Christians are now a ‘minority’ in Britain like persecuted Roman Catholics during the Reformation say top clerics

Practising Christians are now a “minority” in Britain like persecuted Roman Catholics during the Reformation, say two of Britain’s most senior clerics

All practising Christians are now a “minority” in Britain like persecuted Roman Catholics during the Reformation, according to two of Britain’s most senior Anglican and Catholic clerics.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said the churches must set aside centuries of division and recognise they have a “common agenda” in a more secular age.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres (left), and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales

The two prelates were speaking at a unique event at Hampton Court Palace, which served as the backdrop to the tumultuous events of Henry VIII’s break with Rome.

In a step hailed as hailed as a landmark in reconciliation between Anglicanism the Catholicism, they joined in a service of vespers in the Chapel Royal.

The service, sung mainly in Latin, was the first Roman Catholic act of worship in Henry’s former chapel in more than 450 years.

The service, conceived as part of events to mark the Palace’s 500th anniversary, highlighted the chapel’s musical heritage spanning both Catholic and protestant reigns.

It comes at a time when the legacy of the Reformation is being re-examined as churches across Europe prepare to mark its half millennium.

Earlier this year Pope Francis’s personal preacher, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, was invited to preach at a special service in Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen for the opening of the Church of England’s new General Synod.

Hampton Court Palace served as the backdrop to the tumultuous events of Henry VIII’s break with Rome

He spoke about both Thomas Cranmer and Martin Luther and said Catholics should “celebrate” the anniversary of the birth of Protestantism and “benefit from its achievements”.

Two years ago Cardinal Nichols also joined Bishop Chartres in the Tower of London to pray in the cell where Thomas More, Henry’s Lord Chancellor now revered as a Catholic martyr and saint, was held prisoner before his execution after he refused to acknowledge the king rather than the Pope as Supreme Head of the Church in England.

Speaking as the Hampton Court service got underway, the two prelates discussed how the established Church of England and Catholic Church increasingly work together.

Bishop Chartres said: “I would like to think of this evening as a celebration of how far we’ve come and also a celebration of a common agenda.”

Cardinal Nichols said Catholics now made a contribution to British life as a “significant minority”.

Bishop Chartres replied: “We are all minorities now”.

Father Anthony Howe sets up the Tudor plate for a service at Hampton Court Palace   Photo: Getty

The Cardinal repeated the phrase, adding that the traditional Christian values which people “used to take for granted” we’re now open to question.

Bishop Chartres added that differences between churches are now widely ignored.

“What I see, particularly around London is that increasingly we are living in a post-denominational era,” he said.

The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court provided a backdrop to the dramatic upheavals Henry’s reign both in the field of religion and romance.

He worshipped there alongside both with Catherine of Aragon and later Anne Boleyn.

It was also there that Henry’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, met her downfall when Archbishop Cranmer, placed a letter on the king’s seat outlining scandalous accusations of unchaste behaviour against her.

And it was also there – or in the Queen’s Privy Closet a few feet away – that Henry married his sixth and final wife Catherine Parr.

The chapel is thought to have been last used for Catholic worship during the reign of Mary Tudor. It remained an Anglican place of worship during the reign of the Catholic James II in the 17th Century.

The idea for a Catholic vespers was conceived by Michele Price, director of The Choral Foundation, the charity based at the Chapel Royal, set up to preserve English choral music, and the arts charity the Genesis Foundation.

