Sunday, June 08, 2008

Law and Order

I was among those who cheered when the California Supreme Court opened marriage for gay and lesbian citizens. In fact, I was jubilant. But, immediately, I also wondered what the Episcopal clergy and bishops in California would do. For our church is not bound by the actions of the state. We are bound to the actions of General Convention.

Let's face it: The canons and Prayer Book of our church seem to be pretty clear: The Episcopal Church has not yet authorized a liturgy/sacrament for marriage between two men or two women. I don't see how we can ignore those canons and rubrics, while holding the schismatics accountable for their violations of our polity.

This ol' lesbian had serious misgivings when All Saints/Pasadena promptly announced they would proceed with gay marriages. How can one parish stand against the canons and rubrics of our church? I don't get it.

I was worried that our California bishops might authorize gay/lesbian marriages before our whole church acts at GC09 ... as I truly believe they should and will. Our BCP currently enshrines the heterosexist definition of marriage. I think that's wrong, and I truly hope we will change it in Anaheim. I heartily welcome the call for our church to engage more deeply the question of what it means to be married and "in covenant." I hope it would lead us all to a deeper understanding of what is meant when we say, "I do." Meanwhile, if folks on "our side" violate our canons and polity without taking some disciplinary consequences, then I don't believe we have an honest leg to stand on when we deal with the schismatics. To state it more boldly: I don't think we can claim any integrity if we allow this double standard.

Mary Gray-Reeves, the
bishop of the diocese of El Camino Real, was the first to issue an official statement
this week. (Also published here.) She's laid out what seems to me a rather convoluted "just barely canonical" procedure whereby Episcopal clergy can bless same-sex marriages. (Isn't it interesting that one of the least "political" bishops was the first to announce this – instead of a higher-profile bishop like Bruno?) Not surprisingly, the folks over at StandFirm and T19 are livid. So are many of those commenting at the progressive blogs.

I'm happy about the California civil decision. But in the ecclesial realm, I think this sucks all around. We have many faithful gay and lesbian Episcopalians yearning to celebrate their marriages in the church they love. I want them to be able to do so. We have many people (including clergy) in California who want to move ahead. I do, too. But we are as bound by our canons and Prayer Book as are the schismatics.

So what's a good, conflicted liberal to do? I'll confess, this instinct appeals to me.

Maybe it's not right. But I sure do understand the impulse.

I'm reminded, too, of the Episcopal priest who has decided simply to omit the Nicene Creed from the liturgy. That is just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I've never been in a parish that omitted the Creed. If I found one, I would have serious misgivings. Do I have questions about some parts of the Creed? Of course I do! Some of the mysteries articulated there are beyond my ken, so far. But I recognize it as what the Church believes and as the doctrines to which I assent and into which I wish to grow.

Some days, I do understand why the schismatics view us with alarm.

I expect to take some flak for these opinions. But I believe that we must have order, consistent order in this church of ours. If we discipline the schismatics who flout our canons and polity, then we ought also to discipline our friends who take a principled stand for what they understand as justice. Otherwise, we have mere anarchy.

Postscript: The day after I wrote this, StandFirm picked it up with a harangue, focusing on my use of the word "schismatic" in the penultimate paragraph. The comments went off on that direction.


Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with you. If one side can just ignore the Prayerbook and the Canons, so can the other side.

I am also deeply skeptical of motivation of many of the clergy who are so intent to bless gay relationships. So many of our clergy come from conservative religion backgrounds, and they are determined to prove that they are no longer Southern Baptists or Missouri Synod Lutherans or Roman Catholics. Blessing gay marriages is a perfect way to prove that are now enlightened, isn't it?

Twenty-five years ago when I was a student at Seabury, many married students made a point of giving me big bear hugs at the big Thursday evening Eucharist. Yet most of these same people spend the rest of the week ignoring me completely. I figured out that the reason they were so publicly embracing me that one evening was to show their family and friends just how liberal they now were. I wondered if they would go back to Central Florida or Upper South Carolina tell people, "In Chicago, I hugged homosexuals."

Ecclesiastical blessings do not seem to be a source of strength for opposite-sex couples, judging from our divorce rate. And my partner of 25 years and I have done just fine without having the hands of the over-eager liberal clergy self-righteously waved over us.

