Friday, April 27, 2007

Father Dan Reports "Chatter" About Episcopal Church: 5 Dioceses About to Leave

Father Dan Martins of San Joaquin Diocese reports some intelligence about an important development in the Episcopal Church by some dissenting Dioceses:


I enjoy movies and TV shows about espionage and high-level political brinksmanship. Recently this has ranged from TV fare such as The West Wing and 24 to films like The Good Shepherd and Breach. One of the standard quantum leaps that the writers for such efforts rely on is "intelligence chatter." They never explain what the source of such "chatter" (aka "traffic") is, and rarely what the specific content is, but it certainly moves the plot along. (I guess if they told us they'd have to kill us.)

Over the past week or so there's been a spike in "intelligence chatter" in the Anglican-Episcopal universe. From the sources I have been able to tap, along with those that have just fallen in my lap, I am reasonably well assured that a sub-group of some five dioceses within the Anglican Communion Network have cooked up a plan to hold hands and jump off the slowly-sinking ship that is the Episcopal Church and swim to . . . well, here's where the intelligence gets sketchy--OK, non-existent.

In order to protect the guilty (and my reputation, should I be wrong), I won't divulge the names of the five dioceses in question (except to say that my own is one of them). But if you are any sort of savant about contemporary ecclesiastical politics, you can probably guess them. In any case, I expect to know more--a great deal more--in less than a week's time. Whether I will be in a position to honorably pass on what I learn in a venue such as this remains to be seen.

I don't expect I'll cause any tsunamis by predicting that I'm probably not going to like the details when I hear them. In the most charitable construction, a move of this sort represents a 'Plan B' in response to last month's resounding rejection of the Primates' Pastoral Council/Primatial Vicar plan by the House of Bishops. A more jaded exegesis sees it as the most radical fringe of the Network exploiting the HOB's ill-advised actions by making a run for something more like they would have wanted in the first place anyway.


Father Dan himself strongly prefers the Primates' Pastoral Council/Primatial Vicar plan rejected by the House of Bishops last month. Read it all.

This obviously raises lots of questions, ranging from the practical (what happens to the pensions of priests in these Dioceses? Can non-dissenting congregations stay?) to the political (isn't there still time for a middle solution?) I am also mystified why these dioceses feel the need to leave--they won't call a gay of lesbian Bishop, they won't be forced to bless same sex unions, and I am not aware of any real authority that the Presiding Bishop has over these Dioceses.

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