Thursday, July 12, 2018

2018 General Convention, Day 10

General Convention was doing its part to "keep Austin weird" today. Never before in my experience in the House of Bishops has legislative activity just ground to a halt. We spent probably two hours today just "standing at ease" with nothing to do, because we were all caught up on resolution for which the HOB was the "house of initial action," and the stream of legislation from the House of Deputies dried to a trickle, and then was gone completely. There was some speculation that there are so many new Deputies this time--more than 40%--that parliamentary discipline has eroded, with people lining up to "pile on" in favor of motions that are clearly going to pass, and opposing motions that are clearly going to either pass or fail, and this eats up time. At any rate, the bishops took advantage of this for a lot of informal collegial conversation. 

The really big and really hot resolutions are behind us now. I've already written about them at some length, and will have some summary comments when the convention is completely in the rear view mirror, probably after I'm home, sometime Sunday. On a second tier, we passed two today that I think are kind of problematic. 

One is a partially revised Book of Occasional Services. Much of the SCLM proposal was sent back to them for more work, but a great deal was considered by the majority ready to be let loose in the wild. I don't have the time right now to enumerate my concerns in detail, but most inevitably spring from the guiding hermeneutic of expansive/inclusive language, which means instances of masculine pronouns and images for God (Father, Lord, Almighty, inter alia) being ruthlessly redacted. It's the cumulative effect of such efforts that undermine the whole collection. Any single given instance of swapping our "Lord" in a prayer for "Savior," for example, is arguably innocuous. But when I look over the results from a balcony level, I'm not sure I recognize the faith of the Church Catholic. I just don't.

Concerns are similar for a collection of emendations of the Eucharistic Prayers for Rite II, putting them into the new non-offensive idiom, and authorizing them for trial use. This one was a fiarly hasty and recent effort by a single priest, who found some supportive Deputies to move it along. It had some egregious problems, some of which were fixed by the Deputies before we got it (kudos to them), but it's still half-baked and highly problematic. To my chagrin, they will now be authorized rites--of course, canonically subject to the authority of the Bishop.

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