I went to mass this morning as today is the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. Bishop Carl Reid gave an off the cuff homily on the meaning of "on this rock I shall found my Church" and then, after a breakfast with the bishop and others, I came home to start culling the huge pile of newspapers that accumulated while we were away.I came across this article in the Prairie Messenger, but posted online at the National Catholic Reporter.
It reinforces why I will sign up for the Personal Ordinariate and thank God I am not an Episcopalian (my bolds):
Independent-minded Episcopalians, however, haven't always been willing to go along, and have pushed the boundaries of acceptable faith and practice.
Jefferts Schori firmly rejected the push to centralize power and discipline, saying that Anglicanism, and the Episcopal Church, were founded by Christians who wished to escape the strong hand of an established hierarchy.
“Unitary control does not characterize Anglicanism; rather, diversity in fellowship and communion does,” she said.
Imposing uniformity on the 77 million Anglicans scattered across the globe runs the risk of repeating the “spiritual violence” and “cultural excesses” of colonial missionaries who built the communion on the back of the British Empire, the presiding bishop added. [There is a lot more spiritual violence in allowing false teaching, because it is soul-destroying]
“We live in great concern that colonial attitudes continue,” said Jefferts Schori, “particularly in attempts to impose a single understanding across widely varying contexts and cultures.”
The presiding bishop also said that criticism of the Episcopal Church often comes from parts of the communion that bar women from becoming priests or bishops; and charged that other Anglican churches allow gay bishops under an unofficial don't ask/don't tell agreement.
“In our context, bowing to anxiety by ignoring that sort of double-mindedness is usually termed a `failure of nerve,'” Jefferts Schori said.
Liberal Episcopalians applauded Jefferts Schori's letter, which was remarkable for its full-throated defense of Episcopal Church policies.
“It is an understated declaration of independence,” said Jim Naughton, editor of the blog Episcopal Cafe. “The presiding bishop is not going to allow the Archbishop of Canterbury to establish the terms of the debate anymore.”
Jefferts Schori's rehashing of Anglican history may seem innocuous to outside observers, said church historian Diana Butler Bass, but her strong defense of democratic Anglicanism is a “call to arms.”
“Those are fighting words,” Butler Bass said. “She's saying, `this is our tradition and you're violating it.' She is accusing Williams of being an imperialist.”
In essence, Williams and Jefferts Schori are having a very old argument over local autonomy and central authority, Butler Bass said -- two extreme and perhaps irreconcilable interpretations of Anglicanism.
“He's trying to find coherent Anglican identity and enforce it in a top-down way, and she's saying we've always been democratic, local, grassroots.”
That argument seems to have reached a breaking point, the historian said.
All I can say is this: we need the ministry of Peter. Thank God that Jesus provided for us and founded his Church on Peter, the rock, and promised the gates of hell will not prevail against Her.
What's funny is how through-the-looking glass all this is. Why? Because the bishopess and her ilk would probably be the most interested in a top-down enforcement of their relativist orthodoxy in a most colonial way upon those "throwback" African Anglican bishops (many with PhDs from the best western universities, but I digress) who understand that the Church has no authority to ordain women or to change the sacrament of marriage.
I have met no greater absolutists than relativists, who are projecting when they accuse those of us who hold to the revealed truth taught by the Church of being absolutists. There is a difference between believing in absolute truth and being an absolutist who would force or impose in a dictatorial fashion.
But someone has to make the final call and determine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that this is what the Church teaches, someone who is under the authority of the deposit of faith himself.
That would be the Holy Father.
I think, if I am not mistaken, the last set of ARCIC talks will deal with this issue of the local vs. the universal church.