Given my own diatribes against clergy who violate their ordination vows with impunity (not to mention my thoughts on communing the unbaptized) , I was particularly struck when Scott wrote this:
We should be very firm in disciplining clergy who violate their ordination vows. Period. Once someone has violated them (as opposed to talking about it), we should precisely follow the canons and deal with the matter quickly and justly. This, by the way, should include people who disregard the worship of the church, not just those who reject our polity. To name one example, “open communion” is expressly forbidden by General Convention and canon. Yet it goes on undisciplined, all the time. (I’m conflicted on this one, but until the canons are changed, I must follow them.)
Phil Snyder (who blogs at "The Deacon's Slant") made this comment in response to Scott's posting:
... we have lost a common faith and common discipline. The HoB [House of Bishops] no longer cares what you believe, unless you act on a “conservative” belief. The only discipline left is power. To quote Voldemort: “There is not good or evil. There is only power….” The HoB had the power and the will to depose Duncan. They do not have the will to depose or discipline anyone on the progressive side for actions contrary to either the C&C (such as allowing or participating in Communion without Baptism) or the expressed will of the Church (as stated in either resolutions of General Convention or Lambeth or the ACC or the Primates’ meetings). While resolutions do not have enforcement measures, they do have moral authority and should be followed - particularly when the unity of the Church is at stake.
Thank you for standing up for the rule of law rather than the rule of power.
While I'm not 100% comfortable with the labels (such rhetoric always tends to obscure as much as it reveals), some would characterize Scott as a "progressive" and Phil as a "traditionalist." No doubt, there's much on which they disagree. And no doubt, there are many issues on which I disagree with each of them.
And yet, it is precisely for that reason that I take heart from this example of how Phil finds common ground with Scott on the norms of The Episcopal Church. To my mind, this exemplifies what it means to speak of "Anglican Centrism" and "Generous Orthodoxy."
I believe that it's exactly this kind of common ground we need to highlight, celebrate, and nurture. For without such common ground, we doom ourselves to endless partisan bickering, turf wars, unjust interpretation/application of canon law, and the undermining of the primary reason why we exist in the first place: to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that [Jesus has] commanded" (Matthew 28:19-20 NRSV).