Thursday, September 16, 2004

Fear and Loathing in the Episcopal Church

In today's Washington Post, there is an article about local Episcopal churches using a former Archbishop of Canterbury to confirm their parishioners, Va. Episcopalians Enlist Ex-Archbishop's Services.

I am sick of it (note to Rob, another non-expletive phrase I use often with my children).

To read more, click on the Xs
For those who haven't had the pleasure of following this issue, the diocese of New Hampshire elects to consecrate as a Bishop a priest who is gay. All of the Bishops of the Episocpal church had to vote whether or not this priest should be consecrated Bishop. The Bishop of Virginia, for assorted reasons, voted that the priest in question should be consecrated Bishop, in part because the priest's own diocese had determined that they wanted him for Bishop. This has caused much turmoil in the Episcopal church as more conservative denominations have opposed this consecration. Anyway, some of these conservative parishes don't want the Bishop of Virginia near them because they don't agree with how he voted.

This leaves me pondering many things. Though I never thought I'd say it, I must ask, why can't Episcopalians be more like Catholics? My understanding is that there are many of them who reject some of their churches doctrines (they are called Cafeteria Catholics for this), such as the prohibition on birth control. Why, I even had the pleasure of attending a Catholic service where the priest scolded the congregation for not believing in transubstantiation, which was reported by the New York Times.

Yes, I know that this is not a serious response to the problem. However, I think one has to ask oneself why they attend the church they do? Is it because they agree fully with all the doctrine and dogma? If thats the case, find a church where this is possible. Is it because it was the church in which they are raised, part of their identity, 'their' church? If this is the case, perhaps they can find a way to deal with these issues rather than basically flipping the bird to their Bishop.

My favorite part of the Post article is the quote from a parishioner of the Falls Church who indicates that he doesn't really know how he feels about the issue and would probably have consulted with his church's leaders had he realized the implications of his reaffirmation by a former Archibishop of Canterbury and not the Bishop of Virginia. Is this the response of many parishioners? Checking with the clergy or other church leaders to determine how to feel about tough issues? Anyone can read the Bible and from there, they must determine what they think it means, what it means to them. Anyone can make these decisions for themselves, they don't need someone telling them what to think.

Just a short rant, these issues are deep and wide.

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