Elsewhere: the Episcopal experiment


It is sad that some Catholics live in personal schism with the Church. They do not accept fully the teaching of the infallible Magisterium and in many cases are objectively in sin. Our Lord did not give us options to pick and choose between His commandments nor to embrace truth less than or different from that revealed to us.

Not only do these individuals embrace false beliefs, but it is their strong desire that the Church change her doctrines to accommodate them. That is impossible, of course. Were it possible, the true Church would be gone and in its place something that resembled it, but retaining few timeless truths. We don’t have to imagine such an organization as it already exists! Behold, the Episcopal church. At one time they were a larger, orthodox Christian community. No longer.

Last summer, I covered the story by Ross Douthat on their dramatically shrinking size. Recently, two of their “bishops” made some surprising statements (even for them). First, there is the flat-out denial of the resurrection of Jesus by their Washington bishop. Msgr. Charles Pope of the (Catholic) Archdiocese of Washington reports:

It was sad to read the public comments of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington denying the importance, or need for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, going so far as to imply this teaching was “outlandish.” More on that in a moment, but first some background.

Some time ago I brought a former Episcopalian into the Catholic Church who, after the Rite of Reception gave a great sigh of relief and said, “I know the Catholic Church is not without problems, but at least I know the Bishops actually hold the Christian faith. It is such a relief to be in the harbor of truth.”

I remember at the time wondering with him if that wasn’t a bit of an exaggeration of how bad things were in the Episcopalian denomination (this was about 1990). But he showed me a scrapbook of article after article of dozens of Episcopal “Bishops” denying quite publicly the divinity of Christ, the Virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, that there was any inherent conflict between Christianity and Unitarianism, etc., not to mention a plethora aberrant moral stances.

Most notable among them, but not at all alone, is now retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong who still freely roams the halls of Episcopal parishes and openly calling the Nicene Creed “a radical distortion of the Gospel of John” and declaring that Jesus Christ did not die to redeem humanity from its sins, even going so far to say that we are not sinners at all [*], in outright contradiction to Scripture (e.g. 1 John 1:10) and, frankly, common sense.

The scrapbook was quite thick with painful articles of Episcopal bishops and clergy saying and doing the most incredible things, outright denying basic dogmas. Indeed, when a Christian leader publicly denies the divinity of Christ, or the Trinity, of the redemptive power of Jesus” death he/she is no longer a Christian at all.

All these memories came back to me when a priest-friend sent me a link to the “Easter? Statement of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, Mariann Budde, who quite plainly states that it wouldn’t bother her a bit if the tomb with the bones of Jesus were found.

Well, pardon me for being a bit old fashioned and “stuck” in biblical categories, But Rev. Budde, it darn well ought to bother you. And further, even to brook the notion that such a tomb could be found and then add it wouldn’t bother you is a pretty explicit denial of the faith . Here is what the bishop says in her own words, (pardon a few Red remarks from me). These are excerpts, the full remarks of Bishop Budde are: here

To say that resurrection is essential doesn’t mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus” remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down. The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death, [But we DO know what happened!] anymore than we can know what will happen to us [Here too I am puzzled, Scripture is actually quite clear as to what will happen after we die: death, judgement, heaven or hell, (likely a pit stop for some purgation for the saved)]. What we do know from the stories handed down is how Jesus” followers experienced his resurrection. What we know is how we experience resurrection ourselves. [So their “experience wasn’t necessarily real? Then what was it? And if nothing necessarily or actually happened, then how do we “experience” a non-event or a dubious one? What is there to experience?]

That experience is the beginning of faith, not in the sense of intellectual acceptance of an outlandish proposition, but of being touched by something so powerful that it changes you, or so gentle that it gives you courage to persevere when life is crushingly hard…   [Ok, so, the most fundamental Christian dogma, the Resurrection of Jesus, is and “outlandish proposition” which apparently requires no “intellectual acceptance.” Yet despite this, it somehow has the power somehow to change our life. The logic is as mystifying as the denial of the faith is deep].

Well, it doesn’t get much worse than this. In fact, let us call this what it is, a total loss.

There is more. Read Msgr. Pope’s entire piece: Total Loss File: A Prominent Episcopal Leader Denies the Need for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus.

The second case is comments by no less than the Episcopal presiding bishop who, among other outrageous claims, preached diversity saves – not Jesus. George Connor writes for Anglican Ink:

In support her argument for radical inclusion and diversity over doctrine Bishop Jefferts Schori adds that the day’s reading “from Revelation pushes us in the same direction, outward and away from our own self-righteousness, inviting us to look harder for God’s gift and presence all around us. Jesus says he’s looking for everybody, anyone who’s looking for good news, anybody who is thirsty. There are no obstacles or barriers – just come. God is at work everywhere, even if we can’t or won’t see it immediately.”

She concluded her sermon by stating that we are not justified by our faith but by our respect for diversity.

“Looking for the reflection of God’s glory all around us means changing our lenses, or letting the scales on our eyes fall away. That kind of change isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s the only road to the kingdom of God.”

Salvation comes not from being cleansed of our sins by the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, but through the divinization of humanity through the work of the human will. “We are here, among all the other creatures of God’s creation, to be transformed into the glory intended from the beginning. The next time we feel the pain of that change, perhaps instead of annoyance or angry resentment we might pray for a new pair of glasses. When resentment about difference or change builds up within us, it’s really an invitation to look inward for the wound that cries out for a healing dose of glory. We will find it in the strangeness of our neighbor. Celebrate that difference – for it’s necessary for the healing of this world – and know that the wholeness we so crave lies in recognizing the glory of God’s creative invitation. God among us in human form is the most glorious act we know.”

There is a lot more. Read the entire piece: Diversity, not Jesus, saves says Presiding Bishop.

The bottom line: Episcopalians manifest the dream liberals hold for the Catholic Church and the result is disastrous. This is not to say we do not suffer their presence in our ranks, but here ancient doctrine is preserved not progressed.

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