November 27, 2013

Thoughts on the Duncan Statement

Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, Anglican Bishop of Pittsburgh, and deposed Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh Bob Duncan apparently could not help himself—he just had to comment on Bishop Dorsey McConnell’s recent pastoral letter. Our bishop is not in the habit of commenting on what Archbishop Duncan does, and I think it is fair to say that most Pittsburgh Episcopalians don’t give a damn what Duncan does or says, save insofar as it involves property he controls that rightly belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

It is quite remarkable just how offensive Duncan can be in such a short statement. It is curious, by the way, that his statement, which is identified as a press release on Anglican Ink, does not appear on the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh Web site. That site has a page of press releases, but Duncan’s remarks about Bishop McConnell’ pastoral letter is not listed there. Make of that what you will.

I don’t expect that Bishop McConnell will respond to Duncan’s statement, but someone should point out what a nasty, sanctimonious commentary it is. I am happy to take on the job. In the table below, Archbishop Duncan’s statement is shown on the left, and my comments on the text are on the right.

Duncan Statement Commentary
The announcement made by Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese will cheer some, but make many Christians in our region (and around the globe) sad.  Why is Duncan even commenting on this? He left the diocese behind. Let him attend to his own affairs. Duncan makes a false contrast between the Episcopal Diocese and “many Christians in our region (and around the globe).” There are many Anglicans “around the globe” who also may be expected to cheer Bishop McConnell’s pastoral letter.
Scripture and Tradition present counter-cultural models for the ordering of society in marriage and family (as in everything) through sacrifice, chastity and self-denial. No mention here of Reason, the third leg of the Anglican stool.

Why is it that conservatives are so fond of pain and suffering? It distresses them no end to think that someone might be having fun. Does God really call us to be miserable?

The statement seems to imply that “Scripture and Tradition” provide a comprehensive handbook for all aspects of life. This is bad, un-Anglican theology.
There was a day—not so long ago—when the Christian leaders of our City spoke with one voice, but that day of united witness is past. I doubt there was ever such a day except when dealing with motherhood and apple pie.
We continue to pray for Bp. McConnell and the clergy and people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, How generous of Duncan to pray for the poor bastards who aren’t as enlightened as he is! I’d rather he didn’t bother. We can pray for ourselves; thank you very much.
as well as for all those living with same-sex attractions, Duncan views “living with same-sex attractions” as akin to living with psoriasis or multiple sclerosis. But homosexuality is not a disease; it is just how God made some of us.
recognizing that there is a fundamental divergence on the moral and pastoral responses we in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh are called to offer. There are differences to be sure. I’m not sure that what the Anglican diocese is called to offer and what it thinks it is called to offer are quite the same. In any case, the real message here is the arrogant “we’re better than you are” and “we’re right and you’re wrong.”


  1. Robert Duncan, " Bob ", the deposed bishop of Pittsburgh is unwise. Constantly defending discrimination, outcasting and harm to other Christians and Anglicans and others. I understand his need to defend dishonesty and self-will run riot/pride...his actions and record are clear, the man has much to hide.

  2. Funny isn't it that it's always someone else asked (I mean told) to engage in sacrifice and self-denial.

    Bob Button


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