Comments: Press comment on the Ordinariate

It's been a while since I have read such nonsense as that contained in that Observer leader column. "Catholics are despairing" "victory for misogyny" - who writes this obviously ridiculous and motivated lark???

Everyone knows this is not misogyny (although mislabeling it as same and therefore debasing actual misogyny isn't beyond those who feel disgruntled) and everyone knows that Catholics will continue to focus on social justice... isn't it great that there now will be Anglican-use catholics helping them in their quest thanks to the wisdom and foresight of Pope Benedict?!!

Posted by Jakian Thomist at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 4:36pm GMT

I can't belive this is a fruit of ecumenism as the Catholic establshmnt say. 500 ( maximum) people in an Anglo Catholic theme park..is hardly an ecumenical achievement.

I feel for the Catholic priests who have given up on family and marriage...to see these folks who have milked the Anglican system to the fullest waltz in the front door.

Posted by robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 4:37pm GMT

"Everyone knows this is not misogyny"

Please don't speak for me. I think it is misogyny.

Posted by Laurence C at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 5:47pm GMT

"everyone knows that Catholics will continue to focus on social justice..."

You mean like closing down adoption agencies because they're not allowed to discrimminate against a potential miniscule number of would be gay adopters?

I've been following enough FiF blogs in the last few months, and once they stop talking high minded theology and comment more unthinkingly about Anglican women priests, their motivation for becoming priests etc., it is nothing but thinly disguised dislike and misogyny.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 6:33pm GMT

I agree with Laurence C: Misogyny it is. That and homophobia.
Plus, a broader issue, one that covers women and gays. The Ordiniariate-seekers may feel they have the Truth, and the seekers are upset that others have the gall to think the others have the Truth also.
One Lord, one faith, one baptism -- One Truth. Their Truth.
The Ordiniariate-seekers are men. They may feel that women can only have an approximation of the Truth, never the Truth itself. They're still miffed at the Eve-and-the-serpent thing. And ignore (or applaud?) that when God called Adam to account, Adam's first reaction was to blame Eve.
But, they can't let go of the Anglican form, the Anglican symbols, so they keep the Anglican shell and replace the substance.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 7:10pm GMT

And speaking of Truth. At a forum at a local university last year, I quoted retired Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold's remark that we are situated in a universe where truth is progressive. The next Sunday, a prominent local Roman Catholic family came to our church, and they've never left. New discoveries in science, psychology, history, etc. help us to see the Bible through a continually changing lens. They wanted to be part of a Church that understands that.

Posted by Old Father William at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 9:04pm GMT

Maybe my earlier comments on this particular posting were a bit rash and harsh. I think the Ordinariate will be small, but I do wish the people well. My prayers are with them.I do not think any thinking Anglican need feel threatened by it.This is hardly the reconversion of England.

I came across these words on the Ordinariate Portal...

The only puzzling thing about yesterday is why a Catholic would not wish to whole-heartedly welcome home his brethren in Christ and to lend his support to the extension of the Catholic Church in the UK.

They chastened me and made me think.


Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 9:32pm GMT

In this day and age, it sure looks like misogyny to me.
It seems to me that the increasing integration of women into more and more institutions other than the Roman Catholic Church makes the official reasoning for barring women's participation in the clergy look increasingly arbitrary.

Posted by Counterlight at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 9:45pm GMT

"Everyone knows this is not misogyny"

As one who has stood in gay bars and heard the invective from Anglican priests about women in general and the women in their congregations, I can assure you that mysogyny is alive and very well in the priesthood.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 10:07pm GMT

Erika, the Catholic Adoption agencies were getting on perfectly well placing many children each year UNTIL the Government introduced legislation which would force them to do something which, in conscience, they could not countenance. I know that you will claim that equality trumps all other arguments but if we leave no room for individual and collective conscience then we simply have an equality of sameness rather than an equality of opportunity. The mindless pursuit of "Equality" then becomes a tyranny which enslaves and limits people. There is no equality to be found by the state and others overriding the informed consciences of individuals and the Church. The adoption field has MANY players, it seems perfectly reasonable to have a "mixed market" in which Gay couples could approach one of the many other agencies. I know it is fashionable and all too easy to attack the Catholic Church on this and many other issues but I wonder why, for example, Muslims are not challenged about equality issues or are they somehow exempted from debate?

Posted by a seeker after truth at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 10:37pm GMT

Just for the record, the reasons that many of us question whether women can indeed be ordained are rooted in scripture. For many Evangelicals it is the "headship" argument articulated by St Paul. For others it is the actions of Our Lord in choosing only male disciples. He was not simply conforming to the social norms of patriarchal society as I guess many readers will be thinking. His actions throughout the Gospel accounts show that He was not a man given to conforming to the norms and associated with tax-collecters, adulterers,leppers, prostitutes etc.etc. It is Jesus' RADICAL agenda and the challenging of the social norms which gives our Faith its vitality. But despite all of that we cannot ignore the inconvenient truth that he chose only male apostles and that women had an important, valued but different role to play. While I am sure that many of you will disagree with this analysis and the consequences that flow from it - I just wanted to point out that it is this particular action, made all the more significant because nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus show any sign of conforming to expectations, that leaves me with the nagging question. Is Jesus pointing to something unique and distinctive about the roles of men and women through these Gospel accounts and His choice of apostles? It is this question, which I fear we cannot answer definitively, that makes the accusations of misogyny inappropriate. We are not women haters, we simply have a question to which the simple answer is to say men and women must be able to do all the same things. However, there may be a different, deeper answer which points to the complementarity of the sexes and it is this avenue which we must explore more fully if we are to understand God's purposes.

Posted by a seeker after truth at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 11:10pm GMT

In the photographs of the ordination, after the ordination themselves, there are several pictures of the backs of several women, all wearing more or less matching beize raincoats over their dresses. Are they the ordinands' wives? Was there a particular reason they were all wearing matching beize raincosts over their dresses? It's a bit burka-ish looking, I think.

Posted by dr.primrose at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 11:49pm GMT

"It is only institutional religion that continues to regard women as second-class citizens. If Catholicism believes that recruiting a handful of renegade Anglicans who share its institutional misogyny will buttress its position it is mistaken"

Herein is the nub of the whole matter, For Roman Catholic authorities to think and preach the selectivity of God in choosing only the male of the species to perpetuate the Eucharistic Presence of Christ at the altar is nothing less than ridiculous. However, 'as they sow, so shall they reap'.

One can detect a number of shobboleths about toi be shaken down in the broader R.C. hurch by this initiative - not least of which will be from *Thinking Women*, currently undergoing theological enlightenment, who are presenbtly impeded from any call by the Holy Spirit into sacerdotal ministry in their own Church.

Another obstruction provided by the current Roman Magisterium may be that of the enforced celeibacy of serving priests - especially in the light of the quick-fire ordination of married former Anglican Bishops into the R.C. priesthood. What does that say about the validity of married priesthood, per se?

And what about the previous active priestchood of the 3 Anglican bishops? Was it in fact valid? Or did it just need the Roman Primacy to call it so?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 11:58pm GMT

I protest the continuing misuse in this thread of the expression 'Catholic Church'.

How could (a number of) you concede so carelessly the RC denomination's central contention, without a struggle ? Shame on you. Don't you care ?

