Monday, June 21, 2010

An embracing, expansive catholicism

I have a confession to make - I check in regularly on EWTN, the very conservative Roman Catholic television network created by Mother Angelica. My most recent use of the remote caught a report that now an eleventh diocesan bishop has decided to withhold funds from the Campaign for Human Development. This is the arm of the US Roman Catholic Church that does so much good in combating poverty and injustice. Apparently they are involved in efforts that offend the conservative purists. For better or worse, I think immediately of the recent news that the Archbishops of Canterbury & York will be proposing a "scheme" (a wonderful British term) regarding the movement towards having bishops who are women in the Church of England. Their plan is described by one commentator as: "The Church of England definitely believes that women may be priests – and that they may not be. Hilarity ensues." read it here

As the Anglican communion seems to be in retreat from its historic comprehensiveness, as our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters seem to be sliding farther and farther from the hope of Vatican II, I give thanks for such groups as the Society of Catholic Priests (just about to form a New England chapter) and Affirming Catholicism, which recognize both the power and value of the deep tradition of our catholic faith as Anglicans - and the possibility of movement, change and renewal, precisely because of the fullness and breadth of that catholic faith.

Friday, June 18, 2010

God save our meetings

An admittedly quick reaction to Canon Kearon's (of the Anglican Communion Office) responses to questions from The Episcopal Church's Executive Council. One of his answers to the questions of how is it that The Episcopal Church has been removed or demoted from positions on a couple of Anglican Communion bodies included this: “The viability of our meetings are at stake".

The viability of our meetings are at stake.

As a priest of the Church, I am certainly familiar with meetings. Meetings are real, and (sometimes) important, and even places where the Gospel of Christ can be proclaimed, lived out and shared. And yet I cannot help but see this choice presented by Canon Kearon: the ongoing, institutionalized nicety of pleasant meetings - intra-Anglican and ecumenical - versus a faithful, prayerful desire to proclaim the amazing, challenging, even uncomfortable inclusiveness of the Good News of God in Christ. Our Patron Saint Paul writes to us this Sunday that in Christ, "there is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male and female".... (Galatians 3:28). The Episcopal Church has been faithfully exploring the consequences of Paul's first century proclamation for decades, now coming to an understanding that God's call to faithful Christian life - and ordained ministry - includes those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered.

The siren call of how it has always been, of how we have consistently understood things - of the viability of our important meetings - can be strong. May we be open instead to that Spirit that is even now leading us to St. Paul's magnificent vision.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels

Here is our Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, vested as the bishop she is. News has come from England that when she preached at Southwark Cathedral, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams decreed that she could not wear her mitre or carry a crozier. Words such as "petty", "belittling", "insulting" come to mind. On the way to posting something in response, I read this from Fr. Tobias Haller, BSG, who always has good things to say. You can read it for yourself, but key words surely include, "shivering collection of generally pasty male Brits". Read it all here.

Join us for Taize Prayer

Taize Prayer services offer a wonderful opportunity for gentle chant, silence and prayer, all in a setting of darkness, candles and icons. Join us for our next service of Taize prayer on Sunday, June 20, at 7:00 pm. A simple reception will follow.