Friday, February 19, 2016

Absence makes the i-heart grow fonder

You may be wondering why no posts for a few days.

Indeed ... busy ... travel ... unexpectedly busy over new matter that has come up ...

But, here's the thing, a post is coming.

It will be pretty important, though perhaps not as strikingly important as the Pope talking about Trump as "not a Christian," and possibly only debatably as important as James Tengatenga saying TEC will vote at ACC.

See you next week ... sometime :)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...


Worth watching--

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5669/archbishop-reflects-on-primates-meeting-in-synod-address

Another account of the gathering in Canterbury, with some reflections on Communion ecclesiology.

Bowman Walton

Father Ron Smith said...

Mrs Trump's little boy, Donald, is not infallible either - even though he waves a Bible around, and gets himself blessed by a coterie of Pentecostal Pastors. This, of course, is part of the great American way in politics - quasi-religious endorsement!

Anonymous said...




Meanwhile, The Donald took a large step toward the Republican nomination for President this weekend. It was not winning the South Carolina Primary, sparring with the Pope about walls, or outlasting the departing candidates, although these all helped his cause. It was showing that he could get the votes of most evangelicals and most without university degrees in states as culturally different as Iowa, New Hampshire, and now South Carolina.

It was once widely and reasonably assumed that evangelicals and southerners would never vote for the gleefully womanising and offensively outspoken Mr Trump. But in fact only voters who identify themselves as not only *evangelical* in religion but also *very conservative* in politics are thus far supporting his rival insurgent, Ted Cruz. Although they do so at every level of wealth and education, Mr Cruz has a base of ideologically narrow but demographically deep support.

Meanwhile, as expected, a champion for the GOP establishment has emerged in the boyish visage of Marco Rubio, who finished in a distant second place. But that son of Cuban immigrants is popular only among university graduates. By Republican standards, his supporters have a wider range of political views, and are united mainly by their higher level of education. In contrast with Mr Cruz, Mr Rubio has a base of somewhat broad but very shallow support.

In the weeks to come, these three will take turns winning primaries here and there. From state to state, the proportions of these constituencies in the electorate varies, and so does their propensity to actually stand in line to vote. Every candidate will probabaly win in at least a few places, and this can produce the illusion of shifting momentum in the campaign as a whole.

But South Carolina is the last of only three states where local campaigning makes much difference. From now through the spring, the candidates will be campaigning as national candidates with little flexibility to adapt their appeals to expand their bases. If Mr Trump actually wins most of the Republican voters who are to the left of Mr Cruz's supporters and have less education than Mr Rubio's supporters, then he will almost certainly win the lion's share of delegates voting at the Republican National Convention in July.

Two known unknowns hang over the scene. Polling suggests that Mr Trump may be weaker in the western states, a result largely explained by unfavourable winds from across the Pacific; if this is the case, Mr Rubio will benefit. But polling also shows that 40% of those voting for Mr Trump say that they will vote for no other Republican nominee. In America's close elections, that many voters could be the difference between losing and winning. And should no candidate go to the Republican National Convention with a majority of delegates-- this last happened in 1940-- then a deal will have to be made. The loyalty of that 40% could give the author of The Art of the Deal considerable leverage in negotiation.

Bowman Walton

Father Ron Smith said...

In the absence of further posts from you, Peter (and no news yet on the 'Way Forward' process meeting in the transitional Cathedral tomorrow night) may I just commend your latest link from 'Episcopal Cafe' (TEC) which shows an almost life-size picture of our very own Fr. Bosco Peters, who questions the validitiy of Anglicans claiming to be a 'Communion' of Churches, when some of its Primates refuse to receive the Eucharist at the hands of other Primates. A scandal indeed. Perhaps a subject you, yourself might address in a future post.

Anonymous said...


"And, indeed, among our predecessors, some of the bishops here in our province thought that peace was not to be granted to adulterers, and wholly closed the gate of repentance against adultery. Still they did not withdraw from the assembly of their fellow bishops, nor break the unity of the Catholic Church by the persistency of their severity or censure; so that, because by some peace was granted to adulterers, he who did not grant it should be separated from the Church. While the bond of concord (concordiae vinculo) remains… But he [a Novationist] could not hold the episcopate, even if he had before been made bishop, since he has cut himself off from the body of his fellow-bishops, and from the unity of the Church; since the apostle admonishes that we should mutually sustain one another, and not withdraw from the unity which God has appointed, and says, “Bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3) He then who neither maintains the unity of the Spirit nor the bond of peace, and separates himself from the bond of the Church (ecclesiae vinculo), and from the assembly of priests, can neither have the power nor the honour of a bishop, since he has refused to maintain either the unity or the peace of the episcopate." --St Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle LI. 21, 24.

