Sunday, July 20, 2008

Holy Cow: Lambeth Conference opens with a Buddhist Chant?

Both Anglicans United and Episcopal Life are reporting that the Lambeth Conference opened today with a Buddhist Chant:
Bishop Chickera spoke of a church in Sri Lanka that has survived several bouts in the last decade of warring and peace. The war now appears to be over and the diocese has decided that the building will retain the scars of war ... He concluded by singing a Buddhist chant for all the bishops of the Communion, both those here “and those not here.” -Cherie Wetzel, Anglicans United

De Chickera concluded his sermon with a low, rhythmic Buddhist chant as the cathedral bells tolled." -Solange De Santis, Episcopal Life

Words fail. Just what in tarnation is going on?

UPDATE: Here's Bishop Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh), Moderator of the Common Cause Partners and the Anglican Communion Network in an interview with the Guardian, saying it well:

The Right Rev Bob Duncan, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, could be deposed because he is unhappy with the progressive agenda pursued by the US Episcopal Church. He told the Guardian: "You cannot have unity at any price. The obvious divisions are there. When a family is broken it's because the family has no boundaries. To have a Buddhist chant at an Anglican sermon does not reflect the God we believe in."

10 comments:

Jill C. said...

Just routine. Everything is copesthetic. One is all and all is one, AND (trademark sign goes here) All is well!

Ohmm . . .

David Wilson+ said...

At least one bishop, +Bob Duncan, was not not shy in saying he was quite troubled by this departure from the Christian faith by a bishop of the Church.

1662 BCP said...

I will wager that not one bishop got up and walked out during this. I am convinced that it will take an act of homosexual, paedophiliac, necrophiliac,bestiality performed on the High Altar of Canterbury Cathedral to get these people to even blush.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

I am convinced that it will take an act of homosexual, paedophiliac, necrophiliac,bestiality performed on the High Altar of Canterbury Cathedral to get these people to even blush."
1662 BCP

Egads, what a filthy/vile mind...you made me blush.

Allen said...

Mind you, I am no fan of syncretism. BUT, if one can approve of the words of the chant, then the chant can be legitimate. Let's remember that the church adopted a well-loved pagan innovation and altered its meaning for Christ's sake: the pipe organ.

What were the words?

sam said...

I was there, and I have to admit that this was a bad move on the part of this bishop ... not in any absolute sense. The problem is that he didn't tell us exactly what he was singing ... "Buddhist chant" is pretty darn vague, and it could have been something simple and easily appropriated by the Christian Gospel (just because C.S. Lewis talks about the tao a lot doesn't mean he's a Taoist). And for anyone who listened to the rest of the sermon (I wouldn't blame anyone for falling asleep... it was long and not very engaging), it would be difficult to imagine that he was actually trying to insert pagan worship into a Christian liturgy. His singing was prefaced and finished with very explicit Christological statements.

Ann said...

It was not a Buddhist chant - it was an invocation of the Trinity. Just because it was not in American English and was not Gregorian - does not make it whatever you imagine.

Anonymous said...

BB is searching for issues. "Words fail"?!? Obviously...not.

Allen: "Let's remember that the church adopted a well-loved pagan innovation and altered its meaning for Christ's sake: the pipe organ."
And the dating of Christmas.
And Christmas trees.
And -- the Roman symbol of terror, the Cross.

Padre Wayne

Allen said...

Padre Wayne,

I reserve further comment until I know the lyrics to the chant.

On the subject of syncretism in general, one barely has to scratch the surface to find that it is all too common. The National Cathedral used to have Muslim Quran readings during Eucharist until an outcry made that history. Grace Cathedral in S.F. has chapels devoted to various religions. The general concern for theological dishonesty and confusion is well-founded, but it may be premature in this case of the sermon at Canterbury.

Show me the words. If they do not elevate Christ, or the Godhead in general then it is poor theological and liturgical practice.

Jody+ said...

It is, yet again, a testimony to the level we've sunk to in the Church that such conclusions can be drawn and spread abroad without actually ascertaining the truth. I found the words of the chant over at Bishop Alan's blog (area bishop of Buckingham.) Here's what he had to say. I can't say I disagree much; just because the lunatic left act like they do doesn't give the orthodox license to go off half-cocked. It just lessens our ability to speak with any authority.


I strongly endorse Cardinal Dias’ rejection of syncretism in an Indian context. My Sinhala is not what it could be. The gospel says that if you have an issue with a brother you owe it to yourself and to your God talk it through calmly and directly with them first. Today I was able to discuss this chant with Bishop de Chickera. Much Sri Lankan culture is essentially of Buddhist origin, he explained. What did the words mean? I asked. Four verses:

I take refuge in God the Father
I take refuge in God the Son
I take refuge in God the Holy Spirit
I take refuge in the One Triune God.


I am surprised that the Bishop of Pittsburgh finds this a deeply troubling invocation of a God he does not know. I am sorry if it does not reflect the God he believes in. I rejoice to know, and better still, to be known through and through by this God, and to believe in him. Over fifty years he has been my creator, saviour, and sanctifier, and I know no other.

When we rush to judgment of others we do not know, like or understand, especially on the internet, especially on the basis of rumour, it is easy to make complete fools of ourselves.


URL: http://bishopalan.blogspot.com/2008/07/buddhist-chant-murder-in-cathedral.html