New Text of Communion Without Baptism Resolution [C029] as Amended and Sent Back to HoD

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that The Episcopal Church reaffirms that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and
baptize all peoples. We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* TheologyAnthropologySacramental TheologyBaptismEucharistTheology: Scripture

37 Comments
Posted July 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/43920/



1. Charles wrote:

We shall see if the deputies pass this.  I hope they do, but even if they don’t, at least the bishops did the right thing.

July 12, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
2. Charles wrote:

And I just heard from the ground that the HoD doesn’t have the time to consider this, so the entire thing fails.  Yeah!

July 12, 12:51 pm | [comment link]
3. Alta Californian wrote:

Good for the bishops, at least on this one!

July 12, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
4. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Wow…something productive for once. I’ll be sure to pass this along to the 16 people who have already told me since yesterday that they are leaving or are discerning leaving the Episcopal church.

July 12, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
5. Sherri2 wrote:

My excitement is tempered by the awareness that this will all be back in three years, with almost certainly a more aggressive push behind it.

July 12, 1:14 pm | [comment link]
6. Sherri2 wrote:

And, of course, by what has already been done. I don’t think I can just settle back in the pew again.

July 12, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
7. Michael S. Mills wrote:

I bet if the HOD had passed something more strongly supportive of CWOB, the deputies would have made time.  I think this is a block by the Chair.  Can a deputy call for a vote on this?

July 12, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
8. Karen B. wrote:

Been offline all day, so haven’t been following this.
Good for the bishops.  Glad my prediction of passage of the previous version was wrong.
Does anyone know if it was a vote by orders and what the vote tally was?

July 12, 2:20 pm | [comment link]
9. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Charles, Why doesn’t the HoD have time to consider this? If the Dennis Canon can be passed on the last day of a General Convention why not this? I am not arguing just want to know.

July 12, 2:31 pm | [comment link]
10. Charles wrote:

Just reporting what I heard…not sure as to why they don’t have time.

July 12, 2:39 pm | [comment link]
11. David Wilson wrote:

I wonder how many of the diocesan bishops who voted to amend CO29 will either not enforce violations of the canon or simply allow violations to go unaddressed?

July 12, 3:11 pm | [comment link]
12. c.r.seitz wrote:

The HOD version is of course manifestly uncanonical. Perhaps the HOB takes turns on these things.

July 12, 3:14 pm | [comment link]
13. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Anyone know how the liberals are *finessing* this deletion/change by the HoB?

July 12, 3:44 pm | [comment link]
14. Charles wrote:

#13, not trying to be difficult, but this issue isn’t your typical liberal/conservative issue.  My delegation and bishop (Diocese of Kansas) voted for same-sex blessings but opposes (from what I understand) Communion Without Baptism.  I’m the same way - completely support SSB but completely oppose CWOB.

July 12, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
15. c.r.seitz wrote:

#14 In what way are SSBs also not opposed to Article X of the Constitution? How are provisional rites in agreement with the rubrics of the BCP as Art. X stipulates? Read page 13 of the BCP. Even a supplemental rite must be in accord with the authority of the Church, as enshrined in Art. X. I can see no way around this. Of course the rubrics governing blessing of unions male/female are manifestly at odds with this blessing service as well. BCP and Art. X are both of no use for SSBs.

July 12, 4:38 pm | [comment link]
16. yohanelejos wrote:

Finally, an action that makes sense—yet, the fact that nothing passed just puts us back to the situation that has currently developed.

July 12, 4:43 pm | [comment link]
17. Charles wrote:

Fr. Seitz, you appear to be phrasing that question as if I had previously said something to the contrary. I haven’t discussed the Constitution at all. I was simply addressing SC blu cat lady’s comment in #13 re: how “liberals” are responding to this…

I hope I’m not being offensive to you or to anyone reading this, but I find it curious that you’re the only person talking about this.  I didn’t hear an objection on the floor of either house relating to this issue.

July 12, 4:47 pm | [comment link]
18. c.r.seitz wrote:

Within the HOB it was clearly registered that a ‘trial rite’ was language Art. X referenced. I believe you can discover that with a minimum of research. It was further noted that Art. X spoke of ‘trial rites’ and the voting procedures for them, as being different for BCP revisions. These take a simple majority, but require two conventions. ‘Trial rites’ need a majority of all Bishops entitled to vote (305). In consequence, the language of ‘provisional’ was found.

I don’t think any of this is hard to find. So, you are incorrect when you say nothing about this was referred to in either house. I leave aside for a moment what was or was not said on the floor of the HOD.

To the degree then that the letter of Art. X of the Constitution was in fact of concern in the HOB, such that a substitute was needed to be found (‘provisional’), obviously the constitutional character of what was happening was of concern. Is this is doubt?

