Thinking Anglicans

Church Times on the papal visit

A few weeks ago, the Dean of Westminster wrote an article. See A chance to recall the nation’s Christian roots.

The Pope’s visit could help to emphasise how the state can engage with the Churches, argues John Hall

This week there is a news report, Pope’s state visit won’t be a fishing trip, says Nichols.

THE Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, has said that the Pope will not be “fishing” for Anglicans when he comes to Britain next week.

Pope Benedict XVI will meet the Archbishop of Canterbury next week during the first state visit by a pope to the UK, and the first papal visit for 28 years.

Archbishop Nichols told the BBC that there were “delicate and difficult issues” between his Church and the Church of England. But there would be no “harsh words” between the two church leaders during next week’s visit. The Pope’s creation of an Or­dinariate for those who chose to leave the Anglican Church was made only in response to repeated re­quests.

“Sometimes, people want to say, ‘Oh, this is the initiative of the Pope, who is going fishing for Anglicans.’ That is not true. He is responding to requests that he has received, and those requests we have to handle sensitively on both sides. There are delicate, difficult issues between our two Churches at the moment.”

And there is a Leader, English lesson for Pope Benedict.

…The interest in Pope Benedict’s visit is there, too, but it stems, in part, from negative sources. In place of the Revd Ian Paisley and Pastor Jack Glass will stand, physically or metaphorically, Peter Tatchell and Richard Dawkins, criticising not the brand of Christianity represented by the Pope, but the whole Christian edifice. Where ecumenical endeavour has failed, ignorance has triumphed, so that divisions within the Church are largely unperceived by the general public. The Pope’s views are taken to be the views of all, just as the crimes of a few Roman Catholic priests have cast a shadow over all…

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Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

I listened to Mark Dowd’s excellent documentary on the state of English Catholicism on Radio Four. What came across was the utter ignorance of the young people as to what the Catholic Faith was. The trads, nice and safe in their liturgical ghetto. The Archbishop of Westminster not facing the reality of what the gay Soho mass represents. “I cannot make a moral judgement” was his comment.. would Paul have said that over the man in an incestuous relationship? Cardinal hume refused active homosexuals who approached him for Holy Communion? If I did not believe in the Petrine promises I… Read more »

JCF
JCF
10 years ago

“”what the gay Soho mass represents. … “I cannot make a moral judgement” was his comment.. would Paul have said that over the man in an incestuous relationship?”

…because gay relationships are the equivalent of INCEST, I take it RIW?

Please take your homophobia (Yes, I’m sure prettied up w/ your bogus “Petrine promised” Biblical *interpretation*), tie a millstone around it, and deposit it in the depths of the sea! >:-(

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

“The Archbishop of Westminster not facing the reality of what the gay Soho mass represents. ‘I cannot make a moral judgement’ was his comment.. Would Paul have said that over the man in an incestuous relationship? Cardinal hume refused active homosexuals who approached him for Holy Communion?” – Robert Ian Williams – Robert, tell me, are you here equating incest with same-sex relationships? If so, you may just be on the wrong web-site. Most of us here are concerned with the fight for justice for women and gays, whose intrinsic sexuality is the soevereign work of a loving God –… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

I never thought of it like that. I did not express my view but that of the Catholic Church, of which the topic was concerned. Of course heterosexual immorality, incest, adultery etc are all sins in Catholic moral teaching. The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual practice ( not persons) is gravely sinful ( as does Anglicanism ), but the Archdiocese of Westminster are in my view quite duplicitous on the issue of the Soho Mass. Indeed we have written evidence that when the Archbishop writes to some concerned persons he pretends the Mass is for celibate homosexuals. Archbishop Nichols should… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

RIW “Surely you may not agree with the Catholic position, but is not my reasoning honest?” No, I don’t think your reasoning is honest. The Pope is not infallible unless he speaks ex-cathedra. To my knowledge, there has been no ex-cathedra pronouncement on homosexuality. I have a Catholic friend who supports the ordination of women. She would never go against the rules of her church, but she says it is perfectly legitimate to say that this is something you hope the Pope will eventually change his mind on. The Catholic church really isn’t as rigid as you try to portray… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

“If Archbishop Vincent Nichols believes that homosexuality is gravely sinful, he has no right to approve the Mass. If he doesn’t believe that homosexuality is sinful, he should resign his office and quit the Catholic Church.” – Robert Ian Williams – Robert, I appreciate your response, but cannot help wondering why you would want to question the morality a Metropolitan Bishop of your own R.C. Church on an Anglican web-site. Would it not be preferable, and perhaps more helpful to your own Church community, if you were to challenge Abp. Nichols’ seeming hypocrisy through one of your own Roman Catholic… Read more »

bobinswpa
bobinswpa
10 years ago

Rome is a dead end. Nichols doesn’t represent the pope and I’m sure Papa Ratzinger doesn’t want anyone speaking for him.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

So by your reasoning Ron, why are you so obsessed with commenting at Roman Catholicism.

