Friday, 24 July 2009

‘untainted’ bread?

Not only is the Church of England responding to the swine flu epidemic by denying the chalice to its congregations, now Blackburn Cathedral is reported to be providing ‘untainted bread’. Read on…

Ruth Gledhill in The Times reports that Worshippers who oppose women priests receive ‘untainted’ bread.

Worshippers at a Church of England cathedral are being offered a two-track Communion service with a separate supply of “untainted” Communion bread for those who object to its being consecrated by a woman priest.

A special container, for the hosts — unleavened bread representing the body of Christ — which have been previously consecrated by a male priest, is brought out during Sunday morning services at Blackburn Cathedral if a woman priest is presiding.

The special arrangements, which have been condemned by supporters of women priests, were introduced because of the recent installation of Dr Sue Penfold as one of three residentiary canons. Even though she is legitimately ordained and employed, it means that when she is celebrating the eucharist those who dispute the validity of her orders can make sure they receive “untainted” sacrament consecrated earlier by a man…

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Comments

I am in a C Parish and find this insensitive and ludicrous. I would not attend as I would feel disrespectful towards the woman and confused as regards the liturgy.

How could I accept a presider in all but sacrament. Would it therefore be ok to let a layperson say the Eucharistic prayer before wheeling out the RS...I hardly think so.

Not doing anything for me- this is the sort of messy fudge that comes from trying to please all the people all the time.

For goodness sake just give us our dioceses and all this pain and nonsense can be avoided!!

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Friday, 24 July 2009 at 11:30pm BST

And I thought I was taught that a sacrament was "an outward and visible sign of an inner and spiritual grace."

I must have misunderstood.

Posted by: Neel Smith on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 12:08am BST

This is nonsense. First: those who do not accept the validity of her orders would not see that which she has consecrated as "tainted" simply "unconsecrated".

Secondly, if one did not accept the validity of her orders, one would not want to participate in a liturgy which would itself be invalid.

The only sensible course of action would be to worship elsewhere!

Posted by: David Malloch on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 12:13am BST

I'm stunned. If they want "untainted" bread, let them go off to Rome. I like what I recently heard - we ordain women because we baptize girls. Get over yourselves C of E traditionalists. You are an embarrassment to the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Ronald A Fox, BSG on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 1:32am BST

I'm wondering if Ruth has the story quite right. As Ed points out, it wouldn't make any sense for someone to attend a Mass celebrated by someone they didn't think was a priest. Maybe the male-consecrated reserved Sacrament isn't there just for her Masses, but in general, so that someone receiving it in an emergency wouldn't have to worry about who the consecrator was.

It's still offensive. but I think that scenario makes slightly more sense than the one where people are regular attendants at what they consider to be an invalid Eucharist.

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 2:00am BST

Doesn't this practice contravene the 39 Articles?

Still I guess the congregation can work it out for themselves. Can you imagine the shame in going up for a special 'no ordination of women' queue? 'Hi, we've got two options today: you can have a stale male-only wafer, or a fresh woman-power host. Oh, you want a stale male-only gluten free untincted wafer? Give me five minutes ... we're here to serve your every need, not to challenge you!'

Posted by: MrsBarlow on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 2:44am BST

Ah yes....reminds me of American Apartheid and segregated water fountains when I was growing up in Mississippi. That experiment didn't work very well either. Time to grow up folks.

Posted by: Terry Pannell on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 2:46am BST

The only taint I can detect is on the soul of whatever idiot thought this up.

Posted by: ruidh on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 3:03am BST

Oh for pity's sake! What claptrap. Girl cooties? What utter piffle. Do they take extra measures if/when she has her period? Might she not then sour the wine? Beware of Bad Female Magic!
Sheesh!

I wish I did HAVE female magic.

If I did, some people would imagine they were being bitten to death by bed bugs.

