Saturday, February 12, 2011

Canon Theologian to Presiding Bishop/Consecrator of the Bishop of New Hampshire appointed to represent Anglican Communion in Roman Catholic Dialogue


The Canon Theologian to the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church who consecrated the Bishop of New Hampshire has been appointed to represent the Anglican Communion in official ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswald advocated and presided over the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Anglican Communion Office announced that the Rev'd Dr. Mark McIntosh, an Episcopal priest from the progressive Diocese of Chicago (and now on temporary leave from his teaching position at a Chicago college) has been selected to officially represent the Anglican Communion in the the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commisson (ARCIC).  He also served as the Canon Theologian to Bishop Frank Griswald and has served chaplain to the Episcopal House of Bishops, including under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Is this not a go-around of the intent in the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter issued last May where he specified that:
provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged.  
Following the publication of the Archbishop of Canterbury's May 28, 2010 letter, five American Episcopalians were removed from the Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist and Old Catholic dialogue commissions, while Dr. Katherine Grieb of the Virginia Theological Seminary was demoted from membership in the Anglican UFO commission to consultant status, George Conger reports.

The Church of England Newspaper is reporting that Mark McIntosh was personally selected by Kenneth Kearon, the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, despite his credentials as the Canon Theologian to the consecrator of Gene Robinson. Dr. McIntosh is currently on leave from his position at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, to teach at Durham University.

In addition, Dr. McIntosh is one of the co-authors of “To Set Our Hope on Christ,a paper presented to the ACC meeting in Nottingham after the Episcopal Church was asked to step back from voting membership following the actions of the General Convention in 2003.  The paper sought to defend the Episcopal Church’s innovations of doctrine and discipline over human sexuality, ordination, and marriage following the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire.

To Set Our Hope on Christ continues to be sited in efforts to establish same gender unions and marriages in the Episcopal Church, as in the Diocese of San Diego's 2009 report Holiness in Relationships and Blessings in Churches of this Diocese.

While the American Dr. McIntosh is currently licensed in the Church of England's Diocese of Durham (where the bishop's seat is vacant following the departure of Bishop N.T. Wright), he is currently on leave from his teaching position in the United States.  The appearance of this appointment of the Bishop Frank Griswald's Canon Theologian seems to conflict with the very spirit of Rowan Williams Pentecost Letter - that the Episcopal Church's actions have brought the Communion into crisis, a crisis that was set off by the actions of the former Presiding Bishop.  It is clear that Dr. McIntosh has had a front row seat in advocating these actions.

Such a move to appoint a clergyman still in good standing in the Episcopal Church appears to keep the Episcopal Church influentially engaged in the hierarchy of the Anglican Communion despite its recent communion-breaking actions.  The Church of England has lost bishops in recent weeks to Rome and does this action not undermine attempts to engage in genuine and meaningful ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church?

24 comments:

TLF+ said...

Jill Woodliff, I think, did some prayers awhile back about "Spiritual DNA." Anglicanism's DNA seems to have way too much of this manipulative, back room wheeling and dealing.

Reformation said...

Bozo's. Lite-weights in theology. Yawn.

Josh Hagquist said...

They should have chosen Sproul, Packer, Horton, or someone else...Anglican, former Anglican, Former REC leader...anyone would have been better than some faux-theologan from ecusa.

Anonymous said...

I suppose one issue is whether the Reverend Dr. McIntosh is from Durham or Chicago. That seems a little unclear from the accounts. I hope the position is not based on the idea that he was part of TEC at one time. By the way, how does one know that the Diocese of Chicago is a 'liberal diocese'? I would think to get a good handle on that one would have to do a good bit of sophisticated polling of the members.

Scout

sam said...

BB, where are you getting this information? I haven't seen anything about McIntosh and a formal connection with KJS. I think you're confusing KJS with Griswold her predecessor. A correction is probably needed. That doesn't solve the issue of the provincial connection, of course.

Dale Matson said...

"The Church of England Newspaper is reporting that Mark McIntosh was personally selected by Kenneth Kearon" It would be interesting to know his rationale for the selection of Mark McIntosh. When these selections are made, don't they usually do this?

Wilf said...

Scout, I think you are spot on - operative word in your sentence here being was a part of TEC. I think bb here, in good faith, misread the bio and took the reference to "the 25th Presiding Bishop" to mean +KJS, while this was in fact +Griswold.

