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MPs are threatening to overrule attempts to allow ‘traditionalists’ in the C of E to reject women bishops. And Parliament will decide: this is an Erastian Church

Anglo-Catholics should no longer expect the C of E to make special arrangements for them; it’s not going to happen

By on Friday, 13 July 2012

A parliamentary committee may block 'special arrangements' for parishes opposed to women bishops (Photo: PA)

A parliamentary committee may block 'special arrangements' for parishes opposed to women bishops (Photo: PA)

The question of whether or not the Church of England will appoint women bishops drags on and on. (We will of course put to one side here the question of the validity of Anglican orders: though our view has been somewhat softened in its expression by the ARCIC process, it is still, of course, the unavoidable view of the Catholic Church that they are, in Leo XIII’s not exactly tactful words, “absolutely null and utterly void”).

The Anglican bishops have now decided that they will delay the final decision as to whether or not to proceed to legislate on the matter. The reason for this is that those opposed to any special arrangements being made, for those parishes who don’t want to be in the diocese of a woman bishop, object strongly to these arrangements, so much so that they are threatening to vote the whole thing down. This would mean that they would all have to start again from the beginning of the whole weary synodical process; it could take another five years.

As to why many Synod members don’t like these special arrangements — which they say will mean the establishment of a second-rate episcopate for women — it is germane to note that by this stage the arguments against them are entirely secular. The Evangelicals don’t want women bishops because they say that scripture requires male headship in the Church. That’s a theological reason. Anglo-Catholics don’t recognise that they can be bishops at all, because they don’t accept (for recognisably “Catholic” reasons) that women can be ordained priest in the first place. That, too, is a clearly theological reason. Those who want women bishops, by contrast, say it’s now nothing to do with theology, and that it’s a matter of their human rights as women, and that if parishes are allowed to refuse a woman’s episcopal ministry and to opt out of their dioceses into a kind of limbo — serviced by something like the present obsolescent arrangement of “flying bishops” — that will mean that those women the Church of England would raise to the Anglican episcopate would be second-class bishops, since not only would the Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics not fully recognise them: neither would the Church of England.

This objection has nothing to do with theology, and you don’t need to be an Anglican or even a Christian to see the force of it. The arguments in favour of women bishops have nothing to do with theology, says Rabbi Julia Neuberger, and she is dead right: once, that is, you have accepted that the women who have been “ordained” priests really are priests, since if you are a priest there can be no theological reason why you should not become a bishop. And the Church of England has already made a clear decision about that.

The fact is that the Anglo-Catholics who are still determined to stay in the Church of England are in an impossible situation. As I wrote in this column last February (the last time the Synod discussed the matter),

… if you accept that women may be priests, that those women already ordained as such by the Church of England are validly ordained (and I actually heard a member of the Catholic group in Synod actually saying on the radio that he did accept them as priests, but that he didn’t want them to become bishops) then what are you on about? If a woman is a priest, then she is eligible to be a bishop. If she’s not, she isn’t. Either way, you are a member of a Church in which there are now hundreds of women priests: and whether you put yourself in a ghetto which doesn’t accept them or not, you are still in full communion with them (and don’t give me that stuff about “impaired communion”: you are in full communion with your own bishops (flying or not), who are themselves in full communion with the male bishops who ordained all these women, so you are in full communion with them: get used to it, or leave.

As to why Julia Neuberger thinks it’s any of her business, or why I do, come to that, the answer is simple enough. The Church of England is established by law under the crown; it is the state Church, so we too have a stake in it. Ultimately its affairs are regulated by Parliament: when, that is to say, the Synod has legislated to establish a female episcopate, its legislation must be taken across the road and translated into English secular law by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Then the Queen must give her assent. All this would normally be a formality: whatever the Synod wants Parliament usually lets it have. It has been little noticed, however, that this time, members of the 30-strong parliamentary committee of MPs and peers known as the “ecclesiastical committee”, which would have to agree that the Synodical legislation is “expedient” before it proceeds on its weary way, are saying firmly that any “special arrangements” for dissident parishes would not be accepted by them.

