Tuesday, 30 January 2007

reactions to the adoption decision

The BBC interviewed Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on the radio this morning, see report (with link to audio): Cardinal warns of ‘new morality’.

Ekklesia has a news article on all this: Cardinal raises debate about church-government relations after adoption row and also this here.

Ekklesia has also published a comment article, Conscience and justice by Savi Hensman in which she analyses some of the implications of the Anglican archbishops’ recent letter.

The Telegraph has published an article claiming that Opt-out refusal ‘bans church from public life’.

Tom Wright’s rant to Ruth Gledhill (also summarised here) about the decision drew scorn from Jim Naughton who in a piece titled …or weird by Michael Jackson said:

…But being called arrogant by N. T. Wright, is like being called ugly by Jabba the Hutt.

This remark is a reference to an earlier critique of NTW which was titled N. T. Wright: Le Communion c’est moi.

And Savi Hensman has also sent an open letter to NTW which is reproduced below the fold.

Dear Bishop Tom,

I read with surprise your comments quoted in The Times today. I gather that you expressed indignation that the government has come up with ‘a new morality which it forces on the Catholic Church after 2,000 years’ and is seeking to ‘tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching’. While you and I would disagree on the theology of sexuality, surely this is not the issue.

The guiding principle for ordering adoption should be the best interests of the child. Roman Catholic adoption agencies already consider as adoptive parents people whose views and lifestyles are not in accord with its teachings, and rightly so. If, for instance, an atheist is able and willing to offer a loving home which is likely to meet the often extensive needs of a particular child, her offer may be taken up without any change in fundamental Church doctrines. As you know, providing appropriate care for a child who may have had a very difficult start in life is not easy, and few people are ready and able to do this successfully. If lesbian and gay couples can be added to the pool of potential adoptive parents, provided they pass through a rigorous selection process, this increases children’s chances of finding parents who can bond with them and provide nurture and security.

This is an open letter; please feel free to share it with anyone you wish.

With best wishes,

Savi Hensman
Vice-Chair
LGCM (Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 7:01pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion
Comments

I think the country would be infinitely better off if the church did withdraw from public life

I think its influence is anything but positive.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 11:57pm GMT

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor: "It does seem to me we are having a new norm for what marriage is, because I think normally children should be brought up by a father and a mother and I think that we hold that that is extremely important."

Surely an exaggeration? We are seeing the emergence of an expanded understanding of "family" but not a change in the central norm.

The Church does not want to be seen to subscribe to that expansion. Yet it seems that its adoption practices already subscribe to other once abhorred arrangements -- cohabiting couples, single gay parents, invalidly married couples, atheistic parents. If the church can accommodate these without prejudice to its central norm of marriage, it can accommodate gay couples as well. The perceived gravity of the latter case is due to the heavy battle waged on the gay front by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, who sees gay civil unions and adoptions as the legislation of evil.

Nonetheless, it does look as if the Govt is brusquely pushing people to act against their conscience, in an unwise and unnecessary precipitation. The implication seems to be that morality reduces simply to social welfare, on which the Govt is the expert. The euthanasia and eugenics programs of Nazism were forced on people in the same way, and we should constantly bear in mind the lessons of that episode.


Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 5:27am GMT

Dear Friends, Please pass this link on to those in Changing Attitudes who are concerned for the safety of Davis Mac-Iyalla and any other openly-Gay people in Nigeria:

An immigration judge in the U.S. has granted asylum to a Gay immigrant from Mexico facing persecution in that country. It is rare for Gay people to be granted asylum under U.S. law, no matter what level of persecution they may face. The Los Angeles Times reports:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-persecution31jan31,0,2513535.story?coll=la-home-headlines

I know that Davis has not sought asylum and may not want it, but it is good to keep up with legal developments elsewhere.

Thank you, Thinking Anglicans.

Posted by: Josh Thomas on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 5:32am GMT

Me thinks the Cardinal of Westminster (on direct orders from papa) is undoing everything that has been achieved from the Reform Bill onwards.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 7:09am GMT

I think the point at issue, which has been lost in the heat of the argument is that government money should not be made available to agencies which seek to discriminate. The government cannot validate discrimination by an agency against the wishes of parliament. Prejudice cannot be enforced with public money.
I can understand the arguments over the nature of moral objections but the law must protect the weak in society as well as the strong. Many brave people have struggled at huge personal cost to remove discrimination and ensure protection for minorities.
Jesus was on the side of the outcast and the unclean,his message challenges us at a very deep level. Yet the Catholic Church seems to betray the deeper values of its founder. Many people now consider the Catholic Church to be 'morally disordered' if not bankrupt. I was dismayed when the Anglicans joined in the unpleasantness. The CofE seems to be on self-destruct at the moment and many must be put off Christianity itself when it's public face is so mean.
After all, we are only talking of a small minority of a small minority of cases. There are bigger issues at stake in the world today and perhaps Mr Wright, the Durham area manager of the CofE, might like to turn his attention to the thousands dying in Iraq due to an illegal war.