But God, She is merciful, and does not grant such powers to me.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 4:18am BST

There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England, and this is in direct contradiction of the 39 Articles.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 7:50am BST

Why would any woman agree to celebrate the Eucharist in this situation? I certainly wouldn't.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 8:28am BST

Well, these anomalies in practice are not unusual. There is a precedence for Blackburn's decision in London, but this avoidance of 'pollution' is a sad form of 'apartheid'. In one area priests from a Forward in Faith parish refuse to accept Holy Communion from male colleagues who have allowed women priests to celebrate Holy Communion in their churches. Perhaps priests who collaborate with women priests should start wearing 'yellow arm bands' to distinguish them? 'Proper male ordination by a male hands-on bishop does not declare itself in quite the same way as skin colour did in S. Africa.

Posted by: UnaKroll on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 8:41am BST

It is liturgical and theological nonsense. You cannot have bread from the reserved sacrament and bread consecrated at that service being consumed at one and the same time. One RS bread belongs to an earlier service, in which the communicants are joining, and the newly consecrated bread belongs to the current service. No, in a Cathedral, you tell the worshippers when the woman priest will be presiding and if they want to avoid her, they do.

Posted by: RosemaryHannah on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 9:03am BST

This beggars belief.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 9:09am BST

The taking of consecrated bread and wine from a communion service to someone who is not able to be present is permitted in two cases.

The first is to provide communion for the sick.

The second is Communion by Extension, which does not seem to be applicable in this particular case - there are plenty of services of Holy Communion in a Cathedral.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 9:27am BST

I had to laugh at the first post which said:
'I would not attend as I would feel disrespectful towards the woman and confused as regards the liturgy.'

and then went on to say:

'For goodness sake just give us our dioceses and all this pain and nonsense can be avoided!!'

as if a separate diocese, which had no geographical boundaries and only existed to demean women, was not confused about both liturgy and Church Order.

Blackburn Cathedral, although it is a disgrace, is not more of disgrace than any Church of England church which discriminates against priests simply on the basis of their gender.

Posted by: toby forward on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 9:30am BST

Well, I'm in favour of it. Anything that enables supporters and opponents of WO to attend the same Eucharist is a good thing. Similar things sometimes happen when C of E people and RCs attend the same Eucharist (at Iona, for example): two separate priests and two separate queues.

On a similar note, I recall an occasion in our church when a woman priest was one of the servers and chalice-bearers but did not consecrate. Our Fif people took communion. I don't suppose they felt happy but they did it. Similarly, I will take communion from Fif priests, RC priests and Orthodox priests (all of whom I regard as in this respect benighted).

This is not a big deal. Let's not be precious about it.

Posted by: john on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 10:11am BST

John

The separate queues etc function because people (or people who respect the disciplines of their churches) are formally out of communion with each other, but are expressing their desire to be closer.

Blackburn is people who are supposedly in communion with each other apparently expressing the desire to be separate, which is quite a different thing.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 10:50am BST

"There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England, and this is in direct contradiction of the 39 Articles."

Robert, it really is tiresome, this need for an RC convert to interpret Anglicanism to Anglicans.

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 11:16am BST

Surely the BCP teaches that the bread becomes 'consecrated' when we eat it, in or with faith -so no need to worry overmuch about the minister's gender.

Alternative : receive from both ciboria ! Yes, I like that.

Maybe if a large number of folk did it might make all the difference. Wearing a red nose or something similar might 'say' "this is God's carnival, God's party -- so let's party !". (Rather than all dour and doom laden about it all.

I must say the woman presider is very generous and tolerant --maybe it will be reciprocated ....

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 12:40pm BST

Mark,

I'm aware of this. But 'your' solution would have them in separate buildings, at separate services. Worse, surely?

Posted by: john on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 2:45pm BST

Indeed!`We are not living in 1570-the Church of England is bound by the canons and diocesan regulations in force now.I simply can't understand why a Roman Catholic convert remains so obsessed by anglicanism especially as his comments are rarely positive.I thought we lived in more charitable and ecumenical times.