I will never surrender the Catholic Church to them, to you - or to anyone.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 12:12am GMT

What a poor piece from what I imagine must be a junior editor at the Observer. The Pope himself has decreed what is to happen re the Ordinariate, and what Catholics in general, Archbishop Vincent, and editorial writers think about is is hardly relevant, in that it will make no difference at all. This is how the RC church works, and the Anglican converts will have to get used to it as well.

Posted by Neil at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 12:49am GMT

I expect that it was pure coincidence that the three ordinands' wives were wearing "more or less matching beize raincoats over their dresses". It simply provides one of the more amusing reflections on the set of dilemmas that these three bishops, and therefore their respective families, have bought into. What do I wear in a very public event without historic precedent? I would guess that each of the ladies decided not to wear anything too "eye-catching", and having made the same choice, ended up appearing to be in uniform.

Keeping to the sartorial theme, I note that at the beginning of the service, the three ordinands were wearing deacons' stoles. Is this a declaration of the validity of their (Anglican) deacon ordinations?

Edward Prebble

Posted by Edward Prebble at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 2:15am GMT

I realize that, to devout Christians, Jesus the Christ is the Son of God.
But the man Jesus of Nazareth lived in a particular time, place, and age. A time and place which treated women with, at best, patronizing condescension. If Jesus had selected women as direct apostles, it is possible he would have been jeered right out of the synagogue.
And what about women being the first to witness the miracle of the aftermath of the Resurrection? The first to see the rolled away stone, the first to be talked to and receive instruction? And that instruction wasn't "Hey, ladies! Go home and make breakfast!"
When the women do tell the men, the men reject them -- you know how hysterical those women can be -- and have to go see for themselves.
The bible was set down at certain times, but its teachings are not meant to be frozen in those times.
Does not Paul say that in Christ, there is no male or female?
I have never seen anyone argue that Jesus chose Galilean circumcised male bearded Jews as apostles, so therefore priests can only be Galilean circumcised male bearded Jews ...

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 2:23am GMT

Perhaps it is because the press is pleased to present this as some sort of Catholic raid that the reactions have been so vociferous.

Folks, a tiny minority of a tiny minority has taken advantage of an experimental offer. I wish everyone could keep this in perspective, say "God speed" and let it go.

The notion that this sort of thing has any effect at all on the day-to-day activities of "ordinary" Catholic parishes, that one must somehow choose between justice and mercy and supporting this initiative is really ludicrous. But then, ninety nine percent of what all churches, synagogues and mosques do passes unnoticed by the press.

And if other communions want to expand the priesthood beyond its traditional make-up, that's fine with me. But if you insist on calling Catholics "misogynist," what do you say about Jesus, when he called the Twelve to their special role?

Posted by rick allen at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 2:38am GMT

"Everyone knows this is not misogyny..."

I think a lot of it *is* misogyny. But since there are people whose integrity I admire who do not believe that women can/should be ordained - none of whom, as far as I know, are entering the Ordinariate - I make the assumption that they see some theological issue at hand that they find compelling but that I neither see nor understand nor feel compelled to accept on faith. I don't get it, but then again I don't get a lot.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 4:46am GMT

Ron , don't confuse ordination with ministry. these men obviously had a ministry as Protestants and presumably operated in sincerity. God will judge that. Now they are ordained in the Roman catholic Church, with all the sacramental assurance.

God looks at the heart and those in genuine invincible ignorance of the truth of the Catholic Church have a possibility of salvation. However to be in the Catholic Church is the safer option.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 7:22am GMT

Seeker
I have no intention of hijacking this thread with a discussion about gay adoption.
I only mentioned it as an example to counter your claim that all Catholics will continue to work for social justice.

You can make all kinds of supposedly high minded claims for shutting down adoption agencies, but social justice is not one of them.

This is the real problem the Catholic church faces. How often have I been told that some or other principle about holding down women and gays is to do with important theology and not with "human rights" (human rights always in inverted commas).
Catholic moral theology is increasingly seen to be contrary to human rights and social justice.

You may still believe that it is right, but you do have to address the point that the majority of people in this society believe it is profoundly unjust.
And most of those now flocking to the Ordinariate are, rightly or wrongly, seen as people who are driven by their support for this.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 7:59am GMT

"The Ordinariate-seekers are men" says Peter Gross.
Absolute rubbish. I have attended Ordinariate Exploration Groups in 3 areas and all have many more women than men. Facts please not prejudices

Posted by Daniel D at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 9:36am GMT

Edward Prebble

The diaconal stoles worn by the three former Anglican bishops on Saturday say nothing about the validity of their (Anglican) orders. They were ordained deacons by a Roman Catholic bishop two days earlier. There is a report here:

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/01/14/ex-anglican-bishops-are-ordained-deacons-for-ordinariate/

Posted by Peter Owen at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 9:50am GMT

"Seeker after truth" should read again the New Testament and think about how Jesus actually treated women which broke all the cultural norms of his day. He healed, taught, talked and mixed with women often when his disciples would have sent them away and people criticised him. Think about his reaction to Martha and her "busy, busy" doing "women's" work and her sister Mary who wanted to sit at his feet and learn. He accepted both. Isn't there a clear message for us today in his life and work? But, most importantly he sent a woman, Mary Magdalene, to bring news of his Resurrection to the disciples (who of course didn't believe her at first either - a woman as a witness whoever heard of such a thing!!!) She then became known as the Apostle to the Apostles. St Paul was no misogynist either, he sent new converts to women to be taught and called several of them apostles. He clearly valued their ministry and teaching along with the men. The key question for us today is what is the real and underlying reason for opposition rather than a couple of misinterpreted Biblical verses that are used to act as a stumbling block to the vocations and acceptance in the Church of so many people's gifts and spiritual insights- especially those of women.

Posted by sally Barnes at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 10:00am GMT

Oh dear. It appears that under RC Canon Law married permanent deacons (and by extension the new married Ordinariate priests) are forbidden from engaging in sexual relations - read it all here - http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php

Posted by Anglican at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 10:17am GMT

It is not misogyny, as those familiar with the arguments about innovations in Holy Order will appreciate. OTOH there is homophobia. Fr John Broadhurst, interviewed on the Sunday program, said it was about various things, including gay marriage; but gay marriage was the first thing he mentioned. I note, however, that Newton was made the Ordinary, not the gay-obsessed Broadhurst.
The consequence of the de facto expulsion of the Anglo-Catholics by the feminists is to increase the strength of the conservative evangelicals in the C of E. The C of E is becoming a very different, feminised, church from which more and more men will feel estranged.

Posted by Paul R at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 10:17am GMT

"No, this whole ceremony, complete with 80 Catholic priests on the altar, plus six bishops, was a grand launch for Pope Benedict's new ringfenced section within Catholicism for Anglican dissenters" - Peter Stanford -

I wonder, R.I.W., if you could tell us the answer to this question: 'Is this an instance of a 'Papal Indulgence' towards ex-Anglicans?'

I really do wonder what many single clergy in the Roman Catholic Church think about this special provision for priests with spouses? Will this latest 'indulgence' on the part of H.H. cause any fluttering in the dovecotes of monastically-ordered presbyteries in 'other' parts of the magisterially-governed R.C. Church?

What I'm really sad about is the prospect of Anglican devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham being high-jacked by the owners of the Slipper Chapel.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 10:23am GMT

"God looks at the heart and those in genuine invincible ignorance of the truth of the Catholic Church have a possibility of salvation. However to be in the Catholic Church is the safer option."

- Robert I Williams -

Robert, how does your statement above compare with: "Anyone who wishes to follow me must give up his life..." - the words of Jesus. This doesn't sound very much like a life-belt to me.