Posted by: Tom Roberts on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 9:02am GMT

'Nonetheless, it does look as if the Govt is brusquely pushing people to act against their conscience, in an unwise and unnecessary precipitation. The implication seems to be that morality reduces simply to social welfare, on which the Govt is the expert. The euthanasia and eugenics programs of Nazism were forced on people in the same way, and we should constantly bear in mind the lessons of that episode.'

I can never forget the complicity of Pius X11 and the RC denomination in this. Pius failed the Jewish people in particular ignoring their please, and please on their behalf. But he and his donomination failed genrally in the face of Hitler and Nazism.

The Governement is not doing anything - brusquely
or otherwise against 'conscience'. Murphy-O'Connor's bullying, followed by histrionics is fooling no-one. Also, he lies when he speaks of the need, of course, for gay pople to be treated with respect and sensitivity. He was neither of these things when sacking his press officer for being gay. The RC denomination's offical pronouncements on lesbian and gay people show neither respect nor sensitivity. Joseph Ratzinger is a notoriousm anti-gay agitator.

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 11:14am GMT

Yes, Tom Roberts and I keep waiting for primates to converge on Darfur, saying, "You'll have to kill us first." Imagine the effect on that conflict if they did --or even one or two. Perthaps Rowan and Cormac .... At least do something useful. Something for the plight of the world, for God's sake .....

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 12:59pm GMT

NTW's 'rant':
Two questions:
Is this supposed to be an open-minded blog or a closed-minded one, where readers' minds are made up for them?
Where is your list of publications that enables you to be so dismissive of an international NT scholar?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 2:30pm GMT

I am as enamoured of 'international scholars' as Jesus seems to have been.

Jesus set a peasant child in their midst.

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 3:15pm GMT

Jim Naughton, "…But being called arrogant by N. T. Wright,..."

Pfffft! Sorry, that was the sound of me spitting my coffee all over my keyboard this morning in a fit of uncontrollable laughter! :D Good for you, Jim !

And Dr. Shell's comment about being "dismissive" of +Wright is a red herring. So what if he's a well-known, international NT scholar ? To assume that this makes him a public policy expert as well is an "honor by association" fallacy.

Posted by: David Huff on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 3:17pm GMT

"an international NT scholar"

An unintentional funny? (I have no doubt that, among all international scholars, NT Wright is THE expert on NT Wright! ;-D)

[As far as scholars of the Christian Scriptures go, I'd just as soon have one who does NOT read their 20th century Ick Factor prejudices *into* the texts.]

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 6:42pm GMT

The RC and Anglican churches are floating very dangerously towards attacking a political party en bloc because of a (no doubt) legitimate idsagreement - after all there is an obligation on the Government to listen and consider, but not to follow slavishly the diktat of a few ecclesiarchs.

Democratic governance has its own rythm, its own legitimacy, its own methods and its own checks and balances.

Its a paradoxical system that often leaves you enraged, but as Winston Churchill said - Its the worst possible system, apart from all of the others....

In a recent debate at Synod one member opined that democracy wasn't a biblical method of government so we can see why the bishop of Durham is having difficulties understanding it when he presumably barely believes in it.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 2:53am GMT

Laurence, Andrew Sullivan agrees with you, more or less, about the RC Church, but agrees with me, more or less, about the Government's intrusion on freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. "This dehumanization of gay people is a terrible stain on the Church, but that should be of no business of the government... If I were a member of parliament, I would vote against this bill."

However I would disagree with you both about the bona fides of the conscientious scruples of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor -- at least I can easily imagine that many Catholics would genuinely have such scruples. It is wrong to pressure them into immediate enlightenment, considering that the Govt itself has attained such enlightenment recently. These scruples may be retrograde, but they are not necessarily mere bigotry.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 7:42am GMT

The more I consider this flurry, the more I feel that liberal Anglicans should be pushing parliamentarians to vote against the present legislation. First, it is a question of freedom of conscience, something essential to the Christian faith. Second, if you gleefully rejoice to see the moral authority of your church discredited, you are cutting off the branch you sit on. The argument for a more comprehensive sexual and matrimonial ethics must be won within the church, not by being imposed by the state from outside.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 7:47am GMT

The Freedom to oppress, marginalise and disadvantage a minority of the population, whatever kind of freedom it is, it most certainly is not 'freedom of conscience'.

