The Primus of the American Episcopal Church gave an interview on the BBC Sunday programme. Since I have been described in a recent book (Douthat) as 'waspish', I will buzz some more. I warn the temperamentally sensitive that my views on this cleric have not ... er ... mellowed. Per contra ...
Curry's principal tool as an interviewee was what, in this country, is thought of as a soppy, softly quiet, parsonical voice, together with passages of sentimentality. (He is also what I categorise as a "Y'knower".) Three times he was asked about 'reparations'; I presume this is a live issue in some American circles, because, each time, he declined to answer the question, and talked instead about 'reconciliation'.
Invited to explain the communion-breaking actions of the ecclesial phenomenon he leads, he spoke about 'differences' which, he said, should be 'navigated' by 'love'. The two examples he gave were 'homosexuality' and 'various medical issues'. My suspicion (I may accept correction from those with refined antennae more in tune with American culture) is that 'Various Medical Issues' means, or at least includes, Abortion. (Surely, since the context here is the break-up of the world-wide Anglican Communion, he is not just discussing Obamacare!) He quoted the famous aphorism which S Augustine did not invent about in dubiis libertas.
Vespae iterum bombum sonans, I wonder whether this voluble gentleman applies his sweetly tolerant principles to the issue of Civil Rights. In view of the fact that Holy Scripture in no way condemns (indeed, explicitly tolerates) the practice of Slavery, I assume that this is another of Curry's dubia about which Christians can with a smile and a wink agree to differ. Against the background of a system in a number of American states where those (often negroes and in legally worrying circumstances) convicted of murder are painfully killed by lethal injection, I wonder if he includes this as among the 'various medical issues' on which Christians can amicably differ with cheerful goodwill. There are countries in the world where coercive interrogation crosses the line into torture, medically supervised. (Then there is the not-so-little matter of the imaginative use of Zyklon B for another sickening 'medical issue'.) And, taking up his reference to 'homosexuality', it would be amusing to know whether he also regards consensual paedophilia as a dubium upon which Christians are to be expected to hold varying opinions. And if not, why not.
When Adolf Hitler heard that Blessed Clement von Galen had outed and denounced his policy of exterminating the unfit, he is reported to have snarled "When I have won this war, I shall settle my account with von Galen". Michael Curry, on the other hand, speaks with gentle fragrance about "Love and Reconciliation". Yet in each case it looks to me as if the subject is, or at least plausibly includes, the elimination of lives deemed too inconvenient to be allowed to survive. How can such very different styles of language refer to such similar objects? I am very clever and I think I know how to explain this apparent contradiction. You see ...
But there is no need for me to take up your time or my own with this. George Orwell has done the job already.
30 May 2018
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In the Liturgy of the Hours Morning prayers on Sat 5/26/18 we hear from St. Paul:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.”
It seems that the Episcopal Church in the US is doing all it can to prove St. Paul correct - there is no end in sight for the strange teachings of ECUSA.
"Various medical issues" from an Episcopalian probably begins with euthanasia, contraception and IVF -- assuming there is a "difference", that some Anglicans still maintain teaching on those issues. But yes, the phrase is a conveniently undefined sliding scale that may include abortion. When you're pushing contraception you don't want to admit that the logical path leads to abortion, when you support IVF you don't want to hint at the implications of human embryos frozen or destroyed...
He didn't answer the question when asked "Do you believe we need reparations?" He just kept answering "We need reconciliation." Well, what does that mean? His use of the word "reconciliation" is vague. he just did not want to answer the question. I also think he patted himself on the back, if you will, by saying that his sermon was a big hit because it spoke to people who have a "deep spiritual hunger." When asked about the condoning of same-sex marriages by the Episcopal Church ... "What do you say to those who say that YOUR church has departed from scripture?" Curry does not answer the question. He just says we need to love. If I were this interviewer, I would have pressed Curry harder and called him out by saying, "Bishop Curry, sir, with all due respect, you did not answer the question. Do you think the should be reparations?" I also would have quoted scripture and talked about the sacrament of Holy Matrimony and how it was originally intended by God; then I would have asked him to defend his argument. This interviewer asked good questions; however, he gave Curry a pass on these answers.
From this Western side of the pond, your analysis and questions are spot on.
The gentleman of whom you speak is the recipient of the most incredible largesse. Affirmative action is one thing, but making such an individual the head of the organization? It is a sign of advanced decay.
My Episcopalian aunt belonged to a parish with a very beautiful church, and an even more beautiful endowment. It is now run by a Puerto Rican pastor, and peopled by an equally dubious set of Episcopalians. The building looks like a bomb hit it, the yard is a mess, and the money is............
That is the modern Episcopal church. Falling apart at the seams, following every current trend, and beset, like any dying organism, by a host of parasites.
It has become a haven for every "alternative" type of person, with everyone welcome except the Anglo-Americans who built it.
What Curry would call "Prophetic Witness" I would describe as dated politics.
Your very sharp wit on these absurd positions is much appreciated. Thank you.
With respect to settling accounts, there is the similar account of Charles de Gaulle’s reaction when he heard that a Vichy court had condemned him to death:” When this news reached Gen. de Gaulle in London, he said: 'I consider the death sentence by the
men of Vichy entirely void, and I shall settle accounts with them after victory.” Which, of course he did.
I wonder if one of the medical procedures, besides the IVF, abortion and euthanasia, might not also include 'gender reassignment'. Or perhaps that's already taken for granted. Great post, Father. I actually lasted through the sermon out of curiosity, and it was definitely cringe-worthy, and as much out of place as that frightful choir.
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