This is, of course, for entirely secular reasons, as members of the ecclesiastical committee are making clear: the Synod’s legislation will have to conform with the Human Rights Act. That means that the “special arrangements” the House of Bishops want incorporated into the new law will not get past Parliament. “This is now the second time the bishops have tried to water down the proposals,” says Ben Bradshaw MP, a member of the parliamentary committee. “These would, in the eyes of many Anglicans, create a two-tier bishopric and a lesser status for women… I have spoken to some of my colleagues on the ecclesiastical committee and they share my concerns about the amendments.”

Simon Hughes MP, another member of the committee, says that its members have a “duty” to ensure the proposals do not conflict with equality law. “The ecclesiastical committee obviously does not set out to impose its will on [the Church], however we have a duty to make sure that anything that comes before us does not break any of the principles of the law of the land,” he said.

There you have it, really: an Erastian Church is ultimately a secular organisation, though one in which religion is permitted, so long as it doesn’t clash with the ethical principles which govern secular society. Well, you may say, don’t we all have to conform with “the principles of the law of the land”? Well, no, actually: the Catholic Church will not be ordaining women priests and bishops however much secular society thinks we should; nor will we be “marrying” homosexuals; in the end, the C of E will almost certainly have to. Secular human rights law does not and cannot touch us: we are the Church, and if they try to make us we will disobey.

Anglo-Catholics need to understand clearly that there is no longer a place for them in the Church of England; they are not wanted. They have, however, an alternative, in communion with the one true Church: the ordinariate has been erected precisely for them. If they will not become part of it, they will have simply to accept that they are members of a Church with women priests and women bishops and get used to it. But if they do, they had better stop calling themselves “Anglo-Catholics”: they will have forfeited the right.

  • Jonathan West

    Secular human rights law does not and cannot touch us: we are the Church, and if they try to make us we will disobey.
    Secular human rights law does does apply to the Catholic Church just is does to any other organisation, and all the huffing and puffing in the world does not change the fact that this is the case. 

    So if you try to bar a church cleaner from a job on the grounds that he or she is a Muslim rather than a Catholic, you will find yourself in court pretty sharpish, even if you were to claim that your discrimination has a theological basis.

    What the law contains is exceptions for religious organisations for identified specifically religious roles, so that you can be as discriminatory as you like with regard to the priesthood if your theology requires this of you.

    The Church of England has decided that its theology no longer requires it to take advantage of these exceptions in human rights law in order to discriminate in this way with regard to its priests and is in the process of deciding whether to abandon that exception for its bishops as well.

    As for the Anglo-Catholics forfeiting the right to that name, I think you are engaging in the “No true Scotsman” fallacy.

  • frater sejunctus

    Yes, game, set, and match for Newman on this one. …But the Anglo-Catholic remnant could either join or form a “continuing” jurisdiction, as in the US, or else enter the “Union of Scranton”. …But you are surely right in supposing that such spiritual offspring of the Oxford Movement as still exist have no place in the C of E. …A pity all those beautiful buildings stand at the disposal of an apostate, Gnostic sect!

  • Palo Cortado

    “There you have it, really: an Erastian Church is ultimately a secular organisation.”  
    Your triumphalism is misplaced as the Roman Catholic church has this week been shown to be exactly this, with the Portsmouth employer/employee ruling.  Just read Fr Lucie-Smith’s article. 

  • Mark Bailey

     I don’t know how you reach that conclusion, Palo. The CoE is Erastian by statute and choice; the Catholic church is in dispute with UK law – although the ruling will almost certainly be appealled. How that makes the Catholic church Erastian is beyond me, but perhaps you can explain.

  • Perspykation

    Does it not concern you that you are willfully stirring dissent; willfully pitching one against another and for no good reason. Is it so that several people can jump ship and comfort themselves that they are right? And are there not soooo very many people who say they are right? The Orthodox in their many extremely worthy denominations say they are right, the Baptists are usually right, the very many evangelical free churches are often totally right and of course the Roman Catholics are also right. The Church of England does not suggest it is right. It would be ludicrous to say so. And yet anyone in any parish for any reason, has access to a priest, a person in love with Christ, communicating Christ, to walk with them, to stand alongside them, to lead them to Christ. That does not make them right, but it’s where I’d rather be.

