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Monday, November 08, 2004

Goodness, it's been more than a month

since I last posted. I've been very busy with a number of projects: an article for _Christian History_ on Wibrandis Rosenblatt (wife of no fewer than three Protestant Reformers, though not at the same time); a paper for Sixteenth Century Studies Conference on Martin Bucer's concept of heresy; the fourth chapter of my dissertation; a talk on Anglican hymns which I gave at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia; and my two Western Civ classes at William Paterson University.

I've also been thinking a good deal about the Windsor Report, to which I've provided a link for those who don't already know what it is. Essentially, it's an attempt to provide guidelines for resolving the current dispute among Anglicans about homosexuality, as well as other disputes that may arise in the future. Our basic problem is that we developed as an outgrowth of the Church of England--the religious arm of the British Commonwealth, essentially. And we never really developed structures for deciding disputes and maintaining unity.

Some people worry that the Windsor Report's attempt to create structures to preserve unity will produce an "Anglican Pope." I think that's a lot of twaddle. One can have structures of accountability without a Pope. One can have a Pope, for that matter (in the sense of a figure with ultimate responsibility for the communion as a whole), without having all the apparatus of the modern, post-Vatican-I Papacy. The more relevant point, really, is that creating an Anglican Pope would be presumptuous and silly, since there is already a Pope sitting in Rome with a perfectly good claim to succession from Peter. Of course, he also claims a lot of other things--infallibility when he speaks ex cathedra; "submission of will and intellect" (whatever that means) even when he doesn't; the right to appoint bishops throughout the world (at least in the Western Church) and interfere in their dioceses; and so on, and so forth. Furthermore, corporate reunion with Rome is (IMHO) a pipedream. And personal conversion would involve denying the validity of my wife's orders, no longer being able to receive communion with her or with my parents, and numerous other things. If I'm convinced that I must do it, then I will. But not unless, and not until. Since I twiddled my thumbs about becoming Catholic for years before I met Jenn (my wife), this may be a very long "until."

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