Posted by: perry butler on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 4:13pm BST

This is an outrage!

Posted by: Kurt on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 4:22pm BST

"Surely the BCP teaches that the bread becomes 'consecrated' when we eat it, in or with faith..."

Huh?

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 5:13pm BST

John

I don't know where you think you get 'my' 'solution' from, or what you imagine it to be. And your rhetoric seems overstated.

There is more than one Church of England church building in Blackburn in which people gather to celebrate the Eucharist on a Sunday morning, and there are apparently three separate communion services in the Cathedral every Sunday (I looked at the website). People at separate services in different buildings, or in the same building, is quite normal.

We have a Roman Catholic mass in our building on a Sunday, followed by a joint CofE/Methodist service - we'd like to be together, but we can't be.

But to have at a communion service an action which suggests that it is not a communion service does not make sense to me. Are the absolution and blessing 'valid'? Are people receiving without believing they are properly absolved?

There are other alternatives.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 6:09pm BST

RIW "There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England".

But there isn't!! At least, you can't POSSIBLY think there is, judging by your other comments (eg the one about someone or other presiding at what he THOUGHT was Benediction). All we have is a piece of ice cream cone prayed over by a doubtfully baptised layperson... ;-) That some of us keep it in a locked cupboard, say our prayers in fron t of it, etc etc must keep you giggling into your breviary long into the night....

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 7:36pm BST

Rev. L Roberts, you wrote, ""Surely the BCP teaches that the bread becomes 'consecrated' when we eat it, in or with faith..."

and I responded, "Huh?"

I'm sorry if that came across as rude. After poking around teh interwebs with google I am informed that this is a version of Eucharistic teaching called receptionism, and that it is considered to be with the bounds of Anglican Eucharistic theology. It is also something that I have never, ever heard any bishop, priest, deacon, or lay person on this side of the Atlantic espouse. It is really very common in Britain?

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 7:38pm BST

Mark,

'There are other alternatives.'

Of course (again). But they are worse.

Posted by: john on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 7:49pm BST

"A special container, for the hosts — unleavened bread representing the body of Christ — which have been previously consecrated by a male priest, is brought out during Sunday morning services at Blackburn Cathedral if a woman priest is presiding." - Ruth Gledhill/The Times -

What on earth is going on here in the C. of E.?
If this sort of behaviour is allowed by the Dean of an English Cathedral (under whose authority the sacraments are celebrated therein) I'm glad I'm due to return to New Zealand, where, whatever else we may do that is different from the rest of the Churches in the Communion, we have the nous to recognise that Holy Orders are indelible, and validly bestowed upon both women and men by no less a personage than the Holy Spirit of God.

For the Mother Church of any diocese to allow this sort of discriminatory practice, where the gender of the consecrating priest is perceived as influencing the separate distribution of the Blessed Sacrament in a different way to different sections of the congregation in the one service, this seems to bear scant reference to the mind of Christ when he initiated the reconciling grace of Holy Communion.

This does not seem to be very Anglican!!!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 11:01pm BST

No problem, BillyD, thanks.

You are right -receptionism. It would solve the Blackburn dilemma neartly, but if people cherish a different idea, then that is that. I am not sure how widespread it is-- fairly protestant notion, I'd have thought

Receptionist thinking comes out in BCP pasages like, "Take and eat this, take and this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and be thankful". These words are rather beautiful.Or am I being too subjective? (Can a receptionist be too subjective I wonder?!). I do realize BCP thinking has largely been superceded, as people's ideas have moved on.The beuaty of receptionist approaches is that they also go well with Honest to God, Death of God, Sea of Faith and non-realistic approaches to faith. So quite handy!

Rev. L Roberts, you wrote, ""Surely the BCP teaches that the bread becomes 'consecrated' when we eat it, in or with faith..."

and I responded, "Huh?"