  • Charley F

    and if they try to make us we will disobey” is the key point. It doesn’t matter what the law says if it can’t be enforced.

  • theroadmaster

    When Henry V111 usurped the leadership of  the Church in England after his break with Rome, nationalization was always on the cards, as the religious sphere became inextricably linked with the ruling civil power.  When those two spheres intermingle, as is the case here, it is usually the secular power that wins out in determining what constitutes the last word in the moral ethics and laws which effect religion within a country.  In effect, like it’s Lutheran equivalents in the Scandinavian countries, the Anglican church is effectively a nationalized body, whose will has been subordinated to the decision making of parliament.  The Catholic Church, as a universal, multi-national body, does not suffer from such constraints and rightly would never let moral objective truths be decided on the basis of parliamentary votes.  As Dr Oddie, explains, the overriding powers of the parliamentary committee of 30 members setup to examine the ramifications of the latest synodal decision to permit women into the episcopate, before the Queen gives her assent, has rendered the C of E, an Erastian organization, whose independence has been neutered.

  • Chris Parker

    This is sad more than anything else. The turn against non-liberals has been rapid and severe. It was only in 1994, not even 20 years ago, that women were made priests in the CofE by a slim majority; now we are told that there is to be no room AT ALL for those who hold to the old beliefs, and the liberals are teaming up with MPs (those paragons of religious virtue) to force it through. 

    Whatever camp you find yourself in, this is very, very sad. I wonder that any liberal, in fact, can be proud of it.

    Looking at America, I suppose we must expect the same progression – from redefining the priesthood to redefining God. Amusing that this week the Americans authorised a same-sex marriage Rite.

    I honestly never thought the liberals, after stealing the old churches of America, would succeed in stealing the ancient churches of England. But there we go. No Catholic should delight in it.
    The idea of all those beautiful churches and cathedrals, soaked with the prayers of everyone’s ancestors, falling into the hands of unashamed pagans is chilling.

  • Parasum

    “A pity all those beautiful buildings stand at the disposal of an apostate, Gnostic sect!”

    ## The C of E deserves better than to be called that :(

  • srdc

    The church of England no longer has a theology. Everybody’s political views are now theology.

  • srdc

    If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

  • Henry

    Although Anglicans, and people of all religions can be excellent people, and even more holy than many of us Catholics, the Church of England itself is an evil institution; it is evil because it was founded by acts of thievery of Catholic Cathedrals and churches by the Crown, acts of destruction of the monasteries by the Crown, and acts of murder of those, like Saint Thomas More, that didn’t support the crown. How can such an institution pretend to have any moral authority given how it was founded? Despite historic corruption in all churches, including the Catholic church, the Anglican church is unique in the scope of corruption in how it was founded. It is poetic justice that the Church of England is allowing destructive government forces ruin it from within given that it was corrupt government action that got it founded in the first place.

  • frater sejunctus

    For the sake of fairness, bear in mind the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) that has arisen as the 39th Anglican province to withstand the US Episcopals (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), and the Mission Province in Sweden and Finland that has broken away from the Lutheran State churches to preserve the old Lutheran heritage.

  • Augustine Thompson

    :”Conservative” or “Liberal” in theology, this is the result of having the STATE run religion.  It started with Emperor Henry IV driving out Pope Gregory.  It continued with Henry VIII making the “church” a ministry of the STATE with him as “head.”  NOW the STATE “Church ” of England is learning what the cost of having their state murder Catholic priests and deprive English Catholics of civil rights for 300 years.  You made your bed, sleep in it.

  • aearon43

    Generally when one writes a sentence in the indicative mood it is with the idea that it is true, and that one is right in so writing it. I don’t think there are many people who believe something to be wrong but then write it anyway, including yourself. What you seem to be suggesting, Perspykation, is that so many others think themselves right, but it is in fact you who are right.

