Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Monday, March 28, 2011

Original Spin

If you're in Boston, you can't miss it.

Whenever I tune into the local NBC Boston affiliate to watch "Harry's Law" or "Law and Order", I am bound to see a commercial for "Catholics Come Home."

Ordinary people come on the air for about a minute looking very sincere, and talk about how their lives were empty and without meaning until they re-discovered (or discovered) the Roman Catholic Church.

People say things like, "As soon as I walk in the door, I feel peace." And, "I'm accepted for who I am." And, "I was divorced and left the church. If I didn't have God, I would be back to that lonely stage, that troubled place." And, "When you come home to the Catholic Church, you're coming home to a Catholic family where people just embrace you."

You can watch a clip of it, here:

The commercials all end the same way - by encouraging the viewer to visit the website, "Catholics Come Home."

There's an old saying in 12-Step Programs: "If you hang around a barber shop long enough, you're going to get a haircut."

After a few months of watching these commercials, I finally went over to the site. What I found was not exactly my grandfather's Roman Catholic Church - and, it was almost exactly as I had left it, and as it has been for thousands of years.

The technology and website design are pretty impressive. There's lots of videos of personal testimonies, upbeat music one can click on and listen to, and loads of easily accessible information.

On the sidebar, one can click on a few options.
"I used to be Catholic - Why should I come home?"

"I'm not Catholic - I have questions about your faith."

"I'm Catholic - I'd like to help."
Hmmm  ... Well, Father, I'd like to see what's behind Box #1, please.  So, I clicked it.

There, on the "I used to be Catholic" page, without even clicking on it, a video clip of a very handsome Mexican man who identifies himself as an actor and a model, begins to play.

He says, "I didn't know about my faith. How can you love your faith when you don't know about it?" before he gives the same spin about 'peace and happiness'.

On that page, I found a link to a sort of "Dave Letterman Top Ten" Reasons to Come Back. "

It begins with this introduction, which carries a similar, welcoming theme that is consistent throughout the web site.
No matter how long you have been away from the Catholic Church, you can always come home. You can start going to Mass again (find a parish) and become a part of a parish community that is ready to welcome you with open arms. God is inviting you to dive into your faith in a deeper way than you ever have before.
So, I started to read the "Roman Catholic Top Ten" which includes things I agree with like, "Because we want meaning in life." And, "Because we make mistakes." And, "Because we want to be healed." And, "Because we want our children to have a firm faith foundation."

And, the Number One Reason to come back to the Roman Catholic Church: "Because we hunger for the Eucharist," with the note that "The Eucharist is the number one reason that people come back to the Church."

Pay attention to this list. I'll come back to it in a moment.

I realized that I was starting to feel all gooey-warm in my heart, thinking, "Hey, maybe they have changed. Let me take a closer look."

The banner across the top of the website has a few "drop down menus" including one entitled "Answering Your Questions". The Categories include, "Church Teaching", "Marriage and Divorce", "Moral Issues", "Confession", "Death and Grieving" and "Catholic Resources".

I was curious about "Marriage and Divorce" so I clicked on that first. Clearly, the Roman Catholic Church has softened its stand on divorce - which, I'm assuming, they believe is a big reason why people stay away and don't return to church.

In "my Grandfather's RC Church," if you were divorced, you were automatically excommunicated - meaning, you could not receive communion. You could attend church, of course, but you could not come up to the altar rail. Which meant that everyone in the church KNEW that you were "not worthy" by virtue of the "scandal and sin" of your divorce, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

Which meant that you probably stayed away from church - or, like the Samaritan woman at the well, went for "living water" at a time of day in a church where no one would recognize you and when you could be assured that not many people were around to see you receive the Body and Blood of the Living Christ.

Well, the Body, anyway. We were not served wine in our church. Just the priest got the wine. No one else. My Grandmother said it was because the church couldn't afford to provide wine for "all those people".

She gave the same reason to explain why we were served those Very Thin little plastic-looking wafers they called "bread" instead of real bread. Just budgetary constraints is all. I mean, if you want to serve "all those people".

The joke when I was a kid was that it took two acts of faith to receive Communion - one, that this was the REAL Body of Christ (carnsubstantiation vs. transubstantiation) and two, that it wasn't fish food.

