Name:
Location: Wisconsin, United States

I am a convert to the Catholic Church after serving in ordained ministry for more than nine years in another denomination. I hold a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in historical theology, and another in systematic theology, and am currently working (very slowly) on my doctorate. I work in Christian Education and Formation and teach at the University level. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and eight great kids! When I'm not studying, reading, or blogging, I enjoy eating and drinking! Like Bilbo Baggins, I have been specializing in food for many years, and my table has a high reputation!

Monday, June 26, 2006

SUBJECT: RELIGION!!!

A Few Words on Vows.

'Take the hilt,' said Gandalf, 'and speak after the Lord, if you are resolved on this.' "I am," said Pippin.

The old man laid the sword along his lap, and Pippin put his hand to the hilt, and said slowly after Denethor:

'Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor, and to the Lord and Steward of the realm, to speak and to be silent, to do and to let be, to come and to go, in need or plenty, in peace or war, in living or dying, from this hour henceforth, until my lord release me, or death take me, or the world end. So say I, Peregrin son of Paladin of the Shire of the Haflings.'

'And this do I hear, Denethor son of Ecthelion, Lord of Gondor, Steward of the High King, and I will not forget it, nor fail to reward that which is given: fealty with love, valour with honour, oathbreaking with vengeance.' Then Pippin received back his sword and put it in its sheath.

From "The Return of the King" -- Book 5, Chapter 1 "Minas Tirith", by J. R. R. Tolkien


Recently, a CEC priest in another part of the country wrote two articles for his local newspaper on the subject of vows -- and the breaking of vows. (In the interest of full disclosure: I have never met this man, and over the last 10 years or so, have E-mailed him all of two or three times. I have no brief with him and wish him the best in his ministry.) At this time, when members of the clergy are leaving the CEC in spades, the entire question of fidelity to one's ordination vows does become a crucial -- even central issue. It seemed obvious to me that the author of the aforementioned articles was making a rather direct criticism of those in the CEC who HAVE left (and that he had one or two particular circumstances in mind!)

The author gave three reasons as to why he felt that some members of the clergy break their vows. They were as follows: (The following are direct quotes)

1 Disappointment. A minister may become disillusioned about his/her congregation or the denominational structure or hierarchy. Bishops and other denominational officials are imperfect and those who are not prepared to accept the flaws are likely to lose heart.

2 Ambition. A certain amount of ambition is a good thing. Jesus did not discourage people who wanted to be “great.” He did, however, teach that this was achieved by becoming a “servant of all.” Selfish ambition, however, is a diabolical motivation that drives people to do things that benefit themselves without thought or care of the harm done to others.

3 Pressure. Sometimes the pressure is from family or friends who feel that better treatment will be received elsewhere. “They just don’t appreciate you and your talents,” they may say. The temptation is to seek greener fields.

The author goes on to say that these are reasons, but not excuses.

My readers may wonder why I opened this post with a lengthy quote from "The Lord of the Rings". It is to demonstrate, in very clear terms, that the keeping of vows -- AND the breaking of vows -- works in two directions.

Let me point out that I do not disagree with the author's three reasons. I have known persons and circumstances who have fallen into all three categories.

THIS BEING SAID . . .

There is a good deal more that could be
AND should be said. I can identify two other reasons which might cause a clergyman to leave his church.

1 The vow of obedience a priest makes to his bishop
ALSO presupposes a promise made BY THAT BISHOP to that priest -- a promise to be a faithful bishop and pastor to that priest, and to remain true to the authentic teaching of the faith. A bishop who is not faithful to his clergy violates that vow. This was the position in which many members of the CEC who were once in the Episcopal Church, USA found themselves. Their bishops were no longer being faithful to the teachings of the Church. Were those priests wrong to leave the Episcopal Church under those circumstances? Apparently, the CEC didn't think so, because many former Episcopal priests have joined the CEC.

By the same token, if a CEC bishop openly violates the canons of the church or teaches a different gospel than that the CEC has received, has not that bishop broken his own vow?

It is true that some in the CEC have left that body for the wrong reasons and in such a way as to cause scandal to the faithful. However, it is also true that some in the CEC have left that body for precisely the reason stated above. When a bishop ignores the canons, or openly teaches doctrine contrary to what the church has received, are his priests yet bound to him?