I'm sorry if that came across as rude. After poking around teh interwebs with google I am informed that this is a version of Eucharistic teaching called receptionism, and that it is considered to be with the bounds of Anglican Eucharistic theology. It is also something that I have never, ever heard any bishop, priest, deacon, or lay person on this side of the Atlantic espouse. It is really very common in Britain?

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 7:38pm BST

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Sunday, 26 July 2009 at 1:25am BST

"Un(girl-)tainted Hosts"

Behold: EXACTLY the point at which the Sacrament becomes just another idol. Feh!

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 26 July 2009 at 6:20am BST

I remember an ordinand spending a few days in (semi) retreat in a monastery where they made hosts. He persuaded the monk responsible for the job to allow him to put some blue dye into a small batch of them He gleefully brought them back and said he would use them to show Our Lady co-present in the Blessed Sacrament. It was, of course, a joke. In bad taste, perhaps, but a joke anyway.
Tom Lehrer gave up performing his satire when Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, because he said there was nowhere for a satirist to go after that - nothing else could be so impossible.
Well, for me, recent events in the Church at large have been much the same. Blackburn Cathedral's wheeze is about as bad as it can get in these dreadful times. Part of the Church of England's death wish.

Posted by: toby forward on Sunday, 26 July 2009 at 10:00am BST

Remember the dreadful FIF card ..if in danger of death I want a male priest.

What if it is a male priest ordained by a woman bishop?

This is proof that the Church of England cannot allow a third province or another quasi- apartheid system to institutionalise this system.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 26 July 2009 at 9:59pm BST

"Worshipers at a Church of England cathedral are being offered a two-track Communion service with a separate supply of “untainted” Communion bread for those who object to its being consecrated by a woman priest."

Wasn't this hashed out 1600 years ago when Augustine got the best of the debate (and conflict) with the Donatists? The efficacy of the sacraments don't depend upon the sanctity (or anyone's opinions of the sanctity) of the priest. Or am I missing something?

Posted by: Peter of Westminster on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 4:52am BST

Peter of Westminster

Although I find the idea of untained bread absolutely appalling, I don't think the Donatist position applies here.

People are not concerned about the worthiness or sanctity of the priest but about whether the person consecrating the sacrament is a priest at all.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 9:14am BST

yes Peter of Westminster you ARE missing something. The efficacy of the sacrament is not dependent on the sanctity of the priest...but if someone isnt actually a priest then that negates the argument and point altogether.

We who are unable to accept the ordination of women do not object becuase they are women (as is SO OFTEN presumed and WOULD be sexist) but becuase we do not think thy are priests (which is theological and based on the fact we believe the decision to contradict scripture and tradition and the practice of the universal church)

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 9:19am BST

Ed:

But the reason you don't think they are priests is precisely because you don't think WOMEN can be priests.

Oh, and can you show me anything in scripture--especially the Gospels--that says specifically that women can't be priests? I'll accept tradition and practice...but until 500 years ago tradition and practice was that all our services were said in Latin. We changed that one, why not this one?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 11:24am BST

"There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England, and this is in direct contradiction of the 39 Articles."

But then you'd lose something to sneer at! The self sacrifice is admirable, but unnecessary. I rather enjoy the sneering, actually, it's so, well, pinch-faced. We have a saying, (don't we always?)but it wouldn't translate here.

"Why would any woman agree to celebrate the Eucharist in this situation? I certainly wouldn't."

Humility? Respect for the feelings of others? Desiring not to put a stumbling block in the way of those of weaker faith? Realization that it isn't all about her? Understanding that offence is hers to take, not theirs to give? Or that putting one'sself after others is a pretty basic thing, especially for clergy? I think the cathedral's actions are abominable, out and out wrong theologically, and I wouldn't receive there as a result, but seriously.

"The beuaty of receptionist approaches is that they also go well with Honest to God, Death of God, Sea of Faith and to faith."

