Archive for September, 2010

Dictatorship of relativism – only one thing lasts, the love of Jesus Christ – Pope Benedict

Friday, September 17th, 2010

AM Comment.  The value of watching on television is that the actual event can be seen. A very large and enthusiastic crowd welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to an open air Mass in cloudless autumn sunshine in Glasgow.  As the popemobile wended its way through the crowds it stopped twice for him to wind down the window and kiss a baby.

His sermon is posted in full below.

For updates of news of Papal visit see BBC website here

Two highlights from his Glasgow sermon are below

“The evangelisation of culture is all the more important in our times, when a ‘dictatorship of relativism’ threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good.

There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatise it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister. For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum. Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility. Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation…….

Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord and of yourselves. There are many temptations placed before you every day – drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol – which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive. There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God.”

From The Telegraph: read here

Pope visit: Bellahouston homily

Friday, September 17th, 2010
Pope visit: Bellahouston homily

Pope: There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatise it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, ‘The Kingdom of God is very near to you!’

With these words of the Gospel we have just heard, I greet all of you with great affection in the Lord.

Truly the Lord’s Kingdom is already in our midst! At this Eucharistic celebration in which the Church in Scotland gathers around the altar in union with the Successor of Peter, let us reaffirm our faith in Christ’s word and our hope – a hope which never disappoints – in his promises!

I warmly greet Cardinal O’Brien and the Scottish Bishops; I thank in particular Archbishop Conti for his kind words of welcome on your behalf; and I express my deep gratitude for the work that the British and Scottish Governments and the Glasgow city fathers have done to make this occasion possible.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Christ continues to send his disciples into the world in order to proclaim the coming of his Kingdom and to bring his peace into the world, beginning house by house, family by family, town by town.

I have come as a herald of that peace to you, the spiritual children of Saint Andrew and to confirm you in the faith of Peter.

It is with some emotion that I address you, not far from the spot where my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass nearly 30 years ago with you and was welcomed by the largest crowd ever gathered in Scottish history.

Much has happened in Scotland and in the Church in this country since that historic visit.

I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul’s call to you to walk hand in hand with your fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others.

Let me encourage you to continue to pray and work with them in building a brighter future for Scotland based upon our common Christian heritage.

In today’s first reading we heard Saint Paul appeal to the Romans to acknowledge that, as members of Christ’s body, we belong to each other and to live in respect and mutual love.

In that spirit I greet the ecumenical representatives who honour us by their presence.

This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation Parliament, but also the 100th anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, which is widely acknowledged to mark the birth of the modern ecumenical movement.

Let us give thanks to God for the promise which ecumenical understanding and cooperation represents for a united witness to the saving truth of God’s word in today’s rapidly changing society.

Among the differing gifts which Saint Paul lists for the building up of the Church is that of teaching.

The preaching of the Gospel has always been accompanied by concern for the word: the inspired word of God and the culture in which that word takes root and flourishes.

Here in Scotland, I think of the three medieval universities founded here by the popes, including that of Saint Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary of its foundation.

In the last 30 years and with the assistance of civil authorities, Scottish Catholic schools have taken up the challenge of providing an integral education to greater numbers of students, and this has helped young people not only along the path of spiritual and human growth, but also in entering the professions and public life.

This is a sign of great hope for the Church, and I encourage the Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level.

The evangelisation of culture is all the more important in our times, when a ‘dictatorship of relativism’ threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good.

There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatise it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty.

Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.

For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum.

Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility.

Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.

Saint Ninian, whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice.

In the footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ.

His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the first evangelisation of this country.

That work was later taken up by Saint Mungo, Glasgow’s own patron, and by other saints, the greatest of whom must include Saint Columba and Saint Margaret. Inspired by them, many men and women have laboured over many centuries to hand down the faith to you.

Strive to be worthy of this great tradition! Let the exhortation of Saint Paul in the first reading be your constant inspiration: ‘Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer.’

