Friday, January 18, 2008

Retreat this weekend

I'll be seeing some of my readers and co-bloggers this weekend (at least these two here) at the Courage men's retreat (I depart in a few hours). And probably not a moment too soon, to be honest, given where I am.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Why "outing" matters

Wow ... maybe I should write more about the Piskies in the future.

My post about the despicable behavior of the High Priestess of the ECUSA was noted this morning at Stand Firm in Faith, a site for "traditional Anglicanism in America" (original notice to a smaller site run by Peter Ould) and this was probably responsible for a few other site links.

Anyway, today I got about 20 times my usual traffic, though probably most are Episcopalians. The rot in the ECUSA and some similar Anglican churches is no time for triumphalism, since the disease that has the Communion in the infirmary at least is not one unfamiliar to us Catholics. In the tradition of then-Cardinal Ratzinger ... I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those [in traditional Anglicanism] ... there is a unity in truth and a communion of grace ... With this in mind, I pray in particular that God's will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself.

Anyhoo ... one gift I received from visiting the Anglicans (which I confess I don't do regularly) is that I read this piece at Stand Firm and this piece at Mr. Ould's.

The ugly, but necessary background for those pieces to make sense: A gay blogger, whom I will neither name nor link, responded to the call by Bishop [sic] Katharine Jefferts Schori by saying late last week he had a short-lived sexual relationship (weeklong, consummated twice) with a particular Church of England priest who later became a bishop. Bishop X (the only way I will refer to him, though the gay blogger names him) has committed the cardinal sin since those acts of associating with and backing the homophobes in global Anglicanism and believing the Christian teaching on sexuality. This has been the subject of much talk in the Anglican blogosphere the past several days.

Anyway, this is the key part of the spiritual reflection by Jackie Bruchi (in both cases, RTWT):
There is no mention in the article if the bishop in question continues unrepentant in the alleged acts; only an implication that having participated in homosexual acts, it is now hypocritical to take an Orthodox view or support others in their stand for Biblical Authority. If one follows this logic, it means once you have sinned, you may never condemn that particular activity as a sin. Every bank robber must condone theft, every unfaithful spouse must embrace adultery. Repentance is never even considered. Since we are all sinners in desperate need of the redeeming grace and salvation of Our Lord and Savior, this would be bad news indeed.

Of course, this is really not news, is it? The revisionist are simply taking a page out of the LGBT playbook which says you are welcome to your sins provided they do not interfere with their agenda regardless of how morally depraved those sins may be. From a secular point of view that is bad enough but when you seek to apply that same standard from a Christian standpoint, the clarity becomes overwhelming. The message has become a threat, spiritual blackmail, if you will – the only way to escape seeing your sins in neon lights is to uphold the liberal agenda or don’t sin. (this latter not really being an option, CM) It’s a little fuzzy as to whether it is the liberal view that gives you a pass or whether embracing your proclivities keeps them from being sins. ...

We would all do well to remember that it is not the sin that makes the man. It is our willingness to repent of our sins and submit our lives to the Kingship of Christ that determines who we are. We should also ask if it is a matter of hypocrisy or the beginning of wisdom when one recognizes a sin in one's life and refuses to call it holy?
And here is Peter Ould:
The comment thread and other posts from other bloggers began to fill with a number of people echoing the original cry of hypocrisy. The one theme that comes through these commenters and the original post is that the Bishop in question is repressed, in denial and undertaking "fear driven decisions".

Curiously though, one word was missing from all the comments and articles.


The reason why the blogger outed the Bishop and why the liberal feeding frenzy commenced wasn’t because of the Bishop’s hypocrisy. In fact, the Bishop in question has been commitedly single and celibate for many years. There is nothing hypocritical about someone who rejects a sinful past, embraces the orthodox position and lifestyle and then supports others who do the same (trust me on this one). There is nothing self-repressive about someone who realises that they have sinned in the past and now lives a life centred on holiness, not sexual gratification. There is however one expression that can describe the activity of God in transforming someone’s life and leading them on the path of righteousness.


There it is again, that wonderful word. It is, as John Newton would say, "Amazing". It’s a sweet sound that saves wretched sinners, that makes us found when we were lost, that lets the blind see. Grace forgives and grace leads on. It points to a sinless heaven not a fallen earth. It breaks down stereotypes rather than reinforcing prejudices.

Grace transforms.

And that, my friends, is the real reason the liberal bloggers have it in for the Bishop in question. They don’t like grace because it requires an acknowledgement of sin, and they particularly don’t like the grace that God has exhibited in this specific Bishop’s life.

How so? Very simple:
  • The choices made by the Bishop in the past decade reveals the lie that one’s sexual attraction dictates one’s whole life
  • The Bishop’s consequent rejection of prior sexual activity challenges the liberal notion that gay sex is holy
This is why the liberals have to attack this Bishop, because his current lifestyle and his rejection of not only his past sexual activity but also the contemporary pro-gay agenda is a denial of everything they stand for. How dare he? How could he?
The personal risk or social consequences of "outing" really are not why I have such contempt for people who engage in it, frankly bordering on hatred, I admit.¹ The bastards could, in principle, humiliate me or Bishop X or others -- but sub specie aeternitatis, that doesn't matter all that much.