I can see now why you converted to your idea of Roman Catholicism - it was, for you, the safer option. Working for Justice does take a little more effort than mere self-preservation.


Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 10:45am GMT

Re: Seeker on women priests and Jesus' apostles - It is true (so far as we know) that Jesus' apostles were all men, but .... they certainly weren't ordained as we mean the word, and .... they were all circumcised (one imagines), never ate pork (well, Peter may have after the Resurrection...), were probably all married, etc etc - who decides which are the essential bits and which aren't?

Posted by Sara MacVane at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 10:59am GMT

I have the possibility of salvation only if I am in invincible ignorance of the truth of the Catholic Church???? Dear oh dear RIW nothing makes me happier to be outside the Roman catholic fold than language like that.

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 11:25am GMT

Seeker:

"For others it is the actions of Our Lord in choosing only male disciples." Really, then what are the two Marys and Martha? Potted plants? It was given to a woman to be the first witness to the resurrection...apostle to the apostles, as it were. It simply doesn't occur to you that the gospels and the epistles and all the rest were written and edited by men decades after the events recorded, men who by that time were deeply involved in running the show, as it were, and endeavored to make their church as acceptable to the world as possible, by downplaying the role of women within it.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 11:30am GMT

No one is saying that men and women must do the same things. That is just not true. What Jesus is showing is that we must do what we are called to do. He accepted and encouraging Mary's need to hear him (sitting at his feet in those days - for a woman?) while Martha was busy doing what was seen as "womans work". He did not say to Mary "get to the kitchen" but he accepted her action. Why did he choose a woman to tell that he had risen? Why is it felt necessary to compartmentalise men and women into different boxes when we all have different gifts to bring that are not tied to being male or female? That is not the Gospel message and St Paul did not give that example in his own life and actions. We are all supposed to be "one in Christ" no more jew and gentile, slave and free, male and female. Each age develops its own revelation regarding the bibilcal message and the recognistion of human worth regardless of gender is becoming ours.

Posted by Kate at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 12:02pm GMT

In the US, going from an Episcopal bishop to a Catholic priest would be very non-U, and more than a bit odd.
(On the other hand it is U to notice but non-U to say so, at least in public!)

I do wish them God's blessing, and hope the churches can go on to more important and more Christian concerns.

Posted by Andrew at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 12:21pm GMT

RIW: "God looks at the heart and those in genuine invincible ignorance of the truth of the Catholic Church have a possibility of salvation. However to be in the Catholic Church is the safer option."

An argument first adduced by Wilfrid at the Synod of Whitby, if I remember rightly;-)

Posted by david rowett at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 1:02pm GMT

'You women are so fundamentally different from males that you can have no authority, and never take part, through Christ, in his role of priest' is always going to make women into second-class members of the body of Christ.

Laurence C might like to pause and consider, that, while I wish those leaving for the RC denomination nothing but peace, the recent statement by Andrew Burnham did more to give me an unwelcome insight and a poor opinion of those now leaving the C of E than anything else ever could do. If his concern and that of the others leaving with him had everything to do with the authority of his new denomination and nothing to do with the role of women, he failed to show it. If refusing women all the high offices of the church has nothing to do with misogyny, it is a hard case to make.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 1:04pm GMT

Rick Allen said: "But if you insist on calling Catholics "misogynist," what do you say about Jesus, when he called the Twelve to their special role?" This has been said elsewhere, but we should be clear that jesus was saying nothing about gender nor priesthood. The utter impossibility of a Jewish rabbi selecting Jewish female disciples should be obvious. Jesus actually elevated the status of women, but he lived in a time and culture where women had no authority nor leadership, especially in the area of religion.

Posted by Richard Grand at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 1:34pm GMT

Gosh, it didn't take Fr Newton long to avail of the dispensation to wear episcopal insignia - http://htreading.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-ordinary.html

Posted by Anglican at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 1:45pm GMT

Robert Ian Williams said "those in genuine invincible ignorance of the truth of the Catholic Church have a possibility of salvation. However to be in the Catholic Church is the safer option." One wonders why Mr. Williams bothers with the heretics and schismatics he finds here. According to him, Anglicans (who are Protestants to him) are unsaved. He is certain not only that those who do not submit to Rome are ignorant, but doomed. In order to be safe, we mys convert or face the consequences. Humorously but seriously, this is the kind of talk one equates with the Inquisition. This extreme ultra-conservative Romanism may be in vogue these days with the wooing of the SPPX and the Roman nostalgia for Pio Nono, whose stole the Pope wore at Westminster Abbey, but one wonders if seeking the conversion of Anglicans is his purpose for these incredible postings. It's interesting that Rome has never publicly said that these former bishops had been Protestants, although they think it privately. They know how offensive that would be to people who might be leaning to the Ordinariate, who believe they are Catholics as Anglicans. Thankfully they have now been rescued for certain perdition. The weird thing is that Rome seems to think that these Catholic Anglicans are more Catholic/orthodox than many of their own, which is why they want them. Fast tracking ordinations tells us that they want them now.

Posted by Richard Grand at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 2:38pm GMT

"I think the Ordinariate will be small, but I do wish the people well. My prayers are with them.I do not think any thinking Anglican need feel threatened by it."

Quite right, RIW. One can like or dislike the Ordinariate from either side of the Tiber, but the people themselves are faithful Christians doing their best to follow their faith in good conscience. God bless them.

Posted by Nom de Plume at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 3:08pm GMT

Peterpi said:
"I realize that, to devout Christians, Jesus the Christ is the Son of God.
But the man Jesus of Nazareth lived in a particular time, place, and age. A time and place which treated women with, at best, patronizing condescension. If Jesus had selected women as direct apostles, it is possible he would have been jeered right out of the synagogue."

Peter, there is no need to qualify Christians with the word devout. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God then you are not a Christian.

You are right to point to the particular nature, time and place of the Incarnation BUT your conclusion is wrong. Given the whole spread of history God chose the time, place, manner of his coming into the world. You are in danger of saying that God made a mistake in His choice of time and place and had to therefore limit his own freedom of action in order to conform with the society. Such possibility of mistake and limitation are not characteristics of God and therefore we must work to understand His particular actions. As I said in my original post, there is no evidence of Jesus conforming in other parts of the Gospel and so my question remains - why did he, despite his appetite for radical and unpopular actions, chose only male Apostles...

You may well already be on the path to characterising something distinctive about the witness and ministry of women by pointing to the witnessing of the resurrection and the empty tomb. Similarly, Mary's "Yes" to God at the Annunciation and then carrying this gift and bringing it into the World is a unique and particular role. It is precisely this distinctive, different perspective and role in the Gospel narrative that further underpins my question "Is Jesus pointing to something unique and distinctive about the roles of men and women through these Gospel accounts and His choice of apostles?"

Posted by a seeker after truth at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 3:29pm GMT

Ron, The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of all Christians....

Our Lady of Walsingham was rejected by Anglicans for over 300 years.....she is specically slandered in the Book of Homilies, reccomended in the 39 articles. Ctranmer had her image burnt at Smithfield...so please don't think we are hi-jacking her.

Married clergy are underr no restriction as to sexual relations within marriage....they are the same as with any other married couple.. all acts of sexual intercourse must be open to God's gift of life.

To answer Ron's question on salvation....if you love Jesus , you will keep all his commandments.
He has placed all Christians under ST Peter and his successors. If your ignorance of this is not culpable you may have a chance of salvation.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 3:41pm GMT

"I do not think any thinking Anglican need feel threatened by it."

