Moderator: I have added the quotation marks around the name of the organisation in question. I'm sure that Deborah just forgot…
A most interesting observation from Charlotte Hays over at The Corner at National Review about "The Episcopal Church's" 77th General Convention in Indianapolis:
Can there be anything left to change after Indianapolis? Indianapolis voted for provisional liturgies for uniting same-sex couples (rings are exchanged), ceremonies for pet funerals (I guess my little cat died too soon), the ordination of transgender people to the clergy (why not — women and ex-women welcome?), and an apology to American Indians for having introduced them to Christianity.
It is interesting that so much of what happens at the General Conventions revolves around sexual issues. Sexual behavior, almost more than any other facet of our lives, involves an urge to do what we want to do, regardless of the rules. The Primal Episcopalian, Henry VIII, split with Rome because he wanted to do what he wanted to do with regard to a sexual issue. Women were allowed to be ordained because, well, women wanted to be priests. A Gospel or Tradition that says you can’t do this must be ditched in favor of a new discernment.
The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the homosexual bishop of New Hampshire, whose consecration in 2003 almost split the Episcopal Church, looked to be everywhere at the Indianapolis convention. At one point, the Right Reverend even took to the floor to deny nasty rumors that there was trouble in paradise between himself and his “beloved Mark.”
Thanks for sharing, Gene. Glad my mother didn’t live to see it, though. The Right Reverend spoke endlessly about his pet subject: sexual identity. “One striking point, at least to this writer, was the fact that there was no reference in any of the Bishop’s comments to the one aspect of sex that is relevant to the survival of the human species, namely, human reproduction. For all we know every other aspect of ‘sexuality’ is purely the result of human socialization,” a report in Virtueonline, a traditional Anglican website, noted.
In a way, that sums up the sad proceedings in Indianapolis: sterile.
I was driving home today listening to CBC Radio, our public broadcaster, and the program was about "coming out" stories, told from both the side of the daughters or sons and their parents. As I pulled into the driveway, I was in the midst of listening to a story of a young women with a lovely singing voice who decided to do a radio diary of her transition into the "male" gender through testosterone and showing what would happen to her voice. Her mother was interviewed and so on. All very interesting, and what was sad to me was hearing one mother say that she knew she had religious friends who consider it a sin to be gay and therefore she thought she would have to drop these friends. People often have a very garbled idea of what being a Christian is all about… that we hate and judge and that's about it.
Sigh. And in case you don't know what else the mainstream elite news media think of those who believe in non-sterile sex, check this bit by Mark Sandlin from Huffington Post.
Until today, I've restrained from calling people "homophobic." I've called their laws homophobic, their ideas homophobic, their words homophobic, but never them. So, today I'm coming out as a person who calls other people homophobic.
Why? Well, because they are. Homophobia is the fear of homosexuality. At this point, it is impossible for me to believe that most people who hide behind the Bible or denominational polity haven't had more than ample time to recognize that those two things simply don't support their belief that homosexuality is a sin.
I read someone somewhere say that it wasn't fear of homosexuals so much as fear of God, but I digress. And it is not homosexuality — the inclination towards same-sex attraction that is sinful — but sexual activities that separate the procreative and unitive aspects of human sexuality outside of a life-long marriage between one man and one woman. So we heterosexuals better get our act together — because really we are the ones who ruined marriage and have created a culture of convenience that is really a Culture of Death.
While some of us here might be a little sad or astonished at what happened in Indianapolis, there is a goodly section within Catholic circles that are probably applauding this and hoping that those old, celibate males that run things will see where the signs of the times are pointing.
Kate Childs Graham writes over at the National Catholic Reporter:
This week, when news broke that the Episcopal Church voted to approve services blessing same-sex relationships, I had a couple of thoughts. First, “Hooray!” And then — *record scratch* — “Wait. They got to vote on marriage equality?”
In the past year, Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians all had the opportunity to vote on equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. And though the outcome was not always favorable for the LGBT community, the fact that they voted remains the same. Each of these denominations has structures that are vastly different — and dare I say more democratic — than our own institutional Catholic church.
Your thoughts? Because mine, when I first started working for Catholic newspapers back in 2004, were that if there were democracy inside the Catholic Church it would be in as much disarray as the Anglican or United or any other mainstream denomination battling the big sexual issues. I thank God for the fact that the Catholic Church has a Pope and bishops in communion with him. But I'm also glad in some ways that there are many mansions within the Catholic Church where people can find God in Jesus Christ and come to know what true discipleship means at their own pace.
I wish we all did a better job of helping people with same-sex attraction or gender identity issues feel loved and welcome — without changing what God has revealed through Jesus Christ.
Ditto for finding ways for women to flourish and manifest their spiritual gifts and callings within the Church, without bending on issues such as ordination.
Been thinking a lot about virtue lately and character and that pesky issue of self-control, whether it is of sexual appetites or gluttony — or simply the fact that most of us in North America eat too much of the wrong things and not enough of the right things, like kale (definitely an acquired taste, but with lemon, olive oil and lots of fresh garlic, a kale salad with pumpkin and sunflower seeds is not only edible but good-tasting) and such. It is now risky and "homophobic" in institutional settings to talk about the virtue of sexual restraint. How sad.
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