Matthew J. Franck on the Episcopal Bishop of L.I.‘s recent Pastoral Letter

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a church that permitted “gay and lesbian clergy” to hold themselves forth as such, the Episcopal Church found it could not resist permitting such individuals to live with their “partners,” cohabiting openly without benefit of marriage. A kind of ancestral conservatism prevented Episcopalians from boldly sallying forth to bless same-sex unions as sacramental marriages so long as the state was not willing to legalize civil marriage for such couples. Thus the church found itself obliged to wink at something–sexual relationships openly proclaimed by cohabiting but unmarried “clergy couples” of the same sex–that it would not tolerate if the couples were heterosexual.

Ah, but now comes the state to the rescue! What the state has blessed, the Episcopal Church can now bless. Even more, it will now insist on its long-suppressed moral strictures about marriage! No more of this living in sin, which just yesterday we didn’t have the nerve to call sin! You folks better get married, because the state has decided for us that we can give you the sacrament!

Or if we want to keep our footing and not join Bishop Tanglefoot in a heap at the foot of the cathedral stairs, we can speak as Christians ought to speak: the Episcopal Church has been tolerating its clergy living openly in sin. Now it will bless the sin and the sinners alike. But it will righteously insist on it!

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

6 Comments
Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Ralph wrote:

Tanglefoot, or Screwtape. It’s hard to tell. Let’s see.
1. I’m not aware of any national canon that legitimizes same-sex unions, or same-sex unholy matrimony.
2. The true teaching of TEC, according to the canons and the BCP, is that TEC does not provide for marriage between persons of the same sex. I don’t know whether any diocesan canons make such provision.
3. This bishop seems to be forcing same-sex couples who are shacked up to proceed with a false, diabolical, and mutually defiling sacrament. In another era, I suspect the punishment would have been burning at the stake.

July 26, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd13 wrote:

1.  Ralph, you can bet your last buck that such a canon will be proposed at the next General Convention.  TEC won’t stick to Canon Law, and the move to recognize same sex ‘marriage’ will begin.

July 26, 6:35 pm | [comment link]
3. carl wrote:

I don’t know about you but I find this situation hysterically funny.  I can imagine a homosexual clergyman spraying the beverage of his choice all over his computer screen as he read ...

I hereby grant a grace period of nine months from the effective date of the New York State Law permitting same-gender marriages for those relationships to be regularized either by the exchange of vows in marriage or the living apart of said couples.

  The situation reminds me of the guy who decides to throw a quarter stick of dynamite out of his car - only to discover he had forgotten to roll down the window when the dynamite (with lit fuse of course) bounced of the glass and landed in his lap.  Homosexual marriage was supposed to be an abstract victory - a legal declaration of the legitimacy of homosexual relationships.  But who ever thought people would expect you to .. you know ... actually go through with it.

“Bishop!  You don’t understand!  Marriage is so ... so ... conventional .. so .. bourgeois!  It’s a vestige of the patriarchal breeder mindset.  We don’t need legal formalization of our relationship.  It’s stronger than to need such crutches. Faithful committed relationships don’t require a piece of paper to ... [cough! choke! sputter!] ... MONOGAMOUS?!!  Bishop, you just don’t understand!”

In the end, I expect the bishop will quietly let this directive fall away.  He won’t enforce it because the culture on whom he would force it simply won’t accept it.  In the meantime, I can enjoy the image of a man fumbling desperately to pick up a lit stick of dynamite while he tries to roll down the car window.

carl

July 26, 7:56 pm | [comment link]
4. Undergroundpewster wrote:

Nine months grace period, heh…

I remember the day when the older ladies in the congregation would, upon receiving an engagement announcement, rush to their calendars and flip the pages nine months forward and circle the date in order to find out if any new arrivals were illegitimate or not.

July 26, 9:28 pm | [comment link]
5. DTerwilliger wrote:

“Grace period” eh?  Well, at least there will be no 9 month gestation of illegitimate children in these “marriages”. 
A 9 month repentance period is what the Bishop should be calling for - isn’t that what Bishops are supposed to do?

4. Undergroundpewster wrote:
Nine months grace period, heh…

I remember the day when the older ladies in the congregation would, upon receiving an engagement announcement, rush to their calendars and flip the pages nine months forward and circle the date in order to find out if any new arrivals were illegitimate or not.

July 27, 12:40 am | [comment link]
6. evan miller wrote:

Carl,

Your comment above just made my day.  I think you hit the nail on the head.

July 27, 8:53 am | [comment link]
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