I would now like to address a special word to the bishops of Scotland.

Dear brothers, let me encourage you in your pastoral leadership of the Catholics of Scotland.

As you know, one of your first pastoral duties is to your priests and to their sanctification.

As they are alter Christus to the Catholic community, so you are to them.

Live to the full the charity that flows from Christ, in your brotherly ministry towards your priests, collaborating with them all, and in particular with those who have little contact with their fellow priests.

Pray with them for vocations, that the Lord of the harvest will send labourers to his harvest.

Just as the Eucharist makes the Church, so the priesthood is central to the life of the Church.

Engage yourselves personally in forming your priests as a body of men who inspire others to dedicate themselves completely to the service of Almighty God.

Have a care also for your deacons, whose ministry of service is associated in a particular way with that of the order of bishops.

Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called.

Dear priests of Scotland, you are called to holiness and to serve God’s people by modelling your lives on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.

Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience.

Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God’s people.

May the example of Saint John Ogilvie, dedicated, selfless and brave, inspire all of you.

Similarly, let me encourage you, the monks, nuns and religious of Scotland to be a light on a hilltop, living an authentic Christian life of prayer and action that witnesses in a luminous way to the power of the Gospel.

Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord and of yourselves.

There are many temptations placed before you every day – drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol – which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive.

There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you.

Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to pray for vocations: I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life.

This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!

Dear friends, I express once more my joy at celebrating this Mass with you. I am happy to assure you of my prayers in the ancient language of your country: Sith agus beannachd Dhe dhuibh uile; Dia bhi timcheall oirbh; agus gum beannaicheadh Dia Alba. God’s peace and blessing to you all; God surround you; and may God bless the people of Scotland!”

The Pope, Authority and the Anglican Future

Friday, September 17th, 2010


Charles Raven writes:

15th September 2010

Pope Benedict’s controversial state visit to the UK begins tomorrow, but even before his arrival two facts are clear. The first is that it is bringing into focus the extent to which Christian values have collapsed in British society and the second is that, despite the much publicised sexual abuse scandals, the Church of Rome has a coherent intellectual and strategic grasp far beyond that of the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth leadership.

As the authority and gathering power of the Archbishop of Canterbury continues to decline and senior African Anglicans begin to talk openly about the need to re-evangelise England itself these facts help to clarify that the Anglican Communion needs new governance structures which are not tied to English law and culture and are able to articulate a strategic vision rather than the pragmatic platitudes of institutional survival such as ‘bonds of affection’.

As to the first fact, the libertarians and secularists who are expressing nothing short of sheer vitriol to the Pope are not marginal figures, but those who are regarded as making the cultural weather. So the journalist Claire Rayner writes ‘His views are so disgusting, so repellent and so hugely damaging to the rest of us, that the only thing to do is to get rid of him and the leaked British Foreign Office memorandum which suggested that the Pope should, among other things, open an abortion ward and bless a gay ‘marriage’ showed, despite a subsequent apology, just how much contempt is felt for an institution which continues to uphold marriage and the family.

One of the Pope’s sternest critics is the veteran gay rights activist Peter Tatchell who has been a leading figure in a movement which in the space of some thirty years brought about legislation previously unthinkable. In historical context, Tatchell is the secular inversion of William Wilberforce 200 years before. Wilberforce’s biblically motivated campaign for the abolition of the slave trade, intended as a death blow to slavery itself, was sealed in legislation in 1807. Tatchell’s campaign for the normalisation of homosexuality, as part of a radically libertarian agenda, was sealed in legislation in 2005 by the Civil Partnerships Act ( to which the Church of England’s House of Bishops acquiesced).