And what of those CEC bishops who are openly courting disaffected Roman Catholic priests? Are not those bishops encouraging others to break their vows? Is this right?

2 Finally, there are circumstances in which for honest theological reasons, someone might choose to leave one body for another. Is this not what John Henry Newman did? Or in the 20th century, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus? Or Thomas Oden? Or Thomas Howard? Or even, I might add, the author of the articles upon which I am now commenting?

Again, there is a proper way -- and an improper way -- for a clergyman to leave one body for another (and I have known instances of both). But when one goes through the proper channels, and asks to be released, can this honestly be considered a broken vow?

I don't pretend to have all the answers -- and I certainly appreciate the time and thought which went into the original two articles. But I do think that the original analysis was incomplete.

I would greatly value comments.

Papa Z

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23 Comments:

Blogger the Joneses said...

I have not seen the article of which you speak, and I have no idea who wrote it, so all I have is your description of it.

That being said, I agree that the reasons he gives are certainly not the only reasons that I can think of. Having only been in the CEC for a couple years now, I (slightly) know only one ordained person who has left (for Moscow), and I do not think it was any of these three that caused him to leave.

I have given serious thought to this for some time, because I am planning to be ordained deacon in the CEC soon. I pray that God will keep both me and my superiors faithful to the vows I will take. I certainly plan on taking them seriously.

Thanks for the post.

--DJ

3:09 PM  
Blogger David B. said...

David,
Which body did Tom Oden leave and which body did he enter? I have thought he was always Methodist.

Thanks,
David

5:26 PM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

David, my mistake,

I meant to say "Peter Gilquist". I goofed!

Thomas Oden is, as last I heard, a Wesleyan Methodist (different from the United Methodist Church).

My bad!

Thanks for the correction!!!!!

7:32 PM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

I've heard this refrain about broken vows for years, directed at ICCEC clergy who converted to the Catholic Church. At one point, several years ago, I was so sick of it I sat down and wrote this:

==========
The ICCEC says that “it occupies a position within the crucible of historic faith through both Anglican and Catholic [i.e., Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil] lines; receiving its apostolic succession through pure lines of undisputed orthodox Christianity.” (http://www.iccec.org/whowerare/index.html).

The impetus for the founding of the Anglican Church was nothing less than the adultery and rebellion of one individual—Henry VIII, King of England. The English people resisted this overturning of the ancient faith, but “Henry VIII fixed his supremacy on a reluctant Church by the axe, the gibbet, the stake, and laws of premunire and forfeiture.” (Msgr. Capel, D.D., “Catholic”: An Essential and Exclusive Attribute of the True Church).

But from what I’ve gathered, the ICCEC regards as its strongest lines of apostolic succession those which it mentions receiving from the Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil. The Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil was founded in 1945 by Dom Carlos Duarte Costa after he was excommunicated from the CC by Pope Pius XII, the 260th Successor of St. Peter. Upon receiving the severest discipline his superior could give—excommunication—Costa promptly started his own thing; and asserted his new autonomous church as catholic apparently by employing the schismatic Anglican Branch Theory of the Church. (It must be noted that Dom Carlos Duarte Costa had made a vow of obedience to Pope Pius XII.)

Dom Carlos Duarte Costa broke and betrayed his vows to his superiors and to the Catholic Church. Henry VIII did the same thing. And this is the patrimony of the ICCEC—this is the legacy in which the ICCEC participates in, in order to get its “pure lines of undisputed orthodox Christianity”.

How can the ICCEC pertinaciously insist upon loyalty and vows and such, when the ICCEC’s very patrimony is but a legacy of disloyalty and broken vows? How many, besides Henry VIII and Costa, do you think broke vows to the CC in the forming of the Anglican Church or the Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil whence the ICCEC receives its apostolic succession? Why does the issue of vows not apply here? Shouldn’t it? Why doesn’t it? What is the reason for it being dismissed as nothing in this case? Is this not totally inconsistent with the ICCEC’s central message and constant emphasis on authority?

Mightn’t it be the case that the men who are charged with being disloyal and unfaithful for leaving the ICCEC for the CC, came to see that in fulfilling their vows to the ICCEC, they were perpetuating a legacy of disloyalty and unfaithfulness—of lawless schism? Mightn’t it be the case that their leaving the ICCEC for the CC was a fulfillment of their vows to Christ—a turning from disloyalty and unfaithfulness?

