Reading my hometown newspaper, The New Haven Register, the editors ran a story about Connecticut’s 15th new Episcopal bishop, the Right Reverend Ian T. Douglas regarding his forthcoming ordination. I am sure for many the presence of Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be a big “plus.” But there are aspects of the new bishop’s opportunistic thinking that raises concerns. 

Bishop-elect Douglas is being touted as a “ground breaker” as the episcopal bishop of Connecticut because he’s known on the international scene, and that he’s never served as a priest in the diocese prior this moment. Besides Douglas’ statement that he’s not afraid to call in favors from around world, what got my attention, is his misleading Protestant Episcopal reasoning for selecting the principle consecrating bishop (Katharine Schori) and her two of the co-consecrating bishops:  “they are diverse in race, sex and theology, and so represent ‘the catholicity of the church.'”

The catholicity of the Church, Episcopal or otherwise, is not demonstrated by race, sex and theology. These elements are trendy and do not constitute the fundamental character of ordination and episcopal service to a (local) Church. Race, sex and theological diversity are elements of a multicultural attitude of the Church and they don’t stand the test of time not to mention patronizing. Sacred Scripture, Truth and Tradition are divinely revealed and orient our theological and liturgical praxis. At last I knew, consecrating bishops are too be chosen for their orthodox faith and for nothing else. Christ did not build his church on multicultural clap-trap. Sadly, Douglas’s understanding of the episcopacy is like his rolodex: it may be diverse but it lacks the quality of substance and orthodox ecclesiology: where is the traditional communion ecclesiology that is supposed to exist? Oh, wait, true communion ecclesiology has vanished with the Episcopal Church! This is just one reason that is contributing to the demise of the Anglican Communion in America and abroad.