“The Burke critique is simple enough. Church teaching on questions like marriage’s indissolubility is supposed to be unchanging, and that’s what he’s upholding: “I haven’t changed. I’m still teaching the same things I always taught and they’re not my ideas.” What is unchanging certainly can’t be altered by an individual pontiff: “The pope is not […]
I was born in Arlington, TX and spent most of my childhood in and around the Fort Worth area. When I was in high school, my family moved to Chattanooga, TN. I then went on to UTK for my undergraduate degree. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life and ended […]
Kristen and I went to graduate school together, along with her husband Lawton. Their wedding–coming as it did at the end of many of our dissertation defences in 2016, was a delight and “the event of the season” for weary graduate students. She is also a Roman Catholic, and the wedding was, as I like to say, #straightouttairondale. (Which we had to explain to our fellow students from Iran and China and Ghana and…)
Earlier this year I posted Bossuet’s Elevations on Original Sin, and the last post in the series was on the horrors of idolatry. When I posted this, I thought: this is probably the lowest danger that Bossuet worried about, especially in the West. (We have idolatries of other kinds, but he was talking about the […]
It was the very day of our fall that God said to the serpent, our corrupter: I will put eternal enmity between you and the woman, between race and his; she will break your head. First, it is unbelievable that God intended to actually judge or punish the visible serpent, an unconscious animal: it is […]
Catholic keyboard warriors who “spend all day attacking and responding” on social media in the belief that they are “defending the integrity of Church teaching” have been sharply criticised by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.
For those of us who have been at this in the Anglican/Episcopal world, this sure sounds familiar. Before social media there was the blogosphere, with people such as Kendall Harmon, David Virtue, Standfirm (Greg Griffith/Matt Kennedy/Sarah Hey,) Alan Haley and so many others, including of course Mary “BabyBlue” Ailes, now of blessed memory. Since social media many of these have migrated there, but it’s been rough: Matt Kennedy got kicked off of Twitter by Jessica Yaniv, who just lost the waxing case. And I’m seeing a mini-resurgence in the blogosphere, given the uncertainties in social media.
We on the conservative side (and we outnumbered the liberals by a healthy margin) were criticised as divisive, hateful, mean, bigoted, homophobic…you get the idea. And we’re seeing the same thing said about Catholic social media/sites, which have got the Archbishop’s dander up.
But the real fear among the RCC’s own “reapprisers” (to use Kendall Harmon’s term) is that all of this intensely offensive stuff actually works. We wouldn’t have the ACNA, warts and all, if it weren’t for the internet and those who inhabited it. We wouldn’t probably have GAFCON either. In the 1970’s opponents of the changes taking place in the Episcopal Church were marginalized before they could get off the ground; Continuing Anglicanism was hardly a blip on 815’s radar screen, and the Charismatic Renewal ended up filling Pentecostal and Charismatic churches outside of the Anglican world.
With the Catholic Church’s more centralized structure, and the obsession of the Trads with the authority of Peter’s see, seeing a path to progress is more difficult. But one never knows. The Anglican Revolt was the great story of American Christianity in the last decade; who knows what might come this time. Perhaps the Amazonian idols won’t be the only things thrown into the Tiber.
“Maslow, like [St.] Benedict, believed that unless low level needs such as physiological and social needs were satisfied, workers could not be motivated to achieve organizational goals. Figure 1 shows the relationship of Maslow’s triangle and Benedict’s Rule.” – Quentin Skrabec
With the canonisation of Anglicanism’s most famous convert to Roman Catholicism, there’s been a dust-up about Newman’s sexual orientation, especially by the dreadful James Martin, SJ (whose own mendacity about his own celibacy helped get him into the Society of Jesus.)
A long time ago this site posted an academic paper by David Hilliard about homosexuality and Anglo-Catholicism. It is, IMHO, one of the most interesting monographs written on Anglicanism in general and this topic in particular. Some of his own take on the subject, long before the stink surrounding the canonisation, is here:
This homoerotic motivation was strongly hinted at in the 1890s by James Rigg, a Wesleyan historian of the Oxford Movement, who made much of the “characteristically feminine” mind and temperament of Newman and the lack of virility of most of his disciples. The idea was developed and popularised by Geoffrey Faber in his classic Oxford Apostles (1933). His portrait of Newman as a sublimated homosexual (though the word itself was not used) has since been a source of embarrassment to those biographers and theologians who seek to present him as a “Saint for Our Time.”
Faber’s argument was brilliant but open to attack. Meriol Trevor, in her two-volume biography of Newman, undermined some of his illustrations, as when she pointed out, for example, that Wilfred Ward had given no source for the often-quoted statement that Newman lay all night on Ambrose St. John’s bed after the death of his inseparable friend, and that in view of other known events of that night the incident could hardly have occurred. Of the intensity of their relationship, however, there can be no doubt. On his death in 1890 Newman was buried at his own wish in the same grave as St. John.
