Thursday, October 22, 2009

Church of Sweden endorses same sex marriage

After already performing same sex blessings and supporting the country's recent gender neutral marriage law Sweden's national Church (Lutheran) adopted a decision to permit same sex marriages in its churches.

This is a positive and natural progression for that Church which has also elected a partnered Lesbian as Bishop of Stockholm and comes after pressure from the Church of England not to proceed in this way.

The Church of England is in communion with the Church of Sweden as part of the Porvoo agreement.

The vote was 176 in favour, 62 against and 11 abstentions.

Has Rowan Williams made mistakes?

I'm not - as said in an earlier post - sure what will become of the opening of Rome to Anglicans. I think for some fully formed Anglican entities they will very speedily be absorbed as they may already wish to be.

For the rest of us we may see realities stretch and evolve over decades of slow accretion to Rome, parish by parish as negotiations over assets proceed and the pathway gets 'opened up' as it were.

Which leads to two sets of interventions Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, may come to regret.

Number one is his expression of support for dissenting dioceses and parishes within the US Episcopal Church to a) secede and b) take their property with them. This is already being used to put pressure on for the churches moving to Rome to take their assets with them. The boot is now well and truly on the other foot and we can fully enter into TEC's pain.

Number two is Rowan Williams' articulation of a Catholic decision making. The idea that a Province should indefinitely not move forward or even articulate their views (of course the two are in reality interlinked - if TEC espouses a pro LGBT position it cannot indefinitely fail to move on such convictions as this would be unjust, ludicrous and illogical).

Of course Roman Catholics already act under this and it their ecclesiastical modus operandi - never move until we all move. Rowan Williams has articulated Roman Catholicism (so far as I can see) and articulated that the Anglican Communion mimic it in so far as it is able. And many Anglicans may be so convinced by this articulation of Catholic Universalism that they go the whole hog and move over to Rome - did the Reformers wait till their Reform was adopted by the entire Western Church? Self evidently not, no matter how good their ideas may have been they were not endorsed by the Church Catholic, either of the time or since.

From what I can see the Church of England is becoming progressively narrower in its internal life and I can see that a narrow church will lead increasing numbers to see little disadvantage to joining with Rome. For England, a progressive ecclesiastical reality appears to have been taken away from us whatever option we take.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rome annexes a slither of Anglicanism

The latest high profile announcement from Rome has led to some possibly exaggerated response on the Internet.

There are doubtless some churches constituted on the fringe of Anglicanism that will move seemlessly across to Rome and to that extent I rejoice. If a group of the faithful belong with Rome I rejoice that the path is being cleared.

The big barrier is, of course, property issues. That will determine the extent to which it's a takeover as opposed to a gracious opening.

I am glad of the opening and I gather that 22nd February will be a kind of D Day as we get an announcement as to what Forward in Faith will do.

While awaiting this prayerful decision I would just say that I agree with many Internet commentators, that from the point of view of Liturgy I see no advantage in keeping Anglican liturgy - I'd be perfectly relaxed with Roman rites, so that's no big deal.

Finally this link from James Alison that proves absorption into Rome (and, joking aside, most Catholics would like to be a part of the Western - i.e. Roman - Catholic Church) won't make the homosexuals all disappear or make the questions go away.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Steven Gately's funeral

I thought it was a beautiful service and I was moved especially by the eulogy from Boyzone and in particular the emotional sentiments from Ronan Keating that he struggled so hard to get out.

I know pop stars live very much in the public gaze and this often gets overdone but I think in this instance the balance was right and there was a lot of bravery to allow others into share some of the grieving.

I found it very moving that Stephen Gately's relationship with Andrew Cowles was given alot of prominence in the service, which I think is a comfort.