November 30, 2006

That's My Church!


In response to the recent diktat to embrace theological re-education and like it from newly elevated High Priestess Katherine Jefferts-Schori, the Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, SSC, tells Her Graceness to go and boil her apostate head:

I am in receipt of your letter to me and wish to make clear from the outset that I have always remained faithful to my vows as an ordained bishop in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At my consecration, I vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God.” I was charged by my chief consecrator to “Feed the flock of Christ committed to [my] charge, guard and defend them in his truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word and Sacraments.” I carry out my vow by defending and propagating “the historic Faith and Order” which The Episcopal Church commits to upholding in the preamble of its own Constitution.

In 2003, the General Convention committed itself to a theological path that is irreconcilable with the Anglican faith this Church has received and has torn the fabric of the entire Communion. The Primates repeated calls for repentance have not been heeded. More than half of the Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion have declared themselves to be in impaired or broken communion with The Episcopal Church. Beyond our Anglican Communion, relations throughout Christendom have been profoundly strained. With obvious reference to innovations and novelties introduced by The Episcopal Church, last week Pope Benedict XVI publically stated to Archbishop Rowan Williams that recent developments, “especially concerning ordained ministry and certain moral teachings,” have affected not only the internal relations within the Anglican Communion but also relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.

The Episcopal Church, as an institution, is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God’s Word are forced to make painful choices.

At a diocesan level, the choice is between continuing membership in an unrepentant, apostate institution or following Holy Scripture and the Anglican faith. Whether or not the Diocese of San Joaquin will continue its institutional membership in The Episcopal Church is a choice that will be made by the people and the clergy and not by me. They will express their collective will as provided in the diocesan governing documents which were approved by the General Convention when the diocese was first admitted to membership.

Good for you, Bishop Schofield! I'm sure my own parish and diocesan commisars will dismiss you as a nekulturny relic of the ancien regime fit for standing up against the wall, but it's good to see someone in the Church putting up a fight. Keep the faith!

Yips! to the Colossus for shooting along the link.

Posted by Robert at November 30, 2006 04:42 PM | TrackBack

It's a fascinating topic. It will be interesting to see whether the Anglican communion will go the route of Alternative Primatial Oversight (from Canterbury, or Nigeria) or whether it will simply allow a 39th church to be set up with a new North American primate. Given the communion uses the nation-state as its basis for independent churches, I imagine it would be hard to do the latter; unless they say there is one church for Red America and one for Blue America. It is a fascinating chain of events for those of us who don't have, so to speak, a dog in the fight, but it must be a tragedy for you, Robbo.

I think it has had an effect on the Catholic church, which has been to stop dead in its tracks the notion of women priests; I think that the Anglican experience has effectively put the brakes on that in Catholicism -- everyone is terrified of opening up schisms like those appearing in the Episcopal church.

I think, too, the Catholic Church is no longer looking at the Anglican church as a possible suitor, but is instead to the Lutherans or to the east for the possibility of a reunion.

Posted by: The Colossus at November 30, 2006 07:40 PM

I also liked Bishop Schofield's letter because of its use of the term "apostasy". That's not a term you see bishops bandy about very much these days, in which everyone is always trying to achieve a consensus based on mutual respect and understanding. Refreshingly blunt.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 1, 2006 10:06 AM

As an active Episcopalian who is fortunate to worship at a very traditional church, I say Bishop Schofield's letter is spot on. It is long past time for those who wish to continue to worship as a part of the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" to lay it on the line and force the separation that needs to inevitably come. It is a terrible thing for the church as a whole, but will allow clarity of thinking for all involved. I don't believe the Jefferts-Schori wing of the church will survive the century.

Posted by: Aggravated DocSurg at December 2, 2006 08:32 PM

I wonder what might happen if Benedict rolls out an Anglican Rite for the RCC. Mmmmm. Game, set, match.

Posted by: LMC at December 3, 2006 05:35 PM

JP II already did it; google "Anglican Use Roman Catholic" or "Anglican Pastoral Provision".

Not widely known, but it could be getting bigger.

And the priests get to keep their wives.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 4, 2006 11:45 AM