Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vatican To Excomunicate Women Priests

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of female priests on Thursday, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication.

The decree was written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect. A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the church's existing ban on female priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations.

Excommunication forbids those affected from receiving the sacraments or sharing in acts of public worship. Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said he thought the decree was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favor admitting women to the priesthood. "I think the reason they're doing this is that they've realized there is more and more support among Catholics for ordaining women, and they want to make clear that this is a no-no," Reese said.

The church said it cannot change the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ chose only men as his apostles. Church law states that only a baptized male can be made a priest.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I am an Episcopalian....

Finding and forgetting
By Pamela Dolan

I am an Episcopalian by personal choice and through the grace of God. My family of origin, as well as my husband’s family, are all Roman Catholic; I can’t emphasize enough the deep respect and gratitude I have for my Catholic upbringing and the ways it has shaped me. Still, for a myriad of reasons I won’t enumerate here, I chose a different path.

So for me personally, why Anglicanism? …As a start, one of the clearest definitions of Anglicanism I have read can be found in An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church (Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors). It makes plain some of the traits I so love about our church: its sense of balance and compromise, its ability to respect tradition while celebrating cultural difference, its emphasis on practice and worship over doctrine, its humble recognition that while God is unchanging and perfect the church is not. In addition, we are a church that embraces sacrament, liturgy, adherence to apostolic succession, and the centrality of the historic creeds, and you’ve got a pretty potent mix.

Not surprisingly, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is infinitely more articulate on the subject of Anglicanism than I will ever be. Writing about a group of Anglican theologians, he says something in his book Anglican Identities that I think holds true of Anglicans generally, at least when they are at their most thoughtful. These theologians, he writes, “take it for granted that the believer is always learning, moving in and out of speech and silence in a continuous wonder and a continuous turning inside-out of mind and feeling.” That sounds just about right to me.

Several months ago I had a conversation with a friend who is an Episcopal priest. I referred to a group of people I had known “even before I became an Episcopalian,” and my friend interrupted me by saying, “Dear, you were born an Episcopalian!”The comment made me laugh, but it also contained a deeper truth. Because the truth is, I sometimes do think of myself as having been born an Anglican, in terms of my inborn, God-given temperament and personality and my simple me-ness. This is not the same as saying that I believe everybody should be an Episcopalian. Rather I have a sense that in some weird way I cannot fully understand maybe, just maybe, God wants me to be one.

Without question I do believe that God wants each one of us to find a community–a spiritual home–where we can both be ourselves and, in some important ways, forget our selves. Once there, we can move out of the realm of personal preference and fulfillment, and instead focus on the work of loving God and our neighbor, the work we are all called to do.

This is a very cute post in another blog that really spoke to me this week!



California Court Nixes Ban On Gay Marriage

SAN FRANCISCO - In a monumental victory for the gay rights movement, the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage Thursday in a ruling that would allow same-sex couples in the nation's biggest state to tie the knot. Domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage, the justices ruled 4-3 in striking down the ban.

Outside the courthouse, gay marriage supporters cried and cheered as the news spread. Jeanie Rizzo, one of the plaintiffs, called Pali Cooper, her partner of 19 years, and asked, "Pali, will you marry me?” This is a very historic day. This is just such freedom for us," Rizzo said. "This is a message that says all of us are entitled to human dignity." In the Castro district, historically a center of the gay community in San Francisco, Tim Oviatt started crying while watching the news on TV.” I’ve been waiting for this all my life," he said. "This is a life-affirming moment."

The challenge for gay rights advocates, however, is not over. A coalition of religious and social conservative groups is attempting to put a measure on the November ballot that would enshrine laws banning gay marriage in the state constitution…If voters pass the measure in November, it would trump the court's decision.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has twice vetoed legislation that would've granted marriage rights to same-sex couples, said in a news release that he respected the court's decision and "will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."

Well, affirmation and justice finally ...for some! The beginning of the end, the slippery slope, Sodom, for others. Oh my...!

In all honesty, I am rather lukewarm about the news!

Societies who have already made it possible for same sex couples to marry have hardly had a deluge of takers, nor does it seem the measure has altered the levels of promiscuity and high risk behaviours in that community.

For those who predict the doom of nations and a new storm of fire from heaven from this ruling, it would be good to note that there was no same sex marriage provision in either Sodom or Gomorrah! Furthermore,the demise of families, marriages, single parenthood and all that entails has everything to do with the behaviour of heterosexuals and very little with homosexuals who want their relationships sanctioned by the state!

This should make for interesting Sunday prayers....~



Thursday, May 8, 2008

Protestant or catholic...?

Protestant or Catholic: Anglicans must decide!!!

Hard words for Anglicans from the head of the Council for Christian Unity in Rome. Cardinal Walter Kasper has told the Catholic Herald that now, with Lambeth approaching, is the time for Anglicans to decide whether they are Catholic or Protestant. 'Ultimately, it is a question of the identity of the Anglican Church. Where does it belong?' he said. 'Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium -Catholic and Orthodox - or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century? At the moment it is somewhere in between, but it must clarify its identity now and that will not be possible without certain difficult decisions.' The genius of Anglicanism has always been its ability to straddle the divide, but maybe the Cardinal is right and the Communion's present difficulties reflect the impossibility of continuing to do this.

His comments coincided with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' 'friendly' meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. This is the Pope who, as Cardinal Ratzinger, delivered a strong message of support to an early meeting of a group of conservative Anglicans in Plano.I wonder how much the Catholics understand, however, that the Anglo-Catholics who might be the ones most naturally tempted towards Catholicism are not really where the present dissent stems from. Most of those who were going to go over have already gone, over women priests.

The 'orthodox' or 'traditionalists' now are from the opposite end of the spectrum, in Anglican terms. They are from Kasper's Protestant wing. The irony is that if the Anglican Communion does what Kasper is asking and decides it is in fact a 'Catholic' Church, it will emerge as a Church in the mould of the liberal Catholic provinces of TEC, Scotland and the Catholic wing in England. This would not fit at all with the present mold of conservative catholicism in Rome. If on the other hand it decides it is Protestant body, the resultant church would be more like the evangelical independents that the Catholic Church is going head-to-head with for proselytes in Latin America and parts of Africa.

But of course simply to ask the Anglicans to make a decision of this nature is to illustrate a lack of understanding of the nature of Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw said that England and the US were two countries divided by the same language. Catholics and Anglicans are the same, two denominations divided by the same religion.

Posted by Ruth Gledhill on May 06, 2008

That's like asking someone to choose to have either peanut butter or jelly, black beans or rice, corn beef or cabbage....can be done but not without affecting taste! I thought the not choosing was part of the point of Via Media....or not?