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endorsements

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 17, 2004

Eastern Massachusetts Episcopalians have endorsed -- whatever that may mean -- the Supreme Judicial Court ruling on same-sex marriage. The bishops prepared a statement calling for prayerful dialogue:

"We encourage our congregations to continue to be in active conversation on this matter. Listening and seeking the truth together in unity is what God is calling all of us to do in this challenging time," they said.

"Blood on our sheets, not in our streets!" might serve as the motto for today's self-consciously enlightened churchmen. In the case of gay unions, the pretense that Massachusetts' ECUSA bishops are engaged with the laity in seeking some yet-to-be-discovered truth is laughable. Having won the trick in the courts, active conversation is the last thing they want, and unity -- like "peace" in the language of Leninists -- is a code word for the elimination of opposition. Ecumenism fans may remember the example of respectful listening provided by these same prelates back when the speaker was the Holy See's Congregation for Divine Worship:

The Episcopal bishops of Massachusetts, in a rare public challenge to the Catholic Church, are warning that a steady stream of comments by Vatican officials critical of gays in the priesthood could lead to hate crimes in the United States. In interviews yesterday, the bishop of Massachusetts, M. Thomas Shaw, his suffragan, or assistant, bishop, Roy F. Cederholm Jr., and a bishop-elect, Gayle Elizabeth Harris, all said they believe the danger to gays and lesbians is so great that they feel compelled to speak out despite their reservations about wading into another denomination's controversy. Shaw, the top Episcopal bishop in the state and head of the nation's largest Episcopal diocese, said he was particularly upset by a report from Rome last week that a Vatican cardinal, Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, said "a homosexual person ... is not suitable to receive the sacrament of holy orders."

In the mean streets of blue collar America, as we all know, Cardinal Medina Estevez's word is law, and hard hat homophobes trained their gaze ceaselessly on the CDW, waiting for the signal to commence a pogrom against gays. To be declared "not suitable for Orders" was the equivalent of a death sentence. The first to fall, naturally, were affiliates of ecclesial bodies welcoming of diversity in ministry. So quickly was the blood-dimmed tide unleashed that the first slayings anticipated the Cardinal's remarks by four years:

"I'm really concerned about hate crimes and homophobia that comes from supposedly responsible people making statements like this," Shaw said. Then, referring to a gay college student who was brutally beaten and left to die in a field in Wyoming in 1998, he added, "Matthew Shepard was an Episcopalian."

A martyr to the Thirty-Nine Articles. Active conversation, anyone?

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