The question of whether Communion without Baptism (CWOB, sometimes also called “Open Communion”) is actually widespread within ECUSA has come up in the discussion of Derek Olsen’s essay on CWOB which we posted this morning. Thanks to the work of a task force in the diocese of Northern California under Bp. Jerry Lamb in 2004 – 2005, we actually have some specific data to discuss on this question.
Here’s is an Excel version of the table above: CWOB_data_NCal_Survey2.xls which you can view onscreen or save to disk. (There are HTML links in this spreadsheet to the full survey report which provides important background). The original PDF version of this table is here. In the Excel version, we have slightly modified the PDF original to include a TOTAL column, and we have added separate “bottom line” totals separating out the YES responses from the “YES + Probable” responses, which we believe makes the data clearer. Otherwise the data is as reported.
Note that the first set of bottom-line percentages (tan color) represent the % practicing CWOB among responding dioceses in each Province. They cannot be assumed to be representative of other dioceses that did not respond. The final line of data (green) do give an idea of at least the MINIMUM number of dioceses per province practicing CWOB.
Summary of results:
— 48 dioceses (47%) responded.
— 24 (50%) reported that they have parishes in their dioceses who practice CWOB
— another 7 dioceses were considered to “probably allow CWOB,” bringing the total of “YES + Probable” responses 31 dioceses, or 65% (i.e. just about 2/3rds of all the dioceses which responded)
Even if the other 55 dioceses which did not respond did not allow CWOB (not likely!) that would mean a minimum of 23 – 30% of ECUSA dioceses allowed CWOB back in 2004 – 2005. If on the other hand the dioceses which responded are representative of ECUSA dioceses, than we can report that half to two-thirds of ECUSA dioceses allow CWOB.
As we wrote to one commenter in the discussion thread below: We’re really NOT talking about just a few extremists who advocate this practice!
Important Update, October 2008:
In trying to access the Northern California Task Force materials linked here, we discovered that the original links are no longer working. However, all the documents can be found at the Internet Archive site:
[url=http://web.archive.org/web/20060517212454/http://www.dncweb.org/communion/OpenCommunionReport2.pdf]Here’s the Task Force Report[/url]
[url=http://web.archive.org/web/20061019104149/http://www.dncweb.org/communion/communion.htm]Here is the link to the Appendices and other supplemental material[/url]
[url=http://web.archive.org/web/20061028034407/www.dncweb.org/communion/communion_by_province_data.pdf]Here is the table from the original report, which we used to prepare our Excel spreadsheet and table.[/url]
Don’t hesitate to contact us should you need help finding and accessing this material. — The t19elves. (T19elves@yahoo.com)