As we did yesterday, we’ll add to this post throughout the day with interesting excerpts of commentary from around the blogosphere. Keep checking for updates.
** this is “sticky” — check below for new entries **
Wednesday Morning Update:
No new entries have been added to the main text, but we’ve provided some links in the comments to other blogs providing commentary roundup.
From Scott Gunn at Inclusive Church:
Clarity, please — and my own “radical solution”
Not too long before the House of Bishops began to meet, Kendall Harmon made this plea:
So let the TEC leaders have the courage of their convictions and say what they actually believe before God and the global Anglican leaders. If they fail to do so, where is the justice in that?
I’m in full agreement with Kendall here. Too often, we progressives in ECUSA have been willing to duck behind polity or otherwise obscure our actions. The bishops needs to acknowledge their authority and their responsibility.
Must reading from Matt Kennedy:
Duplicity and same sex blessings: The difference between Pastoral Care and Public Rites
The bishops’ at last night’s press conference bent over backwards to get their talking points out: the House of Bishop’s response will be “clear” and “unambiguous”
And yet as we have seen, an Episcopalian bishops’ understanding of clarity and forthrightness is not wholly consistent with that of an ordinary person. An Episcopalian bishop, for example, can “permit” countless “acts of pastoral care” in his/her diocese wherein an officially licensed Episcopalian priest, in a “public” ceremony, blesses union of a gay and/or lesbian couple and still claim that he/she has not “authorized public rites for same sex blessings.”
The distinction such a bishop seeks to draw (or the obfuscation behind which such a bishop seeks to hide) is between a “rite” or liturgy authorized for use by the diocesan office and an actual ceremony, public or not, using a liturgy that does not enjoy the bishop’s “official” sanction. […]
The duplicity evidenced by Bishop Bruno in last night’s press conference (which is not at all unique to Bishop Bruno but simply reflective of the institutional deception that has arisen since 2003) is precisely the sort of duplicity that the Dar Es Salaam Communique seeks to disallow. The Primates want same sex blessings to end.
If what we have seen so far is any indication, the House of Bishops is making every possible effort, making every acrobatic twist, not to be clear, not to be forthright and not to give an honest answer.
Over at Covenant is a fascinating reflection on ++Rowan Williams sermon at the Ecumenical service last week by Dr. Jean Meade:
Dr. Jean Meade: Reflection from New Orleans
Feast celebrates the doctrine of the Trinity
[blockquote]But wrapped up there was the identical sermon being preached to and applied to the Episcopal Church and its Bishops, don’t you think? It is a “real wound” that the conservatives have been driven out, and are being driven out, and those in charge must realize that their own selves are endangered when these “others”, on whom they deeply depend for their meaning as Christians, are treated as if they had no worth. They must change their hearts and their very image of themselves. [Surely the Archbishop would by now have picked up on the always-unstated subtext that those of us who remain in the City of New Orleans generally say “good riddance” to those who have left, and are happy to see them never come back””just about the same attitude the Bishops have about the traditionalists who have left and are leaving.][/blockquote]
EPC pastor David Fischler at Reformed Pastor joins in the vocal commentary about +Bruno’s remarks at yesterday’s press conference
Busted (UPDATE: Plausible Deniability)
Busted (UPDATE: Plausible Deniability)
It isn’t often that someone in a clerical collar and pectoral cross is caught in a flat-out, bold-faced, demonstrable whopper. Such, however, was the fate of Los Angeles Episcopal Bishop Jon J. Bruno at a press conference in New Orleans last night.
Mark Harris at Preludium comments on the Making of Sausage:
Every effort to make a collective statement requires the addition of material which does not satisfy the discriminating writer, much as making sausage often includes binders and fillers that appall. Persons of discriminating taste ought not watch while sausage, law or group communications are being produced. Having been part of several drafting committees I can speak from personal experience on the matter. […]
I believe the House of Bishops is working hard at being and doing what is expected of them. Perhaps it is all our fault in expecting them to be and do too much. Some of us out here in the church have forgotten, along with some of them, that the work we do as The Episcopal Church (as opposed say to the diocese, or the parish, or the youth group) is cycled on a general three year plan. General Convention, the great sausage machine of The Episcopal Church, takes in all our concerns raised over three years and produces sausage which is then consumed (with greater and lesser gusto) in the years following. This in turn feeds into the next round. And so it goes.
It is perhaps too much to expect that the House of Bishops will produce definitive statements at this point. Some of us do not think they ought to do so. (See the Consultation statement.) In any event the House of Bishops, what ever they do today, deserve our thanks and prayers. Believing that it is necessary to make sausage, they are hard at work. Whether or not it is eatable remains to be seen.