This foray of Roman Catholic leaders into the arena of child protection and public policy, is ill-advised, given this denomination's appalling record of the physical and sexual abuse of children in Ireland, the UK and US down many decades, and its condoning by RC bishops in these countries, including the then biship of Arundel & Brighton --one Cormac Murphy O'Connor.

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 9:20am GMT

"This dehumanization of gay people is a terrible stain on the Church, but that should be of no business of the government...' Andrew Sullivan

Joseph, Andrew is wrong.

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 9:22am GMT

Nonsense, Joseph

I do not believe that racists and homophobes should have the right to impose their 'conscience' and its products upon citizens

The moral authority of the church has been discredited by its homophobia, and it has shown itself to be entirely bereft of morality. The morte it is defeated and marginalised, the better - I think that society would now be far better without its malign influence. The Church must change, and tickling its bigoted tummy is not the way to do it. A good kicking is more appropriate.

This argument is not about what goes on inside the church.It must sort that out for itself. It is about the provision of services to the public.

Personally, I think the only answer is a split in the church and a new global movement based on ECUSA.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 10:32am GMT

Hi JCF-
How come the so-called 20th century ick factor prejudices are also found in documents of the 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21 centuries? A clear case of forgery.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 12:58pm GMT

"I can never forget the complicity of Pius X11 and the RC denomination in this."

Hmm, I don't know if the RCC were complicit in the euthanasia and eugenics programs of the Hitler regime, but if they were, would that not be an argument for extra vigilance against State usurpations in the field of moral authority -- as R Williams argues?

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 3:34am GMT

It most certainly is, dear Christopher!

;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:43am GMT

Fr Joseph O'Leary wrote: “These scruples may be retrograde, but they are not necessarily mere bigotry.”

Nor are they “innocent”. But even when “innocent” they are guilty, because they haven’t taken responsibility for being lied to.

“The argument for a more comprehensive sexual and matrimonial ethics must be won within the church, not by being imposed by the state from outside.”

Don’t forget your Hierarchy. And don’t blame others. It is you who should have done this. It is your responsibility. The State comes in because you haven’t acted.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 11:01am GMT

"How come the so-called 20th century ick factor prejudices are also found in documents of the 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21 centuries? A clear case of forgery."

A more serious answer this time:

The documents you claim are all Neo Platonist.

Apart from the post 11th century changes including late modern "translations", and the Byzantine redaction of (present) Romans (the eldes manuscript the p46 is not used), the holy scriptures of the Bible (always in the plural) were written b e f o r e the 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21 centuries.

Simple as that.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 11:05am GMT

Joseph they were complicit in the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Rome, and the deportations of the Jewish people from various European cities and towns to the death camps, in among other countries wonderful RC Poland, alas.

No it means bishops need to be more fighting for justice and protecting all minorites. Just as centuries of 'Christian' anti-semiticsim, including the Easterpogroms, paved the way for the Nazi Holocaust, so the writing, pronouncemnets and actions of high profile church leaders like Ratzinger, Williams and Murphy-O'Connor poison life for lgbt people in our societies. The homophobic bullying in our schools is fed from Rome and other cources of the poison.

'Queer bashers' misguided acts are fuelled by the climate of society and this is fed by the terrible denunciations from Rome & the Anglican communion, of our relationships, families, marriages and Civil partnerships.

Posted by: laurence on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 11:11am GMT

There's a fair bit of 'ick' factor about heterosexual sex (except for procreative purposes, where it's fine because you pay for your pleasure),, right through to the controversial decisions about artificial birth control in the middle of the last century. 'Recreational sex' within marriage was 'icky' for Augustine and many others.... What's sauce for the goose....

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:36pm GMT

"pronouncemnets and actions of high profile church leaders like Ratzinger, Williams and Murphy-O'Connor poison life for lgbt people in our societies."

Ratzinger has said that homosexual orientation is objectively disordered, homosexual acts always gravely immoral, civil unions and gay adoption are legislation of evil.

Williams has said the opposite of all this.


Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 10:12am GMT

Hi Goran-
Wow, it seems that everything claiming to be a Christian writing before 1900 was actually neoplatonist.
This is undoubtedly the majority scholarly view.
???
I was talking about commentaries, homilies etc not bible texts.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 1:52pm GMT

Everything in which you find your claims represented, Christopher.

That is few outside Academia ;=)

But yes, I most certainly include commentaries and (some) homilies, along with glosses, aditions and falsifications.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 10:20pm GMT
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