To be honest, I doubt any does. The emotions that I find in myself are sadness (at seeing Bishops of the Church of England going through what, from an Anglican point of view, is a pantomime of diaconal and priestly ordination) and anger (at the apparent duplicity of the leaders of this movement). A sense of fear or of being threatened is simply not part of it for me.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 4:00pm GMT

Rick Allen protests: "But if you insist on calling Catholics "misogynist," what do you say about Jesus, when he called the Twelve to their special role?"

The best answer, to Mr. Allen's apparent inability to recognize the difference between immutability and contextual change, comes from Peter Gross: "I have never seen anyone argue that Jesus chose Galilean circumcised male bearded Jews as apostles, so therefore priests can only be Galilean circumcised male bearded Jews ..."

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 4:29pm GMT

"God looks at the heart and those in genuine invincible ignorance of the truth of the Catholic Church have a possibility of salvation. However to be in the Catholic Church is the safer option."
Robert Ian Williams

You know, you really need to get together with the Eastern Orthodox to figure out all of this "One True Church" nonsense. It's really confusing for both of you to be making the same exclusive claim.

Posted by Doug at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 4:29pm GMT

"Laurence C might like to pause and consider..." Rosemary Hannah

I'm confused. Regarding what am I to pause and consider?

My one-line post at the start of this thread was to take issue with Jakian Thomist's "everyone knows this is not misogyny" comment. He can't say "everyone" because many (including myself) don't agree with him and I objected to the generalisation.

My apologies if I have misunderstood your post.

Posted by Laurence C at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 4:42pm GMT

My, hasn't this thread descended down the rabbithole once again {JCF, popping some popcorn to enjoy w/ it}

Just to give a correct URL to the GOBSMACKING story Anglican linked to, above (that married permanent deacons and the new AO priest are banned from sex w/ their wives): http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=12987

Posted by JCF at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 7:44pm GMT

"God looks at the heart and those in genuine invincible ignorance of the truth of the [Roman] Catholic Church have a possibility of salvation. However to be in the [Roman] Catholic Church is the safer option." --
Posted by: Robert Ian Williams

I think it's better if I keep my mouth shut.

Daniel D, alright maybe I was using inappropriate terminology when I said that Ordiniariate-seekers were men. What I meant was that, since this is the Roman Catholic Church, that the people seeking ecclesiastical authority, the copes, miters, croziers, other bells and whistles, were men. Formerly CofE women may find worshipful solace under the ministry of the Ordinariate, but they can never be top man.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 8:34pm GMT

Does anyone know whether membership of the Ordinariate can be 'inherited'? If the son of a couple of new converts grows up, marries and feels himself called to the priesthood, will he be able to do so, or will he be regarded as a normal 'Cradle Catholic' and debarred from the priesthood because of his marital status? If the latter, I suspect that the Ordinariate will remain a 'one-off' and its members and their descendants will be subsumed into the RC Church.

Posted by John Marshall at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 9:24pm GMT

Robert Ian Williams and others represent those aspects of the Roman Church that make Anglicans nd others cringe. Their exclusive claims and derision of others, their utter confidence of their direct pipeline to God, the assurance that non-RCs are not real Christians, the endless parrotting of the party line of the far right which has now become mainstream, are almost caricatures of the worst aspects of Romanism. But you cannot criticise them, because they will then say that the the Roman Church is persecuted and misunderstood. They want to have it both ways. They are supreme, yet they are being mistreated, depending on the circumstances.

Posted by Richard Grand at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 11:10pm GMT

"Mr. Allen's apparent inability to recognize the difference between immutability and contextual change...."

I thought I had indicated I understood why a communion might go one way on an innovation. My question was why another, favoring continuity, must necessarily be rooted in hatred.

It is indeed remarkable that an institution thought by many, a hundred years ago, to be "goddess-worshipping," should now be considered "misogynistic."

Posted by rick allen at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 12:50am GMT

"As I said in my original post, there is no evidence of Jesus conforming in other parts of the Gospel and so my question remains - why did he, despite his appetite for radical and unpopular actions, chose only male Apostles..."

Seeker:

Again, I ask you, what evidence do you have that the actions portrayed in the gospels as we have them now are the complete record of Jesus' ministry? We know that not only are they incomplete, they are contradictory. Luke tells us that Jesus called Andrew and Simon as they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee ("I will make you fishers of men..."); but in John's gospel (in the part read just this Sunday), they approach him at the River Jordan, where they had been disciples of John the Baptist.

If the gospels can't even agree with each other on such "facts," why do you insist they must be inerrantly right as to Jesus' call of women to be his apostles or not?

And, please, let me be clear that I do not dispute the gospels as the word of God...only that they are not necessarily complete in their depiction of Jesus' life and work.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 1:55am GMT

"To answer Ron's question on salvation....if you love Jesus , you will keep all his commandments.
He has placed all Christians under ST Peter and his successors. If your ignorance of this is not culpable you may have a chance of salvation.

- Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 17 January 2011 at 3:41pm GMT -

R.I.W. if this is the best you can do in response to Thinking Anglicans on this site - whom you seriously consider to be in error about their fealty to Christ in the Gospel - it might be better if you remained silent, for fear of committing that 'sin against the Holy Ghost'

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 5:16am GMT

Laurence, I was plainly having a senior moment. My comment was directed to Jakian Thomist, as was yours. Sorry, post-flu dementia!

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 7:25am GMT

All I get is personal insults.. I endeavoured to answer your question... note how you can't answer me on your claims of the appropriation of Our lady of Walsingham.

Kiddie corner , tit for tat is simply not thinking.. I see it everyday in the play grpound.

Let's grow up.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 7:40am GMT

Paul R. says "The C of E is becoming a very different, feminised, church from which more and more men will feel estranged."

I don't think there is any evidence that this is so. I am a woman priest, in charge of a church which has plenty of men in it, some who have been there for a long time and others who have joined since I arrived. If anything I would say that the church is becoming more male, not more female. Church attendance, in most denominations, has been disproportionately female for many centuries. Diarmaid McCulloch ("Reformation" p.664) talks about the trend for this beginning as soon as religion became a matter of choice across most of Europe in the 17th Century. For all those centuries the church has been led by men, and yet men do not seem to have been attracted to it in large numbers. My experience is that not only are men evidently not put off by my leadership, but are actually enabled to respond and engage with faith because of it - perhaps it is to do with the fact that they do not seem me as a rival? perhaps it is because they can admit need and vulnerability more easily to a woman? I don't know the reasons. However, it is clearly illogical to blame the lack of men in the church on the relatively recent leadership of women. There is no evidence to support it; the evidence would, instead, seem to point in the other direction - that the leadership of men draws in women and puts off men.

Posted by Anne at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 8:38am GMT

"Kiddie corner , tit for tat is simply not thinking.. I see it everyday in the play ground.

Let's grow up."

Perhaps, people believe adult conversation would be wasted on someone who gives over all discernment and individual conscience to a "Mother" church in return for security?

Perhaps, they feel such a person would be incapable of comprehending well-articulated, emotionally-and-intellectually mature explanation, and so refuse to waste the time?