We may or may not get married later. Marriage does not offer us more rights than our current California Domestic Partnership does, so it does not seem urgent. But if we do, I will not feel that the commitment is any less valid in the sight of God or the world for not being made in front of an Episcopal clergyperson.

6/08/2008 11:53 PM  
Blogger mousestalker said...

That priest is currently ministering to a UCC congregation as an assistant. I believe his rectoring days are over (by which I mean he is retired).

I do not believe there is any statute of limitations on violations of the rubrics, but in this instance there is the legal doctrine of laches which ought to apply. What he did was wrong. But it was a while ago, and any attempt at discipline would serve no purpose.

6/09/2008 5:17 AM  
Blogger Suzer said...

You'll get no flak from me, just agreement.

6/09/2008 10:29 AM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...

Hi Lisa,

While I disagree with the California Supreme Court decision (not on outcome grounds but on the grounds that something as basic as the definition of Marriage should not be changed by judicial fiat), I applaud your thinking here regarding the adherence to the canons. You cannot yell at the conservatives/reasserters about violating the canons when you, yourself, are violating the canons.

BTW, could you please refrain from the term "schismatics." There are a large number of people who oppose changing the moral teaching of the Church who are not schismatic. I am a deacon in good standing of an Episcopal Church and I have no intent to leave it. I believe that this whole mess (both on the progressive and on the conservative side) is due to what I term The American Heresy.

Phil Snyder

6/09/2008 1:34 PM  
Blogger Br. Randy Greve said...

If you claim to support the theology of inclusion and diversity, then why use the pejorative and judgmental word "schismatic". I hope your anger and bitterness can be healed and that you can come to see those with whom you disagree as human and not "problems"

6/09/2008 4:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Anger? Bitterness?

Brother Randy, I don't know you so I can really say with any amount of certainty, but if you followed this thread from that post over at Stand Firm, I have a hunch that if you look up the word "projection" in the dictionary, your post might show up right there as a fine example of that dynamic.

You, too, Deacon Phil. You politely ask not to be called "schismatic" but "conservative", then give a sideway insult by calling those who disagree with you as participating in an "American Hersay." Not exactly a classy move there, Deacon Phil.

Schismatic is as schismatic does. I do not see Lisa referring to conservative behavior.

I quote from Lisa: "Meanwhile, if folks on "our side" violate our canons and polity without taking some disciplinary consequences, then I don't believe we have an honest leg to stand on when we deal with the schismatics."

Near as I can figure, conservatives have not broken any canons. They may applaud those who do, but they, themselves have not.

The schismatics, on the other hand, have. With impunity. Which is why they've left. Which is, by definition, schism.

So, Deacon Phil and Brother Randy (to whom I grant extra points and six extra days off from purgatory for NOT being anonymous), now that we've cleared that up, let's all take a few deep breaths and stay focused on the positive. I think we can still do that, can't we?

Watch - I'll show you: Lisa, I agree with your comments about the Creed, but I wish you had gotten the whole story before commenting. The guy is a retired priest in TEC, but he's practicing in the UCC Church.

Still, shame on him, but he's not breaking any rubrics or canons. That's not even modified by a technicality. He's not functioning as an Episcopal priest in an Episcopal church. The only disdain he brings is on himself.

As for Bishop Mary's action, yes, she is, sadly, following the canons and rubrics to the letter.

What she has done also points up the insanity of the times in which we live. As you note, the church needs to get out of the civil end of marriage and embrace the liturgical role of the church to bless those whom God has called into sacred vocation of life-long, committed, covenanted relationship.

The states of NY and CA have done the right thing. They have recognized the civil right of same sex couples to marry.

The church, on the other hand, needs to recognize our baptismal right to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all of the sacraments and sacramental rites of the church.

At another time and in another ecclesiastical climate, Bishop Mary might not be so inclined to be canonically right.

It's not about being "Windsor-compliant." TWR is as much a joke to those on the left as those on the right, which is why the schismatics have left.

It's not about Lambeth. The tribal drums have been beating out the consistent message that "Lambeth is not a legislative body."

It's not even "the official teaching of the church." It is the mind of the bishops. That's only one fourth of the baptismal orders. There are still priests, deacons and the laity who simply do not have the same vehicle to voice what's on their minds on this matter.