That seems to have changed a bit - or, maybe they're just explaining themselves better. The page begins with this statement:
"After a Catholic goes through a divorce, there is so much confusion and misinformation about practicing their faith. The truth is that your Catholic faith is the very key to your healing after a divorce and is vital to living a life filled with promise, peace, and joy."
Turns out, you now CAN receive the sacrament of Holy Eucharist if you are divorced as long as you have not remarried before obtaining an annulment. The website explains, in a very matter of fact tone,
"The Catholic teaching on divorce and remarriage is that all marriages are considered to be validly sacramental unless proven otherwise through the annulment process, therefore, remarriage without a decree of nullity would constitute a person having two spouses, which is immoral."
Immoral? Even though I am legally divorced?

Well, there it is, then.

Welcome home to a "life filled with promise, peace and joy"!

So much for being "Accepted for who I am." And, "When you come home to the Catholic Church, you're coming home to a Catholic family where people just embrace you."

Yup, even if you're 'immoral'. They won't feed you, but they'll embrace you. (Please note the #1 Reason people return to church.)

Looking further, beyond the slick technology, I discovered that my "Grandfather's Church" still has the same-old, same-old stuff on an all-male, celibate priesthood, with a very interesting section entitled "Why did all the Priest scandal happen?"

It ends with this positive spin:
All situations of scandal, however, do not negate or disprove the truth that Christ transmitted to the world through His Apostles (Mark 16:15). As Christ promised, in spite of the weakness and sinfulness — and sometimes the scandal — caused by priests and other Catholics, “the gates of hell will not prevail against” the Church. (Continue reading here for more on the priest scandals.)
From there, one can click onto an article from something called "Women for Faith and Family" entitled, "The Catholic Bishops and the Scandals: How Could They Have Done This?" by Kenneth D. Whitehead.

Whitehead is unrestrained in his scolding of the American Catholic Bishops for what he calls their "benign neglect" (Yes, you read that right: Benign. Neglect. I am NOT kidding!), ending with this quote:
Again, as we have seen in the sexual abuse cases driven primarily by a homosexual "culture" that has been allowed to infiltrate the priesthood, most bishops do not appear to recognize or admit the fundamental problems with catechetics, and avoid confronting the source of the problem. Instead, most bishops continue their established pattern of toleration and inaction -- just as, for so long, many of them continued to tolerate the sexual abuse of youngsters by priests in their jurisdiction.
Yup. It's the old "blame teh gays" argument.

"Homosexual culture"? I know lots of LGBT - and straight - people who could be described as "cultured" but I'll be darned if I know what "Homosexual culture is".

Honest to Pete!

I suppose I should not have been surprised by this. It should have been predictable, given what they have to say about homosexuality. You're gonna love this:
Some men and women who struggle with same-sex attractions wonder if there's any hope for them to be welcomed in or back to the Church. The answer to that question is an unambiguous “yes.” (Read here what the Catholic Church says about homosexuals and homosexual inclinations.) God calls each of us, whether homosexual or heterosexual, to chastity according to our circumstances in life. The Church is here to help all of us live in the light of truth.
If I had any "unambiguous" doubt about the Roman Catholic church, that paragraph (and the link to the catechism of the church) confirmed for me that anyone's "homosexual attractions" - or orientation - would most assuredly NOT be welcomed in the Roman Catholic Church.

Unless, of course, we were celibate. You know. Just like "Father". Even then, you would still be "inherently disordered."

Well, not by the "official" hierarchy, anyway. I know many good, faithful Christians who are Roman Catholics - priests, nuns and laity - who simply scoff at this teaching - and, the teachings about reproductive choice, abortion, the ordination of women and stem cell research.

I don't know why they stay in the RC Church, exactly, much less how they can stay. That's really none of my business. That's between them and God. I find myself simply grateful for their presence as a 'witness to sanity' in an institutional church which seems to talk out of both sides of its mouth.

Indeed, Bill Maher talked about this recently on his HBO Show "Real Time". Apparently, he's also seen the "Catholics Come Home" advertisements. Shortly after the debut of these commercials, the scandal about the priests in Philadelphia broke.

Maher quips, "It's sort of like an ad for the Ford Explorer and then they all get recalled." He, of course, has his own suggestion for an advertisement, which he says, "addresses the issue more head-on":

All this got me to thinking about the real issue which is not clearly stated but is the issue which is painfully obvious: People are not going to church. That's a HUGE admission for the Roman Catholic Church (gee, maybe they might get a bit of a hint from their own website), but it is, as well, for any church.

We in The Episcopal Church and other "mainline Protestant denominations" have been beating ourselves up for years about the decline in our membership. Church attendance is at record lows, even as (or, perhaps, because of) the new 'Moral Majority" in the House of Representatives.

