don't ask, don't tell

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 26, 2007

The lead paragraph of the Boston Globe story puts it in a nutshell:

The Episcopal bishops of the United States, attempting to head off a schism over gay rights and biblical interpretation, yesterday promised to "exercise restraint" by not approving more gay bishops and not authorizing a formal ritual for blessing same-sex couples.

Restraint. The key is to avoid giving dissidents any clear justification for their complaints.

"What we were looking for was clarity, and what we got is an exercise in wordsmithing," said Robert Lundy, spokesman for the American Anglican Council, an alliance of conservatives.

Precisely, Robert. And there's more where that came from.

Clarity-- especially in doctrinal matters-- has not been a major consideration for Episcopalians of the past few generations. Think again about restraint. Tasteful restraint, of the sort one associates with St. Paul, or St. Bonaventure, or St. Francis Xavier.

Please stand for the Creed. Use whatever formula you like, but please don't say it aloud; you might upset someone.

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  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2007 12:50 PM ET USA

    placidus, unfortunately most people think that when the phrase 'Immaculate Conception' is used the person using it intends to refer to the virginal conception of Jesus, not Mary's being conceived without Original Sin. Thus, by your logic, since its meaning is misperceived, the use of the phrase 'Immaculate Conception' is illegitimate.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2007 12:49 PM ET USA

    altar boy, if you read the Holy Office's letter, you will see that Feeney's "loopy ideas" were about the phrase "outside the Church, no salvation." Also, what makes Catholics different from Protestants is that Catholics have the Eucharist and valid Holy Orders. These are ontological realities (a bit of a redundancy), not merely doctrinal formulas. A priest can confect the Eucharist as long as he intends what the Church intends, even if his understanding of what the Church intends is loopy.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2007 12:49 PM ET USA

    To clarify, Feeneyism is not the preaching of the doctrine of “extra ecclesiam…” Here, in his own words, is Feeney's error: In the New Testament, you cannot be justified unless you want the water Jesus bequeathed us on the Mount of Olives; and you cannot be saved until that water is poured on your head!... It is now: Baptism of Water or damnation! If you do not desire that Water, you cannot be justified. AND IF YOU DO NOT GET IT, YOU CANNOT BE SAVED. (Bread of Life, Leonard Feeney, 1952)

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2007 11:27 AM ET USA

    Duns Scotus: There is nothing remotely heretical about “no salvation outside the Church;” to the contrary, it is a formulation that is true to Catholic teaching. This new idea--that we can hope of salvation outside the Church--is the heresy. As for Feeney, his error wasn’t in insisting on the no-salvation formulation; rather, it was his loopy ideas re. Baptism of Desire and salvation. BTW: Doctrinal formulations are precisely what the Church is about. If not for those, we are Protestant.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2007 11:24 AM ET USA

    Let us not forget that the Episcopalian church is in heresy.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2007 7:13 AM ET USA

    How sad to be glad that no one's vision won. Shouldn't Christ's "vision" of a holy and united Church be the goal? It is readily obvious that the compromise is man-made and that those who endorse sin are only waiting until people get used to the current situation before pushing on again. Martyrs of England, pray for us. All you holy men and women, pray for us. Lord Jesus, unite your Church by bringing back the lost sheep.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 10:38 PM ET USA

    Altarboy: even though you got copious dissent from the devil's advocates, I for one am 100% with you. Whatever the meaning of "subsists" in medieval theology may be, what matters in communication is what the audience thinks is your intention. What is perceived by a modern audience is that something less full existence is intended, when someone says "subsists", instead of saying "is".

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 7:33 PM ET USA

    What a great day it is here in the land of the Roger and Tod show. Nothing lifts the spirits of a southern Californian more than a reminder that the Anglicans are screwier than we are.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 5:25 PM ET USA

    altar boy, insisting upon clarity in doctrinal statements is one (laudable) thing. Insisting upon particular doctrinal formulations (almost to the point of "formulatry") is something else again. Also, while Feeneyism is certainly doctrinally clear, it is also heresy. See the (pre-Vatican II) letter of the Holy Office.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 4:57 PM ET USA

    Is homosexual activity sinful? Oh, that "S" word again. So the liberal theologians thought they had banished the word. Have they thought up a way to compose a blessing (prayer) that validates a sin? So far I have not ever found that Jesus in any way endorsed homosexual perversions. How can a religion that professes to followChrist no decide to ignore His teaching and still claim to be true to HIm?

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 4:32 PM ET USA

    Stand firm, Mr. Lundy. I attended an Episcopal church here in Chicago for many years, and eventually had to leave as it became more of a MoveOn political organization than a church. Sorry as I was to leave the such a beautiful church, I can't help but look forward to its collapse (ironically, Ms. Schori seems to feel the same way). I feel confident that the Holy Spirit will find new homes for all who want them, as he did for me in the Othodox church. Bring on the noise, Anglicans!

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 4:24 PM ET USA

    While you're right about ambivalent verbiage in general, Altar Boy, "subsistit in" is as clear and strong a statement as one could look for. To subsist, in Patristic and Medieval usage, means to exist in the way that general classes of things do. Thus to say that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church means that the general class "Church of Christ" is fulfilled by the Catholic Church! Look at for a full treatment.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 12:52 PM ET USA

    Forget the Episcopalians, Di. There are plenty of examples of “wordsmithing” emanating from the mouths and pens of Catholic bishops. “Subsists in” comes to mind, does it not? (The post-VCII version of the Catechism is full of this sort of wishy-washy doctrinal teaching.) My favorite modern Catholic doctrine: There is no salvation outside the Church--maybe.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2007 11:05 AM ET USA

    The Great Commission is "Go forth and don't offend anyone," no?