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The Narcissism Of Small Ecclesial Differences

Get a load of this: according to the Catholic bishop of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg, Switzerland, in his diocese, members of these Christian churches are permitted to use Catholic churches and chapels: Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed.

Guess who isn’t allowed to do so: member of the Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist Catholic order whose excommunication was lifted a few years back.

I wrote to a traditionalist Catholic priest friend, asking him to explain how this could happen. He responded:

Ah. I explain with illustration.

Good Shepherd Binghamton, NY was an evangelical Episcopal Church which left ECUSA, joining an Anglican Continuing Church. The Diocese (Western New York) sued for the property, refused all offers of a settlement, won the property and… sold it to Mohammedans for a fraction of what the congregation had offered.

It is today an Islamic Cultural Center. I have seen the photos of the interior, pews and altar gone, prayer rugs on the floor.

Mrs Jefferts Schori (the Presiding Bishop) said bluntly in an interview that there was no way an ECUSA property would go to any other “Anglican” group — she explicitly said she’d rather see it turned into a tavern.

The professional Christian set owns the Church. It’s theirs; diss them and you get your slice taken away.

But note the lesson illustrated by Lausanne.Something can be a real priority of the Pope, personally, but be sabotaged by his subordinates.

The Wall Street Journal carried a reported commentary about the Binghamton debacle. The narcissism of small differences strikes again.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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