Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Vatican puts out the Welcome Mat

The All Saints Church Welcome Mat:

The Episcopal Church Welcome Mat:

The Vatican Welcome Mat:

Yearning for a journey of faith safe from
women clergy, the LGBT baptized,
and those pesky inquiring minds questioning
the Absolute Truth of Patriarchal Dogma?

(Lock, stock and liturgical patrimony!)


Sometimes clarity is actually a HELPFUL thing.

If you've missed this breaking news, check out the New York Times for the details ... in a nutshell, the Vatican has announced a protocol to "make it easier for Anglicans uncomfortable with their church’s acceptance of female priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church while retaining many of their traditions."

So there you have it. If you want a church that looks like "that" ... there is one. A perfectly good one. So I say, go for it. Take His Holiness Father Infallibility up on his kind off to "come on down" and go join his church.

And leave mine alone.


Göran Koch-Swahne said...


Marriage was made Gender Neutral in Sweden by General Synod today slightly past 10.30 AM. 176 Ayes, 62 Noes, 11 Abstentions. Though you might like to know ;=)

SCG said...


I've had quite the back-and-forth at my blog with an RC reader who believes the Pope is only doing what Christ wants him to do--"unify the Church." Sometimes, I think I must live in a parallel universe.

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

Benedict XVI is surprised that his hierarchy in the USA cannot hold the Catholics in line. It has been reported in the news media that the more Catholics there are in a state the better chances that state will pass Marriage Equality.

I am sure this is very upsetting to Benedict XVI, “the misguided infallible.” You all have taught us by example what true infallibility is this summer. It is studying an issue discussing it with everyone having I sure many heated debates. Together you all come together, as a well represented group of members in prayer and more debates and make a decision. That’s infallibility!!! And your other opposing Church members know this. You could not have represented a more vivid picture of the true meaning to “Church” for us Catholics to mirror. You all out did the spectacular “Disneyland.” Anaheim now will always remind me of you.

I said this before that because last year this time California did a remarkable job explaining the importance of Marriage Equality and even though you lost by a very small margin, you also taught the world the same.

With Benedict XVI latest public blunder, like a misbehaving child, he slapped up his members and lost them though they have stay in the same house. Upset that they will not follow him, he now is going to show them by inviting new people into his house to follow him. I do not believe that Anglicans are that gullible to be sucker in by such baloney.

However, I do believe that it may play an important part in the unity of your Church. I think it is showing how unfair some of your members have become that they are sinking to the level of Benedict XVI. It may be just the thing that will help to unify your members. Bing Crosby (and Doris Day, also) sang this song “Would you like to swing on a star.” It so vividly keeps coming my mind about this public situation. My godmother who I adored as child use to sing this song to me. I do not think any of your members want to be a mule with all due respect like Benedict XVI. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy-wWUNtwy8

“Would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are
or would you rather be a mule”

“A mule is an animal with long funny ears
he kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
he's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
and by the way if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule”

I write extensively about early childhood psychological development growing up LGBT, though by no means am I an expert though I read from the best. But having previously done research on the Holocaust, I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to grow up gay during Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.

The terror must have been traumatizing to say the least. I think in many ways we are seeing it lived out in Benedict XVI. Because of the past research that I have done, I feel the traumatizing effects every time Benedict XVI attacks LGBT people overtly or covertly.

I think that the man has been tortured beyond belief growing up in Germany right at the time Hitler comes to power. Benedict XVI, appears, so closely to be following Hitler’s example of attacking the homosexuals. Of course not in the least do I think that he is doing this consciously, as many us do not, when, as adults, we become the aggressor and begin abusing others the way we have been abused as children. Not until we realize that we have become the same terrorizing person or persons of our past to we in deep sorrow repent and make amends.

However, even though, I feel this deep empathy for Benedict XVI, he still must not be allowed to abuse people, as especially children. It has to stop!!!

You are so inspiring to me, thank you for your enduring efforts for Marriage Equality for everyone. Marty

Mark Andrews said...

"Marriage was made Gender Neutral in Sweden by General Synod today slightly past 10.30 AM."

Well, good Porvoo.

Dave said...

Rev. Russell:

I am more than agreeable to a trade. We'll gladly welcome any Anglican who wants to board the Barque of Peter. And we're more than willing to give you Sr. Joan Chittister, Dick McBrien, and all those Call to Action dissenters who are stuck in the 60's and 70's. Take them all. Please.

