November 16, 2007

More Fission

First it was Duncan, and now San Joaquin. I wish folks would stop misrepresenting what happened to The Episcopal Church during the US Civil War.

Here is the capsule history as simply as possible:

With the creation of what they thought to be a new nation, the dioceses of the Confederacy felt that they had, necessarily, to become a separate "national church" -- just as PECUSA had necessarily become independent from England at the Revolution. (See the Preface to the US BCP.) While England eventually recognized the latter (as the national independence became de jure as well as de facto, the United States never recognized the secession of the Confederate States, and neither did the Church. The roll of the absent bishops continued to be called. This is why, when the war was ended, an amicable return of the absent (not separated) dioceses was possible. As far as PECUSA was concerned, they had never left -- there was, in short, no division of the Church. Moreover, the secession was based solely on political considerations, not on doctrinal differences.

So the present situation does not apply in any respect.

Tobias Haller BSG


Anonymous said...

Fr. Haller:

Food for thought. Maybe that is what ECUSA should do again. Call the roll, note the empty chairs, await the end of the schism in God's time.


-miserable sinner

Malcolm+ said...

The other main difference between that occasion and this has to do with the faithful remnant.

The "schism" of the civil war saw the Church attempting to respond administratively to the emerging de facto situation - as you say, much as American members of the Church of England following the reveolution.

The current impending schism is of a different order, and unlike the last time, there will be Episcopalians "left behind" when the schismatics decamp. The national church will surely owe something to that remnant.