Anathema! Anathema! Oops...Never Mind

Brother Causticus contemplates with some perplexity a declaration from the bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania pronouncing their communion with the Episcopal Church severely impaired, but further elucidating that they are still in communion with those who are in, are considering leaving, or have left TEC who adhere to Biblical Christianity and the authority of Scripture.

While BC in his smaller moments relishes the idea of selecting the Christians with whom he is or is not in communion according to his own exacting criteria, he must aver that he would often find himself not a member of the Una Sancta, but, alas, simply a solitary unus and thus offer too tempting a target for those who read with waggish intent.

Furthermore, in addition to those with whom communio in sacris is merely impaired, the good bishops declare that communion is irrevocally broken with:"(i) Bishops who consecrate homosexuals to the episcopate and those Bishops who ordain such persons to the priesthood and the deaconate or license them to minister in their dioceses; (ii) Bishops who permit the blessing of same sex unions in their dioceses; (iii) Gay priests and deacons; (iv) Priests who bless same sex unions."

Brother Causticus first must turn to a nicety of diction before considering the burden of the African argument. BC deplores the burgeoning usage of “deaconate” as a descriptor of the order of deacons. The Greek antecedent is διάκονος and “diaconate” represents a more direct derivation from the original rather than extrapolating from the English, as does “deaconate.” By way of further authority, the Google toolbar plaintively inquires “Did you mean diaconate?” when entering the search term “deaconate.” Thus, BC and Google speak with one voice on this issue, which should certainly be sufficient for anyone.

BC observes from further scrutiny of the Google results for “deaconate” apparently the Ecclesia Romana has many exponents who use the improperly derived term, leading him to pointedly question the claims made for that church’s Magisterium. If one is unable to get the grammar right, how can one make a credible assertion of doctrinal infallibility? But, as St. Paul reminds us, there are many members of the Body of Christ, each serving its appointed function, and BC supposes therefore that some parts are meant to render the language less euphoniously.

Returning to the statement of the Tanzanian bishops, BC is told that the locus from whence it flowered is fraught with implication. Issued dateline Dar es Salaam, the site of the upcoming annual Primates’ Meeting which many are touting as an ecclesiastical “rumble in the jungle” where the Global South will resoundingly toss errant Episcopalians out on their collective ear, the timing of the statement from this choice of location is seen by some as an ominous portent of the decidedly chilly reception awaiting TEC's Presiding Bishop upon her arrival at the conclave, should she be spared a preceding cut direct of no invitation at all. Or perhaps Dar es Salaam was selected for its wide availability of excellent Indian take-out, which, if one were ministering for most of the year out in the drought-stricken and undernourished Diocese of Shinyanga, for example, would be a compelling reason indeed.

But setting aside for the moment such speculations – made largely by Americans who claim to hew to the plain sense of Scripture, but seem to read foreign episcopal proclamations very, shall we say, liberally in search of yet another plank for the “hate Kate” platform – Brother Causticus views with approbation the good bishops’ principled stand and calls for the anathema to ring out against all who trespass against this cogently articulated enunciation of Biblical Christianity.

According to the form of these things, BC supposes he should now make some sort of fervid declaration about Bishop Spong, but will show unto you a more excellent way.

Rifling through his stacks of old Church Times, BC finds a description of an interview the then Bishop of Monmouth gave clearly stating that he knowingly ordained a practicing homosexual – when, oh when will these homosexuals become proficient at it? – as a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, in clear contravention of the canons of the Church of England and, depending upon whom one asks, Scripture and Nature itself, thereby befouling with abomination an institution that had previously known only chaste connubial bliss. +Monmouth remains to this day publicly unrepentant and the priest continues unchecked wreaking his putative ministry upon unwitting parishioners and, one imagines, the poor and needy of his district who would no doubt fling away the bowls of soup he proffers were they to know the challenge his manner of living presents to the wider Communion.

This defiant, erring Bishop of Monmouth clearly has no place at the Tanzanian table. It is very meet, right, and a bounden episcopal duty to shun the brazen foray of this notorious and open sinner to the Sacrament as the communion between him and the Anglican Church of Tanzania is utterly null and void, as stated heretofore in paragraph (i).

That the bishops of Tanzania have boldly declared themselves out of communion with the Bishop of Monmouth - or as he is now known, the Archbishop of Canterbury – and have thereby ejected themselves from the Anglican Communion – whose muddled ecclesiology admits to no certainties other than communion with ++Cantuar defines membership – is no doubt an auspicious step forward for Biblical Christianity, but perhaps a bit of an impediment to the full success of the upcoming Primates' Meeting, where it appears the ostensible convener will have no place at all.

It’s probably not too late, though, for the Anglican Church of Tanzania to get its deposit back from the caterers.