And the best headline award goes to…. Ruth Gledhill! For this gem: Goodbye Father Jeffrey. Hello, Sister Moon.
(Right, I know we didn’t actually ANNOUNCE a headline contest, but Ruth wins hands down anyway 😉 ) Ruth writes:
The Bishop of Rio Grande, Jeffrey Steenson, is today explaining to the US bishops why he is to be received into the Roman Catholic Church. He leaves an Episcopal Church in disarray, led no longer by a ‘house’ but by a ‘community’ of bishops, with a songbook of praise to Mother Earth, Sister Moon and Brother Sun. Thank you BabyBlue for finding out what the bishops are singing in New Orleans and thus reminding us that this whole affair actually has very little to do with homosexuality.
Northern Plains Anglicans are pulling no punches:
Bishops and other assorted Episcopal leaders are lying
[in discussing the lack of transparency re: systemic decline, and also the apparent lie of Bishop Jon Bruno]
We can argue about all kinds of issues, but one of the reasons that the Episcopal Church is in so much trouble is that its leaders have shown themselves untrustworthy. One of this week’s morning lessons (1979 Book of Common Prayer) includes an instruction for Christ’s people to live together with “sincerity and truth”. Let us pray for honesty from our leaders. The flock needs to know where it is being led, and if the voice calling it is the Good Shepherd or a thief.
BabyBlue and an unnamed reporter discuss this morning’s open session:
I was just whispering with one of the national reporters here and she thought that the bishops standing up and talking about all the parishes leaving backfired on them. The way they talked (for example, the PB talked about the “Secret Church of Jesus Christ”) was jocular, not sorrowful. But I think it’s significant that Bishop Lee did not participate in that “event.”
Bishop Steenson as part of his resignation statement, as reported in the Living Church:
“It seems to me that The Episcopal Church has made a decisive turn away from those extraordinary efforts to preserve the Communion, such as Archbishop Rowan’s [Williams] proposal last summer in ”˜The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today.’ It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that The Episcopal Church has rejected the discipline of communion but wants it only on its own terms.
David Trimble of Still on Patrol weighs in on +Jon Bruno and the culture of obfuscation of the HoB:
Same-Sex, Lies, and Video Feeds
So, did +Bruno make a bold-faced lie to the NYT? Arguably, especially if you consider a “lie” to include obscuring the truth. Did he prevaricate and obfuscate by some winking and nodding at what is and is not officially approved and doing what he wants anyway? Most certainly. After all, isn’t this the TCGC way? No one associated with TCGC these days seems capable of giving a straight, honest, accountable answer to any question posed to them. Watching a HOB/COB press conference is almost like watching a Senate hearing where everything which occurs after the initial call to order is shaded, nuanced, and massaged to the point where the truth becomes a forgotten and antiquated concept.
In that it appears that +Bruno is among those on the writing committee, what hope is there that the “new document” which is supposed to emerge today will be any more acceptable than yesterday’s “draft”? The repeated assurances of a need for clarity do not lend themselves to any notion that TCGC is planning to repent or back away from anything it has done over the past 30 years. My prediction is that today’s new “draft” will surpass yesterday’s in its single-digit salute given to the Anglican Communion, and will this time include both the right and left hand versions of that gesture both to the AC at large and to the orthodox in particular.
Dave Sims at Covenant comments on +Steenson’s statement and asks some great questions:
You Can’t Get There From Here: +Steenson says Windsor Process insufficiently Catholic
Richard Minter: An Armenian church in Turkey is restored
These are sobering thoughts for any Anglican concerned with real Catholicity. Apparently something happened at the NO meeting which confirmed doubts that +Steenson has been wrestling with for some time. The issues he lays before the HOB describe broad, intractable problems, endemic to contemporary Anglicanism.
So, what would Cantuar say to this charge? Is the idea of a Covenant not sufficiently unifying to provide genuine Catholic order? Is Anglicanism really at a dead end with regards to a future Catholic unity?
Cherie Wetzel confirms Baby Blue’s impression that the press were not impressed by the discussion of “incursions by foreign prelates,” and that it may have backfired on TEC:
(via e-mail, her report #10. Will eventually be posted here).
Next, we heard the report about parishes in dioceses that have disassociated with TEC and gone “foreign.” There was no way to gloss over this report or minimize its impact on the press. Clearly more than 30 parishes were listed, 50 clergy named and other announcements of new parishes begun by CANA and the AMiA in more than 10 dioceses. At the conclusion of the report, Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas stated that he wanted the visitors to know that given the great list we had just heard, TEC had only lost 2 parishes. Just after this, the press was dismissed from the meeting. Incredulous at the statistical analysis just given, this now is the question in the pressroom.