But you should know that you'll likely not enjoy their company for long, as they are not only stuck in the 60's and 70's, they are in their 60's and 70's...

Amy said...

I think it's unbelievably ironic that you who are arguing for "inclusiveness" in faith wouldn't even - for a second - begin to entertain the thought of, you know, including those of your fellow Anglicans/Episcopalians who disagree with gay marriage and women clergy.

It kinda makes your whole argument, well, HYPOCRITICAL.

I don't see why those of you who clearly hold traditional, conservative Anglicans in such obvious disdain are upset that they've been offered an opportunity to do the honest thing and find a church that suits them.

But that just makes me believe all this anger is not really about "inclusiveness", but about theologically liberal types losing the ability to run roughshod over those who believe in an actual God as opposed to one who merely reaffirms us in our okay-ness.


Amy -- thanks for taking time to comment.

In point of fact, the opinion LONG opined on this blog is that "whoever you are, there is a place for you here" really means WHOEVER you are ... unless you insist your criterion for inclusion is somebody else's exclusion.

My issue with the Vatican isn't that they're welcoming people. In fact, I hope lots of those who are unhappy with the Episcopal Church will find what they're looking for in somewhere else. And if Rome works for them, then Vaya Con Dios.

My "actual God" actually challenges me always to respect the dignity of every human being ... but also calls me to do justice ... and, from my perspective, that includes challenging injustice like sexism and homophobia -- even when it comes from the church. (Make that ESPECIALLY when ti comes from the church.)

Amy said...

I respect that you believe there's a place for everyone, but you do realize that for those of us who hold traditional beliefs this whole, "You're a bunch of sexist homophobes!" line is really off-putting and not conducive to dialogue? Like me, a lot of my fellow traditional Catholics are sick of our faith being bashed...especially when people allude to the fact that women who accept Catholicism somehow are oppressed/brainwashed/stupid for doing so.

Not that you've made that accusation in the post, but when I converted to Catholicism 4 1/2 years ago I had people - theological liberals - tell me exactly those things. They never for a moment entertained the possibility I genuinely believed what I professed (and still do). I must merely be stupid. That's somehow supposed to make me rethink my conversion?

The thing is, I would like to know what the actual, theological basis for women priests and the acceptance of homosexual behavior comes from. Aside from the "Jesus never said..." or social justice realms. The Catholic Church has the Catechism, which explains our theology in a pretty understandable way. A way that makes sense and is not given to the whims of the age.

Women have a place in the Catholic Church and do A LOT. Being a priest is a vocation to which we're not called. I do not somehow feel oppressed or marginalized because of this; neither do countless other Catholic women. I don't understand why people who supposedly speak for women (feminists) never bother to ask us this, but assume we're somehow being forced to do what "the patriarchy" wants us to do.

As for homosexual behavior - and I emphasize the word BEHAVIOR, here - the Catholic Church IS equal. We believe all sexual relations outside of a marriage that's open to life are sinful. Not the people, the behavior. And that applies to all sin. That's pretty darned equal to me, even thought it's really convenient for some to lump us in with the Fred Phelps of the world.

Embracing the dignity of the person also means doing what you are able to bring them closer to salvation. We believe that men and women - gay or straight - were made in the image and likeness of God and that our dignity comes from this, and not one's politically correct categorization. We owe it to God to live according to His image, not our own.

Unknown said...

Rev'd Russell:

Though you attempt to speak a language of inclusivity, in my opinion you speak with a forked tongue. From my perspective, your idea of inclusivity translates, "...whoever you are, so long as you agree with me, there's a place for you here ... ."

As a conservative and traditional Anglican Episcopalian, I reject your assertion that The Episcopal Church is yours (see your language about those who may find the Pope's offer appealing: "... I say go for it ... [T]ake His Holiness Father ... up on his kind offer ... and go join his church ... [A]nd leave mine alone." With due respect, TEC is just as much my church as it is yours and, truth be known, it belongs to neither of us, it belongs to Christ.

Your comments are unworthy of a priest of God.

God's peace. <><


Sorry you were offended, Joe.

I'm stickin' to my guns on this one.

And that's because I do believe there is an ontological difference between "feeling" excluded because you're disagreed with "being" excluded because of who you are.

However, I will take the critique that the church is not indeed "mine." It is, of course, Christ's. And the table we set is his. And it is not up to us -- or to the Vatican -- to decide who's included or excluded. At the same time, this church is "mine" by virtue of my birth, baptism, confirmation and ordination -- and I believe it IS up to those of us who inherited Anglican comprehensiveness as part of our birthright not to stand around while it gets thrown out with the bathwater.