First of all, the BCP says that we "receive" Christ by eating with faith, not that the consecration happens at that point. Second, why should its acceptibility to Sea of Faith and those others be a reason to accept it? And what about a more traditional approach doesn't fit with "non-realistic approaches"? Third, it is not without theological and historical difficulty. We know it was not the belief of the early Church who brought the sacrament to those who could not attend, and who took it home to begin every day with communion. As well, it is disturbingly close to modalism. It sees the sacrament as defined not by what it IS but by what it DOES. This is a dangerous path down which to go. God is defined by what He is, which is one of my huge issues with "Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer" language, and we, as well, are valued by what we ARE, children of God, not by what we DO. Same with the sacrament, which is, among many other things, an outward example of how the Transformative power of God changes the simple things of Creation into miraculous things, bestowing Grace. It is valuable because of what it IS. To make it of value only when we eat it is to imply that it is of value only when it does something, and that idea can be extended out to us. It could even go so far as to be extended to concepts of works based salvation. Sorry, but receptionism is an error of the Reformation, as far as I'm concerned. Your milage, of course, may vary, but that's why we're Anglicans. If we agreed on something, we'd have to have a synod to rectify the situation!


Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 1:43pm BST

No wonder the Master of Choristers wants out at Blackburn.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 3:22pm BST

Certainly, a biblical and traditional argument explaining why I cannot accept the validity of women priests, not on gender grounds but sacramental ones may be found here:

http://sbarnabas.com/blog/theological-objections-to-womens-ordination/

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 3:45pm BST

Ed:

Hate to have to say this, but the "theology" in that citation pretty much boils down to "we've always done it this way...."

It rejects--quite explicitly--the idea that the Spirit might be speaking to us today, showing us a new way to interpret the Scriptures in light of newer human knowledge (reason being as important as tradition in Anglican theology). It takes cultural activities of two milennia past and makes them into immutable law. (Of course the apostles couldn't imagine making a woman one of their number. They were all Jews, from a culture where women were kept separate from men in the synagogue and where no woman could even enter the inner courts of the Temple!)

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 7:19pm BST

I once felt as you do, and I understand the pain involved, and the theological issues, being an Anglocatholic myself. But allow me to point out SOME of the flaws in the piece you post:

"Gender is seen as largely irrelevant in choice of partner, job suitability or vocation."

Nonsense. As a gay man, I can tell you gender certainly plays a role in my choice of partner:-) Please, excuse the flippancy.

"Traditional Christianity, with its emphasis on the family"

What emphasis? Christ certainly seems to have been less than inspired by the family, and Paul certainly sees marriage as nothing more than a sop to those heteros who can't control their lusts. Not exactly high views!

"most people approach the issue of ‘women priests’ understanding only the societal view of gender."

A misrepresentation. Not an obvious one I grant you, and there are many who argue for OOW from a point of view of the spurious "right" to be a priest, all the same.

"To endorse women priests we must assume the council of Nicaea gave wrongful teaching on matters of holy orders. Yet they certainly got things right in the Creed."

Councils may err.

"Christ cannot be ‘sacramentally’ represented by a woman because Christ’s ‘maleness’ is not incidental- its revelatory."

How so? I have been fascinated by this, since it seems to me that it is precisely His humanity that is salvific. He took upon Himself our humanity so that fallen humanity could be reunited with God. To suggest his maleness is important is, to me, to suggest that only males are redeemed.

"revelation of a ‘male God’"

Yet our Orthodox brethren, not friends of OOW, reject the concept of a "male God", He is, for them and I agree with them, beyond gender, neither male nor female nor a union of the two. His choice of mainly, not exclusively, masculine imagery does not imply that we worship a male God, at least not for our Eastern brothers.

"Alas a female priest confuses this image of ‘Christ and bride’ at a subtle yet profound level."

How a female standing at the altar confuses the issue of the marital imagery for Christ and the Curch is beyond. Surely a male priest is far more confusing. This has come up before, and I confess I cannot understand the logic behind it.