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 8:58am GMT

Pat said:

"And, please, let me be clear that I do not dispute the gospels as the word of God...only that they are not necessarily complete in their depiction of Jesus' life and work."
A healthy discussion, dispute and the openness to the possibility of new insights is a key part of theological discussion but that does not negate anything which is contained in scripture. We know that the Gospel writers were writing for different audiences and so there are different emphasis in their writings and choices were made by the early, undivided Church on what should constitute the canon of scripture. However, that doesn't mean that we can then insert our own thoughts and ideas and call them "Gospel".
For example, one may want to believe that there were also 12 women apostles called and the the nasty misogynists removed all reference not only from the canon of scripture, the primary source documents and the contemporary accounts by the Roman chroniclers. We quickly get to a position where we have to swallow not just one unacceptable pill but a whole tub of them! It reminds me of those who say that the moon landings were a fabrication - they end up implicating everyone except themselves in the cover-up!

Posted by a seeker after truth at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 10:43am GMT

Pat, by way of correction I do not "insist" on this interpretation I merely raise it as a serious question. All I ask from readers is that they can see that it is a valid question to which an unequivocal answer cannot be reached. It is for this reason that I do not pronounce that women cannot be Priests or indeed that they can. I simply have availed myself of the legal provisions provided by the General Synod in 1992 (resolutions A, B and C) which allow me to not to take part in this recent innovation within the CofE. As an institution the CofE did not come to a definitive answer to the question - it allowed for the Ordination of Women AND in the same legislation it allowed parishes, people, priests and bishops to NOT accept the Ordination of Women. The sadness is that this freedom of choice is being eroded and will be removed by statute once women are Ordained as Bishops. The Church of England is intent on making the belief in the Ordination of women compulsory for membership and certainly if you are a candidate for Ordination. In other words, the GS is making an infallible declaration on this matter it is answering my question with a breath-taking degree of certainty and confidence. Quite frankly, I do not think that the GS is a competent body and its method of election makes it unrepresentative of people in the pews. I am not convinced because I have yet to see a step-by-step theological argument that REQUIRES the ordination of women and the breaking of a 2000 year tradition and is at odds with the other major branches of Christendom - Orthodox and Catholic and,let us not forget, approx 1/3 of the Anglican Communion.

And that is why a small number of us will want to join the Ordinariate and why, as this series of posts started, the use of the term "misogynist" is so inappropriate. We do, or at least, I do have a question which has not been answered to my satisfaction and therefore I will stick with what has been handed down to me through the generations. Creating doubt about the whole of the content of the Gospels is not the way that Christian theologians to go about answering difficult questions - we can leave that to the atheists!

Posted by a seeker after truth at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 10:58am GMT

'safer option' ? Not for children and juvenilles in RC 'Homes', orphanages,+ schools in Eire, the UK and other countries.

Not in Eire and some other countries if you need family planning support.

Not if you wished to teach, nurse, hold public office or roles, in Eire, Franco's Spain and some other countries.

Not if you value intellectual and spiritual freedom (freedom from compulsion- freedom to excercise conscience, choice and autonomy) in eac h county and any country.

Mind you, the C of E doesnt exactly have a pure and unblemished history (or present) either-- ask George Fox and the early Quakers. Ask lesbian, gay and free-thinking parishoners today...

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 11:59am GMT

"If the gospels can't even agree with each other on such "facts," why do you insist they must be inerrantly right as to Jesus' call of women to be his apostles or not?"

I don't think anyone's mentioned inerrency. The gospels relate that Jesus had numerous female disciples, who were not only vital to the material support of his ministry, but who also showed remarkable love and loyalty when the men lost heart.

But it is also the testimony, not only of each of the gospels, but of Luke's early history, of the New Testament letters, and of the earliest non-canonical literature, that Jesus had an "inner circle," and that said inner circle, after his passion and resurrection, continued to have a decisive role in this Church. This is not any kind of inerrancy or fundamentalism. It is the plain import of a number of independently-written texts.

Posted by rick allen at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 12:48pm GMT

Rome's claim that all Christians were placed under St. Peter and his sucessors has been around a long time and has been falsified by Rome (see the donation of Constantine), but has always been subject to interpretation. The honour due to the see of Peter and it's ancient founding are not in dispute. What Our Lord intended for Peter's leadership has always been disputed, even in the early Church. Of the ancient Patriarchal sees (James in jerusalem, mark in Alexandria, etc.), the only one with actual status and power was obviously that of Rome. The "conversion of Constantine, whatever it was, meant that the Church now had status and resources in the most tremendous empire known to humankind. It's not a co-incidence that the Bishop of Rome claimed jurisdiction. The Byzantines never accepted this and the Schism of 1054 confirmed it. No one doubts the ancient and authentic nature of Orthodoxy. I could go on, but the Petrine theory has never been accepted by the whole Church. (See below).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donation_of_Constantine

Posted by Richard Grand at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 1:31pm GMT

"If your ignorance of this is not culpable you may have a chance of salvation."

Oooooo, okay then - keeping my fingers crossed!

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 3:30pm GMT

" ... all acts of sexual intercourse must be open to God's gift of life."

I'm glad my parents were Episcopalians. When I was about7 years old, my mother had to have a hysterectomy, to save her life. I would hate to think that my mom and dad would have never been allowed to make love after that - for the next 30 or so years!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 4:41pm GMT

To Peter Owen (about 35 postings ago!)

Thank you for putting me right about the diaconal ordinations.

Edward Prebble

Posted by Edward Prebble at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 9:58pm GMT

Heat seems by now to have overtaken light as the product of this thread.

Posted by Lister Tonge at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 10:22pm GMT

Seeker:

I don't think my position negates anything in scripture...rather it says "maybe what's in scripture isn't the whole thing." Further, I refuse to accept the position that the Spirit stopped guiding us when the last period was put down in the last written book of the canon. Yes, maybe Jesus did only choose men as apostles...but maybe the Spirit is telling us now that things have changed from 2000 years ago--as indeed we all know they have.

The problem I have with the Roman position (and yours) on women's ordination is that the argument that "women have different callings" always seems to result in those being callings to positions with lesser power and authority than men.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 10:33pm GMT

Rick:

But again the question must be asked...who edited those reports after the fact (none of them were written closer than 70 years or so after Jesus' resurrection). Did Mary Magdalene really just fade into the background as it would seem from the lack of mention of her in the Acts of the Apostles? The woman who was the first witness to the resurrection simply ceased to have any standing in the community?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 10:36pm GMT

I think we have probably got to the end of the line on this one. I too share some of your doubts and worries about the recording of the Gospels and the influences at work. Maybe the Holy Spirit was at work in the editing and collation of the material just as some of you would claim that maybe the Spirit is at work now filling in the gaps and telling us to Ordain women. The problem is the word "maybe". I am not convinced and I err on keeping with the unbroken tradition of nearly 2000 years. A time in which under this wicked male leadership Christianity has grown to be the predominant religion in the World and the single biggest influence on art, music, literature, architecture, politics, law-making etc. By their fruits so shall ye know them! We have not seen in the CofE the dramatic increase in attendance that was promised by the proponents of the Ordination of women Priests and TEC has fared no better over the past 30 years or so.

Of course, I maybe wrong and God will judge me. Are you prepared to admit the possibility of being wrong or has the Ordination of Women become an infallible doctrine of the CofE?

For those of you interested in hearing first hand what the Ordinary of the Ordinariate had to say in answer to some similar questions raised on here there is a recording at: http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/Catholic-Church/Media-Centre/press_releases/Press-Releases-2011/Press-Conference-Fr-Keith-Newton-New-Ordinary

Posted by a seeker after truth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 12:07am GMT

Heat overtaking light? I'm afraid that I can't quite agree, Fr. Tonge.

