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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reality distortion fields

I've been away for a few days (post about that to come!), and pleasantly out of touch. Then I came back to the blogiverse, and found that, not surprisingly, the dustup has continued in California. The short summary-- a vicar in Atwater, CA was visited by Bp. Schofield (formerly bishop of that church, in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and now by his own actions canonically resident in the province of the Southern Cone). Ugly exchanges occurred. Then, on Christmas Day, the bishop sent a brief missive to the parish dismissing the priest and instructing the leadership to change the locks, etc. You can find the details here, or here, or here. Or lots of other places, for that matter.

But I'm finding it remarkable that, as of this writing four days later, you won't find any details here, or here. Two of the largest "conservative" blog sites, who are usually very quick to jump on the very latest goings on-- and not a mention, not a breath, not a word.

And it's not as though they haven't been made aware. Or that comments haven't been posted to them, mentioning it. But any comment or question about the incident has been deleted from these blogs, almost as soon as it goes up-- erased as though it never existed. I know, as I wrote one of them.

Anyone who has visited here with any regularity, knows the rules under which I operate my blog-- the basic expectations of civility that exist in this corner of the cyber playground. No vulgarity, no personal attacks, no sarcastic nastiness... If you want to play that way, there are other places to do it; but as Fr. Jake says, if you behave in such a way that I would show you to the door in my home, that is what will happen here as well. It's the reason I use comment moderation-- I got tired of coming back to my blog to find that someone had been spewing ugly in my absence (rather like returning home to find the dog has left a calling card on the living room rug). Disagreement is permitted, of course; but insults are not. You must play nicely.

Of course, that means I try to maintain those same standards when I visit other places. If I don't like it, I shouldn't do it, right? Treat others as I would be treated, etc. So I was very concerned that my post over at SF be nothing less than polite and respectful. Goodness, if anything I was treading especially carefully, knowing that it was likely to be touchy turf. I finally ended by simply asking a question.

My total comment (on a blog post asking for Outrageous Stories in 2007): "What about the actions of Bishop Schofield at St. Nicholas, Atwater?"

And I was deleted. Quickly-- less than half an hour later, it was gone. Erased, like some errant troll. And worse, I don't even have a copy to share with you as proof, as I didn't expect to get zapped for a simple question.

The good news is, I seem to be in good company. I'm not alone in having polite questions or comments shoved under the rug.

Even Mark got into the act (and, being forewarned, I did make a copy of this one):
I find it odd that a bishop who decides to leave the Episcopal Church (and I’m not condemning or approving, that was his decision), then tries to continues to influence Episcopal missions. It seems at least a little outrageous to say that he’s left, but then continue to try to exercise authority within the church he’s just left, doesn’t it?

Again, not defending him or condemning him… It just seems like he’s not “standing firm,” but trying to have it both ways.

[85] Posted by ChaplainJ on 12-28-2007 at 11:23 PM

But the elves have been vigilant, clearing out that as well-- and later, even banning one commenter.

Apparently Standing Firm means not allowing questions, and pretending unpleasant realities do not exist. If that's the case, I'll lean the other way. I do not care to be assimilated by the Thought Police.

Update: The folks at T19 have posted a link to an article in the local paper covering the incident. Glad to see the acknowledgment; thank you, Kendall Harmon.

From SF? Naught but the following:
We’re on a no-warning, immediate ban policy regarding this issue, as we have clearly and repeatedly explained the policy, and as revisionists have repeatedly and deliberately violated this policy by using our blog-space to attempt to promote whatever various humdrum stories they are touting.
What a silly, sad, pathetic way to behave.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe I was the commenter so banned. Apparently for "willful abuse of the blog."

Apparently willful abuse means voicing any opinion the owner of the blog may not particularly agree with. As Jane pointed out, I wasn't abusive, hostile, or even confrontational.

And yet that crowd didn't like the story, so it vanishes. Thought police, indeed!

If I have been banned you can trust I'm not losing any sleep over it. I'd prefer sites that allow differing opinions when stated rationally and calmly over sites that try to hide things they don't like.

December 29, 2007 11:04 AM  

Blogger Young fogey emeritus said...

My tuppen'orth on this story.

(My answer to the comments on this at Jake's.)

One parallel in recent church history, and here in Pennsylvania at that, was when some Byzantine Catholic parishes (of immigrant eastern Slavs: Ruthenians and Galicians) left their dioceses about 70 and 100 years ago for the Orthodox (long story short, because the Irish-American RC bishops treated them badly and later bullied the Byzantine Catholic bishops into so doing)...

...and, after the Russian Revolution, when there were three rival Russian jurisdictions in America with parishes bouncing back and forth among them...

...in the second instance, all in the same communion (like this, for now) but not in communion with each other (rather like this), but the row was nothing to do with doctrine or moral teaching. It was old-fashioned turf wars (two foreign groups showed up in America saying they were in charge and the old Russian dioceses here said nyet) and differences over the practical matter of how to deal with the Soviet government.

(The three jurisdictions still exist - the pre-WWI Russian dioceses, the exarchate the Soviets started after WWII and the dioceses started after the same war by people who'd just fled the USSR - but are in full communion now, the first independent and the second and third under the Patriarch of Moscow.)

Incidents like these - telling off a bishop, fights at the church (worse - literal blows), changing locks on people (including the parishioners locking out a hated priest) - happened a lot!

Those cases went to court as I expect this will. They were often decided much as I imagine this will be: poring over the wording of parish charters and suchlike. Some places won, some lost. Congregations split, which is why some Pennsylvanian mining towns have two onion-domed churches blocks apart.

One of the few cases I can think of where a whole diocese switched was in 1596 when several of them in Galicia left the Orthodox and went under Rome: the founding of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. These people kept the church property - as they lived under Polish Roman Catholic rule of course the state, the court, sided with them.

Of course there was that business with Henry VIII - regardless of right or wrong, easy to enforce when you've got your own army and navy.

Given the neutrality the American system is supposed to have, unlike old Harry's or the old Polish one, I can't predict how this will turn out.

I pop into T19 only sporadically and am not a regular at the very Protestant SF so I've no idea why they're censoring comments on this.

December 29, 2007 2:38 PM  

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