LGBTI Mission — A Vision of the Future Church of England LGBTI Mission — A Vision of the Future Church of England By Andrew Symes ANGLICAN MAINSTREAM http://anglicanmainstream.org/lgbti-mission-a-vision-of-the-future-c-of-e/ February 9, 2016 Thursday 4th February saw the launch of a new campaign group which seeks to radically change the teaching and practice of the Church of England in a revisionist direction. LGBTI Mission is a coalition of a number of groups with similar aims; it is led by Simon Sarmiento, the editor of the website ‘Thinking Anglicans’, and its board includes Bishop Alan Wilson, former worship singer/songwriter Vicky Beeching, and Giles Goddard who last year hosted a service of Muslim prayers in his church, as well as other vicars and a church youth and families worker. The front of their website says their aim is “full acceptance and affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people within the Church of England”. Several reasons are given for this. To start with, “God is love”. Then, the Church has seen change with regard to women priests and Bishops — now is the time for change with regard to views and policies on sexuality and gender. We have a ‘progressive’ Archbishop of Canterbury, they say, who has put sexuality on the church’s main agenda and who has recently apologised for the hurt caused to gay people. But most significant of all, Parliament has opened marriage to same sex couples, and public opinion is in favour of it. A well produced document details the complaints about the current situation in the Church of England, states what the group would like to see changed, and itemizes some action plans to bring about the revolution. The document claims that the current doctrines and official policy of the Church of England, ie the historic teaching of the Christian faith, does not ‘recognise diversity’ in relation to different views on sexuality, and that this is harmful to many LGBTI Anglicans who have to keep their sexual orientation in the closet. The “one-sided dominant narrative about marriage, human sexuality, and gender complementarity is used a justification of persecution and bullying of LGBTI people”, it says, and calls for radical programmes of change to promote diversity, equality and inclusion in schools, youth groups, theological education and liturgies (for example conducting and blessing of same sex marriages, baptism of children of same sex couples, and ‘re-naming’ after gender transition). The ‘discrimination’ against partnered or married gay men and women in relation to ordination and preferment should be revoked, and should be countered by more appointments of openly gay clergy and Bishops as ‘role models’. The document is worth reading carefully, because it shows what the Church of England would look like if this group and their supporters (there will be many sympathizers including some in senior positions) are able to put their radical plans into action. First, it would be a church with a new anthropology, a new understanding of what it means to be human. Instead of affirming, with Jesus, that in the beginning God created us male and female, and instituted marriage, sex and procreation; partnership between the two genders in community for creative stewardship, we would have a church which officially endorses a ‘pansexual’ understanding of diverse sexual identities and expressions. It would promote an understanding of who I am based not on my physical body, my mind and my soul as a unit, connected to my family ancestry and now a new person in union with Christ, but as a free-floating self-defined identity created in my mind and my emotions, shaped by my environment, which may be at variance with my body. An anthropology in common with the teachings of the Gnostics and Plato rather than historic Judaeo-Christian understandings. Second, it would be a church with a new understanding of mission and ministry. At the moment, the C of E welcomes all, but provides a context where thinking, behaviour and emotions can be challenged and transformed by the saving grace and lordship of Christ. The LGBTI mission aims for a church to affirm, include and give ministry status to all, especially those who feel unfairly judged by the standards of historic Christian faith. But actually this isn’t quite true. This new church would celebrate bisexuality (the ‘B’ in LGBTI), and apparently make no distinction between someone clearly distressed by ‘gender dysphoria’ and the man who likes to dress in women’s clothes for unwholesome reasons (both can identify as ‘T’). ‘Post-revolution’ the church would even generously provide a temporary space for those clergy who disagree with same sex marriage to “opt out” of having to conduct them. But the document makes it clear that it regards those who hold such views as ‘homophobic’, inherently in the way of progress, and so ultimately not welcome. Third, it would be a church with new theological foundations. As there is only one theological statement in the lengthy LGBTI Mission document — “God is love” — and no biblical quotation apart from this, one could say that the theological foundations are a bit thin! But this would be unfair. “God is love, therefore he gives me what I feel I need, and the church must do the same” is a powerful theological idea. While there might not be much Bible or God-talk in the LGBTI church, there would certainly be a coherent philosophy about how our Christian faith should be relevant by reflecting the values of the majority of the population, rather than the wisdom of the Bible interpreted consistently through church history. If we want to know what the church should believe and teach, listen to people’s feelings as expressed in opinion polls. Fourth, it would be a church which has a new means of driving mission. Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to work through men and women in congregations, working outward to do mission in communities, this group wants to use the power of government and secular lobby groups to force change on the church. For example, the section on ‘fostering a culture of safety for LGBTI children’ reads like a briefing from Stonewall. Then, when talking about ensuring that no barriers are created for children of same sex couples (for example, clergy insisting on bible-based preparation before a baptism service) the group advocates ways of using the media to spotlight any such violation. Most alarmingly, LGBTI Mission intends to: “Raise concerns in Westminster about the reach and scope of the current religious exemptions in civil law.” This is clearly a threat to to ask Parliament to remove the protection and exemptions that the C of E currently has with regard to same sex marriage. Finally, the church envisaged by LGBTI Mission would be a new ecclesial body that is detached from the Anglican Communion. Many of us hoped that after the Canterbury meeting that the position of the Anglican church had been made clear: marriage is between a man and a woman. There will be many pastoral issues that arise from the realities of sinful people, whatever their sexual orientation, seeking to follow Christ; the church should always offer the mercy and compassion of Christ to individuals, while upholding the principles of Christ to the world. LGBTI Mission, in rejecting the clear view of the Primates, appears to want to lead the Church of England outside the Anglican Communion, and become a religious body with no connection with the historic denominations of world Christianity, but which worships the state-sponsored gods of the culture. END