As far as strategic grasp is concerned, it helps to remember that Wilberforce’s vision of a Christian society endured throughout the following century; likewise, Tatchells’ secular and pansexual vision may play out over many years, unless it is overtaken by resurgent Islam or self destructs, but whatever the case, Benedict recognises the magnitude of the task. He has a diagnosis and he has a plan; his historical understanding is that once the biblical fundamentals of marriage and the family are weakened, reason and the rule of law are undermined (no doubt conditioned by his experience of the Weimer Republic and the rise of Hitler). As he has put it most recently “The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives involving a reappraisal of alternative models of married life and family. They contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law and so the relativization of all legislation and also the confusion about values in society”. This truth has been more directly applied to the UK itself by Edmund Adamus, an adviser to the Archbishop of Westminster, who says “Whether we like it or not, as British citizens and residents of this country … Britain, and in particular London, has been and is the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death.”

It follows from this diagnosis that the future lies not in adapting the Church to the culture in order to maintain institutional influence (the instinct of the Church of England), but to rebuild from the bottom up, recognising that Christian congregations have to rethink themselves as minorities, counter cultural communities committed to the long term re-evangelisation of the West. The Ordinariate in England could be a particular expression of that strategy and the Pope’s determination to tackle the problem was underlined in June this year with the formation of The Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation, a new office formed explicitly to re-evangelise the West.

None of the above is intended to suggest that the doctrinal conflicts of the Reformation are no longer significant. As orthodox Anglicans we believe with the Thirty-nine Articles that ‘the Church of Rome hath erred’ (Article XIX), but has Roman Catholicism erred any more seriously than the current manifestation of Anglican Liberal Catholicism? Whatever its defects, Rome lives by a definite authority rather than that minimal and hazy understanding of authority which lies behind those repeated failures to exercise discipline which are fragmenting the Anglican Communion.

Our great difference with Rome, from which all the other disagreements follow, is over the nature of authority, not its importance. For Rome, authority flows from the confluence of Scripture and Church tradition which in practice means that although there may be individual moral lapses, the Church as an institution cannot admit to error in what it teaches. In contrast, the Reformed position is that final authority in the Church comes from Scripture alone. In reaction to Roman claims this emphasis can make us nervous of vesting authority to act and speak in particular leaders or structures, but if so, this is a failure to distinguish between the Church as a source of authority and the church as an expression of a higher authority, the apostolic authority of Christ and his Word to which it is subject.

In practical terms this means that while confessional Anglicanism does not need an infallible Pope, it does need to be Conciliar as the GAFCON Jerusalem Statement and Declaration makes clear. Being under authority entails leadership structures through which that authority can be clearly articulated and exercised; otherwise it is difficult to see how the Anglican Communion can reform its life and play its part in the re-evangelisation of the West.

CHRISTCHURCH, Alabama: A home of their own

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010


Christchurch XP members ready to dedicate new facility

By Allison Griffin
http://cmsimg.montgomeryadvertiser.com/
September 11, 2010

That Christchurch XP has flourished in its five years of existence — without having a church facility to call its own — is both a blessing and a testa­ment to the faith of its members.

Now, the Anglican parish is ready to officially dedicate its new church home, a classic structure reminiscent of Eng­lish parish churches with its steep rooflines and Gothic touches.

One church member de­scribed the journey from church creation to dedication in biblical terms.

“In some ways, we’ve been in a wandering-in-the- desert kind of situation,” said church mem­ber Mose Stuart. “We’ve kind of crossed the River Jordan, and now we’re in the promised land.”

That journey to a church home began early on. First came a capital campaign to fund the construction. Then came dis­cussions on where to build and looking at sites in different parts of the city. Finding the current 15-acre property, which is on Vaughn Road in east Mont­gomery next to Southern Homes and Gardens, was a true bless­ing, Stuart said.

Then came the architectural plans, the site preparation and the actual construction. The ar­chitect, church member Les Cole, and the builders, Foshee Construction, worked to get the church ready for its first serv­ices July 11.

The church had an overflow crowd that Sunday, and it has experienced growth even since that first service. The member­ship has grown close to 700, said the Rev. John-Michael van Dyke, rector of Christchurch.

“The congregation is delight­ed to have its own home,” van Dyke said. And they’re especial­ly excited about this weekend’s dedication, which will feature several dignitaries from the An­glican church.