Erika , you should be affirming me..as what I am saying is , why is there a seeming contradiction between Archbishop Nichols attacking Tony Blair over revising Church teaching on homosexuality and giving a nod and a wink to the issue in the Soho Mass.

In Wales we call this ” running with the hare and the hounds.”…or ” eating your bun and keeping your penny.”

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

When I go to worship there is no way to know if my fellow worshippers are celibate or not. Nor do I care. All I hope is that they are happy.

William Tighe
William Tighe
10 years ago

Erika, “The Pope is not infallible unless he speaks ex-cathedra.” This is true, although irrelevant in this case. When the “Ordinary Magisterium” speaks with one voice on a subject or issue, that issue is likewise closed. Thus, the declaration “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” of Pope John Paul II in 1994 which declared that the Church does not have the capacity to ordain women was not an ex cathedra infallible definition, but as the CDF clarified in the following year what OS does is to specify that the constant teaching of the “Ordinary Magisterium” is “irreformable ” (i.e., unchangeable) and thus infallibly taught.… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

Your “Catholic friend” who supports the “ordination” of women is thus acting either in willful defiance of the teaching of the Church or in untaught ignorance of the fact that it is not only the relatively few ex cathedra magisterium that demand assent and adherence of the faithful. Posted by: William Tighe on Sunday, 12 September Few people these days -who are not having a breakdown of some kind, will accept this kind of impenitent control and bullying. Happily the RC demoninaion is far from monolithic and a richly diverse life flourishes, beyond papal impertinences ! Not only sexually, but… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

“Your “Catholic friend” who supports the “ordination” of women is thus acting either in willful defiance of the teaching of the Church or in untaught ignorance of the fact that it is not only the relatively few ex cathedra magisterium that demand assent and adherence of the faithful.” – William Tighe, on Sunday – Well, William, there would appear to be something of an underground revolt against your celebrated *magisterium* on this issue, and there are many Roman Catholics – including priests and Religious whom I know personally – who cannot see why women cannot be ordained priests & bishops.… Read more »

JCF
JCF
10 years ago

Robert Ian Williams: “there is such thing as false charity. A true friend always tells you the truth and not what you want to hear” Ah yes: the whole “if it’s true, it’s charitable” blanket defense. Hence, behold the “charity” of burning the heretic alive, “so that he may repent, and avoid the eternal flame hereafter.” This kind of “logic” comes *direct* from the Father of Lies, RIW. No stipulated “Truth” can turn hatred into charity. As is obvious, your co-religionist William “sodomitic pseudogamy” (!!!) Tighe HATES the people that God made LGBT. Is that road you want to travel… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
10 years ago

W. Tighe wrote ” Your ‘Catholic friend’ who supports the “ordination” of women is thus acting either in willful defiance of the teaching of the Church…” Yeah, there is a lot of that going around these days. It’s called cafeteria Catholic. It tends to thrive outside cloister walls.
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Letters/1200898.html

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
10 years ago
Jerry Hannon
Jerry Hannon
10 years ago

I am amazed by the in-denial RC’s who imagine that the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been entirely consistent or immutable on all things through the millennia. I know that I will not see female RC priests in the relatively few years I have left, but I am reasonably confident that my children will see that occur, or at least the foundations for that being put in place. The Holy Spirit can even break through the prejudices and self-imposed barriers of Rome. Of course for that minority of non-hierarchy RC’s who demand universal conformity in faith as well as in action,… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

laurence… its not a question of making rash judgements about a person presenting themselves for Holy Communion. The issue is as much the context of the Mass. Is it a group of men and women wishing to conform their lives to Catholic teaching, or is it a group being confirmed in what Catholic teaching declares is trespass and sin. Are the officiating priest’s preaching that homosexual practice is a sin and enjoining chastity…no Are the group joining in the Gay Pride demo..which is a celebration of the gay lifestyle ……yes Have you read the Mass web site? That is why… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

RIW
I think you are making the same mistake William made in his reply to me, which is to equate thinking with acting.

