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Drinking Tea with the Devil

I know that The Episcopal Church (formerly Episcopal Church USA) is having their troubles right now. After the election of ultra-liberal Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop, several conservative diocese asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for an alternative prelate as they could not see their way to follow Bishop Jefferts Schori. However looking to the Church of England may not be the appropriate direction. Reuters is reporting on the “marriage” of two gay British Anglican clergy, Jeffery John and Grant Hollings. Technically the two have not broken any norms of the Anglican Church because they insist their relationship is celibate.

David Virtue at VirtueOnLine has a very interesting essay about the state of the Episcopal Church and its current view of its mission:

So it is not without its significance that when incoming Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori was asked what the Episcopal Church stood for, she replied, "the United Nations Millennium Development Goals...", and every piece of social legislation (read justice) that can be dragged out of the closet or bedroom or UN sub-committee, even if it means death to the unborn…

The truth must be stated: The Episcopal Church is ashamed of Jesus and any talk of the salvation he offers. When he is mentioned, it is never as Savior and Lord, rather as one messianic option among others, and under no circumstances are we to mention Jesus' exclusive claims for Himself , "I and the Father are One", his deity, his death on the cross as the sole means of access to heaven.

To do so, is to violate God's all embracive, all inclusive love for all peoples, without such messy talk of personal sin, just stick to corporate or political sin, and doctrines such as Jesus' bodily resurrection (He rose for our justification), but that is no longer necessary to preach or believe, unless you water it down to mean that Jesus is now to be found in his body the church, which is here in the world for the purpose of incarnating God's love by affirming people in their present state without the need for personal transformation. Scrap too, any talk of the Last Judgment.

So a doctrine like substitutionary atonement, is now labeled by John Shelby Spong as little more than child abuse, with modern science having dealt a fatal blow to classic doctrines of the faith

So homosexual activity, and various other forms of sexual deviancy (lesbianism, bi-sexuality, transgender) are viewed not as disordered behaviors, as the Roman Catholic Church asserts, but as "justice" issues that need affirming and not moral ones that ought to be abandoned.

I write of this not to gloat over the woes of the Episcopalians. Rather this should serve as a harbinger of danger for our own Catholic Church. There are those who claim to be Catholic who feel they are doing so much “good” in the world they can discount the teachings and doctrine of the Church. Consider Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida. He discontinued the practice of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in his diocese. He said it was a practice reserved for religious communities of the type that did not exist in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. He suggested the faithful could better utilize their time working on a “social justice” issue rather than spending their time praying before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

For parishes that wish to inaugurate adoration of the Blessed Sacrament the Bishop says they should "reflect on... their commitment of time and money to social services." Among other reflections, they should ask, "Are they as respectful and reverent toward Christ's presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament? .... Does the eucharistic bread look like bread? ... Do the eucharistic ministers reflect the parish, i.e., inclusive of age, ethnicity, and gender?"

Please note this is the same Bishop Robert Lynch who did not support Terri Shiavo and her parents in their fight to continue providing nutrition to her. He also allowed the marriage of Michael Schiavo to his long-time mistress in a Catholic Church in the St. Petersburg Diocese.

Pope Benedict XVI addresses the place of prayer as part of charity in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est:

36. When we consider the immensity of others' needs, we can, on the one hand, be driven towards an ideology that would aim at doing what God's governance of the world apparently cannot: fully resolving every problem. Or we can be tempted to give in to inertia, since it would seem that in any event nothing can be accomplished. At such times, a living relationship with Christ is decisive if we are to keep on the right path, without falling into an arrogant contempt for man, something not only unconstructive but actually destructive, or surrendering to a resignation which would prevent us from being guided by love in the service of others. Prayer, as a means of drawing ever new strength from Christ, is concretely and urgently needed. People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone. Piety does not undermine the struggle against the poverty of our neighbours, however extreme. In the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta we have a clear illustration of the fact that time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbour but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service. In her letter for Lent 1996, Blessed Teresa wrote to her lay co-workers: “We need this deep connection with God in our daily life. How can we obtain it? By prayer”.

37. It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work. Clearly, the Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change God's plans or correct what he has foreseen. Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work. A personal relationship with God and an abandonment to his will can prevent man from being demeaned and save him from falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism. An authentically religious attitude prevents man from presuming to judge God, accusing him of allowing poverty and failing to have compassion for his creatures. When people claim to build a case against God in defence of man, on whom can they depend when human activity proves powerless?

So we have to pray for our Episcopal and Anglican brethren as they struggle. But we also need to consider ourselves forewarned. The ideas of the Episcopal Church are not an anathema to many Catholics, including those who are in positions of influence. Christ has assured us His Church will withstand the gates of Hell. That is no reason to invite the Devil in for a cup of tea.


Tony said…
Christ's presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament? .... Does the eucharistic bread look like bread? ... Do the eucharistic ministers reflect the parish, i.e., inclusive of age, ethnicity, and gender?"

This strikes me as either walking the razor's edge of heresy if not outright heresy.

It sounds like this particular Bishop is denying the Real Presence.
Catholic Mom said…
It certainly doesn't reinforce the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Is it any wonder so many Catholics seem oblivious to this Church teaching? Fortunately, I am seeing more priests and bishops following our Holy Father's lead and emphasizing the Eucharist but there are still a few hold outs who minimize it.A little collegial correction seems in order for Bishop Lynch.

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