Approaching the publication of Muriel Porter's new book Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism, a niave but brave priest has spoken out about what he calls spiritual abuse!
He says...What I learned from a number of undergraduates and postgraduates who had experienced the Jensenist-style Anglicanism that has infiltrated several Oxford parishes, was that bullying and spiritual coercion are at the heart of the Jensenist model of ministry, and a direct outcome of the false doctrine of headship. What is happening in many of the parishes where Jensenist clergy hold sway is – I am not afraid to name it – spiritual abuse. For me the issue came into clear focus when a student member of one of these churches began attending St Mary the Virgin, and was subjected to a barrage of emails, phone calls, even knocks on the door for impromptu chats, from fellow Jensenists warning him that to leave “the group” would mean damnation and, indeed, that going to a church like liberal St Mary’s would be worse than going no-where at all. When it became clear that he was indeed “lost” his entire peer-group for the past six years of his life cut him off as though dead... the example is not isolated. I dealt with this issue several times in England. And in Australia, in every parish I have ever worked, the back pew has been populated from time to time by people scared and scarred by their experience of church, almost inevitably of the Jensenist sort, often through youth ministry, who are, often years later, trying again in a place that they hope (but do not trust) might be more Christ-like than that which they had left behind.
I hope this brave man is ready for a character assassination or at the best censorship! For Anglican women who can't conform to the rigidity of Jensenism, it's like being pushed out onto the limb of a tree and then having the branch cut off!
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