And, it is only the thinking of the majority of bishops at that time and in that place. Goodness knows, bishops who have gathered at Lambeth palace, have, over time, changed their thinking about divorce, reproductive rights, the status of women, and any other number of cultural concerns.

Bishop Mary's position is one of political expediency. Not too many bishops - especially a fairly newly minted bishop who is a woman - are inclined to rock the ecclesiastical boat.

I understand. I don't like it one tiny bit, but I understand. I don't get to like everything the church does. Which is why I applaud the decisions of places like All Saint's Pasadena, and the diocese of LA for their courageous actions.

What they are doing is, clearly, not canonically right, but it is the right thing to do. In the present climate, that's an act of bold courage. And, God knows, the church needs more bold and courageous leaders in these days when "being nice" is more important than "being real."

Truth be told, we're all holding our collective breaths until after General Convention 2009. I suspect we'll see a whole new passel of churches who'll be schismatic after that. And, a lot more bishops willing to "do the right thing."

See? That wasn't so hard after all, was it, boys?

I didn't give any sideway insult to Lisa. I didn't use the odious terms "reappraiser" and "reasserter". I was clear, direct and owned my own opinions.

I'll leave you with some words of Jesus, which echo the words of the Prophet Micha: "Go and learn what this means: God desires mercy, not sacrifice."

Thanks, Lisa, for giving me the "air time."

6/09/2008 6:52 PM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...

Mother Kaeton,

I don't remember asking to be called anything. I take it you did not even read my post on the "American Heresy" because you would have seen that I don't claim immunity to it so I am not saying that anyone who disagrees with me is guilty of it.

In terms of schism, let me bring up an anology. During the War between the States, the state of Virginia left the union for a time. However, several counties in the north west of Virginia left Virginia to become the Union state of West Virginia. So, who were the schismatics? Was it the state of Virginia that left the union or was it the new state of West Virginia who left the state of Virginia? There are many people who believe that soon TECUSA will either not be part of the Anglican Communion (either because it won't agree to the Covenant that the rest of the Communion wants or because the majority of the Communion (in terms of numbers) will have left Canterbury). There are congregations and dioceses that see TECUSA falling into sever error on the issues of authority and faith and morals. They desire to remain part of the Anglican Communion and not be part of the schismatic acts of TECUSA, so they leave. They see TECUSA "walking apart" (to use the Windsor Report verbage) from the Anglican Communion and they desire to remain part of it. So, from their standpoint, TECUSA (the ones walking apart) is the schismatics, not them.

I don't agree with their tactics. I think leaving TECUSA is the wrong move simply because it weakens the prophetic witness to continue in the Apostles' teaching.

Instead of using emotionally ladened lables like "schismatic" or "theocon" or "heretic" or "revisionist" why not use more neutral words like progressive or conservative. That way, we might actually listen to each other rather than jerk our knees. It's easier to see those who disagree with you as persons if you use fewer pejoratives.

Phil Snyder

6/09/2008 7:53 PM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...

Mother Kaeton,
You said: "What they are doing is, clearly, not canonically right, but it is the right thing to do."

So, if I can get enough people to support me in any extra-canonical actions (such as, say, taking my congregation or diocese out of TECUSA) because it is the "right thing to do" then it's ok?

You obviously think that the canons can be broken with impunity if it is "the right thing to do."

That way leads to madness.

Phil Snyder

6/09/2008 7:58 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just who are the schismatics, Lisa, when we get right down to it? At some point, someone on your side - maybe it'll be you - will say, "you know what? This isn't working." When we keep doing things over and over again and they don't work we know what that's called - it's called insanity.

What's happening is not working. It will continue to worsen until we all take responsibility that this mess is our own fault, all of us, too much, too little, too soon, too late - whatever fits. But there's no else to blame but ourselves. All of us. No one has a market on the blame.

The pissing contest isn't working. Even a secular judge with no fish to fry could see quite plainly that we've divided big time. It's all ready happened. Now how do we put it back together - or at least find a way to have a cease fire?

Where are the peacemakers? Are they born yet?


6/09/2008 10:40 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

the schismatics over at StandAroundAndComplain are talking about this post. Probably explains why a few of them trooped over here.