The question then is whether a provisional rite that departs from the rubrics of the BCP is in fact allowed by Art. X or the BCP itself.

“I find it curious that you’re the only person talking about this.” Do you mean that empirically? Obviously AS Haley raised it and wrote an entire essay on the difficulty of compliance with Art. X, and others have also pointed this out. Or, do you mean, in the circles you move you didn’t hear anyone talking about it? If that is what you mean, I agree, it is curious. But my own sense is that true advocates of SSBs are really not concerned with the C/C. That is why they were prepared to find a rite that was not marriage, yet would be corrigible for the time being, and could in fact move the ball down the field, and indeed for all intents and purposes is the imitation of a marriage rite with another name.

My question to you is therefore. If it could be established that the ‘provisional rite’ was against the C/C of TEC, would it actually matter? My own answer is, it wouldn’t. I don’t think people care what the ordering of the church is. I think they simply want to get a result that suits them.

But I’d be curious of your answer. Perhaps I am too cynical.

July 12, 5:21 pm | [comment link]
19. Ralph wrote:

“I didn’t hear an objection on the floor of either house relating to this issue.”

It gives the HOB and HOD (or anyone) a lot of credit to assume that they know the constitution and canons thoroughly. If the change to “provisional” had been made public with sufficient advance notice, then they could have been appropriately briefed.

The conservatives surely would have raised the point if they had known about it. Of course, if any of the liberals noticed the discrepancy, it would have been dishonest to be silent about it.

July 12, 6:26 pm | [comment link]
20. David Keller wrote:

Reality check. This can’t be about anything but diocesan budgets.  Some really big money people called their bishops and said, we aren’t happy about SSBs, but if you do this we aren’t bankrolling you anymore.  If somebody has a better expalantion, I’d love to hear it, because it sure as heck can’t be about theology, since the HOB doesn’t have any.

July 12, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
21. Hursley wrote:

#18 is quite correct. Concern for “following the rules” exists in TEC now only where it furthers the desired outcome of a “bigger issue” the majority is backing. This is how the game has been played, it seems, at least since WO was pushed through by an illegal but “prophetic” action. That action also marked the replacement of the “English Parliamentary” system in TEC with a more straightforwardly Nietzschean system of power-is-truth. Expecting anything less in TEC for the foreseeable future would be rather quaint. Perhaps it would be best simply to get the “prophetic” crowd to make up a list of what they want and get it all passed at the next GC—sort of opening the gates wide to the Assyrians—and thus avoiding all of the charades of “being concerned” and “dialogue.” I know I have long since given up any hope that mercy will be shown by our new ecclesiastical masters.

July 12, 7:02 pm | [comment link]
22. Karen B. wrote:

George Conger+ has a very good article on today’s action in the HOB, noting some of the Bishops who spoke out on each side of the debate.

http://anglicanink.com/article/bishops-close-open-table

However, unless I missed it in my reading, he said nothing about a vote total, merely “The level of support for C029 when it was presented to the House of Bishops on 12 July 2012 was markedly different. ”  (i.e. compared with its overwhelming passage in the HOD yesterday). 

This leads me to assume it was a voice vote.  Can anyone who was there or who was watching the live stream (if there was one) fill me in? 
THANKS.

July 12, 7:14 pm | [comment link]
23. c.r.seitz wrote:

#17 I have taken the effort to explain my point and I welcome your response. I appreciate your not wanting to be ‘offensive.’ Thanks for that.

July 12, 7:29 pm | [comment link]
24. Alta Californian wrote:

I agree with Charles that this did cut across ideological boundaries, or more properly speaking that it divided the left. I know plenty of socially liberal folks, my own bishop included, who saw that CWOB would undercut Baptism precisely at a time they are hanging so very much on the final vow of the baptismal rite.  Even liberals realize the contradiction. I don’t think its passage even in three years is a foregone conclusion. The issue certainly won’t go away. Perhaps 10 to 20 years down the line, when SSBs are old hat and the “dignity vow” no longer needed as a cudgel, they’ll revisit this. But none of it really matters, as “local option” is the rule of the day. One of the ironies of the present moment is that a bishop can be brought up on charges for denying that we are “hierarchical” while at the very same time our practice is becoming increasingly congregational.

July 12, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
25. David Fischler wrote:

The Rt. Rev. William Gregg, Assistant Bishop of North Carolina, was the first to rise and offered a strong statement of rejection of the resolution.

It was “not up to one denomination” to change the universal church’s teaching on baptism, Bishop Gregg said.

But apparently it is up to one denomination to change the universal church’s teaching on marriage.

