Friday, May 21, 2010

Hypocrisy on the Left (or, Dog Bites Man)

Today's topic is that rarest most ephemeral evanescent, er, most eponymous and eidetic of qualities possessed by those on the left: their ability to embrace, and to be completely untouched and unfazed by, rank hypocrisy. (I know, I know: as the subtitle has it, this is about as newsworthy a topic as "dog bites man.") However, the study of hypocrisy in its native environment is nonetheless beneficial to those of us who can still see it, and call it out by name. For even if the left is not embarrassed by their hypocrisy, the rest of us can be vicariously embarrassed for them, and pray that God lead them back to the paths of truth and righteousness. After all, we ourselves cannot always tell when we, too, may have strayed from those same paths, because we are all sinners, whose given nature it is to stray. Thus there may be some redemptive value in pointing out when someone has so clearly gone off the path; one never knows who will find it instructive.

Now in order to appreciate the rank hypocrisy evidenced by the subject of this post, you will need the background supplied by these prior articles, on other Weblogs:

1. Battle over American seat on the ACC looms, by the Rev. George Conger. In this article, Fr. Conger traces the procedural (and substantive) dilemma relating to the seat occupied by the Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas, who was ECUSA's clerical delegate to the meeting of ACC-14 in Jamaica in May 2009. At that meeting, the assembled delegates from all the ACC members elected the Rev. Douglas to be an ACC member of the Standing Committee, which functioned at that time as a liaison between the Primates' Meeting of the Anglican Communion, and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) itself (composed of laity, clergy, bishops and primates).

Interlude: A brief history. The Standing Committee of the ACC was originally a nine-member body established by the ACC Constitution's Article 7. Its function, as established by a later amendment, was to "act for the Council between meetings of the Council and [to] execute such matters as are referred to it by the Council." It met annually, while the ACC met only once every three (originally: every two) years. However, ACC-10 in 1996 adopted a recommendation of the Virginia Report (see paragraph 6.26 on pages 37-38) to increase the membership of the Standing Committee by including the five members of the Standing Committee of the Primates' Meeting. This created a Standing Committee of fourteen members (plus the Archbishop of Canterbury, ex officio), by the language added to Article 7, which included (as per paragraph [e] of the Schedule of Membership) "Five members of the body known as the Standing Committee of the Primates of the Anglican Communion[,] in each case for so long as they shall remain members of such Standing Committee." In time, and after several meetings in connection with the Primates' Meeting, this committee became referred to as the "Joint Standing Committee" of the ACC and the Primates' Meeting, and it accordingly had fourteen members (fifteen, with the ABC). At their latest meeting a year ago, the ACC approved a resolution changing the name of the group back to the "Standing Committee."

In his article, Fr. Conger reported that plans were afoot to hold an election at the forthcoming meeting of ECUSA's Executive Council in June, so that newly-consecrated Bishop Douglas could be elected to replace the current episcopal representative from ECUSA, the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam of New York. Bishop Roskam has now attended three consecutive ACC meetings (she had observer status only at ACC-13 in Nottingham, pursuant to the request made by the Primates at Dromantine), and so will need to be replaced by the time of the next one, in accordance with the membership provisions in the ACC's Constitution, which provide (Art. 4 [b]):
The term of office for ordinary members shall be either

i. six years calculated from a member’s first attendance at a meeting of the Council or
ii. three successive meetings of the Council whichever period shall terminate the later or,
iii. such shorter period as the appointing body shall determine.
Since the Council originally met every two years, the limit of three meetings or six years was at first a match. However, the language of this section was not changed when the Council went to a triennial schedule beginning with ACC-6 in 1984. As a practical matter, therefore, a member's term on the ACC runs for nine years, from the beginning of the first meeting attended until the end of the third. Thus, Bishop Roskam's term of office effectively ended a year ago, with the end of ACC-14. However, because any replacement's term does not commence until the start of ACC-15 (by the language of section 4 [b][i] and [ii] above), there is evidently a gap of time from the end of one ACC meeting until the commencement of the next -- during which there is no representative "in office."

