Opening Comments 12-23-2002
DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 23 00:05:49 EST 2002
Dear Brother and Sisters,
The fourth candle of Advent was lit at my parish this morning telling
of the joy of Christmas. "For unto us a child is born..."and He shall
be called Emmanuel - God with us.
What joy is this, what ineffable love the Father shows us in sending
his son to visit sinful humanity, to live among us and ultimately die
for us. Is their greater love than this? In truth it is the supreme act
of a loving Father who, in His self-disclosure, sends His Son to be a
servant, to live among us, to share our humanity.
What better news can we offer the world than this. The Incarnate One,
truly God and fully man descends to earth, to become like us, to be
borne in the humblest of circumstances, to live amongst us and breathe
the very air we breathe. No other world religion offers such joy or
hope. Islam does not offer it, neither does Buddhism or Hinduism. It is
uniquely ours, and we can shout and sing it without embarrassment. God
has revealed himself in Jesus in full humanity, identifying himself
totally with us in all our lostness (himself without sin).
In the parallel revisionist universe we are watching the extinguishing
of the flames of hope. Over the last few months we have seen candles of
faith extinguished in orthodox parishes across the country - from
Philadelphia to Vancouver, from Alabama to Quebec.
The authority of scripture, traditional morality, the centering on
man's will rather than God's will and the uniqueness and Divinity of
Christ have all come under fire, with bishops unable and unwilling to
affirm such basic Christian tenets as the resurrection of Jesus from
the dead, the atonement and much more.
The illumination of the advent lights leads to the bright burning of
the Christ candle. In the revisionist mirror image the candles are
extinguished and the light of Christ is snuffed leaving an empty and
hopeless situation. It is particularly so in the Diocese of
Pennsylvania where, this past week, Charles Bennison tried once again
to unseat Fr. David Moyer and toss him out of his parish. You can read
that story today. Then you can read a summation of Bennison's true
character - his desire to extinguish the flames of orthodox faith and
hope. We have not seen its like, it is beyond all human understanding.
But the nastiness and small-mindedness exists also at the international
level. VIRTUOSITY received a letter this week saying that the former
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey was withholding funds from a
Rwandan bishop because his boss, the Primate of Rwanda, Emmanuel Kolini
had consecrated two bishops to the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA)
two years earlier. The irony of this is that Carey had said at one
point that Lambeth-linked withholding of aid was "immoral and deeply
un-Christian," and now he was practicing precisely what he once
preached against but this time it is the AMiA. You can read that
VIRTUOSITY exclusive story today. This is particularly saddening as
Carey is a fellow Evangelical traveler.
NORTH IN CANADA IN THE DIOCESE OF NEW WESTMINSTER the first meeting
took place recently between the dissident priests and Bishop Michael
Ingham. It will be followed up with another on 15th January. The
facilitation process is underway as the Canadian House of Bishops asked
for. More will be known in January. Still the article that appeared in
The Telegraph in London saying that Ingham was going ahead with a same-
sex blessing in a local parish has not occurred. The Bishop's office is
distancing itself from the article and no one is talking about when the
first blessing will take place, said a Vancouver source.
However the withholding of money has helped, and as a result, Ingham
has halted the blessing of same sex unions for six months. "We have
held the line up here for a good while now allowing the Generals time
to talk and strategize. Soon it will be their turn to act and we
believe that the conservative Primates will," said the source.
Representatives of the 12 conservative Anglican Church in New
Westminster (ACiNW) clergy will attend the Financial Synod and five
representative clergy will go to the Anglican Mission in American
(AMIA) conference in January in Pawley's Island...to listen, to learn
and to speak with the two Archbishops who will be there. This should
set the revisionist teeth of Michael Ingham on edge.
It is interesting to note that at a time when Ingham is pulling back
from same-sex blessings PENNSYLVANIA BISHOP Charles Bennison is
pressing full speed ahead with his four-point program FOR same-sex
marriages and to further his agenda Bennison is deliberately pushing
the homosexual lifestyle on young children at Episcopal Academy in
IN OTHER NEWS FROM CANADA, the Canadian Government and the Anglican
Church announced an agreement to divide liability for abuse claims by
Indians who attended church-run residential schools. The accord caps
the liability of the Anglican Church of Canada at $16 million so it
does not become financially insolvent. The former residential schools -
the last of which closed in 1996 - were financed by the government but
run by the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and United churches.
EPISCOPAL DEAN EMBEZZLED 100G, ACCUSED OF STALKING.
The Dean of Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Kansas City,
Mo., has resigned and renounced his vows after improperly spending more
than $100,000 in church funds over six years.
Dennis J.J. Schmidt expressed his contrition to church leaders and
vowed to repay the money by selling the house he shares with his family
while he remains "in therapy and work toward healing."