Among those scheduled to be in Montgomery for the festivi­ties are the Rev. Robert William Duncan, archbishop of the new­ly formed Anglican Church in North America; the Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, archbishop of the Church of Uganda; and the Rev. John Guernsey, bishop of the di­ocese to which the church be­longs, the Diocese of the Holy Spirit.

Orombi visited Montgomery in 2008 for the dedication of the church’s land. His presence this weekend is very special, said Vic Biebighauser, a member of the church’s vestry, or govern­ing body.

“It’s not an easy trip for him, so when we can get him here, we are very grateful,” Biebighaus­er said. Christchurch has had a years long missionary relation­ship with his country.

“I would describe (Orombi) as a lion of the faith,” Stuart said. “At least within Anglicanism, he is very influential and has been a great friend and a defend­er of the faith.”

Coordinating the schedules of so many dignitaries was the pri­mary reason the church waited until now to have the consecra­tion, van Dyke said.

The public is welcome to the services on Sunday, Biebig­hauser said, but expect a large crowd. The dedication is at 9:30 a.m., and the service begins at 10:30. There is a reception and a parish picnic directly after the services and the dedication.

Those who attend will have a chance to tour the new facili­ties, which reflect a harmonious blend of old world structure and contemporary comforts. For ex­ample, the sanctuary is in a cru­ciform shape, which dates to the Middle Ages.

Almost in the center of the sanctuary is the altar, which al­lows the congregation to fully participate in all aspects of com­munion. An 8-foot cross is sus­pended above the altar.

While the cruciform design is reminiscent of great European cathedrals, the church was spe­cifically constructed to incorpo­rate modern conveniences. A large screen is recessed into one of the ceiling beams and can be lowered remotely for visual pre­sentations. Despite the 40-foot vaulted ceilings, the acoustics are excellent, van Dyke said; a modern sound system allows ev­eryone to clearly hear what’s be­ing said.

Van Dyke points out the knee­lers — thickly padded blocks the worshippers use as they kneel in prayer. “These are hand-stitched, and they take an awful­ly long time to create,” he said.

Each is embroidered with one of seven gold crosses and the XP symbol, which is the ancient monogram of Christ, the Chi-Rho, on each side of the cross. They are stitched by volunteer members of the St. Clare Guild and take an average of one year to complete.

“In our liturgy, we do a lot of kneeling,” Biebighauser said. “Before we got here, we were in facilities that didn’t have them built in,” so they’re especially appreciated now.

Just outside the sanctuary, facing a peaceful courtyard with a fountain, the church has built in space for a columbarium, or a resting place for cremations.

A central hallway connects the sanctuary to Canterbury Hall, a parish hall that will ful­fill a multitude of functions. This weekend, the bright, open space will be set up for the dedi­cation, but it can be used for re­ceptions, Christian education, parish meetings and other gath­erings. Its vaulted ceiling sup­ports three large Gothic chande­liers; the focal point is the 18-foot window, above which hangs a recessed screen that can be lowered for audio-visual needs.

Along the central hallway are a nursery and children’s facili­ties. “It’s important for young families to have a good, clean, proper, up-to-date nursery,” van Dyke said.

A kitchen, serving area, ele­vators and restrooms complete the public areas on the first floor. The second floor includes a space for youth, with a raised stage and audio-visual setup as well as the youth minister’s of­fice. Also on this floor are a mul­tipurpose room, a small kitchen and dining room, the choir’s practice room and music direc­ tor’s office, plus additional classrooms and restrooms.

On the opposite side of the sanctuary is the former home of Dr. Frank Jackson, one of the founders of Jackson Hospital. The church decided to incorpo­ rate the home into the complex; it’s now used for parish offices. But it’s been remodeled, and its appearance conforms nicely to the rest of the buildings.

All this is a remarkable ac­complishment for a church that’s just a few years old.