Note that the ACC tried to fill in this gap with its Resolution 28, passed at ACC-4:
The Council resolves:
a. that those elected or appointed to the Anglican Consultative Council begin their membership as from the beginning of the first Council meeting following their election.
b. That membership continues until immediately prior to the meeting at which his or her successor takes his or her place.
2. That Standing Committee members take their place on the Standing Committee as from the end of the Council Meeting at which they are elected and hold their position until such time as their successors take their place or they retire for any other reason.
However, a mere resolution is ineffective to change the language of the ACC's Constitution, which can be amended only by a vote of two-thirds of the member provinces. Thus as a matter of constitutional and canon law, the language of Article 4 (b) would take precedence over the language of Resolution 4-28.

2. Asking the Wrong Question: New Zealand and The Covenant, by the Anglican Communion Institute ("ACI"). In this paper, the ACI examined, among other things, the consequences for the membership of the Joint Standing Committee of the election, last December, of the Rev. Ian Douglas to be the Bishop of Connecticut -- an election which, after being ratified by the requisite number of standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction in ECUSA, led to his consecration to that office on April 17 of this year. The ACI pointed out that since he was now a bishop in ECUSA, the (Rt.) Rev. Douglas was no longer eligible to be ECUSA's "clergy" delegate to ACC.

Under ACC's Constitution (Schedule of Membership, section b), ECUSA is entitled to three members on the Council, "consisting of one bishop plus one priest or deacon and one lay person." ECUSA's episcopal delegate to ACC-14, as already noted, was the Suffragan Bishop of New York, the Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam. Under the terms of the ACC's Constitution again, her successor's term begins with their "first attendance at a meeting of the Council" (para. 4 [b][i], quoted above). The next meeting of the ACC (ACC-15) is scheduled for New Zealand in the late spring of 2012 -- some 24 months from now.

Thus, electing the Rt. Rev. Douglas (or any other bishop) as the successor episcopal delegate to the ACC this June will not have any effect on that person's membership in the ACC for at least two more years, which is when that person's term of office will officially begin. One wonders what the rush to elect a successor is all about. It is true that the ACC's Constitution (para. 4 [b][iii]) gives the appointing body the power to shorten its delegates' terms of office (i.e., it can revoke their appointment). However, unless the revocation occurs in the middle of an ACC meeting, there is nothing which the appointing body can do to cause a replacement to be seated until the start of the next ACC meeting.

3. On May 16, the Rev. Canon Mark Harris, who is a member of ECUSA's Executive Council, published a post in reaction to the ACI's article linked in Item #2 above. Since any linking from this blog to a post by the Rev. Canon Harris causes (due to a glitch in's software) a wholly undesired series of links to all kinds of unrelated posts on his blog, which his commenters (but not, thankfully, Canon Harris himself) have regarded as "spam" from this site, I shall not link to his post. However, you may find it by copying the URL below into your browser, and then replacing the symbols "[dot]" in the link by an actual period:


In this post, the Rev. Canon Harris asserts the following:
In the move from one state to another (ontological or otherwise) [Bishop Douglas] will have to relinquish his seat as The Episcopal Church clergy member of the Anglican Consultative Council.
Excuse me, Canon Harris, but you have chosen the wrong tense. Under its Constitution, section 3(a), the ACC "shall be constituted with a membership according to the schedule hereto" (emphasis added), and ECUSA's allotted membership slots consist of exactly one bishop, one priest or deacon, and one layperson. It is thus indisputable (by all except those on the left) that upon his consecration, the Rt. Rev. Douglas was no longer eligible to serve as the clergy delegate to the ACC. Accordingly, Canon Harris, it is not the fact that the Rt. Rev. Douglas "will have to relinquish" his seat on the ACC, but that upon his consecration as a bishop, he became ineligible from that point forward to serve as ECUSA's clergy member on the ACC. (One could even say that by confirming and consecrating him as a bishop, ECUSA exercised its prerogative to shorten the Rev. Douglas' term of office at the ACC, pursuant to Art. 4 [b][iii] quoted above.)

In other words, the decision is not up to Bishop Douglas as to when he chooses to "relinquish" his seat -- the "relinquishment" happened upon his consecration. It is a source of continuing wonderment to me that there are people who think that ACC membership is a matter of their deciding when they are no longer entitled, as opposed to the binding provisions of ACC's Constitution specifying who its members shall be.