However, I would acknowledge that any time that one confronts someone who arrogantly claims "my side is never wrong" and who proclaims perdition to anyone who will not agree, there is a tendency for people of good conscience and integrity to stand firm and point out the errors or omissions - and sometimes the absurdity - in their positions.

I would take that as countervailing light, while you may perceive it as purely heat. Sometimes, though, light does generate heat.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 1:22am GMT

"who edited those reports after the fact?"

If you mean, Who edited out the women apostles?, I don't know if I see that that's a practical possibility. You're assuming the fact that you don't find in the sources. One might just as easily ask, Who made up all that stuff about Mary Magdelene and the faithful women? If the materials of the New Testament lack even that modicum of accuracy, if they've all been tampered with to distort their meaning, they're not going to be much use for anything, are they?

"The woman who was the first witness to the resurrection simply ceased to have any standing in the community?"

This question may illuminate the real issue, the assumption that, unless one had some sacerdotal office, one has no standing. Much as I respect the clergy, and the hierarchy, and see their need and importance, no, I don't think one needs to be a cleric to have standing in the Christian community. Priesthood is not the higher degree of Christianity. It is a necessary function in the Christian community, not the sine qua non of Christian life.

But, again, we lose sight of the original question. Does the retention of the male priesthood make Catholics haters of women? Given what I know of most Catholics, most clergy, no, I don't see hatred of women as fueling anything. The Church values Tradition, and the composition of the priesthood is supported by how the Tradition has always understood the scriptures. I understand, of course, how, for many modern people, egalitarianism must trump everthing. But I don't think that that requires you to attribute vile motives to religious opinions of others that are accounted for by less malicious motivations.

Posted by rick allen at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 3:42am GMT

"none of them were written closer than 70 years or so after Jesus' resurrection"

This should read: "none of them were written LATER than 70 years or so after Jesus' resurrection"

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 5:53am GMT

A few answers to misconceptions....

The Roman claims were well developed and accepted ..long before Constantine or any spurious documents. The office of the Papacy is clearly set out in the New Testament. It is attested tghat at Nicea the legate of te Bishop of Rome took precedence.

The Byzantines originally accepted Papal jurisdiction. Their pre schism Liturgy is also replete with references to it.

Indeed at Chalecedon the bishops chanted, Peter has spoken through leo.

What about the Formula of Hormisdas?

A person who cannot have children is still allowed to have sexual intercourxse within marriage , as they are open to a possible miracle.
the point is they are not over ruling God's prerogative.

Christian ministry is not power its service... look at the Pope, servant of the servants of God.

Bill your attitude shows you are probablly culpable...you have the intelligence and wit to search these claims out.

Also.."Mind you, the C of E doesnt exactly have a pure and unblemished history (or present) either--ask George Fox and the early Quakers."

We Catholics also endured 250 plus years of Anglican sanctioned persecution. Fines, executions etc..but a faithful remnant remained.

Posted by robert ian Williams at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 7:31am GMT

"Jesus had an "inner circle," and that said inner circle, after his passion and resurrection, continued to have a decisive role in this Church"


- Rick Allen -

So, I guess that his real 'Inner Circle' would have been present at the Crucifixion of Jesus - people like His mother, Mary; Mary Magdalene; and 'the beloved disciple', John.

Where was Peter (The Rock) at that time? And what does all this prove about the possibility at the time of Jesus of choosing women as leaders?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 8:23am GMT

Pat - Mary Mag may have "retired from public life" or, indeed, have continued to have a "public ministry". The simple fact is that we just don't know. You fill that gap in knowledge with supposition and there those of us who don't. I prefer to stick to what has actually been transmitted to us along the authentic line taught by the Church. There is no other continuous lineage available other than the one that we have handed down through the centuries through times of great trial and difficulty and it has survived (Richard Dawkins may even tell us that what we have is an example of the survival of the fittest but that's a whole different thread!). When we decide that it is justified to go back and rewrite a little bit or fill in a gap to make the Gospel conform to the current time then we open up the possibility to do this for the whole of the Gospel accounts. The physical resurrection is a very inconvenient stumbling block in our scientific times - maybe we should revisit that too and oh so many other things to make the message more palatable in our increasingly secularised western europe.

Going back and projecting our own views of what was going on in first century Palestine opens the way to all of the Christian doctrine and dogma being set aside and we end up very quickly in heresy. It is the choice of the canon of scripture, the great councils of the undivided Church, the creeds that DEFINE what it is to be Christian. There are many good people who quite like the teachings of Christ but don't believe he was the Son of God. They are called Jehovah's Witnesses, Humanists or even Muslims but they are most certainly not Christians.

I doubt if anyone can unpick the work of the holy spirit operating through the greatest male and female minds of two Millenia and still end up with an authentic understanding of Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God!

I don't mean to belittle your argument but I am just not convinced by it and actually think that it is a dangerous route to go down because it then leaves everything "up for grabs". I hope that in the company of liberal-minded Thinking Anglicans there is sufficient liberality to allow for this bit of dissent from the liberal, revisionist line that is so popular in our current time.

Posted by a seeker after truth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 9:45am GMT

"Bill your attitude shows you are probablly culpable...you have the intelligence and wit to search these claims out."

Darn, and I was hoping to sneak into Heaven through a loophole.

"We Catholics also endured 250 plus years of Anglican sanctioned persecution. Fines, executions etc..but a faithful remnant remained."

Yeah, the English treated RCs badly. Part of that probably has to do with the Pope encouraging Elizabeth I's subjects to rebel against her, the various attempts to invade by Catholic forces... probably the unpleasantness under Queen Mary had something to do with it, too. There was enough violence and ill-will on all sides to invalidate the role of RCs as merely hapless victims.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 1:10pm GMT

" a person who cannot have children is still allowed to have sexual intercourse within marriage , as they are open to a possible miracle.
the point is they are not over ruling God's prerogative."

Well, if I'm to take that argument as serious theology, I can see that God has already caused a miraculous virgin birth and that he can in theory cause miraculous infertile births, so why not extend the concept to include the possibility that gay couples might be open to God's fertility miracles too? After all, it’s God’s prerogative.
And don't tell me it's not scientifically possible!

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 2:29pm GMT

The latest news is bound to accelerate the exodus of the Irish (especially the younger Irish) from the embrace of Holy Mother Rome:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12222612

Male or female, celibate or not, a real issue for Anglicans around to world to ponder as they face a potential transformation from a confederation of equal independent churches to an international church with a centralized curial authority centered in bishops is accountability.
The child molestation scandals plaguing the Roman Church (and some evangelical churches) to my mind are an almost inevitable consequence of secretive centralized institutions with no accountability to the people they are supposed to serve, and no transparency.
Sunshine does not prevent all ecclesiastical crime, but it certainly makes it easier to clean up and limits the damage.

Conservatives always imagine the objections of liberals and the unchurched to be about issues of permission. In fact, liberals and the unchurched find discriminatory policies and practices to be deeply offensive to their moral sense (Christian liberals and progressives see such policies as violating the whole spirit of the Gospel message). To see such practices by institutions who describe themselves as "catholic" and "universal" and in the name of "love" only deepens the outrage with the taint of hypocrisy. Christianity, already associated in so much of the popular mind with political and social reaction, now finds itself linked in that same mind with scandal and crime.
Small wonder that here in the USA, the category of "None of the Above" is the single fastest growing religious denomination.