    It’s a bit harder than that to transcend the whole history of Christian division and sectarianism. Your sort of “person in love with Christ, communicating Christ” etc. is not, as you seem to believe, a sort of elevated vantage-point from which you view, with a certain amount of pity, yes? the petty squabbles of sectarians. It is, rather, just another type of sectarianism, viz. evangelical Protestantism.

    We all want to follow Christ, but accepting error for the sake of “good feelings” is probably not the best way to do so.

  • aearon43

    I think you’re missing the point, which is that the Church of England exists as a function of the state. This is exemplified in the fact that the monarch is its head. The Catholic Church does not have that kind of legal status. Of course the law applies to Catholics, too, but the Catholic Church is not a department of the British government, yes?

  • JabbaPapa

    With each passing year of catastrophic doctrinal and pastoral adventurism, the C of E deserves an ever diminishing degree of respect from Catholics.

  • JabbaPapa

    So if you try to bar a church cleaner from a job on the grounds that he
    or she is a Muslim rather than a Catholic, you will find yourself in
    court pretty sharpish, even if you were to claim that your
    discrimination has a theological basis.

    The basis for doing so is actually both doctrinal and legal — there is an extremely rarely used provision in Canon Law that non-Christians are not permitted to enter any sacred spaces inside a church.

    (the last time I can recall it being used was a few years ago, when a group of radical anti-Christian Muslims in Spain made an attempt to hold regular prayer meetings in the premises of a Cathedral)

    Quite apart from which, parish priests have every right to choose among candidates the most suitable for any task, including for religious reasons — and the task of sacristan is a ministry, not a “job”.

    Quite apart from which, your personal opinions on the matter are totally irrelevant.

  • John Flaherty

    ” Secular human rights law does does apply to the Catholic Church just is
    does to any other organisation, and all the huffing and puffing in the
    world does not change the fact that this is the case. ”

    That’s only true so far as we tolerate the bullying of secular militancy.
    I think this article highlights a rather distinctive concern: If the civil and/or secular authorities attempt to impose an essentially secular view on the C of E, what will the faithful members of the C of E DO in response? Will they go along with it or begin to simply refuse to comply, regardless of what the law may insist?
    We have a somewhat similar possible battle brewing here in the ‘States: In a worst-case scenario, President Obama could be re-elected, the Democrats could gain control of the House, and the law popularly known as Obamacare could well be imposed, possibly by force. If that happens, what will we do as Catholics? What will other Christians do?

    Though I can’t say I look forward to a showdown, I DO hope that Catholics will suffer mass arrests and imprisonment before we’ll tolerate being forced to allow for abortions in Catholic hospitals or other nonsense.

    Even if the politicians can’t be bothered to acknowledge morals from the get-go, secular or civil law CAN be brought to heel if the populace will insist on it being made so.

  • Parepidemos

    Small, but crucial, point: the C of E regards the monarch as its Governor, not its head; the C of E regards Christ as being the Head of the Church. (Many people also incorrectly refer to the Pope as head of the Catholic Church, but the Church teaches that it is Christ).

  • Parepidemos

    The case you mention above was an incident when Muslims tried to conduct a Muslim prayer service in the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in Córdoba. The Cathedral used to be a mosque which, in turn, was built on top of a church. Muslims have, for some time, been trying to receive permission to pray in the Muslim fashion, in the Cathedral but have always been refused.

    However, the issue of non-Christians holding prayer services inside a church is not the same thing as forbidding them to enter sacred places; the two matters are quite distinct. Would you please cite where in the current code of Canon Law that “non-Christians are not permitted to enter any sacred spaces inside a church”? I suspect that your search will be fruitless.

  • Rev. Gerry Reilly

    I am deeply saddened by the level of blindness and lack of knowledge of theology and biblical awareness exhibited in this article and so many of the responses. All members of the Church of England, bishops, clergy and laity,can be and are involved in attempting to find the mind of God in our present day, and like Jacob, when one wrestles with God one walks away limping. What we are wrestling with is the meaning of the equality of men and women conferred on us by our baptism,when we become in Christ prophets, priests and kings. We do not want to excommunicate each other, or compel each other to “rectify” our views, but to be able to live and worship alongside each other in love and respect, and difference. Most Catholics in the C of E accept women priests and women bishops, as do most Evangelicals, whatever these labels may mean. It is convenient for people to throw labels at each other, or to take refuge in a label. It is much harder to love and respect people who think differently from us, and hopefully to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit through their words and lives.

