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.

Grace.

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.

Grace.

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.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read your blog even when you don't write about Piskies. :-)

Christ on Bourbon Street, my man, was stunning.

-saint

Anonymous said...

I think you really got to the heart of the matter: the denial of grace. Very insightful. This is something that has always bothered me about "outing", but I've never been able to articulate it as completely as you have here.

Rob said...

I think you are right about wanting the Anglicans to be stronger. Of course, we want them all to become Catholic, but they are more likely to do that if they are "spiritually healthy". They certainly are not getting any "healthier" and, you are right, it is no cause for glee.

Tony said...

Fabulous post!

You are 100% correct about this. Bishop X's example is more dangerous to the radical gay agenda than all the preaching in the world.

I have been known to speak out on the sin of artificial birth control, even though I had a vasectomy 16 years ago.

I finally understand the damage I did to myself and my relationship with both God and my wife by doing this. I also have to blame myself partially for the priestly vocation crisis because God may have been ready to give my wife and I a son who would become a priest, but we said "no".

There are some who say that because I had a vasectomy, I am in no position to preach about this issue. I respectfully disagree. I am uniquely qualified to speak on the damage caused by something that I ultimately renounced.

jlh said...

You have got to be one of the most insightful bloggers writing these days. You should publish.