Archive for November, 2012

Should alternative forms of marriage and family become normative?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Turtle Bay and beyond

Posted on | November 26, 2012 by Maria Kaufmann |

Since the 1960s most Western societies have experienced a shift from traditional forms of marriage and family to complex alternative forms of marriage and family. In the past years growing support for LGBT rights by world leaders and organizations has enthused the idea that LGBT forms of marriage and family should be considered normative and that views that take preference for traditional marriage and family forms are old-fashioned, discriminatory and biased.

The recent anti same-sex marriage and adoption protest in France is the latest indication that affinity for traditional forms of marriage and family is not rear and minute; and that approval of alternative forms of marriage and family is not universal (even in highly secular societies).

As a matter of fact gay marriage is only legal in eleven nations 1 and gay adoption is only legal in thirteen nations 2.

This does not to mean that all individuals and groups who oppose the marriage and family forms proposed by LGBT advocates do so out of hatred for persons who have alternative sexual orientations, but rather that they uphold the belief that marriage and family serve a specific purpose and function in society that can only be met by relationships between men and women.

A clear of example of this has been the inter-faith voices that have spoken against same-sex marriage and adoption in France. As a recent Time magazine article described: “Leaders of all major religions in France — Catholic, Muslim, Protestant and Jewish — have decried the measure for upending traditional definitions of marriage and family” 3.

Whether alternative forms of marriage and family will become normative cannot be predicted at this time. What is clear is that individuals and groups who oppose such forms of family life are not old-fashioned or rear. Their voices are clear and loud all over the world. They don’t scream with hatred but rather with fervor; fervor for marriages that continue the human race and for families that give children both the love of a mother and a father.

 

1 “Gay Marriage, Adoption Around The World.” Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/gay-marriage-adoption-around-the-world_n_2077158.html

2 “Gay Marriage, Adoption Around The World.” Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/gay-marriage-adoption-around-the-world_n_2077158.html

3 http://world.time.com/2012/11/08/is-gay-marriage-too-progressive-for-the-french/

 

To learn more about the current situation in France click on the links below:

Time Magazine- http://world.time.com/2012/11/08/is-gay-marriage-too-progressive-for-the-french/

BBC News- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20224677

RT- http://rt.com/news/france-gay-marriage-protest-955/

To learn more about global same-sex marriage and adoption click on the link below:

Huffington Post- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/gay-marriage-adoption-around-the-world_n_2077158.html

TERRY MATTINGLY: A proposal for churches to cut ties to civil marriages

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

If the American public is truly changing its mind on marriage, then author George Weigel believes it is time for Catholics to draw a bright red line between the state’s secular ceremonies and the church’s rites of Holy Matrimony.

At least, that’s an option that Catholics, and by implication other religious traditionalists, must be willing to consider, according to the Ethics and Public Policy Center scholar, who is best known as the official biographer of the late Pope John Paul II.

In the wake of President Barack Obama’s victory, supporters of same-sex unions will “press the administration to find some way to federalize the marriage issue,” argued Weigel, in an essay that ignited fierce debates when it was posted at FirstThings.com and elsewhere online. “It seems important to accelerate a serious debate within American Catholicism on whether the church ought not preemptively withdraw from the civil marriage business, its clergy declining to act as agents of government in witnessing marriages for purposes of state law.”

If Catholic leaders take this step now, he noted, they would be “acting prophetically” and underlining the fact that there is a radical, and increasing, chasm between the church’s sacramental definition of “marriage” and legal meaning now being assigned to that term by judges and legislators.

“If, however, the church is forced to take this step after ‘gay marriage’ is the law of the land, Catholics will be pilloried as bad losers who’ve picked up their marbles and fled the game — and any witness-value to the church’s withdrawal from the civil marriage business will be lost,” argued Weigel.

This action would, in effect, require Catholics and other religious believers who embrace traditional doctrines about marriage to jump the dual marriage hurdles that are already required, for example, in the Netherlands. Couples are united in the eyes of the state in civil ceremonies and then, in the eyes of God, in sacred rites.

It would be rather easy for priests to refuse to sign wedding certificates, thus declining to act as agents of any government that has redefined marriage, noted Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage. But what are ordinary believers supposed to do?

“If a priest cannot in good conscience cooperate with the state in creating a marriage can a good Catholic? … An actual withdrawal of Catholics from the public and civil institution of marriage,” she noted, responding to Weigel, requires more than a gesture. Instead, it is “a huge endeavor that would require the creation of alternative means of enforcing the civil aspects of the marriage commitment (or leaving women and children unprotected).

“Abandoning that legal framework could cost us a lot of money potentially, too: Our widows would not get the inheritance exemption, it would take additional money to secure legal parenthood, etc.”