(You made some sensible points with this post, by the way.)

6/10/2008 1:18 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I have only a few moments here, as I must get ready for work.

Here's a newsflash: I agree with Greg G. at StandFirm that in my penultimate paragraph, I should have said "conservatives" instead of "schismatics."

I am intrigued that he and most of those commenting here have focused on that one word in a 652-word essay. This little lesson suggests it's not enough for us to agree on the big issues; I must use every little word "just so," too.

6/10/2008 7:14 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

"Conservative" is not the correct term. This is a new breed, that is quite different from the traditional conservative that has always been part of TEC.

This new breed has conspired for many years to establish a "replacement jurisdiction" for Anglicanism in North America. To accomplish this, clergy have broken their ordination vows, and foreign bishops have been invited to plunder North American congregations. As New Westminster recently made clear, these pillagers in purple, and their allies, have set up an unlawful authority that is not recognized by either the ACC or TEC. They are trespassing, and will be held accountable for their most unethical actions.

Those who are aligned with the Network or a foreign Bishop are indeed schismatics. It seems to me that is the least offensive term that one might use.

But please, don't call them conservatives. To place them in the same category as faithful Episcopalians who are of a more conservative inclination is to sully that honorable stance within the Church.

6/10/2008 8:13 AM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...


You will note that Greg agreed with almost everything you wrote, except the word "schismatic."

Jake - The "liberals" or "progressives" today are also not like those of yesteryear. In some ways, they are (they ignore canons when it suits them), but they are more vindictive and angry and willing to use political power to crush their opponents. Is it any wonder that many people are trying to leave TECUSA? They are trying to conserve the faith they have received and are trying to be true to their vow to be faithful to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them - not as this Church may construe them.

Yes, I'm a little slanted.

Phil Snyder

6/10/2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Deacon Phil,

Read your own post. You asked NOT to be called "schismatic." Then read mine. I simply stated an opinion.

As to your point about what you think is "obvious" about the right thing to do:

Please don't put words in my mouth or draw conclusions for me. I'm happy to answer a question if you have confusion about what I was saying. What you did was to take a cheap pot shot.

You can do better than that. I know you can.

Baby Blue asks, "Where are the peacemakers?" They are right here. They are me and they are you.

To paraphrase an old Native American fable: we all have a wolf and a dove in our souls. The one that will survive is the one that we feed.

6/10/2008 12:17 PM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...

Mother Kaeton,

You said: "I understand. I don't like it one tiny bit, but I understand. I don't get to like everything the church does. Which is why I applaud the decisions of places like All Saint's Pasadena, and the diocese of LA for their courageous actions .

What they are doing is, clearly, not canonically right, but it is the right thing to do. In the present climate, that's an act of bold courage. And, God knows, the church needs more bold and courageous leaders in these days when 'being nice' is more important than 'being real.' (emphasis mine)"

What else am I to infer by applauding the decision to violate the canons except that you approve of violating the canons. I don't see how I took a cheap shot by pointing that out. If, then, progressives are free to violate the canons when they think it is the right thing to do, then why aren't conservatives also free to violate the canons when they think it is the right thing to do? Why can't whole dioceses leave TECUSA? Can you show a canon that stops a diocese (which legally existed before joining TECUSA) from leaving TECUSA? Even if you can, if it is "the right thing to do" then why not do it?

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Phil Snyder

BTW, I asked not to be called something. I did not ask to be called something. They are different things, as I am sure you know.

6/10/2008 12:52 PM  
Blogger Liz Zivanov+ said...

My goodness, Lisa. You really opened the door for the schismatics. Guess their own sandboxes aren't big enough for them. Jake is right: they're not conservatives. They're schismatics who have been doing everything they can to rip apart the Episcopal Church. I know plenty of conservatives in TEC and they don't sound anything like babyblue or this deacon or the brother who weighed in here. They have more important things to focus on in their ministries as Christians and Episcopalians.

Thank God Elizabeth has the energy and patience to go another round with them. But it would be even better if they would shake the dust from their shoes and move on to a schismatic-friendly sandbox.

I am also in awe of your self-discipline at not taking their bait. You have more important things in your life as well. As do I..... back to the vineyards!