“Hence vows are the wise defence of unstable virtue, and general rules the refuge of feeble authority.”
--John Henry Cardinal Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

“The [Protestant Episcopal Church] clergymen insist on a blind obedience to their teaching and direction, the like of which is unknown in the Church which claims the gift of infallibility. Some go so far as to exact a vow of obedience to their injunctions... [They] must not be surprised that men of common sense finally prefer subjection to one canonically elected Pope, instead of to many self-constituted Popes.”
--Msgr. Capel, D.D., Catholic”: An Essential and Exclusive Attribute of the True Church).

We can’t determine whether or not these men broke their vows until we’ve answered the question as to whether or not these men are correct in concluding that the CC alone has rightful authority over them. If Catholicism is true, these men are condemnable for betraying their vows in the same fashion that a Buddhist monk or a Mormon Elder is condemnable for abandoning his vows in order to convert to Christianity. There is no culpability in abandoning what is not true in order to embrace what is. And if Catholicism is true, if the CC really is true home of all Christians, “the fullness of the means of salvation”, this is precisely what these men have done.

These men left the ICCEC priesthood to come under the authority of the CC because they came under the firm conviction that the testimonies of Scripture, the saints, Tradition, and history—the very rules of faith upheld by the ICCEC—unanimously and overwhelmingly attest to the fact that, according to the will of Christ, the only apostolic authorities which can rightly claim to be authoritative are those which are united together in a full, living, and real communion with Peter’s successor—the divinely established head of the apostolic college. Furthermore, these men saw that the ICCEC’s patrimony was rooted in rebellion against that lawful authority—that the ICCEC is continuing a legacy of disloyalty and unfaithfulness...of lawless schism.

In other words, these men determined—by simply and consistently applying the rules of faith which the ICCEC itself declares as authoritative (Scripture, Tradition, history)—that the ICCEC hasn’t a leg to stand on; and, consequently, that the vows made to the ICCEC were made to an authority that is, at best, illicit; and, at worst, altogether mendacious.

Are these men correct in concluding that Catholicism is true and that the ICCEC is not? That is the question. The cry of disloyalty which goes out against ICCEC members who leave to join the CC is a way, I think, of avoiding this question. It is the dogmatic, reflexive cry of self-preservation, “the wise defence of unstable virtue...the refuge of feeble authority” as Newman says. In the haste to condemn these men, has anyone ever, in a wild fit of unchecked and imprudent honesty, seriously posed to himself the fantastic possibility that these men could be correct? You simply can’t determine whether or not these men broke their vows until you’ve answered the question as to whether or not these men are correct in concluding that the CC alone has rightful authority over them. If these men are incorrect, then yes, they broke their vows. But IF these men are correct, then these men are actually fulfilling their vows by being obedient to Christ.

Besides, this cry of disloyalty which goes out against all those who leave the ICCEC for the CC seems to be inconsistent with the ICCEC’s very own premises. The ICCEC asserts that the Church consists of a myriad of autonomous apostolic authorities. If that is the case, if one apostolic authority is on equal footing with the next when it comes to being within the delineations of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, then what does it matter if a man exchanges one apostolic authority for another? He is still within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Are the members of the one body in competition?
==========

And David Z. you make an excellent point about the ICCEC "reaching out" to clergy of other denominations.

10:51 PM  
Blogger David B. said...

David,
Darn, I thought Thomas Oden finally swam the Tiber or Bosphorus...both seem like natural moves after reading his books.

David

6:35 AM  
Blogger Dn. Harmon said...

To Fish Campmore:

Fish Campmore said: "Mightn’t it be the case that the men who are charged with being disloyal and unfaithful for leaving the ICCEC for the CC, came to see that in fulfilling their vows to the ICCEC, they were perpetuating a legacy of disloyalty and unfaithfulness—of lawless schism?"

First off, the men in question WERE NOT perpetuating a "legacy of disloyalty and unfaithfulness" since they were indeed faithful to their catholic vows, and were already in a CATHOLIC church, therefore they are not leaving the CEC for the CC, but for Rome.

We have to keep in mind that one of the bishops consecrated under Duarte Cosya was recieved back to Rome without further consecration qas a full participation bishop even serving at Vatican II (David correct me if I am wrong on this.)

