Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Episcopal Life Ad Invites Congregations to Leave for Rome

There’s an incredible advertisement in the April 2008 edition of Episcopal Life. It’s on the bottom right-hand side of page 8. Here’s what it says:

THE ANGLICAN USE SOCIETY in America in communion with the Holy See of Rome offers to Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Anglican Tradition an information booklet explaining THE PASTORAL PROVISION, the canonical instrument that has made possible their reconciliation with the Holy See as units of common identity which preserve their Anglican heritage of liturgy, hymnody and spirituality.

In other words, an official publication of the Episcopal Church includes an advertisement from an official Roman Catholic organization that invites Episcopal congregations to leave the Episcopal Church and become Roman Catholic. As part of the package, the Episcopal priests of those congregations will be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, even if they are married. Those congregations and clergy will also be allowed to "retain certain liturgical elements proper to the Anglican tradition."

Episcopal Life is running this ad while our Presiding Bishop is deposing Episcopal bishops for their schismatic actions.

My friends, you just can’t make this stuff up!


Anonymous said...

Canon Fr Bryan,

That is the very ad which I saw in Arizona Life, our local edition of Episcopal Life. It was my very first knowledge of Roman Catholic Anglican Use, and I suspect it is a God-send to me after decades of suffering the historical, spiritual, and moral decline of ECUSA.

None of this is meant spitefully or negatively in any way, just realistically. Many decades ago ECUSA lifted me up and showed me the way to Christ. But we all know that ECUSA are now on a different mission which we must charitably assume is for good cause, but which is not Christian.

All Christians favor human justice as we must. But not every contemporary social goal is worthy of the mantle of justice. Indeed many suspect that there has simply been a "palace coup" by a new clique to gain control of the real estate and financial assets of the church. It has happened before in the Roman Church and in others. It's happening now in UCUSA and has been for decades.

The ECUSA really don't care if "traditional" believers leave ECUSA. It's better if they do leave so the assets can be be better deployed by the "new dispensation". There are always new converts to be had.

This is not shocking,,,it's simply human institutional nature. What's shocking is that many don't understand it and waste time trying to understand it in religious terms.

When bishops and parishes and even diocseses are fleeing (or trying to), this should all be self-evident.

The "new dispensation" are dooomed in the very long run, but I suspect they will have their own current lives to spend profitably looting the assets of many generations of donors. Look at Rome in the Renaissance.

Christ be with us,


Bryan+ said...


Thank you for your comments. They are received without any spite or negativity. I understand - and can sympathize - with the reasons why many people leave or stay with churches. Some of my dear friends in the priesthood are quite conservative, and some of what's happening in the Episcopal Church today is a source of great anguish to them. On the other hand, I have clergy colleagues on the left end of the spectrum who also experience anguish these days. There seems to be plenty of it to go around.

You write: " ... we all know that ECUSA are now on a different mission which we must charitably assume is for good cause, but which is not Christian." I would simply caution against assuming what "we all know," and also caution against falling into the fallacy of converse accident - taking atypical instances and making them representative of the whole. I suspect that most of us in the Episcopal Church fall somewhere in the broad and diverse center. It's typically the more extreme voices left and right that get media play. So the grassroots reality of the Episcopal Church is perhaps more complex than much of what we read about in the blogosphere.

Having said all of that, I regard the decision to run this ad in Episcopal Life as utterly bizarre. It's perhaps unfortunate that it's been running in The Living Church, but that's an independent publication rather than one sanctioned by General Convention.

Anonymous said...

Canon Fr Bryan,

Thank you for your gentle response, and for pointing out the questionability of my "we all know". I should have said we all know that the present course isn't "historic catholic Christianity" with which I think most would agree.

In my view, what was calming and centering about the Anglican Communion for some number of centuries was the absence of official dogma beyond the articles of the early post rupture phase of the English church, and even the aricles were largely ignored. There was room for Evengelicals and Catholics who tolerated each other. And there was much overlap of views.

What was new was the modernist revision of that simple and unwritten pact with the councils of ECUSA "seizing power" and turning the church upside down with ordination policy and much else. Calling it a "palace coup may seem extreme or provocative, but that is what it was and is. Anglo-Catholics really have had no choice but to leave as it became more evident the new policies, far from "levelng out" or stabilizing, were accelerating to new levels of religious revisionism.

Where the departing Angli-Catholics went shows how diverse even they were in ECUSA before the coup. Of course one does not always know where they all went. It might be interesting to take a survey of the parish lists of some larger ECUSA churches in, say, 1980to see where they all may now be.

A very large parish I have attended in the past few years has now nearly totally discontinued Rite 1 services which suggests to me that there is little demand due to mass departures. Of course it could also partly be due to "gentle programming" by the revisionists.

It *is* interesting that Episcopal Life carried the ad, and I am curious myself. But I am extremely happy and excited about it as it provides a previously unknown (to me) way out of my own pervasive disenchantment with ECUSA.