The church formed a little more than five years ago after a majority of the members and many of the leaders of the Epis­copal Church of the Ascension split with the church to form a branch of the Anglican Church in America. An informative booklet on Christchurch ex­plains it broadly: They felt “the Episcopal Church had left its traditional scriptural values and beliefs and was moving rap­idly away from orthodox inter­pretations of holy scripture.”

The new church moved about for the next few months — a brief stay at Trinity Presbyteri­an Church was followed by a few months at St. James School. At the end of 2005, the church found a semi-permanent home at Dexter Avenue United Meth­odist Church and worshiped there until June of this year.

Now, they are finally home.

“It’s wonderful,” Stuart said. “It’s everything that I think ev­erybody envisioned when we started.”

And the facility is a true re­flection of the membership.

“This feels like us,” van Dyke said.

Russian Metropolitan Blasts Anglican Communion’s Sexual Innovations

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Hilarion praises Global South stand on marriage. Absence of heresy deplored.

Our Church must sever its relations with those churches and communities that trample on the principles of Christian ethics and traditional morals. Here we uphold a firm stand based on Holy Scripture.

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

In a groundbreaking address at Lambeth Palace before the Nicean Club that included the Archbishop of Canterbury, Russian Metropolitan Hilarion blasted those parts of the Anglican Communion experimenting with sexual innovations saying they threatened continuing dialogue with the Orthodox Church.

In surprise remarks that observers say embarrassed Dr. Williams, Hilarion ripped Western Anglican liberals who have deviated from heterosexual marriage calling it “an abyss that divides traditional Christians from Christians of liberal trend.”

The Patriarch praised “traditionalists”, especially in the South and the East, saying the recent 2nd All African Bishops’ Conference held in late August had it right when they affirmed the Biblical standard of the family as marriage between a man and a woman as its foundation. “One of the purposes of marriage is procreation of children some of whom grow to become the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

“Nowadays it is increasingly difficult to speak of ‘Christianity’ as a unified scale of spiritual and moral values, universally adopted by all Christians. It is more appropriate, rather, to speak of ‘Christianities’, that is, different versions of Christianity espoused by diverse communities.

“All current versions of Christianity can be very conditionally divided into two major groups – traditional and liberal. The abyss that exists today divides not so much the Orthodox from the Catholics or the Catholics from the Protestants as it does the ‘traditionalists’ from the ‘liberals’.

“Some Christian leaders, for example, tell us that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer the only way of building a Christian family: there are other models and the Church should become appropriately ‘inclusive’ to recognize alternative behavioral standards and give them official blessing. Some try to persuade us that human life is no longer an absolute value; that it can be terminated in a mother’s womb or that one can terminate one’s life at will. Christian ‘traditionalists’ are being asked to reconsider their views under the slogan of keeping abreast with modernity.

“Among the vivid indications of disagreement within the Anglican Community (I am reluctant to say ‘schism’) is the fact that almost 200 Anglican bishops refused to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference. I was there as an observer from the Russian Orthodox Church and could see various manifestations of deep and painful differences among the Anglicans.”

Heresy absent

“Today the notion of heresy, while present in church vocabulary, is manifestly absent from the vocabulary of contemporary politically-correct theology – a theology that prefers to refer to “pluralism” and to speak of admissible and legitimate differences,” he opined.

“Indeed, St Paul himself wrote that ‘there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval’ (1 Cor. 11:19). But what kind of differences was he referring to? Certainly not those which concerned the essence of faith, church order or Christian morals. For, in these matters, there is only one truth and any deviation from it is none other than heresy.”

Dialogue Threatened

“Today the Orthodox-Anglican Dialogue itself has come under threat. It is especially lamentable because this dialogue has had a long and rich history, beginning with the numerous talks at various levels held between Orthodox and Anglicans from the 17th century.

Hilarion voiced concerns about the fate of this dialogue. “We appreciate the proposal Archbishop Rowan Williams made this year to exclude from the dialogue those Anglican churches which failed to observe the moratorium on the ordination of open homosexuals. But we regard this proposal as not quite sufficient to save the dialogue from an approaching collapse. The dialogue is doomed to closure if the unrestrained liberalization of Christian values continues in many communities of the Anglican world.

