Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A brick falls from the R.C. Church's 'Berlin Wall'
This is simply another example of a trend that's been going on in various Reformed denominations as well. That is, the reorganization of churches around non-theological issues. (See for example, the shift of some congregations from the PCUSA to the EPC.)
In this case, it is no coincidence that this comes after much high-profile consternation in the Anglican communion over LGBT priests. So basically, the RC is simply attempting to poach anti-gay Anglicans, because obviously it is far worse in the RC to be gay than to be a married priest.
In the PCUSA/EPC situation, it is more important to be anti-gay than to allow women ministers (the PCUSA ordains women, the EPC does not). So, churches are giving up women's ordination to move to the EPC in order to make sure LGBT people cannot be ordained.
In both situations it's simply one denomination cutting off its nose to spite its face, because gay people are, in their view, far worse than any of the other things they're against (women's ordination, married priests, etc.)
Beside most of those who slip within are probably sans sex lives anyway. What's the Vatican got to lose?
But this will only put pressure on the conservative Anglicans, for it is hardly the case that most of them have issues with female priesthood. Many of them do not and homosexuality is the only anathema. They are now in a spot where they do not want to go backwards on gender equality - and so cannot become Roman - and do not want to go forward with the EC on equality of sexual identity.
On the other hand, rather than a chink in the wall, Rome may have invited in more of the Trojan Horse. They accept married clergy in Africa - including polygamists - and in Eastern Rite bodies that chose to remain with the Bishop of Rome rather than Constantinople, and existing Anglican clergy that went "home to Rome" over the last two decades.
These examples have been reported on before, but not by the Vatican in a press conference. The duality will not make sense to Catholics: new English rite faithful get a married priesthood and we loyal stalwarts do not, all while our parishes are withering?
And Alan overstates the position of the Episcopal Church. The canons regard non celibate homosexual clergy and bishops who should conduct themselves with sexual discretion: meaning monogamy when in relationship. Bi-sexuality and transgendered people are not fully or decidedly addressed.