Since, in the Rev. Canon Harris' view, it was up to Bishop Douglas to decide when he would resign from the ACC, there was nothing wrong, from his perspective, should Bishop Douglas regard himself as continuing to be a member of the ACC Standing Committee, until he actually deigned to "submit" his resignation. In that way, and by delaying the submission of any resignation for a few months, he could conveniently continue to "serve" on the Standing Committee until the Executive Council should have the opportunity in June to designate him as ECUSA's episcopal replacement for Bishop Roskam on the ACC. Ignoring the fact that ACC's Constitution provides that any such term of office will not begin until the start of ACC-15 in two years from now, the Rev. Canon Harris simply waves his hand and claims that Bishop Douglas thereby would not have to give up his seat on the Standing Committee:
Here the phrase from the Constitution is important. Persons serve on the Standing Committee “…subject to earlier termination in the event that such elected member shall for any reason cease to be a member of the Council.”

Knowing the circumstances under which Bishop Douglas rightly must resign his current seat on ACC, and provided he is elected to fill the Episcopal seat from TEC, and provided the Standing Committee and the ACC have neither one met, it would appear that TEC would then have essentially reconfirmed his membership on ACC and established a continuity of service on his part to the wider work of the Anglican Communion. My guess is that something like this reasoning will prevail.
For the time being, I shall reserve comment on the motivation behind this "guess", but please note the nonsensical basis of the assertions being made. As we have already seen, Bishop Roskam's "term of office" expired a year ago, with the close of ACC-14 in Jamaica. If it was desired to have a replacement for her in position, ready to go, why did the Executive Council of ECUSA not elect her successor at its very next meeting, held in Memphis in October 2009? And since they did not take any action to replace her then, what is the motivation for electing a replacement now, two years before that replacement may begin to serve? These are questions worthy of an answer.

Now take a look at the next article, which the ACI published in response to the original version of the Rev. Canon Harris' post (which had left it unclear whether Bishop Douglas had resigned from the ACC itself, or only from ECUSA's Executive Council):

4. ADDENDUM: Bishop Ian Douglas and the ACC Standing Committee (Note: the ACI has updated this article, in light of the update which the Rev. Canon Harris made to his post [to clarify that Bishop Douglas has resigned only from the ECUSA Executive Council, and not from the ACC itself]. However, to understand the significance of these updates, take a look at what the ACI wrote in reaction to Mark Harris' original post):
In our last post we noted that Bishop Ian Douglas was ineligible under the rules of the Anglican Consultative Council to continue serving on the ACC and its standing committee upon his consecration to the episcopacy in April. In a blog post yesterday, Father Mark Harris, a member of TEC’s Executive Council, discloses that Bishop Douglas in fact resigned from the ACC in February and announced this to the Executive Council at its February meeting. According to Fr. Harris, (then Fr.) Douglas recognized that he would not be permitted to continue to hold his clerical seat on the ACC upon his consecration. The fact of Douglas’s resignation had not been disclosed previously and greatly simplifies the analysis of what the ACC rules require in this situation. The implications of Bishop Douglas’s consecration and his resignation are now plain.
Alas, as Canon Harris hastened to make clear (in response to an email from Bishop Douglas), the good bishop had not resigned his seat on the ACC, but only his seat on ECUSA's Executive Council. (As before, the link has to be translated: http://anglicanfuture[dot]blogspot[dot]com/2010/05/question-of-seat-on-standing-committee[dot]html) Far from clearing up any confusion, this news simply exacerbated it. These are just some of the questions that now arise:

Q: Why did Bishop Douglas resign his seat on the Executive Council before being consecrated?

Well, he spells it out in crystal-clear language in the resignation letter which Canon Harris quotes in that last-cited post:
I am writing to formally resign my position as a presbyter elected by the 2006 General Convention to serve on the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. This resignation is to take effect during the meeting of the Executive Council in Omaha, Nebraska, February 18-22, 2010.

The reason for my resignation is my “translation” to a new order as a result of being elected to the episcopate in the Diocese of Connecticut. I thus can no longer serve as a presbyter elected by the General Convention to the Executive Council.
So Bishop Douglas at least recognizes that his elevation to the episcopacy made him ineligible to serve as a clergy member on the Executive Council. Which observation then gives rise to our second question:

2. Why, if Bishop Douglas recognizes that he can no longer serve as a clergy member of the Executive Council, does he not apply that same logic to his ability to serve as the clergy appointee from ECUSA to the Anglican Consultative Council?