Jim DeMint, the ultra-conservative Republican senator from South Carolina, has been recently quoted as saying, "I’ve said it often and I believe it — the bigger government gets, the smaller God gets. As people become more dependent on government, they become less dependent on God.”

So, it's not the fault of "teh gays", it's the Democrats. In the game of "shame and blame," somebody's gotta be the scapegoat.

Truth be told, I think we Christians have bought into the Shame and Blame Game. We've been looking at - and apologizing for - ourselves for years.

Who wants to join the "Church of The Constant Introspection?" or "The Church of The Incessant Apology"?

In other cases, we've "dummied down" our religion, trying so desperately to prove that we're "with it" and "cool" that we've made ourselves irrelevant.

I'm thinking again about the # 1 reason people come back to the Roman Catholic Church: "Because we hunger for the Eucharist."

I understand completely. There were lots of reasons why I became an Episcopalian, but the Eucharist was primary among them.

So, what if we took a 'web page' from our Roman Catholic brethern and did a "Christians Come Home" website for Episcopalians?

We could talk about all the things they talk about, but we wouldn't have to do it out of both sides of our mouths - or bash anyone or apologize about our beliefs.

We could talk about "churchy" things like the sacraments, the priesthood, and the role and status of women in the institutional church - especially our democratic form of ecclesiastical governance.

We could highlight the hot button topics like human sexuality, reproductive rights, abortion and stem cell research. And, tell a truth that is informed by our understanding of scripture, tempered by our God-given reason, and deeply respectful of the tradition of the church.

The present "official" web page of The Episcopal Church is really for "insiders" - which is fine, I suppose. But, if I were surfing the internet looking for information about The Episcopal Church, I would be quickly overwhelmed and confused.

There's not even a link that says, "What Episcopalians Believe" much less anything that says, "Welcome!" Oh, the banner says, "The Episcopal Church" - and then, in smaller lettering, off to the right (interestingly enough) it says, "Welcomes You!". Except you would never know it from navigating the site.

That just doesn't do it for me. I doubt it is convincing to others, either.

Take a look at the website for The United Church of Christ. Their banner reads: "No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here." Nice, right?

And, just to prove their point, the second tab on the right, just below the tab marked "Feed your spirit" (how wonderful is that?), asks, "New to UCC?" where you can click on and get connected to what it means to be a member of their church.

Or, look at website for The United Methodist Church who also go beyond a polite welcome and say, succinctly, "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors."

They also have displayed, very prominently at the top of their banner, tabs which are labeled, "Our Church", "Our Faith", "Our People", and "Our World."

If you have an inquiring mind that wants to know more about these churches, you'll find easy access to that information.

The web site for The Presbyterian Church USA is not as good as the UCC or UMC - you have to scroll down past the rather off-putting banner which proclaims, "...though I was blind, now I see." John 9:25, and a video about Evangelism to find a link to what PCUSA is all about.

At least, you can find a link for more information. Not so at TEC's website.

Come to think of it, does your parish website have a clearly visible and easily accessible link that explains what it means to be an Episcopalian? Just askin'

And we wonder why our church is in decline?

We're always in the newspapers with some controversy or another swirling 'round. Our website looks like a church that is more consumed with itself - while doing some good works in "advocacy", "community", "networking" and "partnerships" - than bringing people to Christ through our doors.

Oh, I suppose one could "infer" it from those tabs, but it needs to be much more clearly articulated than that. "Innuendo" and "inference" in not the strong suit of the internet. People go on the internet looking for information. Fast. Easy.

I don't think this is an understatement, much less hyperbole:
We're missing a HUGE evangelism opportunity folks. HUGE.
No, I'm not saying that we should have a website to "bash" the Roman Catholic Church. I'm not doing that here. I don't want to "bash" anyone.

I'm offering a serious statement about what I see as ecclesiastical "spin".

Harmful spin. Hurtful spin. For those who are not formerly Roman Catholics, you have no idea how hurtful - and insulting - this is.

Some of us have been denied the sacraments of the church because we're divorced or LGBT (please remember the number one reason people go back to church - The Eucharist).

Others have been denied ordained leadership in the church because of our gender. And yet, former Roman Catholics are being encouraged to 'come home' where we can expect a 'warm embrace' of welcome.

No spiritual food or Eucharistic sustenance. But, someone will welcome us with a 'warm embrace'.