  • Newman Smith

    The ordination of women to the diaconate (which conveniently moved them from the House of Laity to the House of Clergy) and subsequently to the priesthood of the Church of England was claimed at the time to be subject to the ‘doctrine of reception’ so that those who were opposed would be able to retain an honourable place in the Church of England without recognising that such women were actually in Holy Orders, and at that time the legislation was only approved by Parliament on that understanding. Now those who do not accept that women can be in Holy Orders will be obliged to accept the authority of a bishop they do not believe to be a bishop, and to recognise the orders of those she ordains even though they do not believe she has the power to confer orders. The mental contortions those who regard themselves as Anglo-Catholics and intend to remain in the Church of England will now have to go through lie far beyond George Orwell’s “double think”.

  • Alan

    You say “the Church of England itself is an evil institution”.  No.  The fact that some individuals did evil things nearly 500 years ago, things which nobody today would endorse, does not make the CofE today “an evil institution”.

  • couissent

     There are no “Catholics” in the C of E.  The whole idea of a national church is contrary to the principle of catholicity. 

  • Mark

     Greetings and welcome Reverend. Your focus on the ultimate nature of God as love is admirable and positive. However, many of us don’t believe that equality has to mean sameness. My wife and I are equal in value but not the same in our biology, dress, ways of thinking , or roles we feel best suited for. The same goes for the church; equality does not mean the total abolition of gender as the politically correct Marxist social engineers desire it. Why would God even have created two genders if we were meant to be identical anyways? The theology of gender elimination is not rooted in Christianity but rather in Marxism. I hope you try to see this perspective and blessings upon you.

  • Henry

     If you were living in a house stolen by your grandfather from your neighbor`s grandfather you would  be morally remiss if you continued to live there. You would need to rectify the evil deed by returning the house to your neighbor. So with the C of E; they are still worshiping in many stolen properties which should be returned. Until then, they continue the original evil act of theft.

  • Alan

    It depends how far back you want to go; we are talking not about our grandfathers but about our great-great-great-(and many more)-grandfathers.  If you go back far enough, we probably all stole from one another.

  • Rev. Gerry Reilly

    Thank you, Mark. I don’t think equality means sameness, either. For me it is Christ’s humanity , not his maleness, that is the essence of his redemptive work; he took on our humanity, which is both male and female. We are baptised into Christ, and become  new creation: In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, male or female. I believe that the present issue in the Church’s position is about power, not about gender, and this is omnipresent in the structures of the Church: There is a real fear about women, as exemplified in the treatment of the Sisters in America, and in the RC reaction to challenge of any kind. God did  not have any problem entrusting the Incarnation to the Yes of the Blessed Virgin, nor did Jesus have an issue sending Mary Magdalene to announce the Resurrection to the dis-believing Apostles, who had scarpered at the time of the crucifixion. God bless.

  • Hopkins

    In all pagan religions there were both male and female priests; Egypt, Rome,  Babylon etc. For some reason ancient Judaism formed an all male priesthood, which was unique at that point in history. Christianity continued that tradition since is came from Judaism and Jesus chose 12 male disciples.
    Therefore, the question is why were Judaism and Christianity different from other religions in appointing an all male priesthood. Was it the will of God or was it that ancient Hebrews and Christians were different than Romans, Egyptians and others in their view of priesthood?

  • srdc

    Rev. Reilly,

    Everybody’s personal and policial views cannot be made theology.

    “For me it is Christ’s humanity , not his maleness, that is the essence of his redemptive work; he took on our humanity, which is both male and female.”

    The word became the incarnate son of God. The sacrificial priesthood makes present the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His maleness is important, because priests who offer sacrifice were always male, because of the binary distinctions based on blood. The mixing of life and death, judgment and mercy is only safe in Jesus Christ. It’s the blood of Christ that saves both men and women.