It is no answer to this question to point out that the Executive Council meets quarterly, while the ACC meets only once every three years. As already noted above, the Executive Council has let a full year go by without finding it necessary to elect a replacement for Bishop Roskam. But in any event, there is no function for any such replacement to serve as a member of the ACC until the start of its next regular meeting in 2012.

Under another provision of the ACC Constitution, clause 4(e), ECUSA has the power to appoint another member of the clergy to fill out the unexpired portion of the Rev. Douglas's term (but not of Bishop Roskam's term, which already expired a year ago):
Any appointing body as set out in the Schedule of Membership shall have power at any time and from time to time to appoint any qualified person to be a member to fill a casual vacancy to hold office for the unexpired term specified in Clause 4(b).
The key words here are "to appoint any qualified person . . ." That language has, among other things, reference to this further clause 4 (c):
On termination of his or her period of office, no member shall be eligible for re-appointment nor shall he or she be appointed an alternate member until a period of six years elapses from the date when such original membership ceased.
As we have already seen, the period of office of clergy delegate Ian Douglas terminated upon his becoming a bishop, with or without his written resignation (effectively, as already observed, it was shortened on that date by ECUSA's own act of consecration). At the very latest, therefore, it terminated on April 17, 2010. And under clause 4 (c) as just quoted, now-Bishop Douglas is thereafter not qualified to be re-appointed as the successor to Bishop Roskam, and would not in any event be qualified to serve again on the ACC in any capacity for at least six years.

All this rush to "replace Bishop Roskam" thus begins to look like mere smoke and mirrors. The Rev. Canon Harris -- who, as I noted, is a member of the Executive Council and thus knows the agenda for its meeting next month -- must also know whether the Executive Council will be electing a replacement for Dr. Douglas at that same meeting. But he has not said anything to that effect -- even though Dr. Douglas does have an unexpired portion of his term that could be filled by someone else. And why has Canon Harris not mentioned any such election? Could it be that there is a bit of a Catch-22 here? That is, until Bishop Douglas submits a formal resignation of his seat on the ACC, it would be unseemly of the Executive Council to elect someone to his unexpired term? And could it be that Bishop Douglas wants to withhold his "resignation" until he has been elected to follow Bishop Roskam, so he will not inadvertently remove himself from the Standing Committee?

The machinations that must go on in order to carry out this little scenario begin to look ridiculous. Consider:

(1) Bishop-elect Douglas immediately submits a letter of resignation to the Executive Council, because he recognizes he is no longer qualified to sit on it.

(2) Meanwhile, he holds back on sending a letter of resignation to the ACC, on which he is also no longer qualified to sit.

(3) His friends at the Executive Council conceive that since he is now a bishop, why not immediately elect him as the successor to ECUSA's episcopal representative?

(4) Never mind that such an election will be held before he has resigned his other seat on the ACC; he can always resign that seat after he has been elected to a second one.

(5) And never mind that he has no seat to resign, since his seat on the Council terminated in accordance with Article 4 (b)(iii), by ECUSA's own act in consecrating him.

(6) Finally, never mind that he has no seat to assume, either, since (a) he is not eligible to serve again on the ACC for six years; and (b) there is no seat to "fill" until the start of ACC-15 in 2012.

This is not rocket science, but plain English. And just in case this all is for any reason not crystal clear, the following provisions of the ACC's Bylaws (Art. 2 [f]) regarding membership on the Standing Committee spell it out for us:
Elected members of the Standing Committee shall hold office from the end of the Council meeting at which they are appointed until the end of the last ordinary Council meeting which they would be entitled to attend but subject to earlier termination in the event that such elected member shall for any reason cease to be a member of the Council. (Emphasis added.)
Once again -- when did the Rev. Douglas cease to be a member of the Anglican Consultative Council? Answer: At the very latest, on April 17, 2010. His membership terminated on that date, and with that termination, his seat on the Standing Committee also terminated, by virtue of the language just quoted.

The ACI drives a final nail in the coffin of Canon Harris' proffered analysis when it points to this further provision of the ACC's bylaws (Art. 7):
In the event of a casual vacancy occurring in the membership of the Standing Committee between Council meetings the Standing Committee itself shall have power to appoint a member of the Council of the same order as the representative who filled the vacant place and such member shall have full voting rights for the remainder of the term of service of the former member. Such member shall, subject to his or her eligibility for continuing membership of the Council, be eligible for re election to the Standing Committee at the next Council meeting. (Emphasis added.)
When Ian Douglas' seat on the Standing Committee terminated because of the termination of his membership on the ACC, he was serving as a priest. Consequently, not even the Standing Committee itself could re-appoint now-Bishop Douglas to his former seat; it has to select his replacement from among those priests or deacons who are currently sitting on the Council.

As if this were not enough, were Bishop Douglas to continue to serve on the Standing Committee as though nothing had happened, he would be the second American bishop on that Committee, since ECUSA's Primate currently serves on it as well. The ACC passed a resolution (No. 46 at ACC-6) expressing the criteria for election to membership on the Standing Committee, among which were the following (emphasis added):
1. That there not be more than one person from any one province as an elected member of the Standing Committee.
. . .
3. That efforts be made to achieve as balanced regional representation as possible.

4. That we seek to have a balance between bishops, clergy and lay persons . . . .
Of course, the ACC itself did not adhere to the first and third criteria when it elected the Rev. Douglas to the Standing Committee at ACC-14, but then the Committee also has two members from the Church of England, as well. That being said, I shall be very embarrassed for ECUSA if it goes through the shenanigans it feels are necessary to allow Bishop Douglas to claim that he never lost his seat on the Council. But according to the Rev. Canon Harris' latest post, "[Bishop Douglas'] resignation from the clerical seat on ACC [sic] remains a matter for the future." (Emphasis added.) And thus we come to our third and fourth questions:

3. Why should his resignation remain "a matter for the future"? Why should such a resignation be anything more than a formality, to acknowledge that his membership terminated with his eligibility, as of April 17, 2010?

4. Why this delay in acknowledging the inevitable?

I am afraid that the answers to which these questions point each signal that once again, ECUSA proposes to manipulate the machinery of the ACC for the sake of its own power and benefit. That is the only reason I can see for even taking up the issue of "replacing" Bishop Roskam suddenly at this point in time, instead of when her term actually expired, or instead of when a successor's term can actually commence. There is no other word for it -- this kind of manipulation for personal advantage and power is simply disgraceful.

It is also, shall we say, rather ironic in light of this post by the Rev. Ann Fontaine over at The Lead, in which she poses the question: "Who is the head of the Episcopal Church?" By way of answer (after acknowledging that it had to be Jesus Christ), she happened to cite to this passage from the May 15 edition of Forward Day by Day:
Matthew 7:28-8:4. Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Authority is a concept that is often misunderstood and misused within the military, as well as outside of it. Some people assume that in the military, from the commanding officer on down, everyone is constantly being given orders which they must blindly obey.

The only time when immediate and unquestioned obedience to an order is essential is in the midst of battle or imminent danger, when a delayed response might endanger a sailor or other crew members. Otherwise, if officers rely solely upon the power given them to issue orders and do not earn the respect and loyalty of those they lead, they get at best only reluctant compliance.

In the church, canon law is written to help organize things. But as priests, if we must point to chapter and verse in the law to prove our point or enforce our authority, we have already lost our authority. Power is given by position, but authority can only be earned by winning the hearts and minds of those we lead.
And with that last paragraph as my text, we (finally) come to the hypocrisy in all this. For if what is happening here is a manipulation of the processes of the ACC and the Executive Council of ECUSA to benefit just one person, at the expense of the organizations' integrity, then what we have is hypocrisy of a high order -- an exercise of "power", flowing solely from position, without any real authority to back it up. The ACI points out just one instance of the hypocritical character in such conduct (if what takes place this June is what I have sketched above):
Indeed, there is a precisely analogous situation in Canada to that of Douglas and TEC. Stephen Andrews, like Douglas, went to ACC-14 in Jamaica as a clergy member for his first meeting. After ACC-14, Andrews was consecrated bishop by the Anglican Church of Canada. Canada understands that Andrews ceased to be a member of the ACC upon his consecration and therefore that he has now been replaced by his clerical alternate. Indeed, Andrews was elected bishop before ACC-14, but his consecration delayed until after the meeting in Jamaica (we are told) precisely because Canada understood the ACC implications of his consecration. If TEC is permitted to circumvent the ACC rules to keep Douglas on the ACC and its standing committee, especially after the decision to disqualify Uganda’s chosen ACC representative at Jamaica, any remaining trust in the ACC will be lost forever.
It is the latter reference that brings the point sharply home. At ACC-14, the powers that be refused to accept the credentials of the Rev. J. Philip Ashey to serve as a last-minute alternative for the clergy-member delegate from Uganda. The ostensible ground given was that since the Rev. Ashey was a member of the Province of Uganda who was serving in the United States, he was engaged in a cross-border violation contrary to the recommendations of the Windsor Report, and thus, in the view of the Standing Committee and its legal advisor, was not a "qualified" alternate under clause 4 (e) quoted above.

