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readers vs breeders

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 20, 2006

The NYT's Deborah Solomon has already attracted our attention as the Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright of hardball professional journalists. Yesterday she trained her thousand candlepower cerebrum on the Most Rev'd Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, MDiv, PhD, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. And what a feast of intellect resulted ...

How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?

About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.

Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?

No. It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.

You're actually Catholic by birth; your parents joined the Episcopal Church when you were 9. What led them to convert?

It was before Vatican II had any influence in local parishes, and I think my parents were looking for a place where wrestling with questions was encouraged rather than discouraged.

Quite. We mustn't check our brains at the door.

You have to feel sympathy for those Christian Episcopalians who watched with horror as Edmond Browning, Frank Griswold, and now Katharine Jefferts Schori were planted in the top job by a system beyond their control or hope of redress -- only to be informed that they were witnessing democracy in action. We Catholics, true, have the occasional Robert Lynch arriving poolside ex machina like Mary Poppins, but at least no one pretends he's the People's Choice.

The upshot is that we plebeians can and should cut each other some interdenominational slack in terms of our respective episcopacies, whether the offending bishops are "wrestling with questions" or with triathletes. Certainly Catholics can agree with the 26th Anglican Article of Religion, which states that the unworthiness of the minister hindereth not the effect of the Sacrament. Couldn't this provide a basis for dialogue? Call it the Ecumenism of Disgust. Writing from Dallas, Rod Dreher recounts an episode instructive in this regard:

I was at a dinner on the week that ECUSA elected the very liberal Kathleen Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop, and across the table, I heard a little old white-haired Episcopal lady from Fort Worth say, "Wayll, I guess we'll just have to go with the Nigerians, then." And I thought: Isn't this incredible? Fifty years ago, during Jim Crow, who would have predicted such a sentiment to come out of such a mouth?

Poor woman, so sadly indifferent to planetary stewardship! And where will she turn when she discovers Archbishop Akinola hasn't got a pilot's license?

(Tip to Amy, who has some more decorous reflections.)

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  • Posted by: sparch - Aug. 30, 2010 10:24 AM ET USA

    And my local Catholic Charities called and wondered why I stopped supporting them a few years ago. When I explained my reasons, I got the response "Oh". The Bishops have a monumental task to get their entire house in order.

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Aug. 28, 2010 9:53 PM ET USA

    It is time to stop spending any time or resources heaping worldly honors on those who betray our Lord's teachings. It's better the money being spent on this ceremony go directly to the hungry and the homeless. Please let Cardinal George and Catholic Charities know how you feel about this honor for CHA. And pray for everyone involved to open their hearts to the Lord's Will.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 28, 2010 3:40 PM ET USA

    This "gala" will include as speakers Sr. Carol Keehan and Mark Shields along with Card. George and Abp. Dolan. Don't these churchmen realize that by their presence thay are supporting their fellow speakers?