You may not act against the wishes of the church but unless there has been an ex-cathedra pronouncement on something you do not have to believe that the church is right.

Your statement “If he doesn’t believe that homosexuality is sinful, he should resign his office and quit the Catholic Church.” is therefore not honest reasoning.

Simon Sarmiento
10 years ago

Robert, see what Abp Nichols said in this Sunday Telegraph interview,
and read down to the para which starts, “Should the Church one day accept the reality of gay partnerships?”

But could we please leave this issue, which arose only from the Dowd radio programme comment (I agree that it was an excellent programme) and stick to comments about what the Church Times articles said?

Hector
Hector
10 years ago

Re: The Pope is not infallible unless he speaks ex-cathedra. To my knowledge, there has been no ex-cathedra pronouncement on homosexuality. Erika, I don’t think that’s quite correct. My understanding is that Ecumenical Councils are also concidered to be infallible, and there was a twelfth century Ecumenical Council condemning homosexuality, as well as a thirteenth century Ecumenical Council condemning unmarried sex. I don’t think, personally, that homosexuality is wrong, but if one views tradition as infallible, then it is a theological conundrum, because supposedly infallible traditions (i.e. two Ecumenical Councils) do condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, I _don’t_ view tradition… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
10 years ago

Posters interested in infallibility, R.C. Church teaching, and women’s ordination may find this article by Joseph Fitzmeyer interesting.

http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/fitzmyer.asp

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

Thanks Hector.

Is there anyone here who can confirm that the ecumenical councils are (always?) considered to be infallible?

Is there any website where one can research the whole list of all infallible pronouncements there have been and on which topics?

And just out of interest, is it possible to reverse an infallible decision? I’m just trying to imagine what would have happened if slavery had at any point been prounced as infallibly acceptable.

Simon, please don’t post this if you think it’s too off-topic.

BillyD
10 years ago

In talking about what Ecumenical Councils did and didn’t do, you have to differentiate between doctrinal pronouncements and the canons enacted by them in the area of discipline. There are lots of “dead canons” that are no longer enforced by any Church – so just because a Council took action on a perceived problem doesn’t mean that all those actions are equal.

Hector
Hector
10 years ago

Re: And just out of interest, is it possible to reverse an infallible decision? I’m sure it would be possible to argue that the ecumenical councils didn’t share our modern understanding of homosexuality. The twelfth century Lateran Council condemned ‘unnatural sex’, so one could maybe plausibly argue that as our understanding of nature evolves (and is informed by scientific learning, as it must be) our understanding of what is unnatural (and therefore wrong) should also evolve. I guess it depends on whether one things that we should follow the spirit of tradition, or the letter (this is the same debate… Read more »

William Tighe
William Tighe
10 years ago

The Orthodox consider the decisions and determinations of an ecumenical council to be binding canonically and infallible dogmatically when they have been accepted by the consensus of the Church, the Orthodox Church, as a whole. The Catholic Church considers both of them to be, respectively, binding and infallible, when formally accepted and promulgated by the pope (or with his authority). Such infallible dogmatic decisions remain permanently binding and (to use Latin canon law language) “irreformable” (i.e., unchangeable in such a way as to contradict them), although any canons passed by an ecumenical council and promulgated by the pope are always… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
10 years ago

In response to W. Tighe’s post at 9:52 BST, the matter of women’s ordination an various types of infallibility remains a controversy inside the R.c. Church. The link here will take you to an article by Peter Burns S.J., who has a perspective nuanced very differently W. Tighe. I want to comment on decision making and authority with regard to women’s ordination, but I’m going to do that in a separate post next.
http://astro.temple.edu/~arcc/burns.htm

BillyD
10 years ago

Hector, you’re referring to Canon 11 of the Third Lateran Council, which reads: “11. Clerics in holy orders, who in open concubinage keep their mistresses in their houses, should either cast them out and live continently or be deprived of ecclesiastical office and benefice. Let all who are found guilty of that unnatural vice for which the wrath of God came down upon the sons of disobedience and destroyed the five cities with fire, if they are clerics be expelled from the clergy or confined in monasteries to do penance; if they are laymen they are to incur excommunication and… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
10 years ago