It's obscene.

Here's the salt in the wound:  I am a "Catholic". I'm not "Roman" Catholic. I am an Anglo-Catholic - and I'm not talking about liturgical style or theological position. I'm using it as a short-hand way of saying: "Anglican Catholic."

I object to Rome claiming ownership of that word as strenuously as I object to "fundgelicals" claiming the definition of what it means to be "Christian."

Frankly, I don't think "Catholics Come Home" is competition for our particular "market share of the consumer base", as the marketing folks say, but we've at least got to get in the game in order to score a few points.

If we were to have a website that welcomed people to The Episcopal Church, what would it look like? What would it say? How would you talk about the issues that concern us as Christians?

If anyone responds here, I'm happy to forward a link to this blog, highlighting your suggestions, to the folks at 815 Second Avenue (The Episcopal Church's National Center) in New York.

If we were going to have some commercial air time on network television, what would those one minute advertisements say? (Somebody remind me: I think we started to do a series of these commercials, but I never saw them on television.)

Never mind the expense. If we can find a funding source to gather 1/4 of the deputies in Atlanta to talk about "Equal Rites", surely we can find someone who will provide us with a grant - or someones who will contribute money - for this project.

I have no doubt that we could easily find ordinary, everyday people who would readily agree to being filmed saying things like: "As soon as I walk in the door, I feel peace."

And, "I'm accepted for who I am."

And, "I was divorced and left the church. If I didn't have God, I would be back to that lonely stage, that troubled place."

And, "When you come home to The Episcopal Church, you're coming home to a catholic family where people just embrace you."

Except, we have the evidence to back up those claims. And, we have the courage to tell the truth that "your mileage may vary" in different churches in the Episcopal Church.

That wouldn't be a lie.

Neither would it be "spin" - original or ecclesiastical.


Mary Beth said...

My jaw is unhinged from springing so widely open at this: "Again, as we have seen in the sexual abuse cases driven primarily by a homosexual "culture" that has been allowed to infiltrate the priesthood"

Oh, for the love of Mike. That's gross.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Elizabeth, I'm with you that we are a dandy home for people that have fallen away from many churches, not just the RC church. I'm also on board that we need better material on the national church web site for "seekers." My paradox is this: How do we do it in a way that does not engage in what appears to be "sheep-stealing?"

Mind you, I think plenty of churches out there shamelessly sheep-steal. But I am thinking this falls more along the lines of "wandering sheep that carry an old brand on their hide." The "brander" feels they still have claim to them, but the statute of limitations ran out and really, we are talking the law of the open range.

Bradley said...

Brava. But watch those "Blame teh gays" typos!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mary Beth - There's got to be a scapegoat. How easy to blame "Teh Gays".

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Kirke - I think we don't bash, we just tell our story.

I've added a picture on my blog which, if you click, will take you directly to "I Am Episcopalian". There's a great summary statement of what it means to be Episcopalian and lots of videos of lots of folk saying why they are Episcopalian.

Why this is not a direct link/tab on The Episcopal Church Center home page is beyond me.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bradley, I am snitching the therm "Teh Gays" from Rachel Maddow.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

"Teh Gay"

kenju said...

I would love for you to have a "discussion" with my husband - whom I call the UBER-Catholic.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Kenju - Just give him a link to my blog and save us both a whole lot of frustration.

IT said...


it's long past time for you Episcopalians to reach out! You DO talk mostly to insiders, and the web site is a disaster.

It has been quite eye-opening as BP made that journey,to find out just how few people understand how Catholic the Episcopal church really is. For fear of being "sheep stealers" you go to the opposite extreme and that's a problem.

certainly BP's pure joy in her new church home has been a powerful sort of evangelism.

STrikingly, many many Roman Catholics Just Don'T get it. I am sure that at least one of our local TEC parishes, which has a small community, would burgeon if the Roman Catholics 2 miles away knew that they were there--and what they believe.

it's margaret said...

We could do a blog --it's free.... and one can have up to ten pages.... if it costs a hunk, we're not using our imaginations.

I'll help.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Let's be real about this....the reason why all Christian churches are beginning to decline is because it has become patently obvious that Christianity does not make people better.

We've had 2,000 years, and the verdict is in--as a group, we have failed miserably to live into the Gospel.

Christians are every bit as likely to lie, cheat, steal, etc., as anyone else. People are looking at the marketing versus the reality and they are saying "No thank you!" in droves.