6/10/2008 1:37 PM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...


I feel the love and inclusion in your remark "But it would be even better if they would shake the dust from their shoes and move on to a schismatic-friendly sandbox."

When I comment here and at Jake's and other places, I am not ignoring my ministries, I am fulfilling my prohpetic role as a deacon. If you study the prophets, they were not just upset as social injustice. They were upset that the people had forgotten their covenant with God. As a church, TECUSA has forgotten the first promise of its Baptismal Covenant - to continue in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship. We have left the teaching of the Apostles and have started calling "sin" "blessed." We have started to allow those who are not baptized to receive Holy Communion (again against the apostolic teaching). We have substituted our own names for the Name of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). We have ceased to proclaim Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life. We have compromised on the uniqueness of Jesus Christ for salvation and we have refused to acknowledge the traditional formularies of Anglicanism.

As a result of all of this, TECUSA is in turmoil. We have ceased to be healthy as a church (although there are places of health in it - even in progressive dioceses and parishes). We are showing the one of the largest signs of dysfunction - the inability to discipline people or bringing entirely too harsh of discipline or disciplining against the rules of the organization. We see selective inforcement of the canons. We no longer share a common faith. This leads to a breakdown in unity and leave power as the only discipline.

I am not schismatic and I have no plans to leave the Church.

Phil Snyder

6/10/2008 2:32 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

I don't go to sites like StandFirm -- they make my stomach hurt, and my heart heavy. However, I would have to agree with Jake that there is a difference between using the word "conservative" versus "schismatic." I think this was discussed on Jake's blog quite a while ago. People were accused of lumping all conservatives with those who wish to leave the church, those who are loudest in their charges of apostasy and heresy against members of TEC. There was a desire to differentiate between those of a more conservative bent, and those who were angrily denouncing and attacking TEC, and wishing for their church to leave TEC. The word "schismatic" came into use to differentiate those folks who wanted to leave with their property, and others who might consider themselves conservative but who want to remain at the table (like Phil, here).

Is there a better word that might describe those wishing to leave, that has a less troublesome connotation for those who are offended by it? I have used the term schismatic because that it simply the way the situation appears to me, but if that is offensive, perhaps there's a better way of saying things. What I believe is one thing, but how I approach my brothers and sisters in Christ is another.

Would secessionist be as troublesome? (I'll probably get jumped all over for my suggestions, but I truly am offering it as an olive branch, even to those who would most strongly disagree with my stance on the issues.)

6/10/2008 3:21 PM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...


Thank you for trying to find a way around words designed to hurt. If I may make a suggestion, within the "conservative" community, we use the terms "communion conservative" (or ComCon) to denote those who wish to remain in TEC and have a definite link to Canterbury. For those who cannot, in conscience, remain within TEC, we use the term "Federal Conservative" (or FedCon) to denote that they see a more federated communion - possibly with Canterbury at the center but maybe not.

I am not a FedCon because I see the history of trying to find a "pure" church. It is one of constant splintering and fractioning. Witness the plethora of "Continuing Anglicans" that came about in the aftermath of the 1976 convention.

Now, if the Communion were to offer some solution, such as dual provinces with both being part of Anglican Communion and we were able to negotiate some settlement where dioceses and parishes could vote on which province to join, then it might be a different matter. I would have to think and pray hard about what to do.

Until then, however, I see the Anglican Communion as the best option and believe that I should stay within TEC to help call it back to its Baptismal Covenant.

Phil Snyder

6/10/2008 4:35 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Those terms both sound like good descriptors to me, Phil. Thanks for sharing them. They make sense, and don't appear (at least to me) to carry an offensive connotation.

6/10/2008 4:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

First, let me say "thank you" to the folks on "my side of the aisle." I recognize that in this blog-post, I was breaking ranks from the party line, and frankly I expected to take a lot of hits. But you all have been very generous. Some of my friends (like Elizabeth a.k.a. TELP) have expressed their disagreement, without being disagreeable, and I am grateful. A few of you have shared your agreement; I'm grateful to hear there others on "my side" who share some of my misgivings.

Sadly, the comments have focused on my use of the term "schismatics" rather than the substance of my post. Oh well. Frankly, I wonder how many of those who have come here from StandFirm read my full essay. So let's look back at what I said.