Posted by Counterlight at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 2:52pm GMT

""The woman who was the first witness to the resurrection simply ceased to have any standing in the community?"

This question may illuminate the real issue, the assumption that, unless one had some sacerdotal office, one has no standing. Much as I respect the clergy, and the hierarchy, and see their need and importance, no, I don't think one needs to be a cleric to have standing in the Christian community. Priesthood is not the higher degree of Christianity. It is a necessary function in the Christian community, not the sine qua non of Christian life."

But Mary Magdalene is not even mentioned in Acts--not even in the recounting of the Ascension or Pentacost. She just disappears...although she is prominent in the gospels up to and including the resurrection. What? She delivered her message to the apostles and then said, "OK, my job is done...have a good time founding your church"? Does that sound probable to you?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 4:08pm GMT

Father Ron, you are right! It proves nothing but the absence of proof does not equate to proof of your thesis either! The onus is on you to provide incontrovertible evidence to support your thesis because you are the one advocating the change from a 2000 year old pattern and understanding. You certainly need to be able to argue it "beyond reasonable doubt" - a significant minority has not been so persuaded and over 1/3 of the provinces in the Anglican communion remain to be convinced.

Posted by a seeker after truth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 4:13pm GMT

Pat, yes I think it is entirely possible that someone who had experienced such momentous events would want to withdraw from the limelight and spend their time in prayer, quiet contemplation and acts of charity - rather like Nuns do today!

Posted by a seeker after truth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 4:58pm GMT

Pat, I entirely agree with your comment about the sacerdotal office. The highest calling is to be a Christian lay person. I am a layman and perfectly happy to leave the sacerdotal business to others.

The Church of England, being something a hybrid of protestant and catholic belief really needed to have a discussion about what it meant by "Ordained Ministry" and "Priesthood" before entering into debate about ordaining Women.

Many evangelicals in the CofE will talk about being commissioned and are deeply confused by having to be commissioned twice (once as a Deacon and then as a Priest - terms which are not part of their general repertoire). Ask the average man or woman in the street and they will tell you that the Catholic Church has Priests and the CofE has Vicars!

Posted by a seeker after truth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 5:10pm GMT

"There are many good people who quite like the teachings of Christ but don't believe he was the Son of God. They are called Jehovah's Witnesses, Humanists or even Muslims but they are most certainly not Christians." -- a seeker after truth


"Even Muslims"? I believe Islam teaches that Jesus of Nazareth was a prophet of God, and that there are verses of the Q'uran that hold his mother Mary in high regard.
I grant you that Muslims aren't Christians, and most Humanists probably don't consider themselves to be Christian, but I strongly suspect that Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves to be Christian.
According to Wikipedia, Jehovah's Witnesses consider the Christ to be God's First Creation, and that through the Christ, God made all the rest of Creation. I'm no expert on the early history of Christianity, but I believe there were other early Christians who held something similar. There's even a phrase in the Nicene Creed devoted to that controversy, "begotten, not created".
Now, Jehovah's Witnesses may not be mainstream Christianity, but neither are some other Christian denominations.
If Jehovah's Witnesses say they are Christian, I'm of the mind to accept them at their word.
I have met many Christian ministers and believers who don't consider Roman Catholics to be Christian. If you want courtesy given to Roman Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church, please extend that to others -- for example, the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 6:45pm GMT

Gosh this thread is an absolute hooot ! And how I envy Bill D that he alone has been ear-marked for perdition ! I guess any of us that insist on thinking for ourselves, and exploring the inscape of religious sensibility must be 'culpable' !

The assumption that Jesus' disciples were somehow 'priests' or even ministers is false and unsupported by current biblical criticism. Nor did Jesus choose a pope, found a Church or any of the other tendentious stuff provided here for our delectation.

Pretty culpable I'd say - if I went in for such off-the-wall language.

My uncle used to regail us as children with stories of how St Peter founded the Church of Rome, while St Paul found the Church of England - and he was an old snuff-taking Welsh-man, who had also lived in America.(my late uncle that is).

It is all so subjective, and so much a function (surely ?) of our personal trajectories and subjectivities that religion can no more be objective than say art. Maybe we need more the spirit of fluxus and Dada in thought and daily practice ?

My thanks to those who bring me such cheer, with reliability (you must know who you are ...)

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 9:50pm GMT

It's official! The man in the street (no women, naturally) says that the CofE has vicars and not priests. It must be true. R.I. Williams has told us that the papacy is in the New Testament. A view held by every Biblical scholar that ever existed. Again, we get the "party line", but no one seriously thinks that the Papacy and the RC Church is the image of what Jesus intended. The "rock" upon which Jesus built his Church is the faith of Peter. Does anyone think that the other apostles who founded churches were wrong and that their churches were invalid or inferior? Historical and cultural contexts and co-incidences made the RC Church dominant, but this has never been seen as scriptural. One verse does not a Church make. Peter seems never to have said so.

Posted by Richard Grand at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 10:16pm GMT

"If you want courtesy given to Roman Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church, please extend that to others -- for example, the Jehovah's Witnesses."

Peter, whether or not the JWs are considered Christian or not has nothing to do with courtesy, and everything to do with the definition of "Christianity." I think that when people say that they aren't Christian they're actually using a shorthand way of saying that they aren't orthodox Christians. And they are not. They are Arians.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 10:40pm GMT

Thanks Peter, your final post has convinced me to give up trying to explain - it would just take far too long to address the errors from your final post. In brief, Christians MUST believe that God became incarnate. Roman Catholics certainly do, most Anglicans do but JWs and Muslims absolutely certainly do not and however "nice" one might want to be, the Christian faith does have some core beliefs which are non-negotiable. An idea of Christianity which is as woolly as yours would not have survived for 20 years, let alone 2000. Good luck in your searching but do remember that Wikipedia is only as accurate as the last person who edited it!

Posted by a seeker after truth at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 11:28pm GMT

" You fill that gap in knowledge with supposition and there those of us who don't. I prefer to stick to what has actually been transmitted to us along the authentic line taught by the Church"
- 'seeker after truth' -

There are many things in the Gospels that are not so explicitly spelt out. For instance, Jesus seems not to have said anything explicit about condemnation of Gays. The only words of Jesus that might have even referred to them is in Matthew 19:12, where Jesus refers to 3 types of eunuch - a person unable, or not disposed, to beget children. First, he speaks of 'eunuchs born that way from (their) mother's womb'. Certain scholars are convinced that this could mean the intrinsically homosexual person - a category of human being not valued by some 'christians'.

Might I suggest that 'seeker after truth' seek a little further than is his usual habit, and be prepared to accept that other people, too, can make their own suppositions which he, himself, is wont to do: for instance, when you infer that there is no scriptural evidence for female headship; it is clear that Jesus 'sent' Mary Magdalene to 'tell the brothers' of the fact of his resurrection - quite an apostolic activity, I believe! Never suppose that another's 'truth' is any less acceptable than one's own. The fact that the male apostles did not believe her clearly demonstrates the sort of misogyny that existed at that time.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 1:28am GMT

"They are Arians". Horrors!
OK, I admit that there might have to be a tighter definition of "Christian" than "someone who says they are one", but, ...
Who gets to do the deciding?
There are still, in the good ol' USA, and I suspect, in Merry Olde England, some Protestant people, ministers, and denominations who feel Roman Catholics are not Christians, that the Roman Catholic Church is not a Christian church, but is the [phrase used in the Book of Revelation combining a not very nice term for a certain kind of fee-for-service woman with the name of a now-defunct city located in what is present-day Iraq].
There are still some Roman Catholic people and clergy, including perhaps, some higher-up clergy, who feel Protestant people and denominations aren't "really" Christian.
Then there are really annoying people who believe that if you have ever had sex outside of marriage, ever gotten drunk, ever gambled, ever gone astray, you're not really Christian. Crusaders who behaved badly, Spanish Inquisitors, certain not-very-nice rulers of Medieval or modern Europe, etc., weren't really Christian.
I'm not going to decide who is and who isn't a Christian.
So, yes, out of courtesy, if the Jehovah's Witnesses call themselves Christian, I take them at their word.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 1:33am GMT

Richard, please read and quote what I actually said instead of selectively choosing and thereby trying to score a cheap point!