The posts from W. Tighe on the ordination of women all go to ground on the issue of ecclesiastical authority, the obedience required by the “faithful” to the magisterium, councils, and clergymen. Those kinds of arguments work especially well for those who belong to group from which the arguments emanate i.e, the male hierarchy and devotees of a patriarchal ecclesiastic culture. Church authority has to be taken seriously. I feel for my fellow liberal Catholics who are (unlike me) required to contend with Roman obedience. That Roman Catholic women and men longing for an end to sexism with regard to… Read more »

Hector
Hector
10 years ago

Re: No doubt the same is true and could (and in my view ought to) be done on the subject of sodomitic pseudogamy (or abortion or the Church’s teaching against contraception). I generally agree with you about abortion, and wish more Episcopalians and Anglicans did an better job of fighting the abortion culture, but I can’t agree with you on contraception (though certainly contraception is often abbused to facilitate casual sex), or about ‘sodomitic psuedogamy’ (though that’s a hell of a turn of phrase). And I certainly don’t agree with you that every ecumenical council, to the letter, is infallible.… Read more »

JCF
JCF
10 years ago

“I’m sure it would be possible to argue that the ecumenical councils didn’t share our modern understanding of homosexuality. The twelfth century Lateran Council condemned ‘unnatural sex’, so one could maybe plausibly argue that as our understanding of nature evolves (and is informed by scientific learning, as it must be) our understanding of what is unnatural (and therefore wrong) should also evolve.” Oh, it already has . . . even in the Vatican! What was condemned in years past as “unnatural sex” (anything other than penile-vaginal intercourse, sans “artificial” birth-control methods) is now considered (see re “The Catechism”) “Just Fine,… Read more »

MarkBrunson
10 years ago

“I did not express my view but that of the Catholic Church, of which the topic was concerned.”

I vas just following orders!

No wonder you like Ratzinger so much!

Spiritual and moral cowardice are the bases for Roman Catholicism.

MarkBrunson
10 years ago

Who cares what the Pope thinks or says?

Why all this brouhaha?

Do you know what his final outcome will be? The same as all the rest of us, and all those who pretend to speak for God especially. He’s just going to die and be forgotten. No one will care in twenty years what Josef Ratzinger did or said, let alone 100.

Don’t give the old self-seeking publicity hound more ink to gloat over. Consign him to the rubbish heap of history with his fellows.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

And having an infallible living authority is not oppressive..its actually liberating, as Our lord said the Truth shall set you free.

I want the truth, not what my sinful heart wants.

There is a way that seems right to a man and the end thereof is death.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

Hector

This doesn’t really quite add up.
It has been said here that the Pope’s view of homosexuality has the status of infallibility, you are telling me that these decisions can never be revoked.

And yet, there is debate about homosexuality in the church and among RC theologians, something that would simply not happen if an eternal decision had been pronounced.

Rather than express their own opinions or interpretations, can anyone point me to the actual rules about infallibility and about precisely what has been declared infallible?

JCF
JCF
10 years ago

“There is a way that seems right to a man and the end thereof is death.” . . . unless he occupieth the Seat of Peter? Is that the quote RIW?

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

“The issue is as much the context of the Mass.

Is it a group of men and women wishing to conform their lives to Catholic teaching.”

– Robert I Williams –

Concerning your question, Robert; More correctly and more importantly, the people at Mass would be more profitably engaged in ‘wishing to conform their lives’ to Christ’s teaching; which is not necessarily synoymous with ‘Roman Catholic teaching’.

And regarding the celebrated ‘Magisterium’, you should read what Hans Kung (a periti theologian at Vatican 2) has to say about that conceit – in his autobiography published in 2003.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

“And having an infallible living authority is not oppressive..its actually liberating, as Our lord said the Truth shall set you free.

I want the truth, not what my sinful heart wants.”

