The Future of "The Episcopal Church"

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.

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.

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (www.annunciationofthebvm.org) in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

20 thoughts on “The Future of "The Episcopal Church"”

  1. "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."

    Indeed, and yet I find it strange that it's when gay people ask to be held to the same "rules" as everyone else that they're accused of wanting to avoid accountability for their sexual ethics. For those who want that sort of thing, there are plenty of arrangements more congenial to them than Christian marriage (and navigating the sea of denominational polices to see where they can find it).

    Many ethical issues in sexuality can certainly be traced in part to a desire to justify conduct because it feels good, but it would be a stretch to cite the requests of certain gay Christians to be _subject_ to the Church's marital discipline as one of them.

    1. Geoff,

      Marriage is a calling, not a right even for heterosexuals. Nobody has a right to a sacramental marriage or to be ordained.

    2. You, sir, articulated what I've been wanting to say, and in such a non-angry manner.

      Yes, we must treat our brothers and sisters who feel attracted to members of their own gender. None of us know exactly what is in their hearts, only God does, which is why He must be Judge.

      It's another thing for Christians to consent and be permissive of sodomy, objectively and consistently.

      Going back to your comment, Geoff. I find it HIGHLY irritating for these people who further the homosexual agenda, by holding rallies, pride parades, even going so far as to "educate" children about how it's "okay to be gay" and they have reached deep into the cesspool which is the entertainment industry. AND THEN, they demand, after making a point about how special and different they are, to be treated THE SAME as everyone.

      I am very, very, very sympathetic to the black people who stated "Do not equate my skin with your sin." This particular president in the U.S., the "First Gay President" and his conspirators do good black men and women injustice when they treat on the same level, the most heartbreaking history of their people, with vile, depraved perverts. Black people didn't try to make a point that they're DIFFERENT. Black people said "I am an American too! I speak the same language, love the same God, follow the same laws, why cannot I have the same protection under the law?"

      Whereas all I get from homosexuals are: "I'M LOUD AND PROUD, AND IF YOU DON'T AGREE WITH MY LIFESTYLE, YOU'RE A HATEFUL HOMOPHOBE!" And they proceed to trample on things we hold sacred and mock those who are, indeed, different in opinion or lifestyle or those they hold in contempt. And they spread their filth in places like the Philippines, and other countries who look up to the United States, emulate American culture and follow American economy and politics.

      As for the Episcopal Church? Down with that infamous thing! All I know about unrestrained attitudes about things like sexuality and such, is that it is the fast lane towards barbarism.

  2. Except the marital discipline among the Christian laity, as practical matter of enforcement, is a joke. If it were not, the mania for "marriage equality" would be much more subduded. Indeed, I've often considered, as a thought experiment, that same-sex marriage should only be legal (and required!) for same-sex couples who wish to adopt children, and that divorce be strictly prohibited (as would be the case for normal marriages). That would be the end of the demand for marriage equality. Indeed, probably your average opposite-sex couple (the men at least) nowadays would rather slit their own throats rather than be tied to marriage where there was no way out other than the death of one of the spouses.

    As an aside, I have observed close-up over the years how observant Christians have horrifically mistreated "practicing homosexuals" and vice-versa. Cultural warriors like to think that only the other side does it and that they are the true victims, but the truth is that the anti-gay activists and gay activists I have had the experience in meeting are for the most part little better than active members of the Orange Order and the Sinn Fein, respectively.

  3. Disgusted in DC,

    I do agree that Christians have not argued their case successfully. The point is this, the religion of the cross is a sacrifice based system. We all make sacrifices for people we love. There is no true love, without sacrifice. A person is respected only to the extent the act that created them is respected.

    Sexual sins are based on self-gratification, "me", "me", "me" Good parents do not let their kids eat junk food everyday, regardless of how many tantrums they might throw.

  4. "The Primal Episcopalian, Henry VIII, split with Rome because he wanted to do what he wanted to do with regard to a sexual issue."
    Unfair!

