Back in October, in response to the uproar provoked by the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire, the Church of England issued the "Windsor Report," which merely invited the U.S. church to express "regret" that its actions had caused consternation in many parts of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire replied, in effect, "I'm sorry I made you cry." Commenting on this response at the time, Bill Cork hit the bull's-eye:
It is a mealy-mouthed piece of nothing if ever such was written by a PR agent. "We thank God for the work of the Lambeth Commission," "we acknowledge and regret the pain and confusion caused by the election and consecration of our bishop." ... It wasn't wrong. It wasn't a mistake. It wasn't a sin. They merely regret that unenlightened people can't celebrate with them.
In his most recent letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury would appear to address this very defect:
"An apology may amount only to someone saying, 'I'm sorry you feel like that,' and that doesn't go deep enough," Williams wrote in a letter to the leaders of national Anglican churches to mark the beginning of Advent, the period of repentance before Christmas.
That sounds pretty encouraging. But then Williams immediately slides back into patronizing liberal head-patting:
"If it is true that an action by one part of the Communion genuinely causes offense, causes others to stumble, there is need to ask, 'How has what we have done got in the way of God making himself heard and seen among us?' " Williams wrote. "Have we bound on other churches burdens too heavy for them to bear, reproaches for which they may suffer?
He doesn't say, it's wrong to go into error. He says, we shouldn't move too fast, lest we "bind a burden" on those little folks who aren't quite up to speed. It's obvious that, for Williams, the weaklings are the Africans, and the Americans need to be more considerate of hurt feelings by delaying the inevitable until more Nigerian homes get "Will & Grace" and come to see the light. The pastoral approach.
In the LA Times article in which these quotes appear, Larry Stammer notes that "repentance is understood to mean ... endeavoring not to commit the same offense again," but says:
Williams did not spell out whether he hoped the U.S. church would cease ordaining actively gay men and lesbians as bishops.
Beautiful. Williams calls for repentance, and is incapable of stating which of two contrary courses is to be repented. Which raises the question: if you can't tell me whether sodomy makes a bishop more godly or not, can you explain why it's good for me to be contact with you at all?
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