The Chicago Diocese is rather revisionist in flavor. A friend of mine was a member of a church which voted on leaving TEC. They were afraid they would get a revisionist rector. The church didn't leave, though he and a large contingent left to join another church. And he was right: on Easter day, the rector preached that the bodily resurrection of Christ is unimportant. You can find this by googling "let the tomb be full of bones." If you read the sermon: be sure that you keep your analytical / critical faculties sharp - and you will see what he is doing. The rector actually later complained that he had not denied the importance of the resurrection, but even in this defense he made more clear: he DOES deny the importance of the bodily resurrection. He was arguing that the resurrection is very "concrete" in its implications - e.g., that I can love you as a very concrete and physical person. But this is not what we mean when we affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ - yes, it is important that I love you, and that this has concrete and physical consequences. But the two are not the same. E.g., I may claim to believe in gay marriage, and that this should have legal consequences - but then vote for Proposition 8 - and later defend myself, "but I believe that gay marriage means that we must love one another, and I have been a strong supporter of anti-racist hate speech laws." A proper response to me would be: "well, we agree racism is bad, and that anti-racist hate speech laws are legislation; and loving one another is also a very good thing; but this isn't the same thing as gay marriage laws. Yes, loving one another is good, but in this context, when you say 'gay marriage means we must love one another,' your are obfuscating with this word 'means' and the notion of 'meaning' - it would be better if you simply said, 'I believe profoundly that we should love one another; but I can not honestly say that I support gay marriage'."

And for those who aren't following the ball rather closely, it all becomes a jumble of words of which people tire very very quickly - and likely to throw up their hands in despair and say, "look, okay let's just say this stuff is all quibblesome and unimportant, all these gay marriage laws or non-gay-marriage laws or whatever, and agree that we love one another - and maybe - just maybe - we could consider this to be 'gay marriage,' so everyone has 'gay marriage,' and everyone is happy."

There are still a number of good TEC churches in the Diocese of Chicago, but there have been a lot of defections. When I was in TEC in the Diocese of Chicago, when +Griswold was the diocesan bishop there, I don't remember ever the diocese or the National Church being mentioned.

+Griswold was different from +KJS. +Griswold knew how to construct sentences such that they really avoided teaching ... e.g., the bodily resurrection of Christ, or the contrary - the speech was a rich tapestry of sacred-sounding locutions with little substance or actual referent. This meant that neither Spong adherents nor Trinitarian Christians had much reason to lodge a formal complaint.

I think that +KJS would probably like to do the same but has found she doesn't have the ability. She has (I was about to say, "made the mistake of," but it might not actually be a mistake) made much more clear where her beliefs lie, and her teaching also points in the direction of the referent "Christ" being wholly subsumable to human potential and ethics.

Wilf said...

bb - all things considered, you should probably change the title of this piece, and issue a retraction. He is not, and never was (as far as I can tell), +KJS's canon theologian - this he was in the past.

Peter Carrell said...

All critics of McIntosh's appointment should reckon with this: he is a published expert in the theology of von Balthazar.

Von Balthazar is, arguably, one of the two or three most important theologians of the Roman church in the 20th century (Rahner, de Lubac, Congar would jostle with him for the top honours etc).

On purely 'academic' grounds there would be few rivals to McIntosh as a theological heavyweight to participate in ARCIC.

The criticisms being raised about other aspects of McIntosh's public theological commitments, canonical residency(s) have their place in assessing this appointment. But it would be unfair to the appointers and to McIntosh himself not to be aware of all the relevant facts.

Wilf said...

Peter,

Much agreed here re. Balthasar (notice the 's' - the 'z' variant means something else). Balthasar's theology is also known to be very Christocentric and solid. I have enjoyed the little I've read of him. So this is a "good thing."

Another "less good thing" is that he did his doctoral work with David Tracy. This will also likely raise the hackles of Catholics.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Wilf: 'sp' mistake acknowledged!

Anonymous said...

Unless I am missing something, some key questions remain unasked and therefore unanswered

1. If he is still a TEC priest, how can his appointment be justified in light of TEC's apparent breach of moratoria, especially given Rowan's stated position on that in that TEC "should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged"?

2. Knowing that his appointment might cause controversy, why didn't Rowan issue a public statement establishing the context behind it to head off controversy at the pass?

BabyBlue said...

I have updated/corrected the story that Dr. Mcintosh was the canon theologian to Frank Griswald. I am not sure this is particularly good news, since Bishop Griswald is the advocate and consecrator of Gene Robinson, the action that actually started the Anglican Crisis and broke off conversations with the Roman Catholic Church.

Why in the world would Kenneth Kearon appoint the author of the Episcopal Church's official defense for its communion-breaking actions to an official post of representing the Anglican Communion?

bb

Josh Hagquist said...

Peter,

There is a difference between being a historian and being a theologian. Maybe he is one of the leading writers on Von Balthazar...but having him articulate orthodox Protestant Anglican theology in ecumenical talks with The Roman Catholic Church is an embarrassment...just like much of the "theology" of ecusa leaders. I'm sure their theologians are laughing as well...

Anonymous said...

BB - you still seem to want to believe that the ABC and his LamPal staff are not part of the long-game, 'inch at a time' strategy of revisionists.... despite 7 years of the 'mind of the Communion' not being allowed to assert itself because of the actions of the ABC..... Lambeth 08 and Dublin 2011 invitations and divisive consequences as well as this appointment are no surprise..... Williams stands by his revisionist writings...and his revisionist friends....... he has said some things to keep others on board while he has given revisionists 'an inch at a time'....

Anonymous said...

JH (and others): what in particular is it about Dr. McIntosh's theology that will offend Roman Catholics. A lot of the talk here implies that the problem is one of association, actual, implied, or imagined. But there is a lack of particulars about this man's views. Could someone be specific?

