Saturday, July 29, 2006


Jim Tucker seems to have forgotten that his own Church officially teaches that Anglican Orders are "null and void". Even if the bread and wine had been legitimately consecrated, however, one wonders whether Aldrin had official sanction to be totin' the stuff all over the universe, since his church officially teaches (to the extent that the Episcopal church can be said to "officially teach" anything) that the Sacrament is not to be carried about.


Pontificator said...

Within the Episcopal Church, the Blessed Sacrament may be carried to other places for purposes of communion. As long as Aldrin receive proper authorization, as I imagine he did, Episcopal authorities would not object---and I'm sure they did not.

Scott Carson said...

Well, I was kidding, of course, but that's not to say that my joke hasn't got something of a foundation:

Article XXV -- Of the Sacraments

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about....

The Episcopal Church cleverly calls these Articles "Historical Documents", as though that permits them to be treated as of merely antiquarian interest, you know, like chastity outside of matrimony and heterosexual marriage and the like.

But perhaps my tongue was planted a little too far into my cheek that time, if my most intelligent readers don't get the joke.

I did my time as an Episcopalian in North Carolina, and there were very definitely two distinct kinds of Episcopalians there. One sort was very "high Church" and would have agreed fully with what you say; the other sort was very Protestant and would not have regarded what I wrote as a joke at all, but the truth.

Now, one might respond by saying, well, these latter sorts are just wrong, they're not familiar with their own tradition or the teachings of their own church. The difficulty with this line of response, however, lies in establishing a normative teaching authority within a communion that effectively rejects such a notion. Indeed, the 39 Articles are themselves by their very nature the first of a long line of rejections of authoritative teachings (even though some of what they say is obviously true). It is this inherent attitude that has allowed the present crisis in the ECUSA to come to a head in the way that it has.

But I'm preaching to the choir.

Scott Carson said...

Another point that occurs to me has to do with the question of whether the authorities had, in fact, given authorization, as you say you imagine they did. If they did give authorization, it was kept secret, at least according to the version of the story that Aldrin himself tells. I don't know that it's true that nobody objected afterwards--possibly no one did, or possibly those who did were ignored. Either way, the fact that it was kept secret tends, in my opinion, to detract from the believability of the hypothesis that it was approved beforehand.