    “We are baptised into Christ, and become new creation: In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, male or female.”

    We are called to ministry by virtue of our baptism, but the sacrificial priesthood points to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It cannot point to something else.

     “I believe that the present issue in the Church’s position is about power, not about gender, and this is omnipresent in the structures of the Church”

    I believe this is an attack on the Eucharist.

     “There is a real fear about women, as exemplified in the treatment of the Sisters in America, and in the RC reaction to challenge of any kind.”

    You mean a legitimate concern over a minority of nuns who want to move beyond Jesus.

    The sacraments were established by Jesus Christ, the church has no right to change them. Sacraments are not civil or political rights.

     “God did  not have any problem entrusting the Incarnation to the Yes of the Blessed Virgin, nor did Jesus have an issue sending Mary Magdalene to announce the Resurrection to the dis-believing Apostles, who had scarpered at the time of the crucifixion. ”

    Yes, both none of these women were priests. You are using the Protestant refusal to distinguish between ministry and sacrificial priesthood.

    Catholics and Orthodox cannot ordain women or change the sacrament of Marriage. These are attacks on the Eucharist and the relationship between Christ and the Church.  God wants distinctions or we miss Jesus.

    When the Episcopal church ordained women, it caused a shift in consciousness. Priestess is sign language for goddess. The Episcopal church has since then embraced pansexuality and pantheism. Jesus is no longer the one saviour.

  • Jonathan West

    As far as the C of E is concerned, it has always been the state church and subject to Parliament, there’s nothing terribly new about that. The church has been allowed to get on with governing itself in recent years and decades without Parliament taking much of an interest, but that doesn’t change the legal position a bit.

    As far as the situation in the US is concerned, catholics are citizens just like all others. Catholic organisations have non-catholic employees, and as I understand it, are having a row with the government as to whether the healthcare  for those employees must contain the same range of provisions as those provided by non-Catholic organisations, specifically including contraception and abortion.

    It seems to me that if you as a church are going to act as an employer, then you are going to have to obey the secular employment laws of the countries you operate in. Religious freedom exists ion choosing, as individual Catholics exercising individual conscience not to make use of contraception. It is absolutely the reverse of religious freedom to attempt to deny that choice of conscience to others who do not share your religious convictions,

    I have heard a great deal of guff about religious freedom in recent weeks and months, and it seems to me that it has changed in meaning in recent times. In the past it used to be the freedom to worship in whatever church you wish, and the freedom to follow your religious conscience. Now the term is being turned on its head to mean the right to impose your religious convictions on whatever unwilling people you have within your power.

    I think you could do to reflect on whether that is freedom of any variety at all – religious or otherwise.

  • bleusmon


    I’m appalled at your relativist view excusing the murders and theft by Henry VIII and his ilk. Certainly theft of Church property is part and parcel of their foundational legacy, but far more serious are the murders of thousands of Catholics over subsequent decades by him and his successors. The CofE was central to those crimes from its inception.

    Are you going to insist if you go back far enough we’ve all murdered, as well? Your insistence in repeating the absurdity of your initial statement reveals the profound limitations to your understanding that a house founded upon quicksand cannot survive. Anyone who excuses such heinous high crimes against the Church and Catholic citizens faithful both to Church AND king would hardly be expected to understand the truth of Henry’s statement.

    I for one am glad he made it. I had not considered it from that perspective, but I can certainly see the Anglican Church was founded first upon murder and then lesser crimes of disobedience and theft.

    The institution is rotten to the core precisely BECAUSE of its origins.Had the Gestapo continued to operate under new leadership in post-war Germany would you have maintained it was wrong to apply Henry’s statement to that situation? Would you claim if you go back far enough we’ve all behaved as the Gestapo?

    Remember, the focus of this statement is on the Anglican church – NOT individually practicing Anglicans. Your position is shallow and without substance.

  • Alan

    Just when have I excused those acts?  I described them as evil, so do not put false words into my mouth.
    The fact is that, in those times of religious conflict and turmoil, evil things were done by both Protestants and Catholics (not equally, but that’s beside the point).  But that was nearly 500 years ago, and to continue those ancient feuds today is what leads to situations like Northern Ireland and the Balkans.
    We all have both saints and sinners among our ancestors.  We are where we are today, and we can’t turn back history and start again from 1535 or whatever.