July 12, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
26. Hursley wrote:

#25 Yes, the irony in that statement was quite hilarious when I read it. Another person who thinks that the lawlessness unleashed in this part of the Church can be contained. Its logic is omnipresent in TEC, and will in time be used against the very people championing it for SSB’s now. How this cannot be seen used to confuse me; but now I am aware that this blindness is a willed blindness…more powerful than any other blindness, because the other senses do not compensate for it.

July 12, 8:37 pm | [comment link]
27. c.r.seitz wrote:

#24 Very alert.

July 12, 8:42 pm | [comment link]
28. Hursley wrote:

#24 I remember a time—not very long ago—when “hierarchical” was one of the dirtiest words in Episcopal Church parlance. Anyone who used it to connote something positive was vilified. Hierarchy and patriarchy were the two big no-no’s. Suddenly, it is a respectable, even desirable, term (when rightly applied, of course). My, how things change so quickly in this environment! I guess getting the reigns of the institution does that to a movement. Yesterday’s radical is tomorrow’s reactionary.

July 12, 8:50 pm | [comment link]
29. Hursley wrote:

“reins,” not “reigns.” Sigh.  But, then again…

July 13, 1:13 am | [comment link]
30. Br. Michael wrote:

Do we know what the final outcome was?

July 13, 6:12 am | [comment link]
31. Br. Michael wrote:

If I am reading the GC website correctly the HOD concurred with the amended resolution.  That means that officially the attempt to authorize communion of the unbaptized failed.  Of course the Canon will not be enforced.

July 13, 7:48 am | [comment link]
32. Charles wrote:

Fr. Seitz (re: #18 and #23):

I would love to respond but fear that further discussion of SSB and the constitution will be ruled off topic and deleted.  This thread is about CWOB.  What’s your email address?  I will be glad to continue the discussion that way.

Finally, the HoD passed the same sentence the HoB did.

Those who proposed opening communion to the unbaptized (I’m thinking the original Eastern Oregon resolution) proposed deleting the existing canon. What ended up happening is that the bishops and deputies upheld baptism as the ancient and normative entry point for Holy Communion and said that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and baptize all peoples.

Huge difference.  Thanks be to God.

July 13, 8:17 am | [comment link]
33. c.r.seitz wrote:

#32 Go ahead and respond. I doubt it will be ruled off topic because it isn’t. If that happens, be sure you have saved your copy. It’s very simple. I/we look forward to your clarification. And btw, it was mentioned to me that several people did rise to the floor at HOD to raise the issue of constitutionality. Indeed, in 2006 a resolution was passed that called on the SCLM to sort out the proliferation of rites, which by their very number were obscuring the constitutional character of the single book we call the BCP. Rather than clear any of that up, the 30 minute rule was invoked. Art. X was also mentioned by a delegate from Dallas.

This is fully on topic. CWOB ran straight up against a canon outlawing it. It was constitutionally—not just theologically—illicit. The question is how a rite seeking to imitate a blessing of marriage is not constitutionally out of order, given the rubrics of the BCP and Art. X of the Constitution. This isn’t a newrite for Rogation Day.

July 13, 8:55 am | [comment link]
34. Charles wrote:

#34, I respect your opinion but will not respond on this thread.  I’d be happy to respond via email.

July 13, 9:34 am | [comment link]
35. cseitz wrote:

This is an issue with public significance for the Church. It doesn’t interest me on any other terms. Canons and Constitutions are public gifts of ordering. We are getting into trouble precisely because we have lost sight of the goodness of what our forebears in the anglican faith have constructed and passed on to us. The C/C are treated as though they have a built in expiration system. This is unsurprising in many ways; the Bible is also treated this way by a certain mindset. One either ignores the witness or says it does not comprehend where we are *in the nature of the case*, and in this way we lose connective tissue with our anglican ‘company of the faithful’ and the goodly fellowship of prophets and apostles. Our faith becomes our personal convictions at this moment in time. Compare Paul in Colossians 2:5-7.

This is not a personal issue, but one regarding what we mean by paralambano—what is passed on.

July 13, 11:34 am | [comment link]
36. Alta Californian wrote:

Hursley, indeed.

I think it was Christopher Johnson who went on Episcopal Cafe or some such to point out that the very revisionists who are decrying the Vatican’s crackdown on the free speech rights of the American nuns are themselves launching a crackdown on the free speech of traditionalist TEC bishops. As my brother likes to say, hypocrisy is the greatest luxury.

July 13, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
37. Hursley wrote:

#36 ...And the luxury that leads to the quickest and most spectacular fall!

The scale of institutional hypocrisy in TEC continues to amaze. The slavish alacrity manifested by so many who participate in GC suggests they are simply incapable of seeing how pathetic and self-contradictory it has all become. Time alone will provide the correction to this delusive decadence. In the meantime, I need to keep repenting of my own hypocrisy, rather than fix my eyes on the sins of others!

July 13, 7:53 pm | [comment link]


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