Rick said...

Part 1

As a former Episcopalian recently received into the Roman Catholic Church, I offer this perspective on what Rev. Russell terms, "Absolute Truth of Patriarchal Dogma":

The original Christian claim itself is a startling one. The great mysterious Other, who created the stars and the planets and the moons and the stardust and all living creatures and me, became incarnate in the flesh as a man at a particular, unique, and unrepeatable moment in history. The claim is of such a nature that, if it is true, everything about one's understanding of history, social interaction, and religion is profoundly changed. To put it another way, the claim has such far-reaching implications for one's life that the reasonable thing to do when confronted by it would be to determine, as best one can, whether it is true-- Did that really happen? I need to know because it would change everything if it did. The claim is either astronomically grandiose and ridiculous, or it is life-altering.

The same may be said of the central claim of the Roman Catholic Church about its own authority. We often hear, in derisive terms, about the Church's doctrine that pronouncements of the Pope on matters of faith and morals are infallible when made from the chair of Peter. But what is the underlying basis of this doctrine? It is simply that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ himself and that Peter and his apostolic succcessors are entrusted with Christ's own authority to settle, absolutely and for all time, issues of faith and morals. That is a stupendous claim. If the claim is a false one, then Pope Benedict and the popes who came before him are delusionally self-important lunatics, the teachings of the Catholic Church may safely be ignored, and those among the world's 1.1 billion Catholics who are earnestly devoted to following the Church's teachings are engaged in a largely futile exercise.

If, on the other hand, the Church's claim about its authority is true, then everything that the Catholic Church officially proclaims about faith and morals is not only true, but backed up by the authority of God Almighty. Any view, any opinion, any understanding I may have about questions of faith and morals that differs from official Catholic teaching I would have to change if I did not want to openly defy God.

It thus becomes a more than trivially important exercise to evaluate the reasonableness Church's claim about the source of its authority.

Rick said...

Part 2

How might one go about evaluating that reasonableness? Let me first respectfully suggest that it might be unwise to simply dismiss it with thoughts or words such as, "It's wrong because it feels bigoted," "It makes me uncomfortable," "I have always been taught differently," or, "My God would never . . .". The problem with those objections is that they are more squarely objections to the claim's result than they are objections to the claim itself. In other words, if the Church really does have the authority to speak for God, then do those objections even matter?

I propose that the only reasonable way to evaluate the claims of the Catholic Church about its own authority would be to become at least somewhat familiar with the basis of that claim. For example-- Where in Scriptures is this claim supported? What do Patristic writings teach us, and how much authority should we afford those writings? What else do we know of early Church history that can inform our determination? What objections have been made to this claim during history, what were the bases of those objections, and what were the Church's answers to those objections?

The bottom line is this. If one believes what the Catholic Church says about its authority on matters of faith and morals, one is either already a Catholic or should become one as soon as possible. If one does not believe what the Church says about its authority, one should not become a Catholic, and indeed could not honestly do so. But the Church has been an important player in world history for nearly 2000 years, the vast majority of professed Christians throughout history have been and are today Roman Catholics, and the Church is the world's largest charitable organization, its largest provider of private educaiton, and it largest private provider of health care. Its claims are deserving of serious and thoughtful study. One should not simply wave them away with brief, cavalier dismissals.

Rick Harris

Amy said...

And that's because I do believe there is an ontological difference between "feeling" excluded because you're disagreed with "being" excluded because of who you are.

Fair enough. But why is it that those of us who hold with traditional beliefs cannot have that BE a part of who we ARE?

Faith, for many, is more than just something they do on Sunday mornings. It is their life; you could no more pry them away from their religion than you could make a woman a man. Which is why people throughout the ages have DIED rather than give up that faith.

To say that this kind of exclusion differs is, therefore, disingenuous.

uffda51 said...

There are times when reality trumps doctrine. Does the earth revolve around the sun? Does black skin color indicate inferiority? Are left-handededness and red hair signs of the devil? Are LGBT persons simply guilty of bad behavior, or they part of the normal continuum of human sexuality?

Traditional beliefs are certainly part of what many conservatives are. But there is a huge difference between belief about matters of faith, which cannot be proven one way or the other, i.e., did Jesus walk on water, and beliefs which are demonstrably untrue, i.e., homosexuality is a lifestyle.