Bowman Walton

Brian Kelly said...

Ah yes - Cyprian of Carthage:
'Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus';
'No Bishops - No Church' -
and other gems of pontificating wisdom.
Be careful what you wish for when you quote a Church Father: it's a large net and some of the fish a little strange.
I am reminded of the nonsense Tom Wright spouted about Nicea and not having 'more than one bishop in one area'. I wondered how many bishops claimed to 'rule' Durham at the time.
Historically informed Anglicans should at least know how to be a little more discerning and try not to act as if the Reformation had never happened.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Bowman, That completely covers the behaviour of the former TEC Bishop of South Carolina. I guess St.Cyprian knew a thing or two.

Brian Kelly said...

The Letter of Cyprian of Carthage to Florentius Pupianus:

"Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if any one be not with the bishop, that he is not in the Church, and that those flatter themselves in vain who creep in, not having peace with God's priests, and think that they communicate secretly with some; while the Church, which is Catholic and one, is not cut nor divided, but is indeed connected and bound together by the cement of priests who cohere with one another."

What a load of nonsense. Non-episcopal believers in Jesus Christ are not Christians? Yeah, right (as they say down under). But if you will quote Cyprian as you would the Bible, then Anglican schismatics should consider the Rock (Petra)from which they were hewn.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome, Father Ron. Thank you for making the point from time to time. How does it feel to have an eminent, even saintly African Primate agree with you?

Regarding + Mark Lawrence in South Carolina, your analogy is suggestive, but the question is complicated by the bitter dispute over TEC's ecclesiology. The received tradition, cherished by the Anglican Communion Institute, is that TEC is a federation of free dioceses led by bishops with no superior anywhere on earth. St Cyprian's point was that a bishop need not do all that the other bishops in his province do in matters of discipline, but that even so, he should not raise controversies against them or avoid them. His view makes most sense where bishops are free-- the primates in Canterbury, bishops at Lambeth Conferences, and until recently bishops in TEC. Given that freedom, avoiding communion in the Lord is very hard to justify, and the disciplinary practises of other bishops do not normally clear that hurdle, hence our general agreement on this point. But that freedom of the diocesan bishop that St Cyprian assumed is precisely what the Diocese of South Carolina seceded to conserve, and it was expected to do so long before + Mark became its bishop. After all, speaking of contextual ministry, South Carolina's Episcopalians have historically taken their state's sovereignty with the utmost seriousness--

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Sumter

TEC is a paradox to liberal Anglicans elsewhere: recent leaders have taken liberal positions on questions of the day that liberals care about, but they also replace an ecclesiology that most liberals would find admirably open and free with the very corporate conformism that many liberals protest in their own churches. A General Convention that meets every three years to do something radical can seem to have inspiring leaders, but then 700 clergy deposed from holy orders for disagreeing with that inspiring leadership is the other side of the coin. Some, I think, find it hard to keep these two realities in their heads at the same time, much as an earlier generation struggled to believe both that the USSR was a worker's paradise and that the Moscow Trials really happened. Such cognitive dissonance bewitches common sense, leading one to fit all TEC news into either the sex story or the tyranny story. But both are real.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...


Brian, are you denying that St Cyprian's argument supports Father Ron's insistence on communion among Anglican bishops?

Bowman Walton

Brian Kelly said...

"... but then 700 clergy deposed from holy orders for disagreeing with that inspiring leadership is the other side of the coin."

But what you haven't mentioned is that not only were these 700 "deposed from holy orders" but that being deemed laypeople by TEC, their pensions were also drastically cut. So all their years of ordained service will not count in their retirement.
There is only one word for this.
THEFT.
I defy you to argue otherwise.

Brian Kelly said...

Bowman, obviously I care nothing for the imperious opinions of Cyprian of Carthage whose ideas are nonsense; but if you want to second guess what Cyprian Redivivus would say, I imagine he'd say it is your TEC bishops who are the schismatics. They broke with the clear will of the Anglican Communion expressed at Lambeth 98, Dar es Salaam, the Windsor Report and Dromantine.
My heart goes out to the orthodox American clergy who were driven out and their pensions stolen. I know the son of one of them.
And I would add Canada to this, having met Jim Packer on some occasions and knowing that he was deposed by some syncretistic nobody who only managed to bring his diocese to the verge of closure.

Anonymous said...


No, Brian, all I actually wonder is whether you are denying that St Cyprian's argument supports Father Ron's insistence on communion among Anglican bishops. Opinions about St Cyprian, TEC, etc need not influence that.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...