“We are equally concerned about the fate of bilateral relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England,” he stated.

Women’s Ordination

Hilarion said difficulties in relation to the Church of England first emerged in 1992 when its General Synod agreed to ordain women to the priesthood. “The Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church came out with an official statement expressing regret and concern over this decision as contradicting the tradition of the Early Church.

“One might ask why our Church should have concerned itself at all with this matter? By the early 90s the Protestant world had already ordained many women pastors and even women bishops. But the unique point here was that the Anglican Community had long sought rapprochement with the Orthodox Church. Many Orthodox Christians recognized the existence of apostolic continuity in Anglicanism. From the 19th century, Anglican members of the Association of Eastern Churches sought ‘mutual recognition’ with the Orthodox Church and its members believed that ‘both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments’.

“Much has changed since. The introduction of the female priesthood in the Church of England was followed by discussions on the female episcopate. In response to the positive decision made by the Church of England’s General Synod on this issue, the Department for External Church Relations published a new statement saying that this decision ‘has considerably complicated dialogue with the Anglicans for Orthodox Christians’ and ‘has taken Anglicanism farther away from the Orthodox Church and contributed to further division in Christendom as a whole’.”

Hilarion noted that his church has studied the preparatory documents for the decision on female episcopate and are struck by the conviction expressed in them that even if the female episcopate were introduced, ecumenical contacts with the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches would not come to an end.

“What made the authors of these documents so certain? There was a second controversial statement. The same document argued that despite a possible cooling down in relations with Catholics and Orthodox, the Church of England would strengthen and broaden its relations with the Methodist Church and the Lutheran Churches in Norway and Sweden. In other words, the introduction of the female episcopate ‘will bring both gains and losses’. The question arises: Is not the cost of these losses too high? I can say with certainty that the introduction of the female episcopate excludes even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the apostolic continuity of the Anglican hierarchy.”

Homosexuality and same-sex unions

The Metropolitan is also extremely concerned and disappointed by other processes that are manifesting themselves in churches of the Anglican Communion. “Some Protestant and Anglican churches have repudiated basic Christian moral values by giving a public blessing to same-sex unions and ordaining homosexuals as priests and bishops. Many Protestant and Anglican communities refuse to preach Christian moral values in secular society and prefer to adjust to worldly standards.

“In 2003, the Russian Orthodox Church had to suspend contact with the Episcopal Church in the USA due to the fact that this Church consecrated a self-acclaimed homosexual, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop. The Department for External Church Relations made a special statement deploring this fact as anti-Christian and blasphemous. Moreover, the Holy Synod of our Church decided to suspend the work of the Joint Coordinating Committee for Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Episcopal Church in the USA, which had worked very successfully for many years. The situation was aggravated when a woman bishop was installed as head of the Episcopal Church in the USA in 2006 and a lesbian was placed on the bishop’s chair of Los Angeles in 2010.

“Similar reasons were behind the rupture of our relations with the Church of Sweden in 2005 when this Church made a decision to bless same-sex “marriages”. Recently, the lesbian Eva Brunne has become the “bishop” of Stockholm.”

Liberalism and Relativism

“It is impossible to pass silently by the liberalism and relativism which have become so characteristic of today’s Anglican theology. From the time of Archbishop Michael Ramsay of Canterbury, the Church of England saw the emergence of so-called modernism which rejected the very foundations of Christianity as a God-revealed religion. Among its most eloquent representatives was the Anglican Bishop of Woolwich, Dr. J. A. T. Robinson, the author of the sensational book ‘Honest to God’. The Bishop of Woolwich’s worldview can be described as ‘Christian atheism’. Indeed, he rejected the existence of a personal God, of the Creator of the world and of Providence. He also denied the existence of the spiritual world in general and of the future life in particular. It should be admitted that these views provoked protests on the part of some Anglican bishops, led by Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury.”

