Monday, April 14, 2008

Church Politics

Our Presiding Bishop has temporarily lifted her inhibition against Bishop MacBurney so he can officiate at his dead son's funeral. She called him and apparently even apologized. That is all well and good. Personally, I think her inhibiting him could have waited until after the funeral in the first place, but I'm not paid the big bucks to make those tough, tough calls.

Now some are asking why she has done this thing. It is, of course, possible that she discovered her hitherto missing feelings of empathy and compassion and acted accordingly. However, were she acting out of empathy and compassion she would have let Bishop Ackerman know that she wouldn't inhibit Bishop MacBurney until after his son's funeral, if at all.

A more likely scenario is that she responded to pressure. Now the Presiding Bishop does not seem to respond to reasserter pressure at all. If anything, that seems to harden her resolve. So pressure from whom? It's my theory that she started to get negative feedback from her peers, the other bishops of the Episcopal Church. Some were no doubt moved by pity. Others, and perhaps a majority, were moved by the knowledge that they would have to answer some pretty uncomfortable questions from their laity. This, after all, isn't a story that plays well with anyone other than the hard core party faithful. Your average Episcopalian isn't much moved by theology. They are moved by the tragedy of burying a son and empathize accordingly.

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