Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Communing the Unbaptized Tries Again

So once again we have another run at GC towards normalization of communing the unbaptized, this time in the form of a study resolution. So the meat of the explanation begins with the observation that "many parishes in the Episcopal Church are currently practicing open communion," by which they mean opening it not just to the baptized who are not members of this denomination, but to anyone, baptized or not. Well, yes, that statement is true, but it is also utterly against the discipline of the church and against statements made each time this has come up and the voices of orthodoxy have prevailed in the end.

But let's keep going:

They believe that welcoming all people to the table allows us to be instruments of that grace. Many of those who come to our churches have no previous experience in a faith community but are responding to our promise that “The Episcopal Church welcomes you.” They come hungry for that sense of welcome and belonging. Denying them a place at the Lord’s Table denies the very desire that drew them through our doors, denies the “radical welcome” that Jesus extended to everyone. If they feel welcomed into our worshiping congregations, newcomers to the faith will be more likely to seek Holy Baptism.
It's the usual romantic picture, which flies in the face of the reality that outsiders are probably more likely to run into communion at a wedding or a funeral, not necessarily seeking anything. And it infantilizes such as do come, for surely it is possible still to recognize that participation in religious acts is for religious believers. We've been through this all before, six years ago, and yet we go around again.

As far as such a study is concerned, nothing has changed there either. Last time, I said,

[W]e have a resolution from North Carolina which, having been amended, is now proposing a committee to study the issue and make a report. If such a committee is formed, what's most likely to happen is one of two outcomes: either those in control will make sure there are enough heretics on the committee to guarantee a less than orthodox report; or when a less adequately packed committee delivers an insufficiently licentious report, it will be thanked and ignored, and the heretics on the issue will simply press the issue again and again until they've driven off enough orthodox to prevail.

I have to think the same dynamics would apply this time, but why bother? The only point to a change would be, once again, to put before the church yet another heterodoxy to drive people away. People who are breaking the rules now aren't going to stop simply because a report, or even GC as a whole, repudiates the innovation; and their bishops won't so much look the other way as they will all but cheer them on. Indeed, they get points among their own for the transgression.

This shouldn't be a point of discussion. No study should be approved.

Late word has come that this proposal has died in committee, as it should.

1 comment:

underground pewster said...

The facts on the ground rule: COTUB is being practiced in many parishes, therefore this resolution will never die, it will, like the Terminator, be back until it wears down the opposition (and when the clergy in the HoD move up and become bishops in the HoB).