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Shocking Events in San Joaquin; or, The Empress and the Queen


John-David Schofield, singing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”

updated with links

Today is the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, the famous Becket of “Murder in the Cathedral.” He was assassinated by henchmen of King Henry II in 1170, and today is the anniversary of that vile act, which shocked all of Christendom.

Maybe you read Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” when you were in school; it deals with pilgrims on their way to visit the cathedral in honor of Thomas Becket’s martyrdom.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin hasn’t quite sunk to that level of violence, but it’s staging its own costume drama of historic dimensions. It features a bishop who thinks he’s a prince, though he’s really a queen.

And now we have the play’s first martyr, a simple priest fired as vicar of St. Nicholas’s Church in Atwater, California for refusing to go along with the bishop’s plan to withdraw the diocese from the Episcopal Church and affiliate with anti-Gay evangelicals in Argentina.

The anti-Gay blogs in the Episcopal Church, Go Limp and Tie One On, obliterate all mentions of this situation because it makes their side look pretty awful. The bishop brought bodyguards with him two days before Christmas, commandeered the Eucharist, denied that he was there to fire the priest and close the church, and proceeded to fire the priest and close the church.

This same bishop, with the precious name John-David Schofield, has publicly acknowledged that he is a celibate homosexual, and his cathedral sponsors an ex-Gay ministry “for those with sexual brokenness,” which would be just about everybody. Got a problem with masturbation? They’re there to help.

This ministry’s explanation for homosexuality is that it’s caused by a lack of nurturance in childhood, and failure to form appropriate male-to-male attachments.

It sounds plausible until you consider that everyone on earth has suffered a lack of nurturance from time to time. But not everyone on earth is Gay.

How they explain Lesbians never becomes clear; because they’re really not too concerned about women in the first place. It’s Gay men who get their knickers in a knot. Only men matter.

The Diocese of San Joaquin, based in beautiful downtown Fresno, is one of three dioceses in the Episcopal Church which does not ordain women. That’s about to change, because John-David’s about to be deposed. (The others are Quincy, Illinois and Fort Worth. They’re all headed outta here and into court.) They think that only men can be priests because Jesus was male.

Well, think about it; He had to be one or the other! Would we believe in all-women priests if He’d been female?

Would anyone have paid the least attention to the Daughter of God? God the Father had to give that some thought, and seems to have decided that for the sake of the message, given the time and the place and the patriarchy, the Son of God would have a slightly easier time spreading and being the Word. (Not that Jesus had an easy time of anything.)

As St. Paul later wrote, “In Christ there is no male or female.” But to John-David, this all matters quite a bunch.

I suspect his problem is a failure to form appropriate male-to-male attachments. The appropriate thing would have been to fall in love with a male and live happily ever after—as Gene Robinson, the bishop of New Hampshire, has done, with his ex-wife’s blessing. Gene and Mark have been together for 20 years. Gene inspires people and spreads Good News wherever he goes; John-David barges in on Christmas Day to close the church and fire the priest for daring to disagree with him.

His behavior is not only shocking, it’s in terribly bad taste.

I can’t help but imagine what would happen if he tried it in my home parish. I can just see Evelyn Cable Ball rising up to inform him that “In this church, sir, you may be a bishop, but you may not be a boor.”

Visualize Mrs. Astor and you’ll pretty much have it down. Sometimes it takes a rich old empress to take down a queen.

I ask your prayers for John-David Schofield, Fr. Fred Risard, the loyal Episcopalians of San Joaquin and the secessionists too. Please God, let there be no bloodshed in this Church. Save the riot act for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where they actually come to blows over such trivia.++

4 Responses

  1. As an episcopalian in exile within the Diocese of San Joaquin, I am surprised to read your comments about John-David’s sexuality. Although many of us within the diocese know of his sexual orientation and his internal torment, I am surpised to read your note regarding his self-proclamation. From where did you source this? I’d like to refer back to it. Thanks for your help in this regard.

  2. Funny thing, Howie, the rest of TEC hears frequently from loyal Episcopalians in San Joaquin who write, as you do, “many of us within the diocese know of Schofield’s sexual orientation and his internal torment,” and then you ask for sources. If you know, you’re the source!

    The rest of us don’t understand your “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which the San Joaquin laity seems to enforce as much as the clergy do. Do you suppose that could be part of the problem?

    I have seen two first-hand claims by men of sexual involvement with Schofield; one post has now evidently been removed from the blogosphere, but the other remains. Hit Google; you’ll also come up with a recent alleged interview http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=7392 of Schofield in which he denies ever having been Gay, though on the same anti-Gay website you’ll read that he “renounced the lifestyle years ago” — leading one to wonder how he can “renounce” what he supposedly never participated in.

    Thus the blind lead the blind, but no matter; there’s Howie’s own statement, “many of us within the diocese know of Schofield’s sexual orientation and his internal torment.” Scores of such statements are piling up from San Joaquin, where the laos now finds itself victimized by its own passivity and denial. Lord, have mercy.

  3. No one has to be an Episcopalian in exile. The Episcopal Church is alive at Holy Family in Fresno. Please join us everyday for Morning Prayer and “twice on Sundays” for Holy Eucharist. See our website and join us with love. We all have J-D stories to tell but, to heal, we’d rather tell JC stories.

    John-David is old news, the Diocese of The San Joaquin and those who are remaining Episcopal are the real story.

  4. Thank you, Barbara. This prayer community remembers the faithful in the San Joaquin Valley with great constancy, and we’re glad you’re doing well.

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