If we are talking about dialog, when did “tradition” start? With the Resurrection? Constantine? Nicea? Luther? The Divine Right of Kings? The United States Constitution? Abolition? Is the Book of Mormon tradition? The traditional Anglican belief at one time was to not only support slavery Biblically, but to actually own slaves institutionally.

Conservatives love to cite tradition as the end of any argument but never actually define it or acknowledge that it has changed, sometimes by 180 degrees, many times over many centuries. Catholics, in particular, have an institutional problem with admitting they are wrong until centuries have passed.

I’d like to know the actual basis for using the word “behavior” with regard to LGBT persons, other than opinion. Is there some new scientific information we are unaware of? Should we use the Bible as a science text in the 21st century? Should we reject the biblical scholarship of the last few centuries? How many of the LGBT faithful constitute a representative sample before one can reject all of their witnessing?

I have many Catholic friends but I have a major problem with the patriarchal hierarchy of the Catholic Church. When the Pope himself receives immunity from prosecution from the Bush administration, how can decades of sex scandals (over 100,000 victims in the U.S. alone), cover-ups and payoffs (over $1 billion) be seen as anything other than an international criminal conspiracy to protect the perpetrators at the expense of the victims?

I knew one of the victims. I’ve seen Deliver Us From Evil. And this film doesn’t even touch upon Alaska, where the worst of the worst were “transferred” to isolated native villages with no phones, law enforcement or public schools - no authority whatsoever except the priest at the Catholic parish.

My Catholic friends aren’t leaving their church. This has been their faith community all of their lives. Even though they are angry that a percentage of the money they put in the collection plate has gone to settle cases, they’re staying. If some of our Anglican friends now feel this is the church for them, so be it.

JCF said...

Faith, for many, is more than just something they do on Sunday mornings. It is their life; you could no more pry them away from their religion than you could make a woman a man. Which is why people throughout the ages have DIED rather than give up that faith.

To say that this kind of exclusion differs is, therefore, disingenuous.

It's nothing BUT disingenuous, Amy. No one's trying to "pry [you] away from [your] religion." Give me a break! [And as a transgendered person I'm not even going to touch the latter part of your comparison]

No, the "prying" going on, is rather about POWER: trying to pry Popoid boots off my queer neck, for example, so I can marry (in MY country, in MY Episcopal Church, NOT your Popoid one!) the person of my choice.

You're a bigot, Amy (anyone who refers to "homosexual behavior", instead of the love between spouses who may be of the same sex, qualifies!).

Yet you want to retain the POWER to not have to hear that: "Poor little me, you're trying to pry away my religion! Boo hoo!"

Whine all you want: your DISTORTED perception of Reality (distorted for your oh-so-convenient SELF-INTEREST) isn't going to play in civil society for much longer.

Keep your Popoid church: I wouldn't dream of prying it away from you...

...but I will try praying it away: Loving&Liberating Lord Christ, comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable! Convert and conform ALL our hearts like unto Yours. Amen.

Rolin said...

And leave mine alone.

Thank you.

It is useful to know who really owns The Episcopal Church.

Br_er Rabbit


"Who really owns the Episcopal Church"

That's really what it comes down to, isn't it? Who has the power to decide who's in or out, who's ordained or not, who owns what property or not?

We've been a particular kinds of church for over 200 years now -- muddling along trying to balance our catholicity with our protestantism within the noble experiment of democratic polity for an episcopal church. If you don't want to be part of a church that governs itself that way -- lives out its faith that way -- understands the Holy Spirit to inspire in that way -- then there are plenty of other options. Rome is one of them. Go in peace.

AND ...

Quit trying to pretend you're "reasserting" a tradition that you're actually trying to revision into something neither Cranmer nor Seabury would recognize.

Amy said...

Yet you want to retain the POWER to not have to hear that: "Poor little me, you're trying to pry away my religion! Boo hoo!"

And you can tell me with a straight face that this ISN'T about the power, as you put it, to take away my views from "civil" society?

Give me a break. Please.

The mocking, immature tone of your comment says volumes about YOUR level of civility. It's always all about sex; not God. It's what makes the groin happiest that matters - be it same sex marriage today, polygamy tomorrow, or whatever new sexuality may spring up in the future that we have to respect because it'd be "uncivil" to do so.

By the by, way to spit in the face of every person with SSA who DOES try to live a chaste life. Your boot, as you put it, is on their necks because they don't put themselves before God.