Yes, so much easier to be TOLD what the truth is, than to have to figure it out on your own.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
10 years ago

@Erika “Rather than express their own opinions or interpretations, can anyone point me to the actual rules about infallibility and about precisely what has been declared infallible?” Erika, see the link to the article by Peter Burns SJ in my earlier post.He outlines the rules. The article is dry but answers your question, at least from a R.C. view, with clarity. It shows where W. Tighe, for example, is factual, and where he is not.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

Infallibility Erika is the fulfilment of the promise of Our Blessed lord to Peter that his Faith would not fail after his restoration. After establishing the Apostles as the ruler of the New Israel, our Lord says to them, Satan has desired to sift you ( plural)like wheat but I have prayed for thee ( singular and to Peter) that your faith will after your restoration never fail and you will confirm your brothers. Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous. It stands to sense that the spokesman of a Church which… Read more »

Hector
Hector
10 years ago

Re: This doesn’t really quite add up.It has been said here that the Pope’s view of homosexuality has the status of infallibility, you are telling me that these decisions can never be revoked. I’m not really saying that they can’t be revoked _in practice_. I think, and hope, that the RC church will allow its understanding of the natural and the unnatural to evolve and that gay relationships may end up on the licit side of the line. What I am saying is that they will need to do some fancy theological footwork to square that with the belief that… Read more »

Hector
Hector
10 years ago

JCF, I’m not sure the teaching has evolved as much as all that. The most common and widely practiced sexual act previously concidered ‘unnatural’ (i.e. contraception) is condemned by the Vatican as much as it was in the past. Though it’s worth pointing out that the modern RC Church does accept the practice of knowingly confining sexual acts to infertile periods, which I’m pretty sure was condemned as immoral by a number of early church fathers. (Not sure if it was specifically considered a form of the sin against nature, though). In this respect, at least, church teaching has evolved… Read more »

BillyD
10 years ago

“Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous.”

As in, “resembling or suggesting a fable”? Quite so.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

“Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous.” – Robert I. Williams – ‘Fabulous’ as in FABLE? Well that really says it all, Robert. This may be just one more instance of the need to chose one’s words carefully on this site. I really would recommend the academic paper written by Peter Jones SJ (a Roman Catholic) on infallibility – especially as it relates (or not) to your Church’s TRUE position on Women’s Ordination. You may be surprised! You can find the article by clicking on the link provided by Rod Gills on… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

Homosexual practices are condemned in Holy Scripture which is infallible. The New Testament teaches that no practising homosexual ( passive or assertive ) can hope to enter Heaven. This of course is also true of adulterers, liars and fornicators as well. That has been the consistent exegesis for two thousand years. Hector, the Catholic Church has become more understanding of the person with homosexual tendencies, but the Catholic Church will not change its view on the practice. It would be inconsistent with the constant teaching, that all sexual intercourse must be within marriage and open to the God’s gift of… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

Holy Scripture is infallible. Oh, so Joshua really did stop the sun in the sky, huh? Neat trick, since the sun doesn’t move around the earth. And stopping the earth from rotating has all kinds of ramifications in physics. Oh–and I guess we’re all in trouble from eating pork, right? And we ought to be stoning our adulterers? And which VERSION of scripture is infallible? The Hebrew? The Aramaic? The Greek? The Latin? The modern languages? (You DO know none of those ancient languages had a word–or even a phrase–precisely equivalent to what we call “homosexuality,” which is a 19th… Read more »

Hector
Hector
10 years ago

Re: Homosexual practices are condemned in Holy Scripture which is infallible. As you yourself concede, it isn’t scripture itself that condemns them, it’s the exegesis of scripture. The argument from scripture has no special validity that the argument from tradition doesn’t have, because scripture is a product of tradition (this is one of the many points on which I do agree with your church) so it’s not really necessary to bring six dubious scriptural verses into it. The arguments from scripture and from tradition are both compelling, but ultimately they both rest on the premise that homosexual acts are against… Read more »

Hector
Hector
10 years ago

Re: “Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous.”

Seriously? Of all specifically RC teachings that you could glory in (and there’s a lot of RC teachings that I do find ‘fabulous’, including about purgatory, Mary, the protection of human life, etc.) you chose papal infallibility?

BillyD
10 years ago

RIW, I hope you’ve never eaten black pudding, in light of the New Testament’s infallible teaching that it’s a sin…

“practising homosexual ( passive or assertive )”

What the heck does this even mean? I’ve been a “practicing homosexual” now for 40+ years, but I’ve never come across the term “assertive” in this context before.

BillyD
10 years ago

“…all sexual intercourse must be within marriage and open to the God’s gift of life.”

Which, of course, is precisely why the Church requires fertility verification before announcing the banns, and bars post-menopausal women from marrying…

BillyD
10 years ago

“The New Testament teaches that no practising homosexual ( passive or assertive ) can hope to enter Heaven.”

I just hope I can get a seat in Hell. With all the masturbators the RCC says are Hell-bound, I’m sure it’s going to be crowded.

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