Saturday, November 15, 2008

Presiding Bishop releases "statement" on the overwhelming vote by the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth to separate from The Episcopal Church

Office of Public Affairs
November 15, 2008

Statement from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the actions of the Diocese of Fort Worth

November 15, 2008

The Episcopal Church grieves the departures of a number of persons from the Diocese of Fort. Worth. We remind those former Episcopalians that the door is open if they wish to return. We will work with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth to elect new leadership and continue the work of the gospel in that part of Texas. The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate

BB NOTE: We're not even going to get into this "primate" business, or what Bishop Lee used to call "prelates." If that doesn't call the remaining Virginia Episcopalians on both sides of the aisle to shudder, I don't know what will.

Since this seems to have achieved a kind of Form Letter Status now, let us compare this "statement" with the one put out last week when the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy (when we learned from the TEC Presiding Bishop that anything south of Chicago is concerned southern - and we all know what that infers) as well as the "statement" put out following last month's departure of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Here is last week's statement by the Presiding Bishop on the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy:

We lament the departure from The Episcopal Church of some individuals in southern Illinois. The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs. We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, and members of their surrounding communities, of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys. May all be reminded that the gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith.

Katharine Jefferts Schori on the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy

And then we had a little more verbose statement from Bishop Schori when the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to separate last month:

I believe that the vast majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans will be intensely grieved by the actions of individuals who thought it necessary to remove them from The Episcopal Church. I have repeatedly reassured Episcopalians that there is abundant room for dissent within this Church, and that loyal opposition is a long and honored tradition within Anglicanism. Schism is not, having frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy. There is room in this Church for all who desire to be members of it. The actions of the former bishop of Pittsburgh, and some lay and clergy leaders, have removed themselves from this Church; the rest of the Church laments their departure. We stand ready to welcome the return of any who wish to rejoin this part of the Body of Christ. We will work with remaining Episcopalians in Pittsburgh to provide support as they reorganize the Diocese and call a bishop to provide episcopal ministry. The people of The Episcopal Church hold all concerned in our prayers – for healing and comfort in time of distress, and for discernment as they seek their way into the future.

Katharine Jefferts Schori on the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

Here we go, creative writing-workshop-style, sentence by sentence:

Sentence #1:

Ft. Worth: The Episcopal Church grieves the departures of a number of persons from the Diocese of Fort. Worth.

Quincy: We lament the departure from The Episcopal Church of some individuals in southern Illinois.

Pittsburgh: I believe that the vast majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans will be intensely grieved by the actions of individuals who thought it necessary to remove them from The Episcopal Church.

Sentence #2

Ft. Worth: We remind those former Episcopalians that the door is open if they wish to return.

Quincy: The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs.

Pittsburgh: I have repeatedly reassured Episcopalians that there is abundant room for dissent within this Church, and that loyal opposition is a long and honored tradition within Anglicanism.

Sentence #3

Ft. Worth: We will work with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth to elect new leadership and continue the work of the gospel in that part of Texas.

Quincy: We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, and members of their surrounding communities, of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys.

Pittsburgh: Schism is not, having frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy. (that was Bishop Lee's original quote at Diocesan council - quoting someone else - which is quite interesting, but seems to have been dropped from the later "statements" so we'll add "Sentence #5" to this section as well). There is room in this Church for all who desire to be members of it.

Sentence #4

Ft. Worth: The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.

Quincy: May all be reminded that the gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith.

Pittsburgh: The actions of the former bishop of Pittsburgh, and some lay and clergy leaders, have removed themselves from this Church; the rest of the Church laments their departure (Pittsburgh got both "grieves" and "lament" which was split up between Quincy and Ft. Worth later, therefore, since this statement was more verbose, we'll add the final three sentences from the Pittsburgh statement here as well). We stand ready to welcome the return of any who wish to rejoin this part of the Body of Christ. We will work with remaining Episcopalians in Pittsburgh to provide support as they reorganize the Diocese and call a bishop to provide episcopal ministry.

Meanwhile the Diocese of Eu Claire may just dissolve entirely or merge with the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Hello? Hell0?

5 comments:

Rick Arllen said...

Its called a template.

Fill in the blanks.

Boilerplate.

Anglican Beach Party said...

I think, BB, that with this excellent analysis on your part, we are now ready to write a simple computer program for the Presiding Bishop, in case any other individuals (wink, wink) decide to leave TEC!

RSchllnbrg said...

Shortly after Bishop Lee quoted the "Give me Schism before Heresy everytime" line I wrote him to try to help clear things up a bit. Since then the quote has been used by Bishop Alexander in Atlanta among others, and has become rather a fixture these days, so much that you could call it an Episcopal Church "Talking Point".

Unfortunately it's more of a talking nonsense point.

As I pointed out to Bishop Lee, a simple examination of church history, or just the slightest attention to actual definitions gives us the following. Heretics are automatically excommunicated from the church, thereby breaking communion totally. Schismatics are not always excommunicated and while communion with them is considered broken, it is not as broken as the former case. Which means if you are trying to preserve a state of communion, even if impaied or broken, then schism is better than heresy.

Not that I'm suggesting either mind you. Just that I mind when people just make stuff up and then use it to hit others about the head and neck.

Which raises the question: Why is it that we so often elect as bishops people who have only been to the Monty Python school of theology?

Dr. Mabuse said...

I noticed that the latest comment was a bit on the terse side, too. My husband once told me a little factoid about spiders: experiments were done, to see how a spider would react to having its web repeatedly broken. At first, the spider would painstakingly rebuild the web as carefully as the original, but after the 3rd or 4th repetition, the web-building began to get sloppy and haphazard. I guess the frequent defeats began to disorient the spider, and it couldn't devote the same care to building the web when the rewards became fewer and fewer. I think Mrs. Schori's web-building has taken so many hits, she just can't put the same heart into it that she did when she began and imagined that it would lead to victory and glory.

Anonymous said...

We're not even going to get into this "primate" business,

huh?!