
It seems that the church hierarchy is sending the following message: two gay men or lesbians (not to mention their supporters) who want to vow a lifetime of commitment, monogamy and love should be denied Communion, but those who exploit vulnerable children (and those who facilitate their abuse) for their own sexual gratification are still welcome.
Here’s how to set fire to Robbie’s straw man. Lose the whole Bede Parry, you-did-it-too approach. Did the Roman Catholic Church botch its sexual abuse scandal? Undoubtedly as most Catholics will spend several relentless hours telling you. Should Bernard Law spend the rest of his days doing hard time in the hole? In a perfect world.
But here’s the difference. Show me where a Vatican official told anyone that the reason the Roman Catholic Church dealt with the scandal the way that it did was because American laws concerning sexual relations with little boys are morally reprehensible and hopelessly out-of-date. Point me to any place where someone guilty of these crimes defended himself by saying that he was oppressed because of his sexual orientation.
Because once your “church” has basically discarded the concept of sin, “evil” becomes whatever the majority decides that it is. And “evil” officially becomes meaningless.
Think I’m kidding? Read on. Seems Robbie is quite the Ragsdalian.
Go here to read the rest. The Episcopal Church demonstrates that when a church foresakes the Gospels to embrace the spirit of the times, it is sealing its own death warrant. That great Anglican layman CS Lewis understood that well:
The “Historical Jesus” then, however dangerous he may seem to be to us at some particular point, is always to be encouraged. About the general connection between Christianity and politics, our position is more delicate. Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything – even to social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop. Fortunately it is quite easy to coax humans round this little corner. Only today I have found a passage in a Christian writer where he recommends his own version of Christianity on the ground that “only such a faith can outlast the death of old cultures and the birth of new civilisations”. You see the little rift? “Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.” That’s the game,
Your affectionate uncle