Monday, February 08, 2010

The more liberal it got, the more snobbish it became
From an e-mail circle:
Visiting an elderly shut-in couple when I was an Episcopalian.... They were members of our parish and the husband had read some of my articles and wanted to meet me, so I went to see them one day when our rector made his regular visit. He had been the head pressman of a printing company, that is, a man who got his hands dirty, and he talked about the old days when he’d been on the standing committee of the diocese, and about others who did the same kind of work and had positions of leadership. He didn’t say this with any resentment, but I suddenly realized that even in this conservative diocese, no one of his class or occupation could possibly be elected to any office today. It’s a very different world. But then that kind of working-class Episcopalianism seems almost to have disappeared.

Judging from James Pike’s letter to his mother on why she should convert from Catholicism (executive summary: Catholics are the social inferiors of Episcopalians) this trend had begun quite some time back.

Truer on the coasts, I think, than in the middle of the country (we live outside Pittsburgh). And even in Massachusetts (where I grew up) there were once thriving mostly working-class or mixed-class parishes in the industrial and some rural towns. I think some still exist but you won’t find anyone from them having any position in the diocese’s affairs. That’s an entirely upper-middle-class affair.

Ironically, as liberalism gutted the theological identity of Episcopalianism, the church lost much of its social diversity as well, though “diversity” and “inclusion” became its new slogans. The exact relation of those two movements I don’t know. The second is as likely to be the greater cause as the former.

I have had someone say to me about being a Catholic, and he was perfectly serious, “I won’t go to church with my plumber.” I’d always thought this was a joke playing on a stereotype, but people really say it.
Anglo-Catholicism both in England and the American biretta belt long parallelled Roman Catholicism in breaking out of this, being the exception in their denomination.

The diversity and inclusion games are wholly white upper-middle-class (as Christian Lander notes, to impress others of that class).

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