My contempt is because, as Bruchi and Ould explain, the logic of "outing" is necessarily a denial of grace, of the possibility of repentance, of the grounding of forgiveness ... in other words, pretty much a denial of Christianity itself.

This would be bad enough from the Signoriles of the world, but we're now seeing this despicable Gospel-pissing from the presiding bishop of the ECUSA. That's the head of one of America's most-prominent churches and necessarily one of its leading Christian figures.² Anyone of such faithlessness in her (pseudo-)position causes enormous damage, both from present scandal and from the precedents she enables/solidifies. She, her predecessors and her current courtiers have morally certainly cost many souls in their prowling about the earth and turning the ECUSA into an effectively non-Christian body. I am sure her skull will make excellent paving.

St. Michael the Archangel ... pray for us.
¹ I have no plans to ever again refer to Bishop Smarmi by anything other than some form of insult.
² Yes, I know what Dominus Iesus says. But the objective nature of the Episcopal Church does not speaks to the effects it has on souls. I do not subscribe, either in politics or religion, to the "the worse it gets, the better" school. The Body of Christ is stronger when our separated brethren are strong.

Bishop Signorile

I would normally try not to say anything about the Anglican Communion-rending dispute over Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, on account of manners in speaking about the internal affairs of one of the Protestant churches, or to put it more snarkily: "Robinson is just as much a bishop as the rest of them." But the Big Cheese of the Episcopal Church has engaged in the ultimate in pro-gay smarm -- outing, which is one theme of this blog.

No, actually Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori doesn't even rise to the level of an "outer" (and no gay man would ever tolerate her taste in robes either, as this Jackson-Pollock-worthy ensemble proves). But at least Signorile, Rogers, Ehrenstein and the rest of that despicable gossiping lot would have the stones to say "Bishop So-and-So is a homo." They might use anonymous or unreliable sources, but they at least say who they're talking about.

Bishop Schori? No such honor. Why out "Bishop X" and risk being rebutted or having to offer proof. She simply does a Clintonian drive-by smear-by-implication, with the slushy slide already set up, the escape hatch already well-greased. She tells the BBC:
"[Bishop Robinson] is certainly not alone in being a gay bishop, he's certainly not alone in being a gay partnered bishop," she said.
"He is alone in being the only gay partnered bishop who's open about that status."
She said other Anglican churches also have gay bishops in committed partnerships and should be open about it.
"There's certainly a double standard," she told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.
This self-righteous pro-gay ideologue, working in the guise of a shepherd of Christ, has sinned through her own fault, in her thoughts and in (especially) in her words, in what she did and what she failed to do.

(1) She has made an impossible-to-rebut implication against every unmarried bishop in the rest of the Anglican Communion. And put them all on the spot without their having done anything to warrant or deserve it. I realize the good bishopess does not herself think sodomy is wrong, but this is an act of pure contempt against those who do, some of whom she is still supposed to in communion (as in Anglican ------) with.

(2) She has put without reason journalists in an awkward quandary -- how does one report "an outing" without giving it credit (like with the false "Obama is a Muslim" smears, which caused much more consternation). Her statement is, as made, uncheckable, and she offered no proof of it. But it is made by a prominent-enough person that it has to get reported. She thus gets journalists to make the charge for her if they dig for details. Orwell talked about the morality of those who always managed to be elsewhere when the trigger was pulled.

(3) Does Bishopess OutersRUs really think that she will change the mind on this issue of any closeted-gay bishop by threatening, however sotto voce, his public humiliation? Does she think they're either so spineless (exposure to the bishops in her own ECUSA may have encouraged this perception) or so ruled by their dicks (exposure to gay groups in her own ECUSA may have encouraged this perception) that they will not take such a threat as an affront worthy of digging in their heels (even if those heels be Prada-clad). But regardless of anything, on absolute principle, it's a call she has no right to make (see Gay Patriot and Andrew Sullivan on that principle, called "playing God").

Blame Canada

Maybe the Canadian Human Rights Blackshorts have overreached in the Mark Steyn case, trying to punish an internationally-famous columnist over straight factual statements about Islam. Though, as was predicted almost 20 years ago in the Salman Rushdie case (and seen in the cases involving the Danish cartoons, Theo van Gogh and Oriana Fallaci), free-speech is rapidly becoming an internationally indivisible right.

But, as Lifesite notes here (and the Steyn link above makes the same point), these panels have consistently been solicited, successfully or otherwise, by homosexuals and their enablers to silence Christians, starting almost 10 years ago with a Christian printer who didn't want to do business with a gay group. The bullet list will only expand as homosexuals' definition of what constitutes "hate" expands.