Besides, she asked, why is it a prophetic witness for shepherds to opt out of a government system, while members of their flocks are — if they want to be legally married — forced to cooperate with that system?

Gallagher concluded: “It’s no great sacrifice for the priest not to sign a marriage contract, but it is a potentially great sacrifice for the Catholic family. If it’s no sacrifice, what is the witness?”

Meanwhile, strategists who want to defend centuries of traditional teachings about marriage must face the reality that, as important as these legal squabbles may be, the most damaging blows to the institution of marriage are taking place at the grassroots, argued Matthew Warner, blogging for The National Catholic Register. Will refusing to sign off on civil marriages simply push lukewarm believers further from the church?

“People aren’t really changing how they feel about marriage based on the civil definition. They are changing the civil definition because their hearts have already long changed about marriage,” he noted.

“We’ve already twisted marriage into a contracepted, childless, self-serving, partnership of convenience that lasts until one person gets bored. Now we want to get picky about which genders can participate, but can’t really remember why that matters either,” Warner said.

“Whatever our political tactics at this point, the ship has long been wrecked. You can redefine a floating casket and call it a lifeboat, or you can redefine a wrecked ship as a civilly wrecked ship, and it’s not going to fix the real problems.”

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Contact him at tmattingly@cccu.org or www.tmatt.net.

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: Catholic Diocese says parish must hold separate Communion services with Episcopalians

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

The church, led by both Catholic and Episcopal clergy, must begin having Catholics and non-Catholics meet in separate rooms to observe Holy Communion

By Jeff Sheler
The Virginian-Pilot

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has told the nation’s only blended Catholic and Episcopal parish that it must change its worship services so that Catholics and non-Catholics meet in separate rooms for Holy Communion.

The parish, Church of the Holy Apostles, has been led by Catholic and Episcopal co-pastors for more than 30 years. Parishioners say it’s an arrangement that has allowed families in mixed marriages to worship together and has helped build bonds that transcend denominational boundaries.

In an emotionally charged meeting Monday with parish leaders, representatives of the Catholic diocese voiced support for the ecumenical congregation, said the Rev. Michael Ferguson, the parish’s Episcopal pastor.

But the officials made it clear the current worship practice – using a combined liturgy in which the priests move to separate altars in the same room to say the Eucharistic prayers – was unacceptable, Ferguson said.

They instructed the parish to come up with a plan that provides for separate liturgies in separate rooms, Ferguson said.

“What was left in our laps was to develop a way to be together in those parts of the service where it would be acceptable to the diocese for us to be together, and then to separate… without making it disjointed,” Ferguson said.

Once a plan is developed, Ferguson said, it will need approval of Catholic Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo and Bishop Herman Hollerith of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.

Ferguson said he is confident an acceptable arrangement can be worked out.

“It could have been much worse,” he said.

Michael Cherwa, president of the parish vestry council and a Catholic, said council members were “surprised and saddened” by the diocesan officials’ presentation during the two-hour meeting.

“They told us what we are doing is not in compliance with the Roman Catholic Church, that there are some things we need to change,” Cherwa said.

He said they were told it was a message handed down from Rome.

“That came as news to us. It’s been such a joy for families to come together from different sides and celebrate together. To be told we’ve been doing something wrong, it was a shock and a disappointment.”

Yet from the beginning, the ecumenical arrangement raised eyebrows in the church hierarchy. While it was not unusual for Catholic parishes to share facilities with other denominations, a combined parish using a shared liturgy was unheard-of.

Retired Bishop Walter Sullivan, who helped launch the parish and participated in a recent 35th anniversary service, had encouraged local church leaders to keep a low profile, parish leaders said.

“Whenever I have visited, I’ve found the services distracting,” said Stephen Neill, a spokesman for the Richmond diocese and editor of its newspaper. “It was like going to a movie that has two different endings, or having two people talking to you at once.”

He offered no explanation as to why this objection was raised now.

Ferguson said many parishioners at the church on Lynnhaven Parkway are still upset by DiLorenzo’s removal earlier this month of the parish’s Catholic co-pastor, the Rev. James E. Parke.

DiLorenzo gave no reason for Parke’s dismissal, which was communicated in a letter to the parish on Nov. 2. Parke has not been reassigned.

Cherwa said no additional explanation was offered at the meeting.

The diocese has temporarily installed as interim priest Monsignor Raymond Barton, who was the parish’s Catholic co-pastor at its beginning in 1977.

Ferguson said he planned to give a detailed report of the meeting to parishioners during Sunday’s service.