I really don't believe that Rome is truly universal, and therefore is not THE catholic church (so-to-speak,) but simply the church with doctrine/dogma built around the bishop of Rome (who took the title of chief pastor of The Church,) without the consensus of the catholic church 1000 years ago.

From that point forward Rome has built it's own doctrine and then claimed that everyone outside of belief in that particular doctrine - with its own peculiarities instituted since 1054 - is outside the REAL church. I frankly don't buy into that thought thread.

The other issue here is that Rome herself is in schism, and has continuously perpetrated a spirit of schism on the worldwide church IMO.

Until the Pope and the Orthodox Patriarch (let's say that any one of them would be a start) sit down and re-unite in full communion, Rome will continue as the leader of schism.

"leaving the ICCEC for the CC was a fulfillment of their vows to Christ—a turning from disloyalty and unfaithfulness? "

Can't say unfaithfulness as many - perhaps all - were extremely faithful to Christ. They simply (I think in most cases) were looking for something a lot more consistant in its catholicity. I don't condemn them for leaving, but I cannot reconcile the doctrines of "going to Rome" until she herself comes more in line with the Catholic faith according to the Vincentian canon. (Vincent of Lerins - commonitory Chap. II)

Blessings+

Dcn. Chic

2:45 PM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

Thank you to both Fish and to my friend Deacon Chic for their valuable comments.

I would suggest that the original intent of the CEC was to be a "Catholic Church" (in the broad sense of the word) and that especially after the Brazilian Succession, such attitudes did continue, at least in some parts of the CEC.

However, I have to admit -- by my own personal experiences, and by the experiences of several of my close colleagues, this intent to be "Catholic" -- even in a broad sense of the term -- is NOT accepted or welcomed by much of the CEC -- including my former bishop. In other words, the intentions of some bishops, were NOT the intentions of other bishops -- and I believe that this is at least part of what has led to the current crisis in the CEC.

In support of Deacon Chic -- he is quite accurate concerning the acceptance of a Brazilian bishop by Rome when reconciliation was desired. The Brazilian schism of the 1940's was far more political than religious.

This being said, the Brazilians gave the CEC a very valuable gift -- a gift which many in the CEC have set at naught -- much to their own shame and embarassment.

On the other hand, I must disagree in part with my good friend Deacon Chic in his suggestion that Rome suddenly did something in the 11th century that was brand-new and had never been done before.

I also don't agree that the Bishop of Rome is in schism -- because, while ALL successors of the Apostles retain the power to "bind and loose" the authority of "the keys" was delivered to Peter alone.

Also, much of the recent difficulty between the East and West have NOT been between the East and West, but rather that the various squabbling prelates in the East cannot agree on anything long enough to even discourse with the West. (My dad saw this first hand when he was invited to observe at an official dialogue in Emmitsburg, MD a few years ago. The meeting collapsed -- not because of East/West issues -- but because the various Eastern prelates refused to stop arguing amongst themselves long enough to even participate in dialogue.

Sadly, many in the CEC have perpetuated the myth of a "Unified East" -- a situation which does not now -- and has not for 1500 years existed.

I firmly believe that, as Pope John Paul II (the GREAT) has suggested, that the Church needs to breath with both lungs again -- but, as an historian, I must suggest that the East must mend its own fences before legitimate dialogue with the East can continue.

Thank you both for your very thoughtful comments. Please keep them coming; "Iron sharpens iron".

Blessings,

David

4:51 PM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

Dn. Harmon...

First off, the men in question WERE NOT perpetuating a "legacy of disloyalty and unfaithfulness" since they were indeed faithful to their catholic vows, and were already in a CATHOLIC church, therefore they are not leaving the CEC for the CC, but for Rome.

Yes, that is an unsubstantiated assertion made by the ICCEC; but until I see it reconciled with the Fathers I can't believe it. And I am not alone in my judgment; both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches do not believe that the ICCEC is a catholic Church; they regard the ICCEC as schismatic.

We have to keep in mind that one of the bishops consecrated under Duarte Cosya was recieved back to Rome without further consecration qas a full participation bishop even serving at Vatican II (David correct me if I am wrong on this.)

He possessed valid ordination, but it was illicit and schismatic; if not, there would have been no need for him to be "received by Rome" for he would have already been.

I really don't believe that Rome is truly universal, and therefore is not THE catholic church

Be sure to level your charge against the Orthodox churches as well, who claim the same as Rome, to be THE ONE catholic Church.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Dn. Harmon said...