BB says he was the "author of the Episcopal Church's official defense of communion-breaking actions. . ." Do we know this to be an empirically indisputable fact? If so, are those views still McIntosh's position on issues relating to ordination of non-celibate unmarried clergy? I think we would have to know this before we could proceed very far, unless the problem is simply one of connection to TEC.

Scout

Anonymous said...

The header on the post now is ambiguous. It could be read to say that McIntosh consecrated Gene Robinson. I think it's trying to say that he was Canon Theologian of TEC at the time the then PB consecrated Gene Robinson, but it seems worth the effort to be precise about these things. Otherwise everything just gets mushed together in a way that inflames people who don't know the precise facts or who do not read closely from various sources

Scout

Lapinbizarre said...

Re "Anonymous" and "7 years of the 'mind of the Communion' not being allowed to assert itself because of the actions of the ABC", I can do no better than quote EmilyH's remark at Thinking Anglicans, made oin reaction to ACI's recent squib in response to the Primates' meeting:

"After Lambeth 2008 failed to do what Radner+ wanted, he did not seem to give it the credibility he had forecast. The same may be the case for the Primates Meeting. If the Meeting does what is desired, Dromantine and Dar-es-Salaam, then it is authoritative, if it doesn't, then it isn't. Again, if ++Rowan Williams does what is wanted, he is authoritative, if not, he isn't.

Bull's-eye analysis.

Dale Matson said...

Lapinbizarre,
I am in full agreement about Ephraim Radner's comments pre and post Lambeth 2008. He offered up expectations pre and made no reference to this in his article following the conference. It is almost as if the two ACI articles were written by two different people.The articles are available on their website and comparing the two left me puzzled.

Anonymous said...

Dr Radner may have wanted to believe the best of the ABC (that is not a bad ambition), but some were never taken in by his warm words.... because he always stood by his revisoinist writings even though so very few even in the CofE are persuaded that the church catholic has been wrong in the last 2000 years. I can forgive Radner for wanting to think the best.... but the ABC having a Primates meeting with a bunch of people who represent hardly anyone...that is tragic and not relevant. Just like a tiny diocese (10k people) in the US taking a unilateral decision that affects the whole AC...when hardly anyone in that state goes along...but they speak for their context right?? The ABC's actions since 2008 have increased division and increased the irrelevance of AC meetings because only those who represent very few are present.... you think the chap in Wales or Scotland has any influence in those countries??? Few could name them... I understand why TEC and Canada turn up - how else to keep up the pretence of relevance when at home attendance is so small and falling. Radner was hoping for better decisions from the ABC..... hoping for the best is not a bad quality, even if sometimes people disappoint through their errors..... and consequences follow. Comfort yourself with being in Rowan's club.... you're welcome to him. DOn't kid yourself that he carries the CofE.... you think the CofE would lose all its African links for dwindling TEC and Canada? Fact remains, revisionists are presiding over terminal decline... not being in meetings with them matters not one bit to the mission of most of the AC... in fact not going frees up time for mission....

Anonymous said...

Dr Radner may have wanted to believe the best of the ABC (that is not a bad ambition), but some were never taken in by his warm words.... because he always stood by his revisoinist writings even though so very few even in the CofE are persuaded that the church catholic has been wrong in the last 2000 years. I can forgive Radner for wanting to think the best.... but the ABC having a Primates meeting with a bunch of people who represent hardly anyone...that is tragic and not relevant. Just like a tiny diocese (10k people) in the US taking a unilateral decision that affects the whole AC...when hardly anyone in that state goes along...but they speak for their context right?? The ABC's actions since 2008 have increased division and increased the irrelevance of AC meetings because only those who represent very few are present.... you think the chap in Wales or Scotland has any influence in those countries??? Few could name them... I understand why TEC and Canada turn up - how else to keep up the pretence of relevance when at home attendance is so small and falling. Radner was hoping for better decisions from the ABC..... hoping for the best is not a bad quality, even if sometimes people disappoint through their errors..... and consequences follow. Comfort yourself with being in Rowan's club.... you're welcome to him. DOn't kid yourself that he carries the CofE.... you think the CofE would lose all its African links for dwindling TEC and Canada? Fact remains, revisionists are presiding over terminal decline... not being in meetings with them matters not one bit to the mission of most of the AC... in fact not going frees up time for mission....

Daniel Weir said...

I think Dr. Williams made a mistake in excluding people from these official dialogs, a mistake which he may now as such. Far from being representatives of the member churches to which they happen to belong, these people were serving because they brought particular expertise.

Anonymous said...

post ordinariat, ARCIC is a dead duck anyway.... just like the Primates Meeting and Lambeth 08 under the current ABC.... good news is that most of the Communion is not wasting more time in fake 'indabas' and getting on with its work amongst millions of Anglicans....much more important than all the politics....and ACNA can rest assured that it is recognised by the vast majority of the AC already.

Anonymous said...

We'd do better sending The Primates Standing Committee to the Catholics for CCD.