13 October 2008

McPherson's address to the WLA convention

While I was doing other things, the Diocese of Western Louisiana had its convention this past weekend. The Rt. Rev’d D. Bruce MacPherson, Ordinary, addressed the convention held at the Alexander Fulton Hotel in Alexandria, Louisiana.

His address had some interesting themes, and you may read it in its entirety here. But what concerns me is that he states (or reiterates) that he and his diocese intend to be Windsor compliant and will sign the forthcoming “Anglican Covenant.” He also states that he hopes the document will allow an individual diocese to become “Covenant compliant” even if the province in which they are located rejects the so-called covenant.

He makes one statement that perplexed me.

This is important to many, and as I stated to the Primates in Tanzania a year and a half ago, and speaking on behalf of the then Windsor Bishops, “we share a deep concern that should the General Convention of the Church elect to not participate in the Covenant process, and therefore ‘choose to walk apart,’ then we pray there will be a structure that will permit those who desire to remain ‘a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in communion with the See of Canterbury,’ to be a part of this process. This is important to the approximately two dozen diocesan bishops that have affirmed the Windsor Report process and expressed the desire to remain in full communion with the See of Canterbury. This is important to laity and clergy across the Church who desire to do likewise. [Emphasis added]

What perplexes me is Bishop McPherson’s understanding of Anglicanism. Notice what he said: Should GC09 reject a new and fundamentally un-Anglican form of unity, polity and authority, it will mean TEC “choose[s] to walk apart” from the rest of the Anglican world.

The good bishop seems to be operating under the delusion that

The Anglican Communion is a single church body and that by rejecting a document that is historically counter to our Anglican heritage, TEC will be rejecting the Anglican Communion.

I would like to know where +McPherson (and the other Roundheads) came up with those conclusions. Perhaps he was in bed with a nasty cold the day they studied Anglican History in seminary.

It is fascinating to me how the fundamentalists’ minds work. I should have stayed with that psychology major so that I would be able to psychoanalyze the fundamentalists. And, yes, I place +McPherson in that camp. Any cleric or lay person who believes a so called covenant is in the Anglican tradition and embrases the Gafconite religion is, in my book, a fundamentalist.

Another interesting bit to the bishop’s statement, above, is that the only way to remain in Communion with the See of Canterbury is to affirm the Windsor Report process. I must admit I laughed aloud when I read that statement. If that were the case, there would have been about one hundred bishops invited to the Lambeth Conference. The fact is ,all those invited are in communion with the See of Canterbury by virtue that their province is in Communion with Canterbury. (+Robinson is a different matter unlike Schofield who, by not being invited, is not a member in good standing of a province recognized by Canterbury.)

This is another modern innovation of the fundamentalists – that individual bishops are in communion with Canterbury. Historically, it is provinces that are in communion and individual bishops are connected to Canterbury though their geographical province.

I find it remarkable that the donatist fundamentalists can completely rewrite the history of the Anglican experience, make innovations contrary to our history, and then tell those who do not subscribe to the new religion that they are no longer Anglican.

Bishop McPherson goes on to lament the deposition of Cox, Schofield, and Duncan. All depositions were illegal, of course, because McPherson’s understanding of the canons involved was not followed. Note what McPherson said:

Some, I am certain, will argue about the actions of Bishop Duncan and some of the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and seek to justify the action of the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops. My argument is not whether or not he did something, but the fact that we have a new rule of order that has evolved, and it has not been brought about by the Councils of the Church nor is in keeping with Canonical structure. As I have shared before, this is a precedent that is a danger to the dignified order of The Episcopal Church as we have known it, and this must be corrected.

Here is the interesting rub. First, he completely ingnores the fact that it was members of Duncan's diocese who brought the charges; the Presiding Bishop did not initate the action. In reality, it was Duncan who iniitiated it by his actions.

Even more interesting, it is perfectly acceptable, and indeed laudable, to rewrite Anglican/Episcopal history, invent a new religion with a puritan covenant, force it on the rest of the communion, and evolve a new rule of authority. But, if one of their own is caught red handed, committing theft and fraud, and abandoning the church, then the canons must be followed to the letter or else any disciplinary action is illegal. Of course, it the the criminals' and abeters' nterpretation of the canons that counts. Let’s see, I believe that is called having one’s own cake and eating it, too. Well, it’s also called suffering from delusions. and is akin to Bush, Jr's "the law is what I say it is." Sadly, I am not sorry to say, this calls into question +McPherson's character. Aiding people who are committing illegal activies is not a moral thing in my opinion. The U.S. legal system agrees with that opinion.

Then +McPherson sets the course he is going to follw. And if you wondered why he has so much sympathy for the deposed bishops, this will answer your question.

You have heard me say on more than one occasion that the Preamble of the Constitution states, The Episcopal Church “is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Diocese, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.” [Constitution and Canons of General Convention 2006]

It is in keeping with this that I am committed to us following through with the development of the Anglican Covenant, and at the point of decision and the action of The Episcopal Church, this diocese is going to have to decide the direction forward. Yes, I will be here and provide leadership, but unlike some of the leadership of the larger Church, I know what the parameters of my canonical limits are, and making unilateral decisions that affect the life and ministry of this diocese is not within the scope of my authority. This is a decision that can and will be made only by a called convention of the diocese.

And there it is – he will, eventually, lead his diocese out of The Episcopal Church and into the new religion. He will not make the decision himself, but leave it to the diocese – but he states he will still be there leading the diocese.

Call me stupid, but I interpret that as “I will steer the diocese in the direction of ‘realignment’ with a Puritan Communion masquerading in Anglican clothing. But I shall do it in such a way that no one can say I’ve broken my ordination/consecration oaths or violated the canons.”

It will be interesting to watch him pull this off.

Now in a display of my own ego, check this out. I'm not named, but . . . I must have hit a nerve because this post has been named on several fundamentalist sites and hav received more than a few toxic comments. Everyone is welcome to post here, but everyone must follow the rules.