Thank you to my friend David Zampino and Mr. Fish (sounds more like a rock band eh?)

I do indeed charge the Eastern Church with the same spirit. Both are out of communion with each other and therefore while both are the church, neither is The Church alone without the other.

I thought it very interesting (and indicative of the larger communion) that the Eastern bishops could not even agree amongst themselves at the meeting he describes. This is probably largely due to the nationalistic nature of the Eastern churches.

This does not however, remove the responsibility from the "wiser brother" to work diligently toward reuniting with them. It seems at times at times to be simply squabbling (such as "well, he started it!"), and that each side needs to give ground to come together for the sake of THE CHURCH. It seems to me that Jesus imperative was for unity - not simply an invisible unity with physical/doctrinal separation.

I see a disunity that gives neither the East nor the West an "authority" leg to stand on until they can reconcile. Jesus entire purpose is reconciliation and the two stubborn lungs of the church need to breath together once again for the sake of the Body. Otherwise - as with biology of the metaphor - the Body will not be able to complete its function or perform in crisis as demands increase due to lack of oxygen.


Not to be fatalistic in any way, but it sure seems as though we are entering a period where indeed we may face severe persecution.... and this from the mainline churches more than anywhere else as the society turns more and more to the sanctity of individual rights over all other rights. So now is the time for dropping petty differences and to reunite under the banner of Christ within the Trinity as one Body: one Faith, one God, one Baptism, and one Eucharist.

So yes, I concede that I need to pay more attention to the East as regards responsibility, but I think the West bears more responsibility as the older brother, so-to-speak.

Blessings+

Dcn Chic

10:14 AM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

Dn. Harmon wrote:
Thank you to my friend David Zampino and Mr. Fish (sounds more like a rock band eh?)

I’ll take that as a compliment , but I’m named after this guy.

I do indeed charge the Eastern Church with the same spirit. Both are out of communion with each other and therefore while both are the church, neither is The Church alone without the other.

However, each claims that the one, indivisible Church subsists with themselves and that the other is in schism. This is not only hypothetically possible, but in harmony with the Fathers. I find that that ICCEC by-and-large looks to the Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches as luminaries...yet the ICCEC does not offer a substantive explanation for repudiating both of them on this point.

This does not however, remove the responsibility from the "wiser brother" to work diligently toward reuniting with them. It seems at times at times to be simply squabbling (such as "well, he started it!"), and that each side needs to give ground to come together for the sake of THE CHURCH. It seems to me that Jesus imperative was for unity - not simply an invisible unity with physical/doctrinal separation.

John Paul II reached out to the Orthodox with heroic humility throughout his pontificate. Some say it was his desire to see the East and the West united during his pontificate. It is my impression that the Orthodox churches squandered their opportunity for dialogue.

3:46 PM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

Fish, you make a good point. No pope in centuries did more to try to re-establish relationships with Eastern Christianity -- and Eastern Christianity sqandered that opportunity. I hope and pray that the Church does once again breathe with both lungs -- but part of what needs to be accomplished first is healing WITHIN Eastern Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy must clean its own house before it can truly come to grips with the issues of the Greater Church.

Blessings,

10:22 AM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

Good point David. Do you think they will be able to clean up their own house? I don't--and for the same reason that their house came to be a mess in the first place--they do not have an authority that is both central AND living...and really authoritative (i.e. infallible). They are left to appeal to the dead letter of Tradition (just as Prots do with Scripture) with their fallible private judgment (i.e. individual opinion), and thus their house will become more and more divided.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Father David Epps said...

As the author of the two aforementioned articles, I would like to state that I dealt with the subject of "broken vows" or "betrayed vows." There is a proper way to leave one group for another which includes being "released from vows." The fact that, in the past, some people in the ICCEC came into the ICCEC from another communion improperly is a matter that needs to be dealt with redemptively and with repentance. It does not excuse a man who walks away from or betrays his vows today. If one desires to leave, let him leave in submission to his authorities and with their prayers and blessings. Please do not allow him to leave like a petulant child who storms out of the house because he didn't get his way. There are, by the way, other articles coming that consider these and other subjects.
Father David Epps Sharpsburg, GA

2:36 PM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

The fact that, in the past, some people in the ICCEC came into the ICCEC from another communion improperly is a matter that needs to be dealt with redemptively and with repentance. It does not excuse a man who walks away from or betrays his vows today.