LGBTI Mission — A Vision of the Future Church of England

By Andrew Symes
ANGLICAN MAINSTREAM
http://anglicanmainstream.org/lgbti-mission-a-vision-of-the-future-c-of-e/
February 2016

Thursday 4th February saw the launch of a new campaign group which seeks to radically change the teaching and practice of the Church of England in a revisionist direction. LGBTI Mission is a coalition of a number of groups with similar aims; it is led by Simon Sarmiento, the editor of the website ‘Thinking Anglicans’, and its board includes Bishop Alan Wilson, former worship singer/songwriter Vicky Beeching, and Giles Goddard who last year hosted a service of Muslim prayers in his church, as well as other vicars and a church youth and families worker.

The front of their website says their aim is “full acceptance and affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people within the Church of England”. Several reasons are given for this. To start with, “God is love”. Then, the Church has seen change with regard to women priests and Bishops — now is the time for change with regard to views and policies on sexuality and gender. We have a ‘progressive’ Archbishop of Canterbury, they say, who has put sexuality on the church’s main agenda and who has recently apologised for the hurt caused to gay people. But most significant of all, Parliament has opened marriage to same sex couples, and public opinion is in favour of it.

A well produced document details the complaints about the current situation in the Church of England, states what the group would like to see changed, and itemizes some action plans to bring about the revolution. The document claims that the current doctrines and official policy of the Church of England, ie the historic teaching of the Christian faith, does not ‘recognise diversity’ in relation to different views on sexuality, and that this is harmful to many LGBTI Anglicans who have to keep their sexual orientation in the closet. The “one-sided dominant narrative about marriage, human sexuality, and gender complementarity is used a justification of persecution and bullying of LGBTI people”, it says, and calls for radical programmes of change to promote diversity, equality and inclusion in schools, youth groups, theological education and liturgies (for example conducting and blessing of same sex marriages, baptism of children of same sex couples, and ‘re-naming’ after gender transition). The ‘discrimination’ against partnered or married gay men and women in relation to ordination and preferment should be revoked, and should be countered by more appointments of openly gay clergy and Bishops as ‘role models’.

The document is worth reading carefully, because it shows what the Church of England would look like if this group and their supporters (there will be many sympathizers including some in senior positions) are able to put their radical plans into action.

First, it would be a church with a new anthropology, a new understanding of what it means to be human. Instead of affirming, with Jesus, that in the beginning God created us male and female, and instituted marriage, sex and procreation; partnership between the two genders in community for creative stewardship, we would have a church which officially endorses a ‘pansexual’ understanding of diverse sexual identities and expressions. It would promote an understanding of who I am based not on my physical body, my mind and my soul as a unit, connected to my family ancestry and now a new person in union with Christ, but as a free-floating self-defined identity created in my mind and my emotions, shaped by my environment, which may be at variance with my body. An anthropology in common with the teachings of the Gnostics and Plato rather than historic Judaeo-Christian understandings.

Second, it would be a church with a new understanding of mission and ministry. At the moment, the C of E welcomes all, but provides a context where thinking, behaviour and emotions can be challenged and transformed by the saving grace and lordship of Christ. The LGBTI mission aims for a church to affirm, include and give ministry status to all, especially those who feel unfairly judged by the standards of historic Christian faith. But actually this isn’t quite true. This new church would celebrate bisexuality (the ‘B’ in LGBTI), and apparently make no distinction between someone clearly distressed by ‘gender dysphoria’ and the man who likes to dress in women’s clothes for unwholesome reasons (both can identify as ‘T’). ‘Post-revolution’ the church would even generously provide a temporary space for those clergy who disagree with same sex marriage to “opt out” of having to conduct them. But the document makes it clear that it regards those who hold such views as ‘homophobic’, inherently in the way of progress, and so ultimately not welcome.

Third, it would be a church with new theological foundations. As there is only one theological statement in the lengthy LGBTI Mission document — “God is love” — and no biblical quotation apart from this, one could say that the theological foundations are a bit thin! But this would be unfair. “God is love, therefore he gives me what I feel I need, and the church must do the same” is a powerful theological idea. While there might not be much Bible or God-talk in the LGBTI church, there would certainly be a coherent philosophy about how our Christian faith should be relevant by reflecting the values of the majority of the population, rather than the wisdom of the Bible interpreted consistently through church history. If we want to know what the church should believe and teach, listen to people’s feelings as expressed in opinion polls.

