|Archbishop Robert Duncan|
This time, the target of the archbishop’s displeasure is the Church of England, in particular, the recently released Pilling Report. That report endorses blessing same-sex unions and recommends church-wide facilitated conversations on human sexuality. It does not recommend any change in doctrine, but it does not rule out future change. Duncan, however, does. His attitude toward doctrine is quite conspicuous in his latest pronouncement (emphasis added):
The Church must not waiver from its received teaching. Scripture and the catholic consensus must be treated as givens, the attitude of the signatories not withstanding. Those who would re-construct the received moral order in the 21st century to respond to a culture bent on self-actualization, rather than dying to self, will do no better than those who—quite unsuccessfully but with much damage—in the 20th century sought to re-define the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ.Conservatives have never quite gotten over Bishops Pike and Spong.
It was arrogant of the archbishop to comment on developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, though he at least has a connection, however troubled, to our diocese. Duncan has less of a connection to the Church of England, despite his attempts to assume the mantle of Anglicanism.
The two recent statements from Archbishop Duncan have many elements in common. They begin with positive statements—this part is quite abbreviated in the Pittsburgh statement—and follow up with his criticism, which suggests great disappointment on his part. That criticism emphasizes the need to avoid change and to engage in self-sacrifice. (Duncan seems to have a Puritan’s aversion to joy.) The statements conclude with a commitment to pray for all those benighted people who don’t understand the will of God the way he does. This last element is the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Southern expression “bless their hearts.”
I’m sure Archbishop Duncan is doing God’s will as best as he understands it.
Bless his heart.