And I really can't blame them. It's not about how we present ourselves on our websites. It's about how we present ourselves in our LIVES. And, as a whole, we tend to make a lie of everything we say we believe.

No website or marketing ploy is going to change that fact. If Christianity is to survive, Christians are going to have to show that they are somehow different because of their beliefs--more honest, more caring, more loving, more sacrificial, more EVERYTHING. Until that happens, all churches are going to start or continue hemorrhaging members. And that is a fitting consequence of our failure to follow Jesus of Nazareth.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

IT - You won't get any argument here. The anti-Protestant, you'll-go-straight-to-hell-we're-the-only-true-religion stuff is deeply ingrained in the RC consciousness. It was Very Hard to leave that. It's like being Jewish -it's your religion AND part of your identity.

Your rector could walk into the local RC Church and hand out invitations and talk to each person individually and she MIGHT get 1 or 2 people who were going to leave, anyway. Sigh. It's just very hard.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hey, Margaret - I'm betting there are 6 people reading this blog right now who could do better than what we've got coming out of 815. That's not the point. The point is that, apparently, there is no will to do it at 815. And, I don't think we should rescue them. Just my POV.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Doxy - You write very wise, albeit very painfully true, words.

The website is an outward reflection of a deep spiritual deficiency.

It sometimes makes me so sad, I could weep alongside Jesus.

CLARE said...

The Catholic Church can teach what it likes and if we don't like it, we don't have to subscribe to it. We can't expect everyone to accept us if we're not prepared to accept others.

Let's just live and let live. Life's too short to do otherwise.

Best wishes
(ex-Catholic, lesbian and United Church of Christ!)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Clare. God Bless you in your work and ministry.

IT said...

Yes, people who boast of being "Christians" are a liability. I mean, how often do you define yourself as "Christian" as opposed to as "Episcopalian"?

But I think there are a lot of Christians who are as dismayed as you are.

I also think there are a lot of Christians who long for the right kind of Christianity, as opposed to the CHristian right.

I've noticed you Episcopalians aren't very good about talking about yourselves--some sort of inherited Anglo reserve, I guess-- but I suggest that simply talking about who you are and what you believe isn't a bad thing.

It doesn't have to be proselytizing, but simply providing information..

Frankly, it has been noted round our parts, with some amusement, that I'm one of your best evangelists, and I'm an atheist. ;-)

whiteycat said...

Elizabeth, you said "The anti-Protestant, you'll-go-straight-to-hell-we're-the-only-true-religion stuff is deeply ingrained in the RC consciousness."

This is a major part of the problem. Most RCs that I know do not go to church, but will NOT give TEC a try. It becomes RC or nothing due to that fear which is instilled from infancy. The RCs who do go to church complain about it constantly but are afraid to make a move. The Fear Factor wins.

And yes, the 815 website is woefully inadequate.

Anonymous said...

Further up the thread, Kirkepiscatoid used the phrase "fallen away." I think the thing that characterizes most of our many former RCs in my parish is that they didn't "fall" anywhere. They ran as hard as they could! We need effective outreach to the "fallen away" who have lost hope, and certainly lost joy in their current church environment. The problem with the national website is that id doesn't offer effective narrative about the energy and creativity local communities pour into service to their communities, nor do they portray the spiritual lives of our communities; the feel of our liturgy, the topics and issues that we confront together in our educational ministries. The biggest shock to my system when I came home to TEC from the RCC in 2001 was the sheer amount of activity within our 110 family parish! Nowhere in the RCC world is this experience found. We have a lot to offer, to show and to tell, but we're terrible at it.

With regard to outreach to disaffected RC members, we could start with Christopher Webber's terrific little book COMING HOME, which had a huge influence on me.

Thank you for this discussion. It's needed.

Lou Poulain
from Sunnyvale CA

Bill said...

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa
On behalf of myself and my Gay brethren of the “homosexual culture”, I would also like to take responsibility for the following:
• Young men leaving the Catholic Church
• The Sinking of the Lusitania
• The Bubonic Plague ( but only the one in 1350)
• The War of 1812 but not the Battle of New Orleans (we were attending the party)
• The Holocaust but only those wearing pink triangles.
• Deaths of Elvis and Michael as a trickle down effect for being responsible for the “drug culture”
• Current OPAC prices
• Teenage Suicides
• Sinking the Maine, but not the Spanish American War
• Challenger Disaster
• Yankee’s loss of the 2010 pennant
• The Village People but not platform shoes (tacky)
• We also accept overall responsibility for dress styles of the past 60 years but utterly reject the notion that we created the Leisure Suit.

whiteycat said...