I said:
"Ask the average man or woman in the street and they will tell you that the Catholic Church has Priests and the CofE has Vicars!"

You said:
"It's official! The man in the street (no women, naturally) says that the CofE has vicars and not priests. It must be true."

Naturally,, like a good liberal you ignored my substantive point which was simply that the CofE has not got a common mind on what Priesthood is.

Anyway, thanks for the comments from everyone -real food for thought (and despair in some cases!). The thread started with a discussion of why people joining the Ordinariate were not misogynists which so upset me that I felt that I had to respond. I will show more restraint in future and now that the Ordinary is able to answer questions himself, publicly, I'll leave it in his capable hands:

http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/Catholic-Church/Media-Centre/press_releases/Press-Releases-2011/Press-Conference-Fr-Keith-Newton-New-Ordinary

Do listen to him, you'll learn more about the Ordinariate and the Ordinary than you ever could from the "Observer"

Posted by a seeker after truth at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 8:15am GMT

"There are still some Roman Catholic people and clergy, including perhaps, some higher-up clergy, who feel Protestant people and denominations aren't "really" Christian."

You are mistaken, Peter. The RCC doesn't recognize Protestant bodies as being Churches. That does not mean, however, that they don't recognize other Christians as being such.

"Crusaders who behaved badly, Spanish Inquisitors, certain not-very-nice rulers of Medieval or modern Europe, etc., weren't really Christian."

Of course they were. Claiming that they weren't is letting the Church off much too lightly.

"OK, I admit that there might have to be a tighter definition of "Christian" than "someone who says they are one", but, ...Who gets to do the deciding?... So, yes, out of courtesy, if the Jehovah's Witnesses call themselves Christian, I take them at their word."

Well, it sounds like you've already decided who gets to do the deciding, and it's just "whoever says they are one."

The only time that the definition ever comes up practically, I'm willing to bet, is when members of a group that isn't within orthodox Christianity (like JWs, or the LDS and their many splinter groups) wants to join a Church that doesn't recognize their baptism.

I'm sure that there are many people in the JW who are good people, nice people, moral people. What there aren't in the JWs are people who believe in the Trinity or the Incarnation -- i.e., people who profess the basics of orthodox Christianity.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 4:23pm GMT

All words have to be understood in context. In certain contexts, it would be entirely appropriate to understand the word "Christian" to mean something like "any person who self-identifies as a follower of Jesus." That would not include Muslims, for example, but would likely include Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. In other contexts, it would be absurd to interpret it as broadly - though as often as not, an adjective like "orthodox" or "mainstream" might provide a certain clarity.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 5:14pm GMT

Dear seeker-what is the substantive difference between what you said and how I paraphrased it to and the elusive point you were trying to make? Usually I cut and paste the quote, but it wouldn't have made any difference anyway. The CofE/Anglican Church has Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. I was ordained to two of these orders. I am a priest. Every Prayer Book has contained liturgies for these three ordinations since the Reformation everywhere in Anglicanism. What the ROMAN Catholic Church (stop saying Catholic without that modifier) says about themselves (or Anglican orders) or what the "man in the street"(?) says is irrelevant. You have no point to make.

Posted by Richard Grand at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 6:48pm GMT

Response to Richard Grand....the evidence for Peter's primacy is not confined to one verse...he is mentioned 195 times in the New Testament.

He is also designated the Confirmer of the brethren and the shepherd of the sheep and lambs.

He pays the temple tax with our Lord

He walks on water at the Lord's behest.

He is given the keys exclusively.

His primacy and authority is recognised in every age....when there was chaos in the Corinthian Church, they consulted his successor rather than a living Apostle.

Posted by robert ian Williams at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 7:53pm GMT

To RIW: Oddly though, Peter never makes any claims for himself. Being the leader of the Apostles, if that is what he is, doesn't have anything to do with the Papacy. Didn't Jesus in John's Gospel also give authority to ALL the apostles after he rose from the dead. (Whatever you shall loose on earth, etc.)? In fact Peter LOST the argument about whether or not the Gentiles should be admitted. If the primacy of Peter is so obvious, why have so many Christians ignored it? Even if Peter speaks, other also spoke. A historical perspective makes it clear why the primacy of Peter became so significant to the Church of Rome and was so vigourously imposed and enforced. When Constantine declared Christinaity to be the religion of the Empire, he was co-opting the Church for his own ends and the Church went along, even adopting many of the titles and privileges-the Bishop became Pontifiex Maximus, for example. Temples became churches. People converted for careers. How convenient that the power of Rome and of the Roman Church co-incided. Remember that Constantine never converted, except on is deathbed. He saw an opportunity and it worked. This has nothing to do with what Jesus said to Peter. We cannot say that this kind of leadership and power are what he had in mind.

Posted by Richard Grand at Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 9:31pm GMT

The Lord gave the keys exclusively to Peter and the power to the other Apostles to bind and loose only when in communion with him...see Matthew ch 18.

The authority and Commission the Apostles received , came directly from God, but all bishops as successors of the Apostles receive their jurisdiction via the Holy See.

The Church of England bishops receive their jurisdiction from the Queen.

Posted by Robert Ia Williams at Friday, 21 January 2011 at 8:19am GMT

I fully acknowledge the respect owed to Peter. The insitution of the Papacy is something else. Didn't Jesus also say to Peter (after the keys passage) "Get thee behind me Satan"?

Posted by Richard Grand at Friday, 21 January 2011 at 6:02pm GMT

"when there was chaos in the Corinthian Church, they consulted his (Peter's?)successor rather than a living Apostle." - Robert I. Williams -

Then where was Saint Paul at the time of the Corinthians spats. He, Paul, seemed to have more to do with, and more success with the mission to Corinth.

Paul would never have considered himself to be any sort of papal authority, yet he was at least equally effective in the mission of the Early Church - as any historian.

Anyway, if Peter were sole authority - and not just a run of the mill apostle - why did Paul not bow to his mistaken understanding of the outreach to the Gentiles?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 22 January 2011 at 10:16am GMT

Robert I. Williams:

It's surprising how many Roman Catholics suddenly take a fundamentalist protestant approach to interpreting the verses in Matthew regarding the keys and binding and loosing. The verses to which you refer (the keys and binding and loosing) are not found in either Mark, which was Matthew's main source, or in Luke. This would clearly indicate that the verses were a later addition by Matthew and not something Jesus actually said. The verses appear to apply to a version of christianity found only in Matthews' community.

In addition, if Peter was supposed to be the ultimate authority in the early Church, why was James, Jesus' brother, leading the early church?

Posted by Doug at Saturday, 22 January 2011 at 6:09pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.