Monday, March 22, 2010

James de Koven

So last week I wrote about how Diane Jardine Bruce was elected suffragan bishop of L.A. without a peep while the understandable news was that Mary Glasspool, who is openly gay, received the necessary consents (votes of approval) from diocesan Standing Committees and bishops? Oh, you skipped that post? Reasonably enough.

But I was struck today to read the bio of James de Koven who was elected bishop of Wisconsin in 1874 and of Illinois in 1875 "but because he was 'controversial' he failed both times to have his election ratified by a majority of Bishops and a majority of Standing Committees of Dioceses, as required by canon law."

What was the controversy? He was "the chief spokesman for the 'ritualists,' defending the use of candles, incense, bowing and kneeling, and the like."

This met opposition from other Christians who were suspicious (1) of anything that suggested Roman Catholicism, (2) of anything that seemed fancy and pretentious, as opposed to the plain, blunt, simplicity that was considered to be an American virtue as well as a virtue of the New Testament Church, and (3) of anything that varied from the practices they had become used to as children.

Oh how silly they were. Good thing we all know better now. Oh, wait.

And so I'd like to celebrate James de Koven, patron saint of "Someday we'll look back at this and laugh." In the meantime, I guess we'll keep feeling our way, perhaps with a candle to guide us.

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