Hilarion noted that what His Holiness the Patriarch says about Protestantism can be applied equally to many Anglican communities. “In the 19th and 20th centuries, Orthodox communities discussed seriously the recognition of Anglican priesthood based on its recognized apostolic continuity. Now we are very far from this. And the gap between the liberal Anglicans and the Orthodox keeps growing.

“What can these churches say to their faithful and to secular society? What kind of light do they shine upon the world (cf. Mt. 5:14)? What is their ‘salt’? I am afraid the words of Christ can be applied to them: If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men (Mt. 5:13).”

A senior Church of England official told VOL that the Metropolitans’ remarks confound the lies that “dialogue with the Orthodox and Catholics will not be impaired by WO/HO – the message is clear and simple and straight between the eyes.”

END

Same-sex “Marriage”: Who Sounded the Retreat?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010


Traditional marriage has been taken to the polls 31 times and has won each time. So the homosexual movement resorts to judicial activists to impose its agenda.

John Horvat writes:

In the history of war, we can observe many cases of battles where someone mistakenly sounds the retreat when victory was in sight.

This seems to be the case against same-sex “marriage.” Traditional marriage has never been defeated. Thirty-one times it has been taken to the polls and thirty-one times it has won. Even in the bluest of blue states—California—it won against all expectations. In Maine, pro-family activists overturned the decision of the legislature. In New York, a same-sex “marriage” measure was defeated despite every effort by the Democratic majority in both houses to force it through.

Homosexual activists in Massachusetts quaked in fear at the prospect that it might be put to the vote. District of Columbia councilmen overturned any possibility that residents might have a say in their government.

Here we have an ideal issue which shows the tyranny of judicial activism at its worst. In the few cases, where same-sex “marriage” has been imposed upon us, most have been through judicial fiat. It is the conservative issue that best shows the brutality of the liberal agenda.

Read it all..

Pope: Church Must Reject All ‘Alternative Models of Family Life’

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Encourages Christians to reinforce faith as foundation for culture

By Kathleen Gilbert

VATICAN CITY, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – All legal recognition of “alternative” means of pursuing a family life, such as homosexual “marriage” and civil union laws, threatens to undermine the true model of marriage as the permanent bond of one man and one woman for the procreation of children, said Pope Benedict XVI on Monday.

The pontiff said that “the Church sees with concern the growing attempt to eliminate the Christian concept of marriage and family from the consciousness of society.”

“The Church can not approve legislative initiatives involving a reappraisal of alternative models of married life and family. They contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law and so the relativization of all legislation and also the confusion about values in society,” said the pontiff in an address to the new German ambassador to the Holy See.

The pope said that, “Marriage is manifested as a lasting union of love between a man and a woman, which is also always oriented toward the transmission of human life,” noting that such a bond “requires a certain maturity of the person and a fundamental social and existential attitude.”

Benedict also took the occasion to exalt the centrality of human life, particularly frail and dependent human life, as something that “always has priority over anything else.” “When once we begin to distinguish – and often this happens already in the womb – between life worthy and unworthy to live, any other stage of life will not be spared, much less the elderly and the infirm,” he said.

The pontiff also criticized Christians who, rather than becoming “guarantors” of the faith “without compromise,” “tend to show an overriding inclination towards more permissive religious convictions.” For example, those who replace the personal, moral Christian God with a mysterious “supreme being” render null the conflict between good and evil, and so rob society of the impetus to constantly pursue the good: “If God does not have His own will, then good and bad end up being indistinguishable. … Man thus loses the moral and spiritual energy necessary for the overall development of the person,” he said.

As new relationships are developing in recent times between church and state, said Benedict, it is incumbent upon Christians to “follow this development in a positive and critical way, as well as to refine men’s senses for the fundamental and continuing importance of Christianity in laying the groundwork to form the structures of our culture.”

Click here for the original text (in Italian).