I said: Meanwhile, if folks on "our side" violate our canons and polity without taking some disciplinary consequences, then I don't believe we have an honest leg to stand on when we deal with the schismatics.
But we are as bound by our canons and Prayer Book as are the schismatics.
and finally:
And so, finally, I said: Some days, I do understand why the schismatics view us with alarm.

That third use of "schismatics" was wrong.

But in the other two uses, I wasn't talking about the sincere "conservatives" who deeply disagree with the direction of TEC. I was talking about the people and organizations that are wantonly violating our constitution and canons. Phil, that's not you. BabyBlue, that is the AAC and the Network and Schofield and several of those on StandFirm who aren't even members of TEC anymore; and it includes you, if you voted with the majority to affiliate with CANA.

Now ... my sister is arriving in a few moments for a good visit and slumber party. So I'm giving myself the evening off. Since I won't be monitoring the blog and won't be available to play "Zap-a-Troll," I'm going to put comments on moderation. As many of you know, I also can't post here during work hours. So I'll leave moderation "on" 'til after work tomorrow (Wednesday). I'll try to check in from time to release appropriate comments.

Phil, this particularly applies to the propaganda and sweeping generalizations (like "TECUSA has forgotten the first promise of its Baptismal Covenant - to continue in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship") you started spouting in your 2:32 p.m. comment; these are lies, and no more of them are going to make it through my trash-o-meter. I'll use the same kind of judgment Father Jake has used with you. You have a blog you can use, and it's not my fault if people don't want to follow your link to read that stuff. My brother, you begin to remind me of that old joke about inmates who are so boringly familiar with each other's jokes that they no longer need to tell the jokes; they simply call out "#32!" and everybody laughs, or "#16" and everybody groans.

6/10/2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whenever I have had a conversation with Deacon Phil or any of the other regular contributors to "Bullies on Viagra", my stomach hurts from trying, really, really hard, to embody the Christian restraint and love of which he and others seem incapable.

I can't say anything that he will take seriously.

Why? He hates me - with a seething, smoldering, burning hate.

Oh, he'll vehemently deny it, but it's painfully true.

It is obvious from this and every other post he has ever sent me - beginning with the nauseously devious post he first sent me, asking me - ever so politely, you must understand - to "explain" the Progressive understanding of the gospel."

He hates me for responding by telling him that I am not responsible for his education.

He hates me. I don't like him very much, but I don't hate him. I can't. As much as I want to and have tried, I can't.

Why? Because I love Jesus too much.

Why does he hate me? Because he understands me to be "the enemy" and, as much as he loves Jesus and (damn it) Jesus loves him, good Christian soldier that he is, he simply follows orders.

I went over to the Bullies just now. I am completely astounded by the hubris it takes to criticize Susan Russell's eyebrows and hair, and Gene Robinson's shoes.

And this, from the supposed uber-Christians.

I'm done.

Until the next time.

Lisa, I admire your discipline and restraint.

6/10/2008 6:57 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

"I am completely astounded by the hubris it takes to criticize Susan Russell's eyebrows and hair, and Gene Robinson's shoes."

I am often astounded by the unChristian behavior displayed by both "sides" (if there are indeed sides -- I wish I could say we are all Christian brothers and sisters, but my frustration, hurt and anger sometimes gets in the way of that). I was dismayed last December to find the same kind of hubris displayed regarding Bishop Schofield's size on MadPriest's site. When I pointed it out, some agreed with me, but others continued (and still continue) the ridicule. Some of the comments at Father Jake's from the more "progressive" side make me wince with their snarky mean-spiritedness. It is very disillusioning. At least I can see clearly now that we ALL are lacking at times in displaying courtesy to others.

When does it stop? I disagree with some of the positions taken by Phil and BabyBlue and others, but perhaps the thing to do is to treat others as we would like to be treated (I think Jesus said something akin to that). If others do not return that favor, it reflects on them, not us. Perhaps using Phil's terms (ComCon and FedCon) can lead to greater understanding. Perhaps I'll still be called a heretic and apostate by those who disagree. Oh well, at least I will have tried. I'm as fallible as the next guy, though, and am sure I will at times let my emotions overcome my better judgment. I will simply try to do better in the future.

