Friday, September 19, 2008

The Duncan Deposition

Teaching has kept me from posting over the past month yet it would be remiss to pass over this day without noting the news from Salt Lake City. It would seem that the House of Bishops has now taken its stand by not waiting for the diocesan vote on realignment. Looking back on +Bob Duncan's period in office (13 years and counting), it's interesting to reflect how the persona of a secessionist has been projected on the Bishop of Pittsburgh by his critics back before his consecration. The historical record (of recorded statements at least) does not reflect that. While it's always easy to think how things might have been managed "better" had "we" had the handling of them, it's hard to see a way it could have been avoided. It was always too little and too late. As J. Gresham Machen concluded almost a century ago, Liberal Christianity and its Traditional (Conservative) rival will ultimately come to a parting of the ways. It may be amicable or bloody but in the end it will come. What is important is how one handles the fragments.

For the orthodox (especially the ardent proponents of realignment) this is but an incident on the road to a brighter future; it merely confirms their view of the majority of members of the House of Bishops. The damage done to institutional Anglicanism in America, I suspect, is mortal. According to David Virtue, dissenters at the meeting included the bishops of East Tennessee, Easton, Milwaukee, Montana, New Jersey, Northwest Texas,Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia, none of them known for their conservatism. Perhaps they suspect the reckoning that must follow.

And so the legacy of the Episcopal Church passes into history. May the new future be all that its proponents believe it to be. I would that I had their confidence and yet at present I feel nothing so much as a sense of a fading vision. What awaits us beyond October 4 for me still has most uncertain contours.

For the Virtue report, see:

And here's a downloadable spreadsheet indicating how the bishops voted, courtesy of TitusOneNine:

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