  • theroadmaster

    A fair point, I guess that there are remnants groups within the anglican communion, still holding on to the original deposit of Christian Faith, but are currently being squeezed out of their place within that communion, by the continuous corrosion of the tenets of belief by compromising changes to doctrine and practice.

  • srdc

    Catholic employers have a conscience too. Freedom of religion is being confused with freedom of worship.  Freedom of religion means the right to practise one’s religion in the public square.  Freedom of worship, means confining it to the church or behind closed doors like in Saudi Arabia.

    Why would someone pick a place when they know what they stand for, and then sue them for it?

    Really sounds like a targeted attack.

  • Jonathan West

    So you agree that freedom of religion should be freedom to impose your views on those within your power?

  • srdc

    Rev, Reilly,

    This political language does not answer the question what is the priesthood, and what does it stand for?

    We are all priests, but there is also a ministerial/sacrificial priesthood.

    Churches with this theology cannot ordain just anybody. 

  • srdc


    The gender-bending lobby claims there are more than two genders, because physical reality does not count. They argue sex is in the brain. The point is that this is not relevant to the theology of the priesthood. Jesus is either God or he is not.

    What I do not understand is that gays claim they are born gay, so God does not make mistakes. Transgendered people claim that God make a mistake by making them a wrong gender. Would not affirming one, invalidated the other.

    This is new age, gnostic nonsense.

  • srdc

    This fight was not picked by Catholics.  Are you saying that someone should go to a Vegan restaurant and force them to sell meat, because there are people who eat meat?

  • Ad Orientem

    Good article until the final paragraph. There of course other churches that don’t, and won’t, ordain women or marry homosexuals. And at least one of them has a compelling claim of its own to the title One True Church. Obviously Roman Catholics would not agree with that claim. But the Eastern Orthodox have been holding to it since AD 33.

  • Jonathan West

    No, but if a waitress at a vegan restaurant 
    for medical reasons has dietary requirements  that include having a ham sandwich during the day, she shouldn’t be prevented from eating it.

  • Rev. Gerry Reilly

    Sorry, SRDC,but you are simply making statements, not backing them up. That is part of the problem in this discussion; there isn’t enough genuine theology nor checking of facts. Slavery was approved by all the churches for centuries, but that didn’t make it right.Black people were prohibited from being ordained or joining religious orders fully, for centuries, but that was not right either.Many Fathers and theologians, including St Thomas Aquinas,made many derogatory comments about women,but they were mistaken, as the church now recognises. And none of this is an attack o the Holy Eucharist.

  • srdc

    That is a different case. 

    Why does everybody have to subsidize everybody else’s sex lives? This has nothing to with health.

  • srdc

    You still do not get it.  How is this relevant to the theology of the priesthood or to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

    This has everything to do with the Eucharist.

    The older churches do not subscribe to Sola Scriptura and were Aquinas’s  views declared doctrine, or just verses taken out of context?

    The church for 2,000 years has not been in favour of women’s ordination, because it cannot be done.

    Sacraments are not civil rights. Political language cannot explain theology.

  • srdc

    Actually Roman Catholics see the Eastern Orthodox in schism, but not heterodox or in heresy. The East seems them in both schism and heresy.

  • Jonathan West

    The same principle applies. If  you think that the person should not be prevented from eating a ham sandwich (whether for health reasons or otherwise), then you have no justification for preventing somebody from accessing contraceptive services.

  • Ad Orientem

    Rome’s position is odd given that we Orthodox pretty firmly reject some carved in stone Roman doctrinal innovations like the infallibility and universal jurisdiction of the Pope. All of which aid it is neither here not there. The Orthodox Church claims that it is the One True and undivided Church, which was my point.

  • Ad Orientem

     typos… ugh.

  • srdc

    You still have not answered the question. 

    Nobody is stopping someone from getting it from somewhere else.

    Food is not free, so why should contraception be free?