And, Lisa, thanks for allowing these comments to veer off course. I very much agree with your original post and don't have much to add, but found the comments interesting and worth a response.

6/11/2008 8:49 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

A handful of disconnected observations.

- The situation in California is now consistent with the legal / canonical situation in Canada, where the state recognizes marriages between partners of the same sex, where one diocese permits such unions to be blessed, but not solemnized as marriages, and where most of the Canadian church does not allow even that.

- If one "side" wanders about violating canons they find inconvenient, they lose all moral authority to criticize the other "side" for the same behaviour.

- I don't know if Phil loves, hates, likes or dislikes Elizabeth. What I know is that his post on the American Heresy did not suggest that one side of the TEC debates were heretics and the other not, but rather that the tactics of the two sides were grounded in an heretical tendency towards (a rather protestant)individualism.

- Your national constitution speaks of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I think that this may be the root of some of these things. My nation's constitution is about "peace, order and good government."

- A recent poster at Dan Martins's blog claimed that, while conservatives like Dan and Tony Clavier were willing to be critical about coservative tactics, no progressives were prepared to be self-critical. Thank you, Lisa, for proving that yet another "conservative" accusation was really so much hooey.

- On the nomenclature issue, I have previously made the distinction between conservatives and "conservatives." The latter are not truly conservative since they seek, not to conserve, but to destroy. I've written on this at

6/12/2008 1:15 PM  
Blogger plsdeacon said...


Just as a minor correction, the US Constitution does not speak of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." That is our Declaration of Independence speaking of the "inalienable rights" with which we are endowed by creation. The US Constitution protects (so long as the Supreme Court allows it to) our rights to life, liberty, and property.

I do not hate Mother Kaeton. I don't even dislike her. I don't know her well enough to do so. I believe that she is wrong in her theological thinking and praxis - and profoundly wrong. But she thinks the same of me, so I guess we're even on that score.

In my reading of websites like this, Fr. Jakes, Preludium, and Tobias Haller as well as the conservative sites like Titus-one-nine, Stand Firm, Baby Blue, etc., I find more self-criticism on the conservative / reasserter side than I do on the progressive / reappraiser side. No side is monolithic in its views by any stretch of the imagination.

BTW, you are right on my critique of Individualism. It is an equal opportunity heresy and seems especially prevalent in Americans.

Phil Snyder

6/13/2008 4:12 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

Outwith Frs Martins and Clavier, I have seen virtually no self-criticism on the "other side."

But I must admit, it was almost funny to read the inquisitor in chief, Fr. Griffiths, squealing like the proverbial stuck prophet that someone shoud have the temerity to call him a schismatic. The hypocrisy of it all was startling, given the propensity he and many of his have of accusing and convicting all and sundry of heresy, of apostasy and of canonical wickedness for the sin of disagreeing with his narrow views.

6/14/2008 1:22 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Malcolm.

You're right: We need to make a distinction between genuine conservatives and the newfangled neo-con "conservatives." I regularly correspond with folks in the former camp, but I disdain the latter. I was honored to work with Chris Webber -- an honest to God conservative (in the traditional sense) -- on this essay, "The Conscience of a Conservative."

Phil's argument that individualism is a "heresy" just cracks me up. Next thing you know, drinking Diet Coke will be a "heresy." I cannot believe the wild abandon with which the "other side" bandies about the term "heresy."

More seriously: Yes, I am sad that almost nobody on my side of the aisle is expressing misgivings about the directives of the California bishops. But I have also been pleasantly, delightfully suprised that many of the folks on "my side" have been kind and generous in their responses to this post. None of my friends and allies has pronounced me a heretic or turncoat. I am grateful they've given me this space to differ.

As to Greg and the StandFirm crowd, I will simply say this: They seem to have a desperate need to have Enemies. Never mind that the views I expressed here are 98% in agreement with them. They still felt a need to point out that I'm a heretic. Of course, I was wounded to the core, and had a hard time getting out of bed the next morning. HaHaHa! Not!!! If I'm taking their silly flak, it means that somebody else got a respite.

The wheel of Scripture arcs toward justice. I believe that.

6/14/2008 9:23 PM  

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