Skip to comments.In Front of Their Faces
Posted on 11/24/2005 7:12:41 AM PST by sionnsar
From the Windsor Report:
Recent developments within the Diocese of New Westminster and the Episcopal Church (USA), which both took synodical action to authorise public Rites for the Blessing of same sex unions, are one of the presenting causes for the current tensions within the Anglican Communion, and thus it is part of the mandate of the Lambeth Commission to address this issue.
Without commenting on the constitutional propriety of steps that have been taken, we would want to observe that normally in the churches of the Communion there is not unqualified freedom on the part of any bishop or diocese to authorise liturgical texts if they are likely to be inconsistent with the norms of liturgical and doctrinal usage extant in the provinces Book of Common Prayer or other provincially authorised texts.
Within the Episcopal Church (USA), the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops concluded as late as March 2003, that
Because at this time we are nowhere near consensus in the Church regarding the blessing of homosexual relationships, we cannot recommend authorizing the development of new rites for such blessings. For these reasons, we urge the greatest caution as the Church continues to seek the mind of Christ in these matters.
but in August of that year, the 74th General Convention commended the development of public Rites of Blessing for same sex unions as being within the bounds of the Episcopal Church (USA)s common life (see , paragraphs 27 and 123) without formal theological justification or consultation in the Communion.
The clear and repeated statements of the Instruments of Unity have also been to advise against the development and approval of such rites. Whilst proponents of actions in the Diocese of New Westminster and the Episcopal Church (USA) may argue that such advice has only moral authority, we believe that it must be recognised that actions to move towards the authorisation of such rites in the face of opposition from the wider Anglican Communion constitutes a denial of the bonds of Communion. In order for these bonds to be properly acknowledged and addressed, the churches proposing to take action must be able, as a beginning, to demonstrate to the rest of the Communion why their proposal meets the criteria of scripture, tradition and reason. In order to be received as a legitimate development of the tradition, it must be possible to demonstrate how public Rites of Blessing for same sex unions would constitute growth in harmony with the apostolic tradition as it has been received.
Whilst there have been the beginnings of such demonstration, at present it would be true to say that very many people within the Communion fail to see how the authorisation of such a rite is compatible with the teaching of scripture, tradition and reason. In such circumstances, it should not be surprising that such developments are seen by some as surrendering to the spirit of the age rather than an authentic development of the gospel.
While we recognise that the Episcopal Church (USA) has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions, the decision to authorise rests with diocesan bishops. Because of the serious repercussions in the Communion, we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorised such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We recommend that provinces take responsibility for endeavouring to ensure commitment on the part of their bishops to the common life of the Communion on this matter.
We urge all provinces that are engaged in processes of discernment regarding the blessing of same sex unions to engage the Communion in continuing study of biblical and theological rationale for and against such unions. Such a process of study and reflection needs to include clarification regarding the distinction, if such exists, between same sex unions and same sex marriage. This call for continuing study does not imply approval of such proposals.
From the New York Times, November 20, 2005:
When informed of their sons decision to take up with Carl Stanley McGee, a lawyer from Alabama, the family of John Huston Finley IV, a Bostonian, was dismayed, but not about the fact he was in a serious relationship with another man.
"My parents were far more upset that Stan was a Hilary Clinton-supporting Democrat than they were about us," Mr. Finley said. "I remember them asking Stan a lot of coming out type questions: Maybe you didnt have a good Republican experience? Have you told your parents how you feel? "
They were introduced by a mutual friend nearly 10 years ago. "Our first date was at a monastery," said Mr. McGee, who is 36 and known as Stan, recalling their meeting at a service at the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Mass.
"Stan thought it was a very bizarre gay date, but we were both interested in theology," said Mr. Finley, now 35 and a candidate for ordination in the Episcopal Church. "When the monk came by with the holy water I saw Stan take what I assumed was a deep and profoundly pious bow. Later I realized it was because he was wearing a suede waistcoat which he didnt want to get stained."
Religion, the Constitution and confectionery ingredients notwithstanding, the day after their first date Mr. McGee sent Mr. Finley a dozen red roses; Mr. Finley sent Mr. McGee two dozen.
In time they were sharing an apartment in Boston and making plans to wed under Massachusetts law.
"Stan and John are deeply conservative and old fashioned and traditional in every way," said Jennifer Bradley, a college friend of Mr. McGees. So a civil marriage ceremony paired with a religious service was planned at the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, the Episcopal parish where Mr. Finleys family are longtime members.
On Nov. 12, their wedding day, the couple greeted guests in front of the church. Friends and family watched from candlelit pews as Mr. Finley and Mr. McGee walked down the aisle holding hands.
State Senator Jarrett T. Barrios, who received permission from the state to officiate, led the civil ceremony, pronouncing to thunderous applause that the couple were "fully and legally married." The Right Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, then presided over the Eucharist.
Is anyone honestly surprised at this? I suppose one could call Shaw on his open contempt for the rest of the Anglican world, as David Virtue does here, but what would be the point? Anyone who's been following this story for any length of time can write Shaw's reply for him. I just participated in a Eucharist, Shaw will say. Bishops do that. Gays are as entitled to the Eucharist as anyone else; it's called pastoral care. And I had nothing to do with the civil ceremony at all. So I did nothing that violated the Windsor Report.
The only remaining question is why the Anglican split hasn't happened already. Orthodox Anglicans all over the world know, or should, that the liberals aren't going to back down, that church teaching means nothing to them, that they hear only what they want to hear and that Canterbury can produce reams of reports for the next ten years which won't matter in the slightest. If it gets in their way, the left will happily treat whatever Lambeth sends them as so much toilet paper while prattling on about how much they love the Anglican tradition.
That's the only part of this story that still confuses me.
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