30 September 2007

Habemus papam!

As shown in this photo, which appeared in the Church Times, white smoke has been seen in Pittsburgh. It appears that we have a pope!

TPOP (note this, "The Pope Of Pittsburgh," the latest acronym to infest blogospheria Anglicana) must be just a wee bit disappointed by the lack of media coverage. Save this blog, and a few other Christian media sources, it seems that His Holiness was covered only in Virtue Online. I'm not sure what to make of that. It's certainly odd company for this blog to keep!

What does the smoke mean? Well, it may augur a new papacy of Pure Undefiled True Religion, or it may be some kind of sign of bad grammar or sloppy theology. Here's the opening of their statement (or should I be calling this an "encyclical" now?):
In the Name of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, to whom belong all might, majesty, dominion and glory.
This was ripped apart by a commenter on T19:

The proper Trinitarian invocation would be "In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" or "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The annunciation used in this communique, however, "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit" has an inherently modalistic ring to it, which is precisely why it is not a part of classical theological exposition of the Trinity in either East or West. ...

I might be more apt to forgive such sloppiness if the grammatical structure of the sentence did not only amplify the theological problem. The grammatical plural "to whom belong" (as opposed to the singular "to whom belongs" further creates the impression that we’re talking about three gods or one God who manifests himself in three modes) rather than the One God. The Holy Trinity is properly referred to as "he" in good orthodox theology, not as "they"!

So, given that auspicious start—and the fact that not a single one of the 51 unnamed bishops who reputedly signed it did not catch such a basic theological error—I’ve got to start with a healthy skepticism on the rest…

Ouch. And that was only the invocation. The statement itself may propel some ECUSA bishops to resign soon, if they are loyal to their ordination vows, says Mark Harris.

What good can come of this? Vestment companies and church sign makers will do quite well. I expect airlines and lawyers to make out pretty well on this one. Sadly, parishioners will not do so well, distracted from the mission of the church by an argument over a minor point of moral theology. The crux of this disagreement, by the way, was not mentioned by Jesus Christ, was hardly addressed in the church fathers, and does not appear as a point of faith in any of the historic creeds.

It's all sad. But, hey, at least TPOP won't have to worry about skipping any more work trips with his fellow bishops.

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