A Kindly Heresy by Louis R. Tarsitano

A Kindly Heresy

Louis R. Tarsitano on Niceness

More than twenty years ago, an Episcopal priest, a truly lovely man who had done me no end of kindness, looked at me as if I were insane when I explained to him that I was sticking by the old Book of Common Prayer, no matter what. He offered what was, to his mind, the unanswerable argument for his own position in favor of the new religion, in the form of what he thought was a rhetorical question: “You don’t really believe that the burden of your sins is intolerable?” To his chagrin, I answered, “Yes, I do.”

He was still kind afterwards, but a distance had opened between us that I was never able to find a way to bridge. The older Book delivered a series of hard truths about fallen human nature and its need for redemption. Its replacement, appearing in 1976 and enforced by the Episcopal Church in 1979, dealt more in “wrong choices” that might interfere with our self-fulfillment and “community.”

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Louis R. Tarsitano (d. 2005), a former associate editor of Touchstone, was a priest of the Anglican Church in America and rector of St. Andrew?s Church in Savannah, Georgia. He also was the co-author, with Peter Toon, of Neither Archaic Nor Obsolete: The Language of Common Prayer & Public Worship (Brynmill Press, Ltd., 2003).

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