Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh the humanity!

I’m indebted to Fr. Ackeroff for bringing my attention to little Matt Kennedy’s moving tale of foolishness at Viagraville. Or perhaps that should read “foolish tale of moving”, since even Bishop Quinine could have told him the apostate judicial system hasn’t truly understood the sacred importance of wholesale property theft since the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Even so, there are two most delightful details in little Matt’s harrowing account of how he, as an example to responsible fathers everywhere, placed his own homophobia ahead of his children’s need for security and a warm roof over their heads. The first is a heart-rending recollection of his last Eucharist:
“After Communion and the blessing, we stripped the altar, deconsecrated it, emptied the ambry (yes we had one), and blew out the tabernacle candle.”
It’s the sheer poetic modesty of this sentence that brings tears to my rheumy old righteous eyes. The humble recognition that the altar could only remain consecrated if he were its senior presiding minister. The clear understanding of how an Episcopal church fitting, constructed by Episcopalians for use in Episcopalian worship, and legally the property of Episcopalians, could only function in a sacred capacity if used by a former Episcopalian – the ex-Rev. Matt – as part of an anti-Episcopalian schism. Without him the altar ceased to be capable of the service for which it was consecrated, and as such he had no choice but to recognize that liturgically. Talk about a servant’s heart!

The second detail is almost as beautiful:
“…all of the things that had been a part and parcel of our community life for more than a century had to stay.”
I must confess to having had no idea that little Matt had been there that long; his youthful visage certainly doesn’t betray him as a man of at least 130 years old. Whatever elixir Hostilium has been slipping him certainly works wonders. It would have been wiser, however, for them to have shared a little of the wondrous potion with church stalwarts of years gone past. A couple of 19th century wardens explaining that they weren’t part of the Episcopalian church at all, but were actually Kenyans joining a sect run by a defrocked bishop in Pittsburgh would have been all that was needed to swing the Judge’s finding in little Matt’s favor.

Lastly, I still can’t for the life of me understand why, as a fellow Calvinist, little Peter Jensen didn’t immediately offer refuge to Matt and his tribe. Surely Hostillium’s gifts as a preacher would have been more than welcome in Sydney, and the Family Firm would have loved for Matt to bring his chasuble and ambry. Perhaps Dobby or one of the other house-elves regularly lurking here could explain things for us?

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

12 comments :

Anonymous said...

A masterpiece of the maudlin!

For someone so resolutely, extravagantly, awe-inspiringly heterosexual, Our Mattie sure has a queen's flair for the melodramatic.

clumber said...

Well, now I'm really confused. There's a picture "over there" with the caption "Photos taken during the last service at Good Shepherd", and I was at the last Episcopal service at CotGS, and I don't remember acolytes dressed for Halloween, nor do I remember Little Matty or Hostilium stepping up to deconsecrate anything.

In fat, I'm pretty sure they weren't even there. But obviously, they must think that if they aren't there, it's not a "proper" service. Now, I'm an old dog, and we clumbers have dreadful memories, but I think they must have forgotten that the church is more than where they stand, both physically and morally.

clumber said...

Um, make that "fact", not "fat"

smithj1@unisa.ac.za said...

Why, oh why, don't people like Matthew and his family simply change churches and go to Rome or the Orthodox Church? Why make themselves so unhappy staying in a church whose teaching they no longer accept?

I read his account of the forced removal. What I noticed was how everybody else ran round after him (parishioners packing up linen, doing the laundry, men acting as an unpaid removal firm etc).

It's so typical of the pseudy, melodramatic "catholicism" of this type. Watch me do the important stuff at the altar, everybody, while you wear yourselves out and then mop my fevered brow.

And as for his wife. Five children, a silly, conceited husband and no income. I wonder when she'll crack?

Revd Ivan Ackeroff said...

The well-known liturgical practice of De-consecrating an Altar can be extended to other spheres. I often take the Blessed Sacrament and, by saying the words "This is NOT my Body", am able to change Our Lord back into mere bread again. I sometimes do this just for the fun of it, so that Our Lord doesn't quite know where He is. Similarly, an Episcopal priest who leaves the Church to found a Sect will find that he has been de-ordained and de-priested, only to find that he been miraculously transformed into a layman.

Rick+ said...

     You know, if he and his family had to leave because they truly felt they had to find God elsewhere, I would find this touching. Although I disagree with their reasons, I could be supportive and wish him well. It is the hubris of thinking you are so right you deserve/own everything that keeps my eyes dry as I read his account. He is simply experiencing the natural consequences of his choice and how he misled his flock to believe they were as entitled as he.

Anonymous said...

So layman Matt is now acting as a bishop by deconsecrating sacred things. Time to send Agent 99 to the rescue.

Fr. Maxwell Smart+

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Fr. Ackeroff: I believe this is known as the Eucharistic Theology of the Real Absence, and is a key part of liturgical practice in Sydney, where there is always a great fear of Our Lord sneaking into the Sacraments when nobody is looking.

Fr. Smart: I fear 99's marvelous attributes would be unappreciated by little Matt. CONTROL should send someone who is male, emotionally sensitive, and preferably buffed. Hymie the Robot perhaps?

Anonymous said...

I have very little experience with deconsecration services, although I recently watched the deconsecration scene at the beginning of "Alice's Restaurant" again a few weeks ago. I was unaware that a bishop needed to preside over such a service. Agree to it, yes, but preside over it? May we have a liturgical ruling here, Fr. Christian?

Bruce said...

I'm quite sure Fortescue would castigate Little Matty for over-reaching into the episcopal prerogatives for deconsecrating altars and buildings. I also think the children look neglected. Ah-hem!

Anonymous said...

Now that you mention it, Mattie must surely be the only male member of ACNA who is not a bishop.

I wonder what's wrong?

David |Dah • veed| said...

I know that I am being shallow, but I find the majority of ACNE bishops to be unattractive. OK, most are butt ugly! One thing Father Mass Prodigy has going is that he is fit and attractive. Maybe the bishops are jealous and would be resentful of a cute ACNE bishop.