Fourth, it would be a church which has a new means of driving mission. Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to work through men and women in congregations, working outward to do mission in communities, this group wants to use the power of government and secular lobby groups to force change on the church. For example, the section on ‘fostering a culture of safety for LGBTI children’ reads like a briefing from Stonewall. Then, when talking about ensuring that no barriers are created for children of same sex couples (for example, clergy insisting on bible-based preparation before a baptism service) the group advocates ways of using the media to spotlight any such violation. Most alarmingly, LGBTI Mission intends to:

“Raise concerns in Westminster about the reach and scope of the current religious exemptions in civil law.”

This is clearly a threat to to ask Parliament to remove the protection and exemptions that the C of E currently has with regard to same sex marriage.

Finally, the church envisaged by LGBTI Mission would be a new ecclesial body that is detached from the Anglican Communion. Many of us hoped that after the Canterbury meeting that the position of the Anglican church had been made clear: marriage is between a man and a woman. There will be many pastoral issues that arise from the realities of sinful people, whatever their sexual orientation, seeking to follow Christ; the church should always offer the mercy and compassion of Christ to individuals, while upholding the principles of Christ to the world. LGBTI Mission, in rejecting the clear view of the Primates, appears to want to lead the Church of England outside the Anglican Communion, and become a religious body with no connection with the historic denominations of world Christianity, but which worships the state-sponsored gods of the culture.

END

How Not To Make Matters Worse For African Homosexual People

Chris Sugdensugden_chris

In the lead up to the Anglican Primates’ gathering from January 11-16, further pressure was brought to bear on African churches and nations on the subject of their laws on sexuality. Both President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have made direct threats from their positions of enormous power to African states to remove funds for their education and health budgets if the laws are not changed. The Episcopal Church (USA), the Church of Canada, the Dean of Christ Church and lobby groups have pressed for this too.

Where would Jesus be found? – in the courts of the rich and powerful bullying the poor for whom families and children are their security in countries with no welfare systems, or in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala,Uganda? Pope Francis has made clear where he stands.

There are many myths and misunderstandings on this topic.

The Gay Rights movement: the challenge
An archdeacon from Jos in Northern Nigeria writes:

In many African cultures, people with same sex attraction and those who have homosexual sex have lived within communities and not been challenged or harassed. In many Nigerian cultures they gain sympathy, as in the Berom and Anaguta tribes.

These small gay communities exist despite the introduction of Sharia law which, in northern Nigeria, proscribes death by stoning of any persons caught in homosexual practices. 

Homosexuality is therefore a discreet and personal lifestyle. Despite the laws, people acknowledge the practices and keep them private. They only become crimes when they are brought to public attention.

In many African cultures and tribes, especially among the Igbo tribe of eastern Nigeria, homosexuality was a taboo even before the coming of Christianity and colonialism. Families had their individual ways of managing those who appeared to be “gay” and helping them live their lives, but it was not generally considered a public matter. Indeed it was the coming of Christianity that provided a Christian community where people with same sex attraction were more readily accepted as Christians and were not necessarily segregated. The general understanding was homosexual practice was not to be encouraged for disciples of Christ, and that certainly a leadership position in the church would not knowingly be offered to a person in this category.”

Ugandans have discovered that UNICEF, UNESCO and liberal missionaries were teaching the affirmation of same sex relationships to children in their schools, also that teaching materials were being given out that reinforced this approval. Western funded LGBT offices have been set up in major cities throughout the country. It is widely believed that bright young people are being encouraged to join LGBT groups by being offered funding for the expensive local tertiary education which is only generally accessible to the elite.

In response to the negative ground swell against this activity among Uganda’s children, the President commissioned a major scientific study to find out if same-sex attraction is innate. The report concluded that it was not. Therefore the Government brought in the ‘aggravated homosexuality bill’ (AHB) which specially relates to schools and orphanages where these propagandists work as volunteers. The change in the law is that there are prison sentences where children are involved – this is the aggravated homosexuality.  When the death penalty was proposed the church stepped in to stop it.

Outcome
Ironically the liberal campaign precipitated the AHB in Uganda which is now the target of criticism by these same agencies.