Schmidt, 51, is also under a Jackson County Circuit Court order not to
stalk or disturb a 33-year-old Kansas City man who said the clergyman
had made advances toward him and tried to force his way into his
apartment. Schmidt denied those allegations but agreed to abide by the
There was no word of repentance on the part of the dean who will
undoubtedly get picked up, in time, by another diocese because of his
keen negotiating and denial skills.
For those of you who watched Steven Charleston, President of the
Cambridge, MA based EPISCOPAL DIVINITY SCHOOL appear on The O'Reilly
Factor last week, saw him get swallowed whole by O'Reilly who made it
abundantly clear that homosexuality was 85 percent of the problem in
the current priestly Catholic scandals not pedophilia. Charleston was
pitching the recent Boston Globe editorial written by Massachusetts
Bishops Thomas Shaw and Bud Cederholm condemning the Vatican's attitude
towards homosexuality. Charleston supports the position taken by the
Massachusetts Bishops in regard to the integrity of homosexual persons
in roles of Christian leadership. He applauds them for their courage
in challenging the Vatican's statement, which implies a link between
pedophilia and homosexuality.
But O'Reilly ate his lunch and Charleston couldn't get to spin his cry
of homophobia because his seminary allows same-sex couples to cohabit.
Interesting when you think about it. The Roman Catholic Church is back
peddling so fast on homosexuality it won't allow a would-be priest for
Holy Orders who even thinks he is gay to get a foot in the seminary
door while ECUSA can't wait to push lesbigay priests on to unsuspecting
congregations once they have graduated from most of their seminaries.
Guess who has the higher theological IQ?
The Vatican's innuendo creates a climate of fear and incites prejudice,
says Charleston. Really. And this is the same church that saw the birth
of the Lavender Mafia in their seminaries and the wholesale proscribing
of straight priests that brought about this whole problem about in the
first place. Dah.
THE ATLANTA CONGRESS is not letting up on it recent success. REC
Bishop Leonard Riches and others will be meeting to set the course for
the future during the first three months of 2003. The first draft of
the Atlanta Covenant is now being polished and finalized and will be
ready for circulation early in the New Year. VIRTUOSITY will make it
available as soon as it is completed. Convener Richard Kew said in a
memo that several other jurisdictions had been in touch since the
Congress saying that they would very much like to be involved from
hereon out. "This is evidence that momentum could very well be
developing toward a critical mass," he wrote.
A BBC program on The Virgin Mary, to be shown on BBC One on December 22
suggests that Mary was not a virgin and offers other possible reasons
for the birth of Jesus, widely acknowledged to have been a historical
figure. The program theorizes that she could have conceived and borne
her son in three other ways: by a secret lover, a possibility the
program dismisses as unlikely; after being raped by a Roman soldier.
One later writer suggested this, but it appears even less likely;
having been made pregnant by Joseph, to whom she was engaged. This
seems quite possible, as engaged couples often did live together at the
time. For the faithful, such attempts at interpreting the doctrine of
the virgin birth are at best unnecessary, and probably hurtful as well.
I suppose in a post Christian society that England has become this is
to be expected. Oh for another Malcolm Muggeridge to slam this
Karl Barth was right when he said: "The Virgin Birth at the opening and
the empty tomb at the close of Jesus' life bear witness that his life
is in fact marked off from all the rest of human life, and marked off,
in the first instance, not by our understanding or our interpretation,
but by itself."
THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION'S new leader has launched a morality crusade. Dr
Rowan Williams has laid down his vision for a new moral order in
Britain in the post-September 11 era, says London Times religion
correspondent Ruth Gledhill. You can read what he says today. The new
moral order, it should be noted, does not include anything about sexual
behavior. He does, however, take a pot shot at modern education and
the politics of consumerism. He does mention his love of The Simpsons,
which will undoubtedly go a long way to pacifying the under 12 crowd.
AMONG THE STORIES POSTED TODAY is a modern day nativity story straight
out of Bethlehem. Columnists Mike McManus and Terry Mattingly give us
their thoughts today and there are a number of stories from the Cost of
Conscience in the UK and more.
CORRECTION: In his recent meeting with parishioners (videotaped and
reported in VIRTUOSITY) PA Bishop Charles Bennison said, in keeping
with his ongoing ignorance, that Spanish is spoken in Haiti! Nope,
observed a VIRTUOSITY reader. Haitian Creole based on French is the
everyday language and French is the official government language. It
was a French colony. Charles could do with a course in language and
geography as well as the content of Scripture.
I want to warmly welcome all new VIRTUOSITY readers today and I hope
you find something of value among the posted stories. If you are a
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Once again Merry Christmas dear friends. Remember if you take Christ
out of Christ-MAS, all you will have is Mess And Sadness. Let us
remember the reason for the holiday Season, and celebrate the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
David W. Virtue
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