But Dr. Douglas is now the Bishop of Connecticut. His predecessor, Bishop Andrew Smith, authorized same-sex marriage blessings in his diocese, also contrary to the recommendations in the Windsor Report. Bishop Douglas has not rescinded his predecessor's authorization. Therefore, as the ACI points out,
Authorization of same sex blessings is “contrary to the Windsor Report” and to the moratoria that have now been affirmed by all four Instruments of Communion, including the ACC. Accordingly, Bishop Douglas is not, consistent with the interpretation articulated by the Secretary General, “qualified” to serve on the ACC under clause 4(e) of the ACC constitution.
"Hypocrisy" is doing one thing while saying the opposite. The left, of course, does this all the time -- every day, I must read dozens of blog posts pointing out the different standards which the left applies to its own, as opposed to what it expects from the rest of us. Thus, Uganda must not engage in border-crossing, or its representatives will be denied a seat at the Council. But ECUSA can consecrate all the gay or lesbian bishops it wants, and promulgate blessings for same-sex marriages too, without any consequences whatsoever for its representation among the so-called "Instruments of Unity" within the Anglican Communion.

The hypocrisy of ECUSA has now destroyed the unifying effects of those Instruments. Their integrity is in tatters after the farce of ACC-14 and the "final draft" of the proposed Covenant. If they now continue to recognize Dr. Ian Douglas as a member of the Standing Committee, and go along with the little charade that will be arranged (with Mark Harris' evident blessing) for the Executive Council meeting this June, then I agree with the ACI that "any remaining trust in the ACC will be lost forever."

Let's tally things up, shall we?

The Archbishop of Canterbury -- utterly ineffective ever since he failed to implement the consensus reached at Dromantine; credibility now shattered after his tortured silence in the wake of the consecration of Mary Glasspool.

The Lambeth Conference -- a big fizzle; an overall failure, thanks again in no small part to ++Cantuar's failure to implement Dromantine once more.

The Primates' Meeting -- utterly dysfunctional following Canterbury's failures to implement the Dromantine consensus (see the letter written to Dr. Williams by Bishop Mouneer Anis, followed by this letter of Archbishop Orombi).

And now,

The Anglican Consultative Council -- a hollow shell of a rubber stamp, manipulated completely by and for the primary benefit of ECUSA.

What, then, is left?

Please join me in prayer: Veni, sancte Spiritus . . .

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Haley,

    I think this sort of behavior on the part of many in positions of leadership and spokesperson (official or otherwise) in TEC has now become a pattern which is to be expected. It had clearly begun in earnest by the week before Lambeth 2008, when the person you have referred to as the Chief Kaitiff lied in response to an interviewer's question. I would suggest it had occurred prior to that in the intentional and self-servingly erroneous interpretations of TEC Canon Law in the House of Bishops, and other actions by that same person.

    My principal point in this comment is that a repeated practice of writing and speaking untruthfully, or to state it bluntly of prevaricating (or or any other sin)simply inures the offender to the practice, making it ever easier to fall into a pattern of habitual prevarication. TEC leaders (including the PB) and spokespersons are now living, breathing examples of that assertion

    Based on the pattern of prevarication displayed by these people I firmly believe that we should now begin to expect it to continue and probably to increase. At some point, and only God knows whether that point has been reached, the prevaricator will either realize the error and repent,or have such a hardened heart that he or she is no longer susceptible of recognizing the sinfulness of the behavior, nor of repentance.

    IMHO, given the number of instances of prevarication by these folks which we have witnessed to date, and the breathtaking ease and [i]brass[/i] with which they now do so, we should properly be prepared to be astonished if they are able to cease their prevarications and repent, although it would not be inappropriate to pray for such an outcome.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer