Saturday, 17 January 2015


Ben Irwin blogs How Newsweek Got the Bible Right — and Still Got it Wrong in response to the Newsweek article that I linked to three weeks ago.

The Economist Go forth and multiply

Mark Clavier blogs Fragmented formation: training clergy.

Father Richard Peers SCP ‘Liberals in vestments’: What is the Society of Catholic Priests for?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 17 January 2015 at 11:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

First off, Ben Irwin's article is first rate, technically savvy, and clear minded.

Second, as I read Father Peers' article the nostalgia washed over me like a wave, i.e. my memories of the Latin mass, Catholic parochial school, taught by nuns, marched to confession every first Friday and to mass on days of obligation, the May procession, together with later memories of liturgy classes in a progressive ecumenical school of theology taught by an Anglo-catholic priest, a disciple of Percy Dearmer who, when vested, could have been an illustration in The Parson's Handbook.

Peers' perspective on his school's connection with Muslim and Hindu families is a compelling read given the current climate of inter-faith conflict.

Henri Nouwen's writings have great appeal; but Peers' comments on Nouwen, weakness, and God's strength gives me cause for pause with a suggestion about what to look for next time I pick up something of Nouwen's.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 17 January 2015 at 5:05pm GMT

Fr Peers' contribution is, for me, a nostalgic peep at what used to obtain for Anglo-Catholic parishes in the U.K. However, what excites me about his article is that he gives evidence of a new movement towards a more liberal theology - on the basis of a radical inclusion of women and gays in the Church.

Here, in ACANZP, I am part of a parish that was formed along the way by English A.C. clergy, who were careful to retain the dignity of liturgical praxis and spirituality that proclaimed frequency of the Eucharist as basic to Christian formation. This is still part of our tradition.

I have the privilege - even in 'retirement' - of presiding in the Eastward position at celebrations of an 8am (BCP) Low Mass on Sundays. However, our Daily Mass is based on the more modern rite with priest facing the people - as is the later Sunday Solemn Mass with President, Deacon, Sub-Deacon, incense and the rest.

We still have a reasonable congregation at Sung Evensong and Benediction on Sunday evenings - which attracts young as well as older people - as a supplementary exercise of devotion to Christ in the Presence of the Sacrament.

We have moved on from the misogyny and homophobia of past decades - into an understanding of God's love for ALL God's children - irrespective of race, culture, gender, sexual orientation or any other difference. In this respect, it was good to note Fr. Peers' note about his school's relationship with people of other religious traditions - a paradigm, from the Scriptures, of the inclusivity of Jesus. This, we now discern, as being truly 'catholic'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 18 January 2015 at 10:31am GMT

Fr. Ron, enjoyed reading your post re Fr. Peers. Enjoyed, as well, reading Peers article; but "nostalgic peep" is the word. His is an articulate, cogent, and I think open presentation of a framework he loves. But, it is a framework to which I could not return. Nostalgia is a two sided coin, I reckon One thinks about what was, and with it, the reasons one moved on.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 18 January 2015 at 5:06pm GMT

The Newsweek article may have overstated the ambiguity of Bible translation, but at crucial points, it becomes important. Look at the actual words of the original texts cited against gays in Leviticus and Romans -- the meanings not clear in Hebrew or Greek. But instead of translating the words, translators tend to guess at the meaning. Another example of translating guesswork is where David "exceeds himself" in the field with Jonathan. Ancient euphemisms and slang may not transfer easily to modern language. (See the sexual metaphors in the Song of Solomon.)

And people may yawn at discrepancies in the gospel stories, but should they? The two Christmas stories are mutually exclusive and contradictory -- on what basis are they squashed together for children's pageants? But holding Truths in contradiction seems to be the Christian way.

Translation is always imperfect -- words never have the same resonances and associations in different languages. And modern readers bring assumptions to readings of ancient texts unknown to the authors. If the problem finally is intractable, we can at least understand that it's a problem.

Posted by: Murdoch on Sunday, 18 January 2015 at 6:40pm GMT

Our Cathedral Deacon gave a very interesting sermon at Mattins last Sunday about whether Joseph and thus Jesus were carpenters. She said that the Greek word used can equally mean worker in stone and that Jesus' many references to foundations, stones, corner stones etc, could well reflect this.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 at 10:45pm GMT
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