Friday, May 22, 2015

During interlude let's pop over to the States (updated: and to Ireland)

Sorry but my schedule is terrifically intense and dangerously deadlined re a major funding application. So my reply to questions to the post below is postponed until ... I have some spare time. After the deadline?

In the meantime life and Anglican debates go on, so why not pop over to the States, or stay there if you are already there?

The Living Church has a useful lead in article with links to unfolding discussion and debate as TEC's General Convention looms into view and thus the imminence of proposed change to TEC marriage canons is well, imminent. Tobias Haller's blog features among the links.

UPDATE: Tim Stanley, reflecting on the just announced (as I write) news that Ireland has overwhelmingly voted in a referendum for same sex marriage to be legalised, offers this:

"Why were the forces behind Yes so overwhelming? 
Well, it could just be that the case for gay marriage is so strong – that the siren call of equality was irresistible. 
It could also be that the No side’s arguments were out of touch with how the West now views not only gay rights but the institution of marriage itself. 
No campaigners kept on talking about the importance of parenthood – as though marriage was still a legal contract entered into with the express purpose or hope of raising children. But this traditional understanding of marriage has long since passed away. It’s about love, children are not necessarily a priority, and religion is window dressing. 
Given this tectonic shift in attitudes towards marriage, it’s going to be harder and harder to insist that it be limited to just a man and a woman – or even just to two people."

Stanley, incidentally, in my experience of his writings is a deeply sympathetic Catholic, so his words above are not his personal criticism of the traditional understanding of the institution of marriage. Rather he is attempting to capture the Zeitgeist of Ireland.

I reckon he captures the Zeitgeist sweeping the whole Western world!

The [Anglican] Church of Ireland has posted a response to the referendum here.


MichaelA said...

Meanwhile, outside of General Convention:

This is a result of one of the lawsuits against individual congregations won by TEC. Generally speaking, TEC has been successful when it has sued congregations to gain possession of property, and unsuccessful when it has sued dioceses. In this case it won against a congregation, then gave a confident press release, including a service of thanksgiving packed with people who for the most part were not members of that church.

Now, about 18 months later, reality bites - TEC has not been able to attract a congregation to the property, and it is being sold off to real estate development. The congregation that left does not have a property of its own (yet) but is running a four services a week. It is only a matter of time.

As this further reference to a blog post shows, there are many in TEC who would far rather see their church buildings sold off to secular interests, than used for orthodox Christian ministry:

This is happening in many places, and there are many more yet to come. Therefore, it really doesn't matter what GC does - the downward trajectory that TEC is on will continue regardless.

Father Ron Smith said...

"This is happening in many places, and there are many more yet to come. Therefore, it really doesn't matter what GC does - the downward trajectory that TEC is on will continue regardless." - The Word of The Lord (*According to MichaelA).

It's perhaps as well you are not a member of TEC, MA. Otherwise they would be voted out of existence. So much for 'Christian charity'.

In the meantime, Christ is Risen and Ascended, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
I think you are avoiding Michael's point!
It is simply nuts, whatever one thinks about certain debated matters, to force a viable congregation out of buildings dedicated to God in favour of a non-viable congregation with subsequent sale.

It is impossible for me to see how God is glorified by such foolishness.

Father Ron Smith said...

Neither, Peter, is God glorified by intentional schism. Not according to the high-priesdtly prayer of Jesus.

Michael Primrose said...

Hi Peter,

On Friday, the Irish people voted in favour of including a line in their Constitution, which read "marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex". The wording of the referendum always seems to be forgotten.

As the Church of Ireland has graciously admitted "the people of the Republic of Ireland, in deciding by referendum to alter the State's legal definition of marriage, have of course acted fully within their rights."

The most apposite comment, on the referendum result, perhaps came from the Irish Senator, David Norris, who said in part, "There's been such utter rubbish spouted. No Catholic priest is going to be forced to marry gay people - although it wouldn't kill them to give a couple a blessing. They're happy to bless bombs, pets, agricultural implements. You'd think a blessing for two people who love each other would be easier than blessing a couple of goldfish."

It set me thinking, and not completely cynically, that if my partner and I attended the next Blessing of the Animals Service, at Christ Church Cathedral, dressed as a pair of goldfish, we might have more of a chance of being blessed as a couple of fish than we would currently have as an Anglican couple.

Or do you think it would improve our chances of receiving a clerical blessing if we bought a tractor? A somewhat regal echo of "And may God Bless all who ride on her" I suppose?

Riding a tractor, up the aisle of Christ Church Cathedral, does seem to have a bucolic whiff of the Footrot Flats about it, for such an auspicious occasion, but if that's what it takes to get the relevant clerical words, then one shall wear one's best black singlet with Pride.

The words of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, on the referendum, seem to be the most poignant today. He said that "I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. I'm saying there's a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the church" adding that it showed the church needed to reconnect with young people to regain its traditional cultural standing and moral authority in Ireland.

It would seem that, even in the Republic of Ireland,the Parade of the Enlightenment has passed on along the banks of the Liffey and the Church is left, still sitting on the side of the road, waiting for the elephants to come.

Michael Primrose

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
For reasons of busyness I am not replying much to comments for the present, but suffice to say as a partial and not whole response to your question, I personally would not, and have not, blessed bombs, naval ships, or pets (that I recall). I do not see where God has authorised such blessing to be undertaken in the name of God.

Father Ron Smith said...

I think that St. Francis of Assisi would disagree with you, Peter, on the matter of blessing pets. He saw them as just another beautiful part of God's abundant and varied creation. I have certainly blessed animals on the Feast of Saint Francis - a very popular ceremony in parts of Aotearoa/N.Z.

"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above the angelic host. Praise Father, Son. & Holy Ghost! Amen!"

The Spirit of God fills the whole world. Alleluia!

Father Ron Smith said...

Even the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin admits the Church just may be out of step with the young people it is meant to nourish:

'Martin added: “We tend to think in black and white but most of us live in the area of grey, and if the church has a harsh teaching, it seems to be condemning those who are not in line with it. The church’s teaching, if it isn’t expressed in terms of love — then it’s got it wrong.” '

Note that admission at the end of this statement, reported from the blog-site 'Living Church' :

"The church’s teaching, if it isn’t expressed in terms of love — then it’s got it wrong.”

MichaelA said...

And that final sentence by ++Martin is of course itself wrong. The Roman Catholic Church's problem in Ireland isn't due to a failure to "express in terms of love", but due to a sustained failure by many priests over many years to live according to the teachings of the church, particularly in the area of sexual conduct. And that was exacerbated by the failure of a far greater number of clergy to acknowledge that there was a problem in the first place.

The problems were squarely in the area of practice.

As a result, the RC Church in Ireland is no longer listened to by many people. And therefore we have a peculiar law declaring something that is not marriage to be marriage. Something that will be harmful to Irish Society has come about at least in part because of the Church's failing to live up to its own standards.

MichaelA said...

"It's perhaps as well you are not a member of TEC, MA. Otherwise they would be voted out of existence."

This makes no sense at all Fr Ron. I said nothing at all about voting. Did you even read my post before responding?

"Neither, Peter, is God glorified by intentional schism."

No indeed, Fr Ron, hence why I do not support TEC until it repents.

Father Ron Smith said...

I refuse to engage with you, MichaelA, unless you try to write sense. The mere number of words doesn't make your sentences logical.

Denial of other people's truth is not necessarily an argument in itself.