Last week's column addressed a perceived double standard in the Episcopal Church. When the Episcopal Diocese of Newark recently denied former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey admittance to the Episcopal priesthood while the Episcopal officials in Miami readily accepted Father Alberto Cutie, I questioned the Episcopal Church's lack of uniformity.
“As I see it,' I wrote. “there is little difference between Cutie and McGreevey; why have they been treated differently? Why is the Episcopal collar acceptable for Cutie but not McGreevey? When their ugly secrets were revealed, both these men sought “cover” in the Episcopal Church; why is self-reinvention within its confines acceptable for one repentant and not the other? If the Episcopal Church is going to accommodate wayward Catholics who, for whatever reason, are suddenly attracted to the Episcopal faith, then it seems to me the church officials should set forth standard rules going forward and treat all its applicants for priesthood equally.”
Since stating my position, readers have pointed out the error in my thought. Seems I have been thinking like the Catholic I am.
According to a reader named Pamela, “The hierarchy of the Episcopal Church is profoundly different from the structure of the Roman Catholic Church...A bishop in Florida unilaterally made the decision to welcome Cutie into the Episcopal Church, and the Diocese of New Jersey did not need to consult with anyone else when deciding to reject McGreevey. Consequently, it's illogical to claim hypocrisy when comparing the two very unrelated situations.”
An unnamed, but proud Episcopal reader agreed with Pamela. “I was a little bothered by your idea of a double standard,” the reader stated. “First off, in order for there to be a double standard, like conditions must be put into place. For there to be a double standard, both candidates would have had to be from the same Diocese being that each Diocese operates slightly differently.” Thus, as this reader pointed out, the Diocese of Trenton's rejection of McGreevey is not synonymous with a rejection from the entire Episcopal Church.
I stand corrected.
No double standard exists in the Episcopal Church.
Thanks to these two Atlantic Highlands Herald readers, I have learned the following: 1) the structure of the Episcopal Church is vastly different from that of the Catholic Church, with the dioceses of the former exercising far more autonomy than the latter; 2) Episcopalians are proud and learned in their faith; and 3) my opinion means is worthless if I don't know what I'm talking about.
To all our Episcopal readers, my apologies, and my thanks to those who took the time to correct me. As I said, I have great reverence for the Episcopal Church, and I am very glad to recant my previous position.