Monday, June 26, 2006

On Resolutions Designed to Both Fail and Embarrass

Fr. Nick Knisely tells of how one of the splinter Anglican groups held a requiem Mass for the Episcopal Church, proving, as he said, that they really weren't at Convention. The fact that they using the Sacraments of the Church for political (and therefore) fundraising theater is living proof of the reason I voted against D058 and other measures put before us with language designed to fail, and so provide 'red meat' to constituencies back home. If the measure can, in either it's passage or defeat, embarrass the House of Deputies or the Episcopal Church, so much the better.

The only quibble I had with the recommendation to discharge was that the reason given was weak. Yes, previous conventions had affirmed the substance of what was being voted on, but the real reason for the dischrage should have been this: the substance of the language is found over and over again in the Book of Common Prayer. The resolution itself cites the Articles of Religion, but reference could have been made to numerous collects, eucharistic prayers, the Baptismal Covenant--the whole liturgy in fact; not to mention Confirmation, the ordinal, the catechism and more. The reason for the discharge would have been that the substance is already stated in the Book of Common Prayer which is a constitutional document in our polity.

Beside, the Prayer Book says it better without the rhetorical flourish of language or a Protestant tradition that stands alongside but is separate from our own.

We were all in that room baptized Christians, and adult communicants in good standing. We have stated our faith out loud and in public assembly at least once--not counting saying the creed every week--and were elected by our peers to take part in the councils of the church in prayer. Not to mention the priests and deacons in the room who have made even deeper, more public and accountable committments.

The point of this kind of resolution seems to imply that we were a room full of apostates who are not part of Christ's One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I could have voted for it--what could it have hurt? But it made me angry that resolutions like this come up with the sole purpose of embarrassing the house. If we passed it, the same groups that dare to use the Sacraments for political theater would have accussed us of hypocrisy and perhaps had some other kind of theatrical liturgy this week. As it was, our actions confirmed their pre-concieved notions of apostasy which plays well to the givers back home. I voted against it because it was cynical manipulation, nothing more and nothing less. It may not have been a fast day, but there are certain days when must eschew red meat.

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