The Archdeacon from Jos concludes: “What outside activists are succeeding in doing, in their campaign, is to put undue pressure on the church to accept openly what was a taboo in communities before even the arrival of the church in the 19th century and what the church itself would not encourage. This negates the Christian morality which the church has preached over the decades and simply says that the Bible is a lie. These communities would rather go back to upholding their pagan religion that protects their communities from this ‘cult’ and its unnatural practices.

Secondly, the pro-gay policies of outside activists are being quoted as an example of western imposition of ungodly practices.  As a result Muslim propagandists can condemn everything that has come from western countries, the church included, as unnatural practices introduced to destroy family values. Boko Haram and many Muslim clerics have used this against the church and western countries and culture.

Thirdly the consequence of the gay rights movement pushing so much money and political resource to enforce laws and legal ‘cover’ for gays is to set gay people apart from the rest of the community and runs the risk of portraying them as the enemies of society rather than as people to be understood and accepted.

The effect of the gay rights campaign is therefore  likely to  be increased resistance both from the churches and many African governments,  which the west is trying to use. In Nigeria for instance, because of the reasons set out above, it will be political suicide for any politician to be associated with a gay rights movement.”

Angolan Bishop Urges UMC to Stand Firm on Homosexuality

East Angolan Bishop Gaspar João Domingos
Despite resistance from liberal activists, the United Methodist Church has officially maintained a biblical stance on homosexuality and marriage since 1972. LGBTQ advocates have agitated regularly at General Conference for the UMC to liberalize on marriage by ordaining LGBTQ clergy and performing gay weddings.

But thanks to steadfast, orthodox stance of faithful Methodists, these efforts have been stopped. African bishops are among the leaders who have stood firm. Fortunately, Methodist congregations in Africa are growing, meaning these faithful voices are becoming increasingly important in the UMC. There are more than 485,000 members in Central African Conference, and more than 2.2 million in the Congo Central Conference, according to the World Methodist Council.

Gaspar João Domingos

In September 2015, 14 bishops and representatives from the Central African Conference signed a statement affirming sexual relationships “within the covenant bond of a faithful monogamous, heterosexual marriage, and not within same-sex unions or polygamy.” Among the signers of this statement was Angolan Bishop Gaspar João Domingos, who presides over the Annual Conference of West Angola.

Domingos has spoken out again in defense of biblical marriage, this time at a seminary event. Agência Angola Press (ANGOP) reported Domingos’s comments on February 3, translated here in full from French:

 

Angola: Methodist Church condemns gay marriage

Luanda – The United Methodist Church condemns marriage between persons of the same sex, taking into account the doctrinal principles, the bishop Gaspar João Domingos said Wednesday in Luanda.

The bishop, who was speaking at a theological seminary update, admitted that the church was continuously pressured to take a stand on homosexual conduct, which is not in conformity with the Sacred Scripture.

“There is a group that considers marriage as a short-term contract and who want to legitimize homosexual practice, and does not care to protect the newborn and the mother,” he said.

Moreover, added the bishop, the United Methodist Church denies the abuse of the principle of tolerance that sets aside the authority of Jesus Christ and the teaching on sexuality.

Bishop Gaspar said that since 1972, the Methodist Church has affirmed that homosexuals were “people of true consecration in need of ministry and church orientation to overcome their difficulties.”

According to the religious leader, the moral normative rules of biblical texts cannot be applied outside its cultural context.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop: Anglicans Didn’t “Vote us off island”

By Jeffrey Walton, Juicy Ecumenism: Episcopalians won’t see changes stemming from limits on the church’s participation in the worldwide Anglican Communion put in place by top Anglican bishops (primates), according to the U.S.-based church’s Presiding Bishop. “We’re not changing – so there shouldn’t be an expectation that in the next three years the Episcopal Church is going to change,” declared Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry about the denomination’s approval of new…

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Virginia Episcopal Bishops Spin Primates’ Communique from Canterbury

No suspension, sanction, exclusion, expulsion, banning or discipline they say. Only consequences, they argue

NEWS ANALYSIS

By David W. Virtue DD
www.virtueonline.org
February, 2016

Three Episcopal bishops of Virginia, The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia; The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan and the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. “Ted” Gulick Jr., Assistant Bishop clearly stung by what happened to the Episcopal Church in Canterbury recently by 36 Primates of the Anglican Communion have retaliated, urging Episcopalians “not to overreact” arguing that the Primates have NOT “suspended,” “sanctioned,” “excluded,” “expelled,” “banned” or even “disciplined” The Episcopal Church. The actual terminology they used is “consequences” in response to the actions of our General Convention.

