Action Alert!

resistance is futile: toward a welcoming ecclesial community

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 02, 2006

One lump or two? It's TEA-time for intractables. The Church of England, unable to convince conservatives to admit defeat and embrace the future, has prepared yet another tranquilizer dart filled with several harmless-sounding new acronyms, designed to numb remaining opposition to BBC-3 and the Holy Ghost:

The latest provision for those opposed to the consecration of women bishops could see a parish given the power to opt out of the local bishop's pastoral care and look to a representative of either Archbishop under plans being considered by the House of Bishops. A draft of the 62-page document, marked 'strictly confidential' on every page, was approved in October of this year, and has been leaked to The Church of England Newspaper. Sources say what is outlined in this draft is close to the final blueprint that will be unveiled at the General Synod in February.

Transferred Episcopal Arrangements (TEA) is the 'carrot' designed to appease traditionalists who threaten to drive a wedge through the Church if their needs are not adequately catered for. Under the proposals, jurisdiction will be transferred to the Metropolitan, with the 'episcopal ministry' being provided by a Provincial Episcopal Commissary (PEC) appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury or York. The PEC would exercise aspects of the Archbishop's authority over those parishes that had applied for TEA, including pastoral care, sacramental and disciplinary procedures and any matters relating to ordinands, while others would be delegated back to the diocesan bishop. ...

The document declaring the bishops' approval of TEA as the most realistic way forward states: "It would enable the main body of the Church to proceed without the discriminatory provisions against women's ministry. It believes that it would offer the most satisfactory way of providing adequate pastoral safeguards for those opposed to the ordination of women bishops while at the same time maintaining the highest possible degree of communion between those with differing views on the question."

OK, if you were running Ladbrokes, what odds would you offer for the approval of female bishops in the Church of England? 5 to 1 in favor? 10 to 1 in favor? 1,500 to 1 in favor? In fact, you'd never post an offering at all, because the drift toward "progress" is inexorable, and all your punters know the fix is in. Wagering against approval is tantamount to wagering that England will be wiped out by an asteroid -- which is, in fact, the most realistic chance that The Inevitable will be thwarted in this case.

I have already commented on the difficulties that surfaced last summer regarding the pretense that the women-bishop question was really an open one:

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, has moved to reassure female clergy of his support for women bishops, but said that there was a danger that prematurely starting the process to allow women bishops could be seen as "knee-jerk reaction." He added: "I will do all in my power to ensure that wise and charitable debate on points of major difference, rather than crowbarring our way to our desired solution, will be the normal modus operandi within the Church."

The call for veresimilitude in faking a plausibly even-handed theological exchange came a little too late, but on the crass political level there's more carrot than crowbar in the TEA-PEC proffer: "We're moving you to the nursing home, grandpa, but you'll be able to bring your own chair and your own telly with you, there's a dear!" The bishops get to refashion ecclesial polity yet, graciously, allow the vanquished to go on playing church as if nothing had changed. What could be fairer than that?

The point is not to wag our heads at Anglican misfortunes but to alert ourselves to the same maneuvers closer to home. We Catholics have our own defectors-in-place, who have made great strides in replacing kosher ministerial structures with a counterfeit of their own invention, Lay Ecclesial Ministry. The "underlying theology" offered in support of LEM took a direct hit by a daisy-cutter at the Synod on the Eucharist, but I've yet to hear of any curtailment of the practice itself. Currently, whatever Transferred Episcopal Arrangements we have in place are administered by the District Attorney's office, but the situation will not always remain thus. We have seen The Future, and know how it works.

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2006 12:32 PM ET USA

    My priests in SW Ohio once concelebrated Mass -- to a point -- where about 20 priests were present. When a nun got up to give the homily my priests stood up, removed their stoles, kissed the stoles, placed them gently on their seats, bowed reverently to the Blessed Sacrament, then walked silently down the aisle out of the church and out. When I heard this I was so happy to be under their tutelage.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 03, 2006 5:51 PM ET USA

    So ... when you arrive at the parish for Mass and find Sr. Shagalicious running the show ... what do you do? Voice your disapproval and leave. Our forebears were made of much sterner stuff. They thought the truth was important enough to defend even to the point of real suffering and death. When we place more value on meekly following the rules and assisting at whatever nonsense our parish puts out, we get what we deserve. Face the brutal fact: Sr. Shagalicious is not Catholic.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 03, 2006 4:57 PM ET USA

    Hey, LEO XIII, don;t forget us in Rochester!

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Jan. 03, 2006 11:27 AM ET USA

    NT Wright is the darling of some conservative Catholics and evangelicals, and God bless him for affirming the divinity of Christ. One of the things I look for in a Scripture scholar. But I gotta say, this quote calls into question his reliability on ecclesiology and any subject that requires, well, thinking. He's also rather loose with the first person plural.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 03, 2006 7:18 AM ET USA

    ""We're moving you to the nursing home, grandpa, but you'll be able to bring your own chair and your own telly with you, there's a dear!" :-D Uncle Di, you're priceless! Keep the hits coming! BTW (plug) I'm running in the Federal elections in Canada! The only pro-life, pro-family candidate in my riding:

  • Posted by: - Jan. 02, 2006 6:35 PM ET USA

    The strength of LEM is inversely proportional to the strength of a diocese's vocations program. Look for it in a parish near you! How do you known when LEM has arrived? Look for this attitude: -- the vocations crisis has been sent by God so the faithful will see the need for strong lay ministries. Strongholds include the LA, San Jose, and (soon) Santa Rosa!

  • Posted by: - Jan. 02, 2006 5:14 PM ET USA

    By the by, follow this link ( to find the diocesan newspaper of the USCCB promoter of Lay Ecclesial Ministry, Bishop Dale J. Melczek. Follow the link halfway down the left side that says "Bridal Guide" and then go to the very bottom of that page, where you'll find an ad for a "Cinderella-themed wedding." Click on it. You'll be amazed what diocesan newspapers are shilling for these days. What kind of underlying theology does this have?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 02, 2006 4:57 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Diogenes and Sp.Ops.Sacerdos, for bringing this travesty to our attention. Where was I when this nonsense was being debated? Did they hope to slip it in under the door after hours while we were asleep or feasting? This is merely grist for the rebel-nun-led mill of feminist dissidency. Somebody'd better blow this thing up HUGE right away so that it commands attention, lest before we know it bishops are sanctioning womyn masses and public emasculation liturgies! Beware!!!

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jan. 02, 2006 4:07 PM ET USA

    Amen, Diogenes, Amen. We have our parallels close to home. Indeed, I found it sickening to watch the bishops at the USCCB this past November as they actually took seriously the lie of "Lay Ecclesial Ministry," a lie that has been established by their outspoken traitorous brothers. LEM is a lie that belongs in the trash. It directly opposes Ecclesiae de Mysterio (1997 Instruction clarifying role of priests & laity). LEM is further evidence that the USCCB is officially a dead body.