June 29, 2006

Richard Neuhaus...

...makes a good point:
So has the Episcopal Church in the United States strayed so far from Anglican principle (putting aside procedure) in the whole Gene Robinson business? Anglicans have suffered agnostics and Unitarians as bishops—John Shelby Spong has spent his entire career mocking and denying every single tenet of historic Christianity—now suddenly the election of an openly gay bishop in Gene Robinson or a woman presiding bishop in Katharine Jefferts Schori breaks the back of the Anglican Communion? I think the question is less one of whether a denomination can agree on what “born of the virgin Mary” means, as opposed to, once this is accepted as an article of faith, what to do with those in ministry who do not believe it and openly teach against it. That then becomes a matter of church discipline.

There is some hope, though. In a letter to the faithful dated June 27, Rowan Williams lists as a summary item the following: “Commitment to the Communion’s teaching, on the basis of Scriptural and historic teaching reached in common council.” A council, did he say? Would this mean the production of another, modern confession—a more complete statement of faith? Perhaps even a catechism, which is what the Anglicans really need? Until Bishop Rowan and all Anglicans of goodwill reposition Anglicanism on a confessional foundation, even appeals to scripture and tradition will not be enough to keep their house from crumbling.

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