VOL: No one said they were expelled from the Communion, the Episcopal Church was asked to step back for a period of three years from all ecumenical and interfaith bodies; should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and will not be permitted to take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity. In addition to which the Archbishop Welby appointed a Task Group to maintain conversation among themselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust and healing the legacy of hurt.

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: Our Church has not been asked to “repent” or somehow “undo” what we have passed. We’ve simply been asked to back away from a very few aspects of the Communion’s work for a period of three years.

VOL: Repentance was implied though not publicly stated. The GAFCON primates have stated that they will not participate in any Anglican event where TEC is present if it remains unrepentant on gay marriage and the continued ordination of gays and lesbians to the priesthood and episcopacy. What about that don’t the Episcopal bishops understand.

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: By a unanimous vote, the Primates chose to continue to “walk together.” In spite of all of the rumors that The Episcopal Church would be “thrown out” of the Communion, the Primates instead affirmed that our Church remains a wanted and needed presence in the Anglican family.

VOL: One archbishop (Stanley Ngatali of Uganda) walked away after the second day and the rest of the GAFCON primates would have walked if they had not received assurances from the ABC that there were deadlines for TEC. They are; TEC’s next General Convention in 2018. If nothing has changed (and it won’t) then the GAFCON primates will be a no show in 2019 when the ABC calls for the Primates to meet again. The Lambeth Conference in 2020 will again see a third of the Primates not showing up at which point there will no longer be a de facto schism but a de jure one.

If it turns out that this special gathering of primates was a carefully orchestrated, Indaba driven, attempted “reconciling” moment to artificially keep the communion together then the GAFCON primates and others who they are now talking with, will walk out next time never to return. I know this because the next chairman of the GAFCON primates council (when Kenyan Archbishop Eliud Wabukala steps down later this year) is Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh and Welby won’t know what hit him when he steps into the ring with the former military leader of the largest province in the Anglican Communion. It will be a TKO in one round. Read what Archbishop Okoh had to say about Archbishop Rowan Williams ere he departed from Lambeth Palace. http://www.virtueonline.org/nigerian-anglican-primate-rips-archbishop-williams-he-flees-lambeth-palace

As if to reinforce that point, Archbishop Okoh issued his own statement just this week saying that nothing had changed in Canterbury and implied that the Communion was on course to dissolution if the Episcopal Church disobeys the communique when the ACC meets in Lusaka, Central Africa in April.

“…the state of broken communion with TEC and Canada and those churches that follow in their footsteps remains in place. Our decision to sever relations was based on their practice of ordaining and consecrating clergy in active homosexual relationships. This is what led to GAFCON, Jerusalem 2008,” said Okoh.

“Reported reactions of some church leaders and members of TEC to the statement of the Primates’ meeting clearly suggest that they are not yet willing to repent of their unbiblical doctrines and practices,” he said.

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: In all the many links that our Diocese has in other Anglican Provinces on three continents, we never lose sight of the fact that we do need each other. So, whatever your own particular views are on the questions at hand, let us all pray AS ONE for healing, reconciliation, and full restoration in our inter-Anglican relationships.

VOL: Nonsense. Healing will not happen. Reconciliation at this late stage is impossible. Some 10 archbishops are already in impaired and/or broken communion with TEC and that was not healed at Canterbury. The Global South does not need TEC or the ACoC for anything, even its money. They certainly don’t look to TEC for ‘sound teaching’ and they are sick to death of the whine about pansexuality that they have listened too for the past three decades and more. They reject TEC because she has rejected fundamental doctrines of the faith for the sake of a handful of sexually deviant persons. The only reason links still remain is because money is involved and TEC dioceses like Virginia think they can sway overseas dioceses by using money to manipulate a good outcome for TEC. My intuition tells me that day is ending. All it requires is for the Global South to set up a bank of its own and make loans to needy dioceses to change all that. There will be no healing, reconciliation or restoration unless TEC does repent and PB Michael Curry says that is not going to happen. In fact he plans to pursue policies of ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ in the hope of winning over African provinces! It is delusional of these bishops to think otherwise.

This week Curry spoke to the National Press Club and reiterated what he has said earlier. “Episcopalians won’t see changes stemming from limits on the church’s participation in the worldwide Anglican Communion put in place by top Anglican bishops (primates),” he said.