Postscript-- To be clear, Brian and I are referring to the matter that I mentioned here in the threads on the Primates' Gathering in Canterbury, and no, *pension theft* is not too strong a phrase for what has happened to the 700 deposed. ++ Foley mentioned it in a dialogue with ++ Michael mediated by ++ Justin. If a bishop or priest is leaving your church-- say, to serve permanently in the Church of England-- the simple thing is to confirm his status in a letter for the CoE's blue file and remove him from your own church's roll. Or, if he is ministering in some truly nefarious way, you might censure him for misconduct, although it is hard to see what pastoral good that would do. But TEC appears to go all the way to deposition from holy orders when clergy leave to serve in a continuing Anglican church, and the consequence of that is that each bishop or priest loses his TEC old age pension benefits. The intrinsic injustice of this is outrageous enough, but this mean-spirited practise has deeply embittered an already polarising division in the Communion. Which is why those who agree with St Cyprian's exegesis on the bond of love in the Church should insist with Father Ron that all receive communion and insist with Brian that differences of conscience be treated with respect and, of course, that all pensions be paid in full for years of service rendered.

Bowman Walton

Father Ron Smith said...

" But that freedom of the diocesan bishop that St Cyprian assumed is precisely what the Diocese of South Carolina seceded to conserve, and it was expected to do so long before + Mark became its bishop."

- Bowman Walton -

Dear Bowman, I well remember the controversy over + Mark Lawrence's election. In fact, I believe it was not until he promsed to be faithful to the Canons and polity of TEC that he was, eventually, allowed to go forward towards his episcopal ordination. There was always something quirky about that 'promise'. And how long did he keep it? So much for his faithfulness in shepherding! He left with the sheep who opted out of the Episcopal diocese that had made him its bishop. And claimed the property!

Anonymous said...


Your memory is excellent, Father Ron. Enjoy that while you're still young!

As you may know, dioceses elect their bishops in TEC, but before consecration, the election must be ratified by three fourths of the Standing Committees of the other dioceses. + Mark Lawrence's prior diocese had already seceded from TEC and he was elected bishop in the great and very sovereign state of South Carolina, so it was just common sense to raise the question. The assurances given were the standard ones that all new bishops give.

However, the whole matter turns on how the courts in the several states apply their own laws and the C20 decisions of the US Supreme Court to the 1789 Constitution of TEC. Haters on both sides enjoy whipping themselves into frenzies over this, but the plain fact is that TEC is in legal limbo, and would be just as much in limbo with conservative leaders and liberal dissidents. The courts-- sometimes even individual judges in the course of a single trial-- zigzag on the question whether the diocesan bishop or the presiding bishop is the highest authority in a disputed parish or diocese. The laws are not unjust; the judges are not incompetent; TEC is anomalous.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

Father Ron, South Carolina judges have ruled that the Diocese of South Carolina (DSC), not TEC, owned all of its property, and that its departure was legally impeccable. In the eyes of the judges with jurisdiction, a free corporation renounced its membership in a federation that it founded but now finds unhelpful. Thus legally, TEC ceased to exist in the bounds of the diocese, just as it no longer exists in Mexico or the Philippines. Up here, whether this makes self-evident sense or is a blasphemous outrage depends on where one one is from and where one attended seminary. Later, however, some parishes left DSC to form a new diocese on its territory called The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Although both DSC and ACNA are recognised by the Global South provinces, the DSC has no ties to ACNA. In fact, their compositions are somewhat different. If their reputations are to be trusted, the DSC has more post-liberals; ACNA has more conservative curmudgeons. Both + Mark and ++ Foley try hard, despite TEC's litigation, to shepherd their people away from the enemies mentality that distracts from the gospel.

"He left with the sheep who opted out of the Episcopal diocese that had made him its bishop."

No, the judges are consistent and clear: he heads the diocese that elected him bishop. Same standing committee, same churches, same diocesan seal, same church mice, same everything.

"And claimed the property!"

Gratifyingly, no again. The DSC's diocesan convention did the right thing and allowed those of its member parishes who wished to depart to do so. So where a parish was the local beacon of passionate liberalism and really wanted to be in TEC, the DSC allowed them to leave with their churches and its blessing. TEC's new diocese in South Carolina comprises those parishes. A few parishes were torn about which way to go, and there were some legal skirmishes around that.

Since the DSC is less diverse than it was, rebuilding an Anglo-Catholic and even a somewhat liberal presence in the diocese will require church planting. From what I hear, that has gone reasonably well.

http://www.religionnews.com/tag/diocese-of-south-carolina/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episcopal_Diocese_of_South_Carolina

http://www.diosc.com/sys/news-events/recent-events

http://www.charlestonmercury.com/index.php/en/lifestyle/religion/129-the-real-story-behind-our-split-with-the-episcopal-church

Bowman Walton