Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Fate of a New Province

Earlier this month we learned of the plans by conservative Episcoplians to establish a new province in America. Rev. Phillip Cato, a retired priest of the Washington diocese, thinks that such an idea isn't likely to survive for long:

In this province, as proposed, we find strident Evangelicals, Charismatics, Anglo-Catholics, those who allow for the ordination of women to the priesthood and those who regard this as a metaphysical and theological and Biblical impossibility, those who were ordained and consecrated in the canonical ways of national churches in the Anglican Communion and those who have received express consecration in total disregard of any canons, those who are conflicted over the theological issue of Baptismal regeneration, those who have flirted with Rome and those who are of a radical Protestant bent, and a notorious collection of massive egos, unlikely to concede much in the way of theological, ecclesiastical, or Biblical views. All have shown complete disregard for their ordination vows and canonical obligations, and lay claim to property they do not own.

In your most generous imagination, can you conceive of such a coalition surviving? I cannot.

As I've learned the rejection of the ordination of gays as priests or bishops in the church is not the only motivation for a new province (though of course a new province would never have been proposed absent that development) and this loose alliance consist of groups that left the Episcopal church long ago over matters having nothing to do with who is or isn't ordained. Can a group that appears united mostly in their desire to not be mainstream Episcopalians survive for long? I suppose we'll find out.

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