It has been a day for strange messages flowing from website of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Perhaps the most bizarre is “The Request to the Global South Primates: Request for Alternative Primatial Oversight and Pastoral Care.”
Today, January 29, the Diocese of Pittsburgh published the text of its request presented to the Global South Primates (actually the Global South Steering Committee) in November 2006. The Daily Episcopalian speculates as to why. You can read the Request HERE. If you want to read what the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has to say about this request, you can go HERE.
“Alternative Primatial Oversight,” a leaky idea dead in the water the moment it was launched, was trotted out in this request and presented to the Global South Steering Committee. The narrative of this request is filled with retread grievances and worn out slogans. Here are a few:
“…the struggle we are engaged in is a constitutional crisis in which the progressive majority has walked away from its constitutional responsibility to remain as a “constituent member of the Anglican Communion.”
“We also appreciate the call for a bishop representing the orthodox to be present at the next Primates Meeting, and for ‘initial steps toward the creation of…a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the
“We cannot be represented in the Communion through the person of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Jefferts Schori teaches a manifestly defective Christology as well as embraces moral actions and teachings directly contrary to the
“All the roles assigned under our Constitution to the Presiding Bishop need to be carried out among us, but cannot reasonably or impartially be carried out by Bishop Jefferts Schori.”
“We need an antidote to the inherent independence of action that has characterized relations among bishops and diocese in the
(This addressed to the Global South Primates) “Convene, when the time is right, an organizing (“constitutional”) convention for the purposes of approving the infrastructure necessary to the permanent Anglican entity in the
This stuff is malarkey… it is humbug…it is a mess of pottage. More, it asks of the Global South Primates that they join the Diocese of Pittsburgh in an effort to establish a replacement body to take the place of the Episcopal Church. That is, it asks the Global South Primates, to join it in a coup d’eglise.
Here it how that coup is supposed to comes down: (i) claim that the Episcopal Church does not desire to be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, (ii) try to weasel into the Primates Meeting and push to replace the Primate of the Episcopal Church, (iii) claim that the Presiding Bishop is a heretic, (iv) plea for relief, (v) plea for cure, and (vi) get some body to license a new structure and leader.
What is most dangerous about all this is that it is a program of action that we have known about for a long time now and have done very little. But that is changing.
One wonders if the leaders of the Anglican Communion Network must carry these points on a laminated card in their wallets as reminders of the talking points for this coup. Again and again these reappear, sometimes with more, sometimes with less, passionate revelation of pain and suffering.
But what to do? Now I know.
I was taught it is not polite to laugh when someone is speaking with seeming seriousness. And I mostly have been obedient to what my mother taught me. But I also learned that laughter is often the only way to deal with pretension. So the solution to this is to laugh. Laugh at the absurdity of this sorry request.
It is either laugh or cry. I choose laughter. Cry if you want. Either way, lets move beyond this mess.