The RC church is so UNWELCOMING that Maryknoll is removing a priest for favoring women's ordination.

Anonymous said...

I am continuiously bewildred by TEC. Why all the worry over sheep steeling? Really! Shouldn't everyone be able to hear the good news of Christ as said at TEC? Do we really have to worry about the brand placed on the sheep at birth? The sheep are obviously wondering. They are not cared for and hungry. Where is their shepherd?
As a product of a mixed marriage, I found TEC welcoming because for once I could "just be." I did not have to deny my father's RC faith or my mother's protestant faith. I could embrace both without remorse. (I have little tolerance for bashing of faith believes. It is too hard on the children of these marriages.) I wish TEC did a better job of calling to the people of inter faith marriages. I just stumbled across TEC. I do believe the UCC has a wonderful on-line prayer service. Why doesn't TEC? I also wish TEC promoted its' social justice programs to the poor and poverty stricken a bit more.
Just a few thoughts.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

IT - I'm not sure the "orthodox" would consider an Atheist as an evangelist. I do, but it makes me giggle to think of it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whitecat - I know. I went through it. You have no idea how my stomach was in knots the first time I walked into an Episcopal church.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Lou. The difficulty with "outreach" to disaffected RCs is that it looks like we are "stealing sheep". Granted, we don't persuade the ones who don't belong to anyone, but that's a difficult one.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

That was you, Bill? Now I have someone to blame - but thanks for the Yankee loss ;~)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Good ideas, Maria. Episcopalians don't mess with RCs because we don't want to appear desperate. God forbid!

Bex said...'s what happens when a church makes an idol out of its doctrines. And it's sad that the RCs can't bring themselves to kick out the pedophiles, but will jettison the good guys as fast as they can.

Michel S. said...

Mother Elizabeth -- first time posting here, though I've been reading your blog for a while.

I personally had experience of both RC and evangelical Protestantism, and ended up a hybrid Episcopalian / UU -- and I do think both traditions need to more boldly proclaim their identities or face terminal decline!

I wonder if TEC as a body is still defining itself more as a Protestant body -- after all, the official name used to be PECUSA -- and there's lingering reluctance to openly poach ex-Catholics to avoid torpedoing our appeal to other Protestants? From reading Steven Waldman's Founding Faith, it does seem that the Anglican hierarchy was perceived as too "Popish" by Puritans and other non-conformists, dating back to the pre-Revolution era.

PS I no longer see a link to I Am Episcopalian on your blog; is that intentional?

Yours in Christ,

Michel Alexandre Salim, AOJN

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Michael - Thanks for your visit and for leaving your comment. You raise an interesting question - one for which I do not have an answer. I just checked the link to "I Am Episcopalian" and it's working. Sorry for your trouble. Thanks again for your visit and your note.

Michel S. said...

Mother Elizabeth,

(the link now works for me too; must be some ephemeral glitch, deep in the plumbing of the Internet!)

I've followed your example and linked to I Am Episcopalian from my blog as well -- speaking of links, Fr. Tobias Stanislas Heller recently posted on the topic of the Anglican Covenant -- switching to being reluctantly in favor of the latest draft.

Not sure how it affects my perception of it -- I'd have to re-read the latest draft once I have the time.

(ps it's Michel. But many people probably misspelt your last name "Keaton" too!)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Michel (sorry for the previous incorrect spelling) - Tobias is an intelligent, learned, gentle man who is, I fear, very wrong in this new, moderate position. It is too trusting of the institutional church - a fatal flaw for many Anglo-Catholics. I do not think it will prevail and win the day at GC. I have every confidence the deputies and bishops will vote it down and that Tobias, in the end, will also vote against it.

Michel S. said...

Mother Elizabeth,

My intuition is that you're right. Even from a purely legal perspective, a covenant that so far has mostly been "subscribed" or "acceded to" with reservations probably would cause more strife in its implementation that its impact would be mostly negative -- a distraction from what we should be doing as a church.

I've been reading your other posts that relate to institutional structure, and I wonder -- given that Reformed denominations in many countries are now united/uniting churches, perhaps the time is ripe for a similar movement for episcopal (with a small-e) denominations?

The Old Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans -- in full, autocephalous communion -- we're partly there but the process seems all too often to be like free trade agreements -- involving a patchwork of bilateral agreements, rather than a sweeping one!