“We’re not changing — so there shouldn’t be an expectation that in the next three years the Episcopal Church is going to change,” declared Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry about the denomination’s approval of new gender-neutral marriage rites this past July. “This is who we are.”

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: The Primates Meeting is a Council from the entire Anglican Communion gathered with the one Archbishop who is the focus of our mutual commitment to one another. The Primates may be the “ranking representatives” of the Communion, but I emphatically note that they are not the “leaders” of it. The Anglican Communion is not a single entity; we do not have any legal, or even formalized, central authority. Instead, we are a fellowship of autonomous Churches, meaning that each Province is recognized to have the right to make its own decisions for itself. This fellowship is rooted by being in communion with one another through the See of Canterbury. My own perspective is that a Primate certainly does have a definitive importance for the single Province that he or she leads, but having no specific authority beyond those borders, the Primates in themselves have no actual jurisdiction, no binding authority in oversight for the larger Church throughout the world.

VOL: The four Instruments of Unity are only that — instruments. The ACC has no power to say who is in or out of the Communion that must be decided by a two thirds majority of the Primates. The Primates do have the power to walk away (which ten have already done) and if the number creeps to over 50% or more in the coming year or two, then by what definition is the communion still a communion! It becomes a federation, according to George Carey former Archbishop of Canterbury. While he was not prepared to criticize the present Archbishop of Canterbury he made this observation at Beeson Divinity School recently that “The Anglican Communion is not a Communion anymore. We are more like a federation, almost like the Lutheran Federation.” Carey believes that is simply a reality Anglicans must accept.

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: The Primates, by a very large majority, have expressed strong concerns about and objections to The Episcopal Church’s approval of sacramental marriage for same-sex couples. At present, we are the only Anglican Province to have done so, although at least two others (the Anglican Church of Canada and the Scottish Episcopal Church) are seriously considering their own approval, and are rather far along in their own processes. So, I believe that the Communique is directed not only to our Episcopal Church but is also meant to deter other Anglican Provinces from following our lead.

VOL: They have and there is a limit to their tolerance. If by 2018 nothing has changed and archbishops like Okoh and Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ngatali believe it won’t, then when the ABC calls a primates’ meeting in 2019 there will be a number of no shows just like what happened in Dublin in 2011.

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: What is so frustrating for me, (Shannon Johnston) though, is that while conservative Primates and diocesan bishops in various parts of the world (most notably in portions of Africa) absolutely insist that Western and Northern Anglicanism must respect their particular–and most certainly difficult–cultural contexts, arguing that we must not challenge some of their traditional norms, allowing them to stand even when they are at variance with the larger Church’s values and witness, those very same Primates and bishops refuse to give The Episcopal Church the same consideration for our particular social and cultural contexts. This is clearly a double-standard, and I find it highly problematic (to say the least). I am willing to live with other Anglican Provinces being given leeway to minister within their own unique Cultural and social circumstances in the ways that they see as best, even when I find some cultural mores to be concerning–even contrary to the vision of the Scriptures as I understand them. Thus, I don’t think it is bad faith on our part as The Episcopal Church to ask other Provinces for the very same considerations and allowances that they require for themselves.

VOL: Garbage. The problem is not primarily cultural but theological. The Global South along with a number of Western Anglican primates, notably from Australia (Philip Freier) and the ACNA (Foley Beach) believe the issue of human sexual behavior is a biblical mandate and therefore transcultural, it is not subject to the winds or whims of cultural change. Archbishops Okoh (Nigeria) and Tito Zavala Anglican Primate of the Southern Cone talk exactly the same language about sexuality. It is Western provinces like TEC, the ACoC, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand and parts of Ireland that are out of step with the rest of the Communion. Rowan Williams learned that bitter lesson and found he could not square the circle and left.

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: It is a key point to remember that the Primates do not have the authority to impose “sanctions” or to “expel” a Province.

VOL: Perhaps not, but they can walk away if Welby does not follow through with recommendations that the Task Force makes which may make it impossible for TEC to stay.

The only issue is now is time, and the Global South have been patient unto the third and fourth generation. They can wait out the Western pro-pansexual provinces. Meantime they will continue to grow, as will the ACNA, even as the western progressive Anglican provinces slowly wilt and die. Time is on the side of GAFCON and the Global South, it is not on the liberal/progressive side.

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: It is important to understand the whole picture in order to understand the meaning of the working parts. That “big-picture” of The Episcopal Church remains vital and vibrant, diverse and unified, faithful and relevant, ancient and modern. I am so proud of our Diocese of Virginia in all of our witness and ministry.

