Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What ? ? ?

I guess ignorance is bliss.

I was reading through some blog links the other day which led me to this letter written to the Living Church on 22 June 2006 by George J. Komechak, President of Fort Worth Via Media. In his diatribe against the bishop, he almost made me spew out my 7Up at the screen with surprise at the following statement:

"To this day, the Diocese of Fort Worth has no women priests. (We also have no African American priests and no openly gay priests.)"

First, he is right about no openly gay priests. Most of that time, an "openly" gay priest means an unchaste priest, rather than a chaste priest who is open about having a disordered sexual attraction. The former would not be ordained or licensed because all priests of the diocese (straight or gay) are required to model sexual morality in their own lives.

Secondly, he is right about having no women priests--that should not be news any Episcopalian familiar with Fort Worth. However, any Fort Worth parish is permitted to call a female priest and Fort Worth women may be (and have been) ordained to the priesthood under the Dallas Plan. Of course, Komechack goes on at length about how that just isn't good enough. Women priests have celebrated the Eucharist on occasion in our diocese as well--one occasion was at my first cure on my first day on the job as a diocesan curate.

But here's the shocking part--No African American priests? What? Where has he been? Even if there's no black priest at his own parish, has he never been to a Diocesan Convention? or to some other forum like the Chrism Mass where clergy from around the diocese would be present? Now I admit that I don't know every priest in the diocese, but I know at least three who are African American. In fact, my wife and I technically live in a parish where one of these priests serves as Vicar.

Perhaps I should not be surprised that Komechack would not realize that there are African American priests in our diocese. Not seen, not heard. I have the feeling they would not be noticed unless they were useful to the revisionist cause. After all, this is the same crowd who looks down on African Anglicans in general, often calling them culterally and theologically illiterate, with one American bishop going so far as to charge that African bishops who voted to reaffirm the church's teaching on marriage at the Lambeth Conference had been "bought with chicken dinners." Maybe ignorance is bliss. The irony is that a far fewer percentage of American bishops have earned doctorates compared with the bishops of most African provinces.

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