"All arguments in favour of women priests return to the Secular argument for ‘inclusivity’"

Simply not true.

"God does not do U-turns."

Maybe not, but the Church does. One could also argue that Christ's teachings concerning the Law represent a noticable Divine U-turn as but one example of the phenomenon.

"Only when Rome and Constantinople agree - can we possibly proclaim the ordination of women as a decision from God."

And what about all the other things we do that Rome and Constantinople disagree on? Should we not do those either?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 7:44pm BST

"the apostles couldn't imagine making a woman one of their number."

But this is very much the point: there is a school of thought that women, especially Magdalene, had a great deal of position in the Early Church and that this was taken away by a male hierarchy. So what are we to believe? What are we to base our understandings on? The political stance of people whose terror of change makes them need the Church to be rigid and static, because any change is to risk damnation? The political stance of people who need to see oppression they can fight against, doing valiant battle with the corrupt representatives of the Ultimate Authority Figure? Neither of these is reliable, nor, for me at least, satisfactory. The historical facts of this are incredibly muddled from a remove of 2000 years, and we simply can't know whether the Apostles inculded women as equals or no. So, an appeal to historicity, whether to justify ordained women or to forbid them, is simply futile, since we can't know with the requisite accuracy what the history actually is. We have to work within the Tradition we have received, and basing our decisions on what we now know of the history is, at least as far as I'm concerned, pretty counter-religious. God has revealed to us a Tradition, not a history. In fact, it appears he has deliberately kept the history severely muddled. I argue that we can base ordination of women on the Tradition with no need to search for an undiscoverable "history".

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 1:35pm BST

Fr. Ed wrote:
...why I cannot accept the validity of women priests, not on gender grounds but sacramental ones....
--------------------------------------------------
Father,
I have read the essay (TWICE!) and while I don't doubt the sincerity of your position, I have to question the claim that this isn't about gender. The whole "sacramental" argument is dependent on gender; you start and end with it: women can't be priests because they are women; that's the argument, plain-and-simple. When you reduce your argument to its fundamentals it is clear that there is nothing else about women that makes them invalid material for ordination than their femaleness. Whenever you explain why Scripture and Tradition have forbidden the ordination of women, you have to argue that their reason and basis is the femaleness of women, something that can never change. So, why not just be honest about this? It IS about gender.

Posted by: WilliamK on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 5:50pm BST

Pat, the apostles were not living in an era during which females leading worship was alien. THey lived in multifaith Roman world in which priestesses were very much the norm.

Ford Elms, not enough time to answer all your posts so we will have to agree to differ. But I hold firm that the Spirit of God being truth does not do U-turns and had he 'revealed' this in 1630 it might be more convincing that the fact God waitied until feminism had gone radically and actively got into the church to campaign for 'wimmins rites'

Had this REALLY been part of GOd's witness I suggest it would have born fruit. Instead it led directly to the homosexual rights movement within the church and the utter mess we now find ourselves in. Not looking that wholesome to me

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 5:52pm BST

Ford:

But we are also called to use reason in our discernment of God's plan for us and for the church. Isn't it reasonable to look at the status of women throughout the ancient world--especially in Judea--and see that the lack of women in leadership roles in the early church is a cultural artifact, not a religious one?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 5:55pm BST

"Only when Rome and Constantinople agree - can we possibly proclaim the ordination of women as a decision from God."

Problem is, Ed, that this one liner blows the rest of the impossibilist argument out of the water. Or vice-versa. If you see what I mean. 'God only does U-Turns when Rome and COnstantinople says he does' is significantly different from 'God doesn't do U turns' etc etc..... The argument HAS to be either impossibilist OR ecumenical, I don't see how you can utilise both.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 6:37pm BST

Ed:

But not in their OWN tradition. They were still Jews, after all. They thought they were building on and in Jewish tradition and culture.

