Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Holy Tuesday Confession

I’ve been in Hartford all day, at the Cathedral, for the annual renewal of ordination vows and a nice little Quiet Day, with Bp. Laura Ahrens giving the meditations.

I came home and, after checking voicemails and emails, I went to check the blogs I follow in Anglicanland. The Mad Priest (OC, ICBW…) has a post with a news video of recently deposed bishop John David Schofield on Palm Sunday, defending his position.

His position is this: for years he has led the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of San Joaquin in California. He has led it in a very conservative direction. He and his followers do not support women’s ordinations nor do they have the time of day for gay or lesbian people. The Episcopal Church, on the other hand, has slowly been opening itself up to lesbian and gay persons. We are therefore apostate, no longer Christians in his eyes.

We have refused to repent of our liberal stance toward full inclusion of lgbt people who live on the margins in most cultures, including our own. Anglican and Episcopal churches in other countries around the world are divided on the issue. A few people, bishops and congregations in The Episcopal Church, formerly in the United States but now including several other countries, also disagree strongly with the positions The Episcopal Church has taken and is certain to take in the future towards full recognition of gay and lesbian persons as wholesome before God. (We ain’t there yet, but we are not going to stop until we are.)

John David Schofield led most of the people and congregations of the Diocese of San Joaquin to break their tie with the Episcopal Church and affiliate, instead, with the Diocese of the Southern Cone, located in six countries in South America. Southern Cone sees things with reference to gay and lesbian persons the same way as John David Schofield sees them. It is for this abandonment of the Episcopal Church for which he has been inhibited, which means he is not allowed to perform any sacraments in the Diocese of San Joaquin, and now he is also deposed, which means he is no longer a bishop in the Episcopal Church headquartered in the United States.

Sadly, JDS has revealed in the past that he is a (now celibate) gay man, or as he self identifies today, a former gay man. So, there he was on a news video from Palm Sunday, defending what he has done and celebrating Mass in the Diocese of San Joaquin as though somehow that diocese has been beamed up to the Southern Cone and the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church and the inhibition and the deposition have no authority over him.

Unfortunately, JDS is a bit overweight. His cope, a huge sort of cape, which fastens in the front at the chest, has slipped off his right shoulder and shifted from his left shoulder to hang over his left chest. The clasp is practically choking him. And right there, in front of God and everyone, I wrote a hurtful comment about him being closeted so long that he forgot how to wear a cope. I really felt sorry for him, but I wanted more to make fun of him.

Dear Bp. John David Schofield, I apologize for being a cretin. I do not like you. I do not like what you stand for and I do not like what you have done in San Joaquin. You and those who think like you have decided that I and the whole rest of The Episcopal Church are no longer Christians, but you are wrong. You claim we have rewritten the Bible and believe only what we want to. That is also wrong. It is false witness. It is a lie.

But you do not deserve fat jokes or closet jokes. I am suddenly filled with pity for you. So, I am sorry for what I wrote.
But, John David, not so sorry as I feel for the damage you have left behind in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. May God have pity on you. May God have pity on me. And may the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin heal and prosper in the blessed absence of your influence.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

very powerful, Lois. thank you.