I vacation every year in Canada, where I have extended family, and I'm tempted to take along with me next time something by Father Harvey or Father Groeschel and see if Customs does anything.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I ♥ Bishop Nienstedt

The coadjutor-archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul has been trying to rein in much of the homosexuality-based dissent in his diocese, home of the famous St. Joan of Arc Parish and much more mirth (to the consternation of those who should be consternated). One of his acts was repealing an invitation to an open lesbian to speak at a church. A decent, if biased (and in one place nonsensical), roundup of what has happened is here.

What I liked was Archbishop Nienstedt's response to Ann Marie de Groot, who thought to write "what's this new sin called complicity?" (Aside: does Miss De Groot really think "complicity" is a new concept ... it's just a more-contemporary sounding word for the Thomistic lingo "formal cooperation"). Here is the whole letter, with the part worth highlighting in italics.
In her Dec. 19 commentary, "What's this new sin called complicity?" Ann Marie DeGroot presents an argument against the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexual activity that is representative of many such proposals I have recently received -- with one exception: She does claim that this archbishop is "good"!

The caricature that she makes of my argument is that "parents of an actively homosexual child cannot invite that person home for Christmas dinner" without committing a sin. I never said or implied that, and I never would.

After being born, raised and educated in a Catholic home and Catholic schools, my brother decided to join an evangelical church. My parents were heartbroken but continued to keep in touch with him. He knew that my parents never accepted his action, but he also knew they would not reject his person.

The same is even more true for any child involved in an immoral activity. You don't have to sanction the behavior in order to eat Christmas dinner with that son or daughter. At the same time, you do not have to condone that activity. You urge the offspring to reconsider his/her activity and you pray for his/her conversion. In other words, you let it be known you do not approve. Parents, family members, friends are called to radical honesty and moral integrity. There is nothing "new" about that.
"Loving the sinner while hating the sin" is not a snap-fingers-easy thing to balance. Indeed, one of many detestable things about gay identity (quite apart from the sin of sodomy) is that by identifying the person with the sin, it makes that very balance impossible in principle (and for any sin).

But this analogy about conversion away from the Church is about as good a pastoral analogy as possible since it presupposes a situation that all people have experience of (religious difference within the family) and also doesn't require that the listener already agree with the Church on the morality of homosexual acts -- changing churches is widely considered in this society to be a morally neutral and sometimes-good act. Thus religious difference is an analogy that explains how and why you can have somebody in your house who practices the gay lifestyle / evangelicalism without approving of it, and thus has the potential to better penetrate a "skull full of mush" than analogies of homosexuality to alcoholism, kleptomania or bestiality.¹
¹ Yes, I am aware that schism is an objective wrong. But, because my point is about pastoral response and effectiveness, the wide perception that it is not one is far more salient to the point I am making.

Friday, January 04, 2008

You don't often hear it stated this baldly

Conservatives often accuse liberals and leftists of being closet (or not-so-closet) secular bigots who only find religion tolerable if isn't taken seriously.

Most opponents' descriptions of the other side should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. But this one might not ... from the "Catholic Church in Britain" files:
'A group of bishops appear to be taking a much firmer line and I think it would be useful to call representatives of the Catholic church in front of the committee to find out what is going on,' [Barry Sheerman, chairman of the parliamentary cross-party committee on children, schools and families] said. 'It seems to me that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith. But as soon as there is a more doctrinaire attitude questions have to be asked. It does become worrying when you get a new push from more fundamentalist bishops. This is taxpayers' money after all.'
Now of course, it's bad enough that Britain is apparently considering making Catholic bishops explain themselves before an official tribunal (regardless of its consequences) for the sin of actually believing Catholicism is true and that schools that are supposed to be Catholic should act as if it were. These schools are supposed to be Catholic even though they are state-funded; the notion of "church-state separation," whatever its merits, is an American one that has never been the practice in Europe. And Sheerman repeats one of my pet peeves of liberal-secularist insularity -- common vulgar misuse of the worst f-word in the language (that would be "fundamentalist"¹)

But did you catch that part ... "It seems to me that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith." How does one parody such unthinking ... unthinkingness.

I will acknowledge that this was a sinus-clearing quote. You could cut this MP's contempt with a knife (and if he were to speak that way about Islam, some people would be cutting more than that). But, to quote myself, "you don't often hear it stated this baldly." British blogger Cranmer, who calls the whole shameful thing an "inquisition" put it best:
Well, Mr Sheerman, Cranmer has news for you. People who are 'not serious about their faith' do not possess a faith. And faith schools which are 'not serious about their faith' are not faith schools. Does Parliament 'work all right' if politicians are not that serious about politics?
Hey, it's not as if religion or one's eternal fate² is something worth being serious about? What's eternity sub specie aeternitatis? What doth it profit a man if he take his soul seriously but lose the world?
¹ Any use of that word to refer to anything other than a strain of mostly Anglo-American Protestantism since the early 20th century either proves the user's ignorance or mendacity.
² Or the lack thereof. If there is no God or next life, that'd be just as much a fact and just as serious a matter as their existence.