Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Godly Bishop

My title comes from a recent thread on ALPB Online. But I think it a fine way to introduce the following tribute from a young Anglican priest to his Bishop.

It is meet, right, and salutary to note first two things:

1) that I first heard about this young priest when he was in seminary from his proud grandmother, who was then playing piano for the monthly worship services I've lead for over 5 years at Liberty Village Estates, a retirement center here in Peoria; and

2) that I have known his Bishop to be a truly godly Bishop and one for whom this tribute is most appropriate.

The occasion was the 13th Anniversary of the Consecration of Keith L. Ackerman as the 8th Bishop of Quincy, which was last Friday. So, with Fr. Drummond's permission:
Tribute to a Bishop

Today is Friday. Presumably, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding will be at Mosque for prayers today. But I wonder if she'll also go to Mass today, on this Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul.

The Church is built on the confession of St. Peter: "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Islam explicitly teaches that God does not have a Son. Yet Dr. Redding believes that the two faiths are compatible at the most basic level. What is "the most basic level?" Peter's confession is the rock upon which the Church is built. In other words, it's the foundation. Or, to put it still differently, it's the Church's belief "at the most basic level." Sorry, Dr. Redding, it is at "the most basic level" that Christianity and Islam are irreconcilable. Just as tragic (if not more) is the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, who "accepts" Redding as a priest and is "excited about the interfaith possibilities." This man is no successor to the Apostles. Certainly not St. Peter and St. Paul.

While Dr. Redding goes to mosque in Seattle, and Bishop Warner pats himself on the back for his broad-mindedness, a small group of Catholic Anglicans in Illinois (and beyond!) will observe this Feast with Divine Offices and Divine Liturgies, as the Church has always done. Many of their prayers and thanksgivings on this day will be offered on behalf of a man who thirteen years ago on this day came among us to be set apart. For him, being elevated to the Episcopate meant being driven to the ground to wash feet. For him, being a Bishop meant guarding and proclaiming the Apostles' teaching, not altering and "improving" it. For him, being a Bishop meant not only wearing a pectoral cross but also bearing the paschal Cross. It still means these things to this day. With St. Peter, Bishop Keith Ackerman confesses boldly that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God." With St. Paul he suffers the burden of the "care of all the churches."

Today is Friday. Today, as on every Friday, we commemorate the death of our Lord on the Cross for our redemption. We commemorate the deaths of Sts. Peter and Paul, who laid down their lives for the Faith they proclaimed. We commemorate the consecration of The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, who knows and loves Jesus Christ, still believes the faith of Sts. Peter and Paul, and pours out his life as a "drink offering" in the service of Christ and the Faith of his Apostles. Glory to God for all things, and thanks be to Him for giving us a true Shepherd!

Many years, Bishop Ackerman, many years!
Amen, Father! Amen!

And you can read more of Fr. Drummond at his Things Above blog.

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