I would suggest that my readers download and digest the entire paper; it’s worth the time. Hilliard points out something else that people like Martin (and probably Francis himself) conveniently ignore:
Until the late nineteenth century homosexuality was socially defined in terms of certain forbidden sexual acts, such as “buggery” or “sodomy. Homosexual behaviour was regarded as a product of male lust, potential in anyone unless it was severely condemned and punished. In England homosexuality had been covered by the criminal law since 1533 when the state took over the responsibility for dealing with the offence from the ecclesiastical courts. The last executions for buggery took place in the 1830s, but it was not until 1861 that the death penalty was abolished. In the 1880s and 1890s—at the same time that the word homosexuality entered the English language, largely through the work of Havelock Ellis—social attitudes towards homosexuality underwent a major change. From being defined in terms of sinful behaviour, homosexuality came to be regarded as a characteristic of a particular type of person. Because homosexuality was seen as a condition, homosexuals were therefore a species, which it became the object of the social sciences to explore and explain. The principal vehicles of this redefinition were legal and medical. Homosexual behaviour became subject to increased legal penalties, notably by the Labouchère Amendment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. which extended the law to cover all male homosexual acts, whether committed in public or private. This in turn led to a series of sensational scandals, culminating in the three trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895. The harsher legal sanctions were accompanied over a longer period by an important change in the
conceptualisation of homosexuality: the emergence of the idea that homosexuality was a disease or sickness which required treatment. The various reasons for this change in definition are beyond the scope of this essay. The result, however, was that the late nineteenth century saw homosexuality acquire new labelling, in the context of a social climate that was more hostile than before. The tightening of the law and the widespread acceptance by opinion-makers of the “medical model” of homosexuality produced conditions within which men with homosexual feelings began to develop a conscious collective identity.
This transformation is why we have an LGBT “community” today, and that it’s a part of a person’s identity.
Another interesting passage from Trevor Gervase Jalland’s The Church and the Papacy:
It is, of course,unnecessary to point out that the Roman Catholic Communion as it is to-day, and possibly as it has been from the beginning, is bound up with the belief that the Roman see, as the see of St. Peter the Apostle and of his successors, exists de iure divino. Do these words mean then that ‘ultimately’ some belief in the divine origin of the Papacy must be accepted by all, if such a scheme of Reunion is to become practicable as may be held to be in accordance with the will of God ? Conceivably not. Yet what is the alternative ? Apparently the idea that when the ‘great Latin Church of the West’ has ‘ultimately’ rid itself of the incubus of papal authority, it will become a suitable partner in a co-operative society of Christians. Perhaps we can only suppose that the real implications of this remarkable statement have never been fully thought out. Yet never has the need for such consideration been greater than at the present time. Not only is Christianity in many countries faced with active hostility, if not with actual persecution, but surely it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that at the present moment its very principles are at stake. Can we afford therefore to neglect any longer the paramount need for a united Christian front against that alliance of the forces of secularism which unhappily finds its supporters not only on the side of our most determined political enemies, but even among those whom we count our staunchest and most loyal friends? Dare we neglect to explore afresh the differences which exist between Christians, particularly those which divide the ‘historic churches’ of Christendom?
It’s amazing that the statement in italics (emphasis mine) came from 1942, given the concept these days that Christianity has never been persecuted as much as it is today. At that time the faith’s main antagonists were Stalin and Hitler, although Catholicism in particular has gone through nasty attacks in places such as France, Mexico and Spain.
It’s also interesting to hear him say that, for the church, “at the present moment its very principles are at stake.” The difference between then and now is that now the leadership of the historical churches have sold the pass the way they have, although such has been predictable for a long time.
The desire for unity in Christianity is something Our Lord expressed before he went to the Cross. The problem always has been putting the unity and the principles together. The way things are going, I think it’s more important to find the unity with those who hold to the principles rather than waiting for those who formally hold the “seat of honour” to come around.
An intriguing (and sensible) suggestion from Trevor Gervase Jalland’s The Church and the Papacy:
Though there are, as we believe, adequate grounds for rejecting the view that Clement formally identifies episcopi with presbyters, yet in the face of this evidence it appears equally impossible to deny that he refers to the episcopate in a way that suggests that it was held by more than one person in a single community. It may be pointed out further that we are bound to infer from Clement’s description that the function of the episcopate at this time was purely and solely liturgical. Thus it may well be that his frequent use of liturgical language, to which commentators on this document repeatedly call attention, is due to his deep sense of the outrage which has been committed by unjustly depriving ministers of the liturgy of their peculiar office.
If it be asked how this plurality of the episcopate arose, it is impossible to offer more than conjecture in reply. It is probable from the evidence in Acts, I Corinthians and Romans that the primitive basis of Christian liturgical organization was the ‘house church’, such as that of Prisca at Rome. It is equally probable on the same evidence that in large centres of population such as Rome and Corinth, more than one such ‘house church’ would be acquired at an early date by rapidly expanding community. Now when an Apostle was present, to him would properly belong the privilege of ‘Breaking Bread’, as in Acts XIX. But to whom would it be assigned in the Apostle’s absence? The natural inference from Clement, who evidently refers to established and recognized custom, is that it would be given to an episcopus, and thus a plurality of house churches would at first naturally lead to a plurality of episcopi. (p. 80)
Jalland goes on to describe how this polyepiscopate morphed into the “monoepiscopate” normative in Anglicanism (well, sort of,) Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. But his concept solves many of the problems in sorting out the leadership offices described in the New Testament and shortly afterwards.
What Jalland is describing is what has come back as a kind of cell group system. And, when I read this, I said to myself, “Score one for those in the Church of God who wanted to call the highest ministerial rank ‘bishop’ and not just those who supervise a region.”
Jalland also assumes that these bishops had liturgical duties from the beginning, and the whole idea of liturgical worship in the New Testament church is a complete freak-out for much of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity.