Alex Blaze

Anglicans: There is no middle ground

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 10, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Anglican Church, Catholic church, ordination of women

Five Anglican bishops in the UK converted to Catholicism, citing the ordination of women and gay bishops in the US as the reason. But they say it's bigger than that:

archbishop of canterbury(3).jpgBurnham, who, like the other bishops converting to the Catholic Church, is married, told the BBC their decision went beyond the issue of female bishops.

"It's bigger than that," he said. "It's the question of whether the Anglican Church is, as it says it is, part of the universal church going back to the time of Jesus, or whether it is going off in its own way and making up its own rules. And we think it's going off in its own way ... and we therefore need to belong to the older body."

He expects other Anglicans will also convert to Catholicism, though at least initially not in large numbers. "I don't think there'll be flood ... so much is at stake, people losing their homes, their livelihoods, their pensions ... inevitably the first wave will be quite small."

Those theological questions are left to each Christian, I suppose. It's interesting that these Anglican bishops are married and the Catholic Church will look the other way on that, but being a woman or gay is a step too far. Everyone has their own interpretation, of course.

This shows that there is no middle ground on these issues. For a few years now the Archbishop of Canterbury has been trying to be the Third Way between the more homophobic Anglican churches in Africa and Europe and the far more liberal Episcopalians in the US. The idea is that everyone can be part of the same communion even if they don't agree on every detail.

These aren't details, though. The ordination of women and gays goes to fundamental questions of how we organize ourselves as a society and what we see as the purpose of human relationships. Are our relationships about filling certain roles and doing certain kinds of work, bringing stability into people's lives? Or are they about making us fulfilled and happy, bringing freedom into people's lives?

That's an oversimplification, of course, with disgust and ignorance and selfishness all coming into play as well, but these questions are at the heart of the matter and they can't just be brushed aside. People have fundamentally different views on gay and women in the clergy and it's not like a division on an obscure theological question. It's about power.

Cultural views on these questions are changing in the US and Europe, but that doesn't mean that these two churches, as a whole, will keep up.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

The "stability" promoted by conservative Christian straight males is inevitably tied to the oppression of anyone who is not willing to pretend to be a conservative Christian straight male. I'd love to see these jerks swallow their own hypocrisy by promoting stability by designing rules that oppress themselves.

Remind me again why any woman in their right mind would marry such a man. Or why so many gay men and transwomen are willing to sleep around with them.

It is part of the big religious "divide" we have discussed earlier and it is part "marketing."

Denominations are splitting into two main groups: those that insist the Bible is the literal word of god and those that see the Bible as spiritual guidance. It could also be defined as liberal versus conservative.

When this is complete, the "literalists" we'll make up about one-third of all self-described "religious" people or a minority. Maybe then they'll begin to appreciate what that feels like.

Great news. Keep is coming.

Just for my jollies--who is the guy in the church-gear in the pic?

I hereby declare a fashion emergency. I'm betting this is one of the clowns who wants to limit his altar to straight folks.

Geeeesh. Does he own a mirror? I'm pretty sure I've seen dozens of his church muckity-muck brethern on NHalstead Oct.31. All looking quite lovely.

What I am about to say will likely draw fire from some, but here goes. Churches cannot be your conduit to God. You have to make your own relationship with God, and that does not require a priest to do so. In point of fact the Bible says there is only one way. Jesus Christ actually condemn the church establishment particularly when they tend to resemble businesses more than houses of worship and laid rules upon people that they did not even observe themselves. As far as the Catholic doctrine that they are a higher authority than the Bible, and that they are the one true church, I see little to support their claims. In point of fact I seen so many errors in their beliefs, even being somewhat raised in the Catholic church, I could no longer go there. If you want fix your spiritual life, try reading the Bible yourself, then decide for yourself if some old bunch of guys living together in Rome should be telling you how you should live a good life.

You won't draw fire from me. In fact, you've gone beyond me, but sure let's close all the churches. Turn them into something useful like community centers to help the less fortunate.

I did not say close the churches. I just said the reliance upon someone else like a priest to make your spiritual life right is not going to get the job done. I attend church about every Sunday myself but I do not rely upon that church to dictate to me how I need to live or how I treat others. While most Christians tend to be decent people some that attend churches are in the worst need to be there of anyone. There are some who use what they know of the Bible to beat down others, and miss the entire message there. Sadly these types poison many from even the thought of learning what the Bible says. One thing that is for sure about the Catholic Church, like anyone else who prevailed in history, they tend to bend that history to their needs even if it is not always the truth. They decide what their version of the truth is, and use their power and influence to make others conform to their views. That among other reasons is why I do not attend a Catholic Church.

Okay, I'll take credit for the "close the churches" idea.

I'm curious. If you don't need churches or priests, why do you go? What kind of church?

There are needs and wants AndrewW. I consider my attendance to services on Sunday a want. I however can maintain my relationship with God without ever leaving the house. Indeed some of the times I have felt the closest to God was on clear star filled nights without another human being around. I am an ordained minister myself which really just gives me the right to preside when people wish to marry and bury. I do not nor would I ever say that I had the exclusive ear of God.

I forgot to mention, I attend "The First Congregational Church/United Church of Christ in Gaylord, Michigan". I am ordained by way of the Universal Life Church.

I'm not sure why I'm commenting on this since I have no relegion (oh, yeah...and don't want any!). I'd have to say that the majority of the world's woes throughout history, i.e., man vs. man, have been caused by the replacement of human spirituality with religious dogma--of of which has at its core a strong belief in in-groups vs. out-groups, e.g., the "true believers" will get some reward and others will be punished. Religious dogma is primitive thinking. People who buy into it either are stupid (unlikely for most) or terribly fearful and incorporate this irrational set of beliefs that their own "thinking brains" would reject as ridiculous making them live in some type of strange dissociative state, e.g., "multiple personalities." In my world, Church = Evil. They success of the church comes only from undermining what I believe to the the basic human good of almost all people, i.e., spirituality. It's been the cause tragedies throughout history and continues unabated today.

Rick: I believe the photo is of (catches breath)The Most Revd. and Right Hon. the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, aka Dr. Rowan Williams. or, more simply, His Grace. Though his wife would probably never utter(publicly) "Say goodnight, Gracie." So his epicopal drag is much more elaborate than what you'd see on those absconding Bishops.

I recall articles from a few years ago detailing the rate at which many American evangelicals, including entire congregations, were converting to the Orthodox faith. So will we see some Anglicans taking that route, back to what many consider a purer variety of Christianity than the Roman brand?
I doubt that there's be much willingness to give dispensations for married bishops, though. Priests can marry, celibacy is the cost of upward mobility.