So...the ICCEC is only concerned about how a man walks away from or betrays his vows to the ICCEC to go to another communion...but NOT (really) how a man does the same to go from another communion to the ICCEC? I think integrity would mean the same sort of care and attention is paid to the "betraying" of vows going in both directions.

Please do not allow him to leave like a petulant child who storms out of the house because he didn't get his way.

I'm sure this happens (sometimes), but I find that no matter what these men do, they are branded as petulant children...perhaps because it psychologically benefits those who refuse to visit the question about whether the men who leave are leaving for reasons that, ultimately, pertain to truth.

9:36 AM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

Thank you to both Fr. Epps and to Fish for your reasonable and thoughtful comments. In my own personal experience (meaning what has either happened to me personally, or happened to people I know and have worked with personally) three different things have happened when a member of the clergy has tried to leave the CEC:

1) The individual has asked to be released for good and credible reasons, and the release has been granted with charity.

2) The individual has asked to be released for good and credible reasons, and the release has not been granted with charity.

3) The individual has not made any attempt to go through proper channels, and has pretty much "blown off" his bishop, his congregation, and his vows.

I don't want to put words into Fr. Epp's mouth, but I suspect that it is the third category that he is objecting most stronlyg to -- and I would agree.

However, in my experience, option #2 is what has happened more and more over the last 5 years.

I am certainly interested to read further words that Fr. Epps may have on the subject.

Many blessings,

11:23 AM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

I agree, David, that scenario #2 is most prevalent; or, even if "release" is granted, the man's character, intellect, or emotional well-being (or all three) are called into question after the fact; and thus a case is made that whatever he did, he did it wrongly.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

The fact that, in the past, some people in the ICCEC came into the ICCEC from another communion improperly is a matter that needs to be dealt with redemptively and with repentance.

OK, so, has it been?

12:31 PM  
Blogger Father David Epps said...

fishcampmore said
"So...the ICCEC is only concerned about how a man walks away from or betrays his vows to the ICCEC to go to another communion...but NOT (really) how a man does the same to go from another communion to the ICCEC? I think integrity would mean the same sort of care and attention is paid to the "betraying" of vows going in both directions"
Now, did I say that? Noooo, I did not. Please re-read what I said. I believe that I was saying that if people left their former communions improperly to enter the CEC then, even at this late date, they need to repent and attempt to make things right, perhaps, by contacting their former superior, asking forgivness, and seeking their blessing. In my own church, there have been a few people who have left in a proper manner. I prayed with them, blessed them, and released them. They are not my sheep, after all, they are God's. The few people who have left improperly (usually just by walking away saying nothing--or worse, by saying much to everyone but me)miss the benefit of this blessing and release and, in fact, remain tied to us spiritually. If that's not I said, it's what I meant to say. Pax.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Fish CampMore said...

Fr. Epps. Thank you for the clarification. I misread you. I am glad to hear that you take seriously the manner in which folks are leaving other communions to come into yours.

10:22 PM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

Thanks to both Fish and Fr. Epps for their clarifications.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Fr. Jim McNeely said...

Fr. David Epps is a wonderful man and loving pastor. I appreciate him personally and professionally.

I also agree with his comments as well as those of David Zampino. What is happening in the ICCEC is a great tragedy that happened needlessly. I feel deeply about the various sins and errors that seem to be gushing forth from what was once a great and promising move of the Spirit.

I think one of the problems with the ICCEC that has received scant attention is the pastoral and psychological issues in the communion that contributed to this problem. In great measure, I see the various bishops and Archbishops responsible for this breakdown as hurting, betrayed men whose theology is far too often a defense mechanism to ward off the much needed healing. As a result, they resist and attack the messengers rather than deal positively with their own internal wounds.

Seeing many of the bishops this way helped me handle my own situation. Like some of you, my exit from the ICCEC was tumultuous and emotional. There was some rancour and attempt to use guilt to manipulate me. But seeing the bishop responsible for that attempt as the broken, hurting man that he was helped me to forgive and move forward. It also helped me see that I am a wounded healer and broken also.

9:58 AM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

Thank you, Fr. Jim, for your comments. I agree with you completely. You are in my prayers.

10:19 AM  

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