It was a generation or more before the church was seen as something other than a Jewish sect.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 7:23pm BST

Fr. Ed wrote: "Had this REALLY been part of God's witness I suggest it would have born fruit. Instead it led directly to the homosexual rights movement within the church and the utter mess we now find ourselves in. Not looking that wholesome to me."
-------------------------------------------------

This argument, of course, requires the assumption that "the homosexual rights movement" isn't a wholesome fruit of the Spirit. Those of us who have been encouraged and evangelized by the consecration of Bishop Robinson and other gay-affirming developments in the Episcopal Church (and in other churches of the Anglican Communion) would have to disagree with that assumption.

Interestingly, Father, you agree with Bishop Robinson that there is a direct connection between sexism and heterosexism, and that an attack on one essentially requires an attack on the other, and, correspondingly, defense of one requires defense of the other.

I appreciate your consistency, actually, unlike that of anti-gay female priests here in the U.S. and Canada who seem to think it's okay for them to go against 2000 years of church teaching and practice but not okay for gay folk.

Posted by: WilliamK on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 7:39pm BST

Ed,
"it would have born fruit. Instead it led directly to the homosexual rights movement within the church and the utter mess we now find ourselves in."

Some would say that the move to be inclusive of gay people is not a "mess" or a "rights movement" at all but the fruit of the Gospel. In fact the "mess" has more to do with some people's need, on both sides, for self aggrandizement than it has with the Gospel. My bigger issue is that you seem to have no problem with innovations and "reassessments" if they are old enough. The radical innovations of the Reformation are acceptable? How do you figure that if you believe we need Rome and Constantinople to approve what we do before we do it? If that were the case, we should immediately reunite with Rome, or, going back further, with Constantinople (the latter option is quite attractive, I must confess).

Pat,
"the lack of women in leadership roles in the early church is a cultural artifact, not a religious one?"

But WAS there a lack of women in leadership roles in the Early Church? That's my point. There are those who claim there were women leaders, but this fact was suppressed by a patriarchal Church establishment. So, if there is doubt about your premise of a lack of women leaders early on, how can we appeal to historicity at all, whether fer or agin?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 7:55pm BST

What is so special about 1630, I wonder ?

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Wednesday, 29 July 2009 at 8:28am BST

"Pat, the apostles were not living in an era during which females leading worship was alien. THey lived in multifaith Roman world in which priestesses were very much the norm.
- Ed Tomlinson -

Fr. Ed., I think Pat was speaking about the culture (Jewish) in which the Christian Church first emerged - a culture which certainly would not have countenanced female 'apostleship'. This is precisely why the male apostles would not believe the first female apostle (M. Magadalene) when she was sent by the risen Christ to announce his resurrection. ('Apostle' - 'one who is sent') In this particular incident (as in several other counter-cultural incidents regarding Jesus' deliberate intention to reform the Jewish attitude towards women) Jesus overturned the cultural status quo.

Jesus' demise was due, in part, to his radical affirmation of women as 'partners in mission'. Sadly, some parts of the Church catholic seem to emulate the first Apostles' inbuilt culture of misogyny. However, The Holy Spirit is still *speaking to the Church*, though seemingly still not being heard by some of its members. In the end, even Saint Paul acknowledged that women did have a place in the Church ("In Christ, there is neither male nor female") but still, because of his unregenerate cultural bias (thorn in the flesh?) he would possibly not have ordained women in his own day and age. However! There is life in the Church that continues to explore the mystery of the relationship between God and God's people, irrespective of their gender or sexuality.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 31 July 2009 at 10:54am BST

"Pat, the apostles were not living in an era during which females leading worship was alien. THey lived in multifaith Roman world in which priestesses were very much the norm."

I was thinking about this today, and it occurred to me that those sects that had priestesses employed them specifically because of their femaleness - what was wanted was specifically a priestess, not a priest who might be of either gender. The model pursued by the majority in ECUSA - that the gender of the priest was immaterial - was not a model that the apostles would have known.

Posted by: BillyD on Sunday, 2 August 2009 at 2:52am BST
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