Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Rowan's Rhetorical Reserve

As the Great Anglican Schism continues, now with the encouragement of Pope Benedict, we have come to take a certain grim delight in the public statements of Archbishop Rowan Williams. At least as taken out of context by the press, they look ever more ineffectual.

Here's the latest. Per the AP, five Anglican bishops have decided to depart for the Roman communion. For the record, they are:
... Bishop of Ebbsfleet Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Richborough Keith Newton, Bishop of Fulham John Broadhurst — as well as retired bishops Edwin Barnes and David Silk ....
Well, fine. Whatever. There are so many Anglican bishops in the world that they can stand to lose a few. (We Lutherans don't have nearly as many, but we could stand t lose a few as well. You know who you are!). Still, they are bishops, stealing off to another church, hoping to join the ordinariates when they are actually formed. It's got to be a little embarrassing and more than a little infuriating. Yet here is Canterbury's tepid response:

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, said he had accepted the resignations of Burnham and Newton, "with regret."

"We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the Church," he said.

Seriously? Pardon us, your grace, but we at the Egg would like to propose a rewrite. Here, if we may, is what you might have said:

It saddens us that these bishops cannot keep the promises they have made, and have chosen to abandon the church they have vowed to serve. While we wish them long and happy lives as laymen, we cannot imagine that they will ever be entrusted with pastoral duties, far less episcopal ones, in any well-ordered church body.

Furthermore, we deeply regret that that the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church have chosen to lure away prelates of our communion, dangling before them the hope of undeserved honors in an as-yet-unformed club for unhappy old men. After decades of ecumenical rapprochement, the proposed ordinariates are a step backward toward the bad old days of Jesuit spies attempting to overthrow both the church and crown.
Or, better yet:
These men have proven themselves to be treacherous rascals, and the Church is well rid of them. We hope that they live out their lives in the obscurity and impotence they so richly deserve. Furthermore, we decry the overreaching hubris of the bishop of Rome, and declare that England will no more tolerate foreign interference with her Church than with her state.
Sure, it's over the top. But when the other side goes all Counter-Reformation, it seems to us that you almost have to get a little Reformation-y in response.


LiturgyGeek said...


When I become General Minister and President for the UCC, I'm hiring you as my speechwriter.

Anonymous said...

Wow. As if 99% of the population could care less!
And you wonder why religion is becoming more and more ignored?