VOL: Really bishop! The “big-picture” is that TEC is dying. Two thirds of TEC are women over 60, the other third is old men and a few families. Nearly half of all parishes in TEC can no longer support a full time rector. Seminaries are failing. Money is drying up with parishes and dioceses living increasingly off endowments. Millions of dollars have been spent on lawsuits never to be recovered. Your own diocese has seen massive defections including your largest parish, The Falls Church. You have zip to boast about. There is no “big-picture.”

VIRGINIA BISHOPS: Without any question, the most important thing to have been decided in the Primates Meeting (something completely ignored in the media) is that by a unanimous vote, they chose to continue to “walk together.” In spite of all of the vitriol and rumors that our Primate, Michael Curry, would be asked to absent himself from future meetings, even with all of the church pundits saying that The Episcopal Church would be “thrown out” of the Communion or so compromised as to be without any real voice or influence, the Anglican Primates instead affirmed that The Episcopal Church remains a wanted and needed presence in the Anglican family.

VOL: It is an outright lie to say that anything was ignored by the media or that TEC would be “thrown out.” The belief all along by orthodox journalists like myself was that by Wednesday of the week the Primates met in Canterbury the GAFCON primates would walk away. They didn’t. They stayed, and they do not ALL walk together even now. The GAFCON Primates will no longer have fellowship with TEC or the ACoC, and before this decade is out nothing that Welby and his professional reconciling horsemen can do will put humpty together again once it has fallen off the wall into the great abyss.

(This story may be freely posted to blogs but with no changes to the text.)

END

Defamilialisation: an ideology that shapes our lives

The Economist magazine is perhaps the most influential publication on earth. One of its pet projects is promoting an ideology known as defamilialization, also known as post-familialism and post-maternalism. Though these unmarketable terms are kept to academic publications and out of the media, they have, without a doubt, impacted our lives.

In its January 2010 cover feature, We did it!, announcing that women would soon be 50 percent of the US labour force, the libertarian magazine summarized this global mega-project: “Welfare states were designed when most women stayed at home. They need to change the way they operate.” [1]

Of course, women have never simply “stayed at home”. They have always done essential work for their families and communities. The welfare state was created to support unwaged family care work. Defamilialization erodes the system that ensures care for the vulnerable, especially children.

In a more recent dossier, The Weaker Sex, The Economist tells us about weak men, and strong single mothers, employed and raising their kids without fathers. The mothers are “far from rich, but they are getting by,” and “Few women in rich countries need a man’s support to raise a family. (They might want it but they don’t need it.)”

The article suggests men will turn out better with “early childhood education” — state-funded daycare — as boys. The fact that “a Chinese steelworker is cheaper than an American” is mentioned, but without questioning the ethics or wisdom of politicians who approve trade laws that facilitate maximizing corporate profits at the cost of male unemployment.

Being a low-income single mother myself I know that the happy story of independent, low-income single motherhood is spin. It promotes a family situation that no one wants for themselves but which some policy-shapers see as an ideal type.

‘We did it!’ Keeping women at work

In the “We Did It!” feature, articles gushed about women’s “dramatic progress” and “empowerment”. Being dependent on an employer apparently gives women “more control over their own lives”. Women’s productivity outside the GDP is only mentioned in misogynistic insults: “the loss” and “wasted talent” until “millions of brains have been put to more productive use”.

Despite its libertarian posture of disdain for state intervention, The Economist believes that the “issue” of motherhood can somehow be resolved with state funded daycare. As for “benefits for parents”, “the answer is no.” The problem of “too little time for their children” is merely a “middle class couples” complaint. Poor children suffer most, not from lack of parental time (which apparently they don’t need), but lack of daycare so mums can get jobs — however “low-paying”.

Back in 1998 the magazine was frank about the motivations behind employing women: “It is perfectly possible to devise a system that will produce more children and still keep women at work”. Subsidized daycare increases the labour pool with mothers, a “godsend to employers [because it] …raises demand, not least for goods and services that will make a working woman’s life easier: labour-saving devices, convenience foods, meals out, child care….”

Even better for profits, “[W]omen usually cost less to employ than men, are more prepared to be flexible and less inclined to kick up a fuss if working conditions are poor. Far fewer of them are members of trade unions.”

Disregard for parental choice or evidence supporting defamilialism

– See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/defamilialisation-an-ideology-that-shapes-our-lives/17310#sthash.hwcLoWos.wXNJeBcz.dpuf