  5. Undoubtedly unfair, to TEC and the Anglican Communion that is. However, did you see Anglicans Ablaze under the first part on why TEC is near collapse? It states that TEC is a branch of a church that was founded when "the Vatican balked at permitting Henry VIII to continue to execute any wife who failed to bear him sons". Yes. The Vatican, that modern creation, apparently went back in time to establish a one free kill rule.

    1. Anglicans Ablaze did not even quote correctly from the original article. As I posted in comment there
      "The American branch of the Church of England, founded when the Vatican balked at permitting King Henry VIII to continue executing any wife who failed to bear him sons, is in trouble.

      Huh???

      At least the article to which this post re-directs is slightly more accurate:

      The American branch of the Church of England, founded when the Vatican balked at permitting King Henry VIII to continue annulling marriages to any wife who failed to bear him sons, is in trouble.

      (Tho' it could be argued that neither the Church of England nor its American branch were founded by Henry VIII)

      In any case, The Vatican balked at granting an annulment to Henry's first wife, Katharine of Aragon, directly leading to the breach with Rome, which ended under Mary, only to be finalised again under Elizabeth with the Pope's Bull of Excommunication in 1570. Henry's first marriage was annulled by the Archbishop of Canterbury."

      Kind regards
      John U.K.

  6. The CCC says that the Church doesn't know what really causes homosexual attraction. Thus it is possible to be a faithful Catholic but gay. Gay Catholics are called to holiness like the straight Catholics. A strong witness would be from a gay Catholic who has outed but remained faithful to Church teaching. I am fortunate to know someone like that who witness such in all media. Of course he has been called as "homophobic" which causes him great pain, out of the times or even plain mad. We have to say our prayers for these people as they face these calumnies. But whether one is gay or not, the message is the same. We are called to holiness, sex outside of marriage is not the way to that but sex within the promises of marriage is a path to holiness.

    1. "The CCC says that the Church doesn't know what really causes homosexual attraction.".

      Well, the first chapter of Romans can be of some assistance in the matter.

      1. St Paul, whilst he was many things, was not an expert in brain chemistry.

        Dr Steve Morris, Clinical Psychologist (retired).

  7. Are you converting FROM the Episcopal Church or converting TO the Roman Catholic Church? There is a difference. If you've become Roman Catholics, then let it go. You're no longer Episcopalians or Anglicans. It's no longer your Church, and you've finally "come home." You've left all that behind, right?
    For those of you who joined the Episcopal Church from other denominations before finally becoming Roman Catholics, do you "put quotes" around the names of those demoninations too?

    1. "Demoninations"

      I wonder if that was an honest typo.

      Or else I might have to borrow that neologism at a future date.

  8. Funny. Yes, it was an honest typo. But I didn't see any answer to my questions. Also, is there continuing catechesis for those in the Ordinariate who have become Roman Catholics after they have been received?

    1. As a cradle Catholic, I can't answer the previous questions. But as a confirmed Catholic, I'm a little bit disappointed (a little, not a lot) at how there's no continuing education and catechesis for anyone after confirmation. Maybe in classes preparing for matrimony or holy orders. But nothing else is required.

      The Roman Catholic Church makes it seem, at least in my diocese, that furthering your own religious education is your own responsibility. So maybe each Ordinariate group's situation is different? I certainly hope that there's no assumption that religious education ends after a certain time while we're still alive.

    2. Also: I love it how Anglicans call the Scripture readings as "Lessons" and the homily as "Sermons" It makes it seem as if there's something to be learned while at Mass. That's something that I rarely see or hear in ordinary Latin Rite churches. To be fair, I think many priests struggle to prevent their homilies from becoming platitudes.

      1. "The Roman Catholic Church makes it seem, at least in my diocese, that furthering your own religious education is your own responsibility."

        Shouldn't it be? You are, after all (I presume) an adult. If you are a professional, your continuing education is your responsibility, not that of the licensing body. Is your religious education any less important? Particularly in this modern age, there are vast resources available with which to continue your education.

        Does your diocese fail to make available any resources? I would find that surprising except for the most remote of dioceses.

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