A new year is cause for thanksgiving and rededication, so here’s a dog’s breakfast of housekeeping and personal things. The blog is now a little over eight months old, and has grown from just myself to the 19 bylines we’ve had since then. So first of all, my thanks go out to everyone who’s contributed a piece this past year. This blog would not be what it is without you. I learn a lot from all of you, and I value your ideas. In case you were wondering, the undisputed traffic king around these parts is Rob, especially for his posts on Gamergate. Here’s to more in 2015, and those reading this who have not published here but might be interested in doing so, please contact me.
Secondly, thanks to all our readers and those who have linked or blogroll’d us. To name some of them roughly in order of the traffic they’ve sent us: Marginal Revolution, Nick Land, Free Northerner, Scott Alexander, Ace of Spades, Social Matter, Nick Steves, Robert Stacey McCain, Real Clear Policy, and Ed Sebesta, bullier of churches, who despite putting up two posts about me sent us a grand total of 39 visitors. Sorry nobody reads you Ed!
We’re averaging over a thousand pageviews a day now, which is awesome.
On a personal note, yesterday I was received into the Catholic Church at St. Luke’s at Immaculate Conception, an Ordinariate parish in Shaw, not far from where I live. I went into some of the reasons why I became a lapsed Anglican in this post, largely out of suspicion of the neoconservative sympathies of many leaders of the Anglican realignment in the DC area. I still think they were and are right to flee the Episcopal Church and its tyrannical leadership. Episcopalianism is historically a religion of American elites, and as the elite consensus has shifted further to the left, it faced a choice between Christian orthodoxy and its historic class affinities. The Episcopal Church made the wrong one. TEC is resolutely pro-abortion and its health ministry is helping to implement Obamacare; Gene Robinson and the NEHM’s director are fellows at the Center for American Progress.
However, it is not at all clear to me that people like Fred Barnes, Michael Gerson, Howard Ahmanson Jr., and other politically connected movers in the Anglican realignment have any particular concern for what we in the Ordinariate call “Anglican patrimony.” In fact, they seem to see the matter as just another front in the culture wars. Those first two, among others, were chief propagandists for the disastrous second Iraq invasion, which has reduced the Christian population of Iraq by around a million. Most disturbingly, there is evidence that Barnes, Ken Starr, Mort Kondracke, and the rector of my family’s parish put themselves under the instruction of Jerry Leachman, who is, to put it mildly, certainly not an Anglican. It seemed to me that leaving the Democratic Party at prayer, only to become the Republican Party at prayer, was not going very far at all. I had always been against abortion and preemptive war, for the same reason.
Hindsight is 20/20 and all, and many have admitted after the fact that the Iraq invasion was a catastrophe. But if this doesn’t speak to a crisis of authority, I’m not sure what would. When reporting the above for a piece I ended up withdrawing for personal reasons, I couldn’t help but compare Rev. Yates’ response to me on the Iraq war — that it had gone badly, but that weighing in on matters political was unwise in such an influential congregation — to Michael Novak’s fruitless petition to the Vatican in 2003. The Holy Father, at least, was able to speak the truth about injustice without worrying about offending powerful congregants in the media or civil service.
Not long after I put up that post, news broke that there will probably never be another Lambeth Conference, due mostly to TEC’s desire to hew more closely to the Democratic Party than the rest of the Anglican Communion. Around the same time a friend informed me that St. Luke’s, once an Episcopalian congregation that converted, was moving from Bladensburg to downtown, on my way to work. Given the above, I took this to mean that the Catholic Church wasn’t going to leave me behind, and knew it would be wrong not to honor that. At that point it was a matter of putting my money where my mouth was.
I received the Eucharist for the first time yesterday, and to put all this behind me is truly a gift from God. I encourage anyone else who’s been disturbed by any of the above to do the same. There is peace and security in the Universal Church.
The picture above is of St. Alban Roe, whose name I took during confirmation, a martyr of the English counter-reformation, hung at Tyburn during the Long Parliament for the crime of being a priest. A convert himself, he is described by the main sources as being “remarkably chearful and facetious even in the midst of his sufferings.” Here’s the exchange he had on the gallows, from Bishop Richard Challoner’s account:
“Pray sir,” said Mr. Roe, “if I will conform to your religion, and go to church, will you secure me my life?”
“That I will,” said the sheriff, “upon my word my life for yours if you will but do that.”
“See then,” said Mr. Roe, turning to the people, “what the crime is for which I am to die, and whether my religion be not my only treason.”
Bp. Challoner’s says his speech from the gallows was taken to parliament and stored there, but it hasn’t been found. He is occasionally pictured with a playing card, in reference to him gambling while in prison, betting small prayers instead of money.