The defeat of the Measure: preliminary reflections

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Emphasis mine. Webmaster

From John Richardson

[…]  At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, it was officially declared that whether one was for or against the ordination and consecration of women, one could be a loyal Anglican. More recently, I have heard repeated assurances that everyone was supposed to be allowed to ‘flourish’ under the new arrangements. And yet despite all the time available, and all the energy expended, those for whom these arrangements would be most difficult did not finally feel that they would be encouraged to flourish, and nor did they feel that they could really trust those who would have the most influence over their flourishing.

That is a tragic indictment of the Church.
And fourthly, I think it will be clear in retrospect that the vote was finally lost not today but in July. Frankly, with the original Clause 5(1)c on the table, I was in two minds as to whether this was enough. And my own ‘Don’t know’ would undoubtedly have translated into enough votes in General Synod at the time to push the Measure through.
It surely has to be recognized that the power to produce a formula for compromise has, for some considerable time, rested largely with those who had supported the introduction of women bishops. Where simple majorities have counted, they have had the controlling hand. But this must therefore suggest that had they been willing to concede just a little more, then we would not be where we are today.
And if their response is, “But that would have been a step too far,” then I would simply ask whether where we are now is where they would rather be.
So what of the future?

Church of England Votes Against Women Bishops: Archbishop’ s Statement

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Anglican Church of Kenya

Although I realise many will be very frustrated that the Church of England’s General Synod failed to pass legislation to admit women to the episcopate by such a narrow margin, I believe that this result will come to be seen as a positive turning point.
The key issue at this stage was the maintenance of proper safeguards for those who as a matter of theological principle could not accept such a fundamental change. I am therefore heartened that the Church of England has stepped aside from following the path of the Episcopal Church of the United States which has progressively marginalised and excluded those who seek to hold to historic Anglican faith and order in good conscience.
Now that legislative pressure has been removed, it is my prayer that there can be a period of calm reflection in which the biblical understanding of calling, for both men and women, will be prominent.
The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council

National Apostasy

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

By Peter Mullen

I know what will happen following the Synod’s voting down of the appointment of women as bishops. Indeed it has begun to happen already. Immediately after the result was declared the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing his “deep personal sadness,” said “This issue must be resolved in the shortest possible time.” But, Archbishop, that is what the vote was for. If it had gone in favour of the motion, you can be sure there would have been no call for further discussion. We know what will happen because it happened in the Synod all through the 1980s votes which rejected women priests: the innovators adopted the time-honoured technique of Trotskyists, Entryists and EU politicians and kept on calling for further votes until they had achieved the result they desired. And there is nothing democratic about that.

What we are now hearing is the death rattle of the English Church, and it is dying of a malady far more serious than women in the episcopate. Last Monday’s vote was only the culmination of a political process which goes back at least as far as the 1840s when, while still an Anglican, John Henry Newman warned that the choice facing the nation is between Christianity and liberalism. By liberalism, he meant secularisation by government edict. And that precisely has been the historical record ever since Newman’s day.

The control of national life, and the determination of the character of this life, has been increasingly dictated by the secular state in accordance with values which have nothing to do with the Christian faith. Back in the 19th century this was exemplified by the government’s abolition of ten bishoprics in Ireland. In 1928 the state again intervened to block the modest and appropriate revision of the Book of Common Prayer. But these suppressions were nothing compared with the state takeover we have experienced in our times.

This is not some paranoid fantasy on my part, the grumbles and sulks of a disaffected traditionalist. Listen instead to the dire warning issued to the Church of England by Frank Field MP.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why are secular liberals telling female Christians how they should feel about women bishops?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

by Donata Huggins, Telegraph

There is something fabulously ironic about the secular, liberal elite telling the Church how to behave. The papers will no doubt be filled with concern for me today. How will I cope – as a Christian feminist – on Sunday morning? Should I stop going to church in protest? Burn my bra at the altar, instead of reading the intercessory prayers?
While I appreciate the thoughtful anguish, none of it appeals. I will happily carry on as normal. I’m not in the grip of a crisis. As a Christian, even a feminist one, who would like to see the ordination of female bishops, I’m not swayed by arguments about “being in touch” or public perception. It feels too much like Westminster politics.
Tim Montgomerie, the editor of ConservativeHome, recently wrote an article for the Times (£) advising the new Archbishop to ditch the robes and sell his palace. It was interesting and well argued, but read too much like the (often excellent) advice Mr Montgomerie gives David Cameron. The Archbishop of Canterbury isn’t running for office – and he shouldn’t behave as if he is. I’d like the General Synod to make decisions that unify and edify the Church (as much as possible), even when I disagree with its call.
And it’s easy to see how members of the Laity could have thought the measure failed to do that. They weren’t asked if they generally support female bishops or not. The houses voted on a specific piece of legislation: one that required the Church to provide separate male bishops to oversee congregations within dioceses that were uncomfortable with the idea of a female bishop.