Thursday, April 24, 2008

See? I told you.

Well, it was inevitable that eventually someone would say something, and now our own Australian equivalent of Cardinal Kasper has said it:
Ordination for women is a doctrinal issue, not just a practical issue for us. And the ordination of women bishops enhances that obstacle because bishops are the leaders of the Church, and even within the Anglican Communion that leadership will be received ambiguously. (Bishop Michael Putney)
Once again, if I may say so, this is a clear example of the way in which the Church should seek both Unity and Doctrinal Orthodoxy.

And once again it is the Anglicans who are demonstrating the "devil-may-care" attitude to unity. The Perth bunch are dead set on the "gospel-imperative" that women be ordained to all levels of Holy Orders as a demonstration of the equal dignity of women and men before God. This is for them an issue of "doctrinal purity" and they are willing to forego the quest of unity to uphold it. So they are acting in exactly the same way as the Sydney Diocese. The only difference is the doctrinal issue at stake. Both are deliberately acting in a way that they KNOW will cause a further breakdown of relations with their brothers and sisters. BUT they don't care.

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, while just as clearly committed to its doctrinal convictions and fully acknowledging that both issues (the approval of homosexuality and the ordination of women) create major impediments to unity, NEVERTHELESS does not, for these reasons, sever relations with the dissenting community nor turn back from dialogue and seeking the path to doctrinal agreement and full communion at some point in the future (even if it recedes so far as to become only an eschatological hope!). We are doing all that we can to open the doors for full communion with the Catholic Church by explaining Catholic doctrine and showing its godliness and rationality. Moreover, while insisting on faithfulness to the Christian traditions, we do not put new stumbling blocks in the path of God's little ones.

It is a difference in attitude. It is the Catholic "both/and" in comparison to the Protestant "either/or".

7 Comments:

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 1:59:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Again, as Advocatus Diaboli, many would argue that the insensitive liturgical reforms in theory and practice of the postconciliar era did precisely occasion scandal to the little ones of Christ. I suspect the Orthodox view present day Roman liturgies, particularly the usual vulgar parish ones, as a great impediment to unity: their irreverence would horrify them. Never forget that after forty years, those at Mass either like or are prepared to tolerate the modern liturgy; those who disliked it so much or were so scandalized by it that they left are never counted, but anecdotally they are many; else, why those who have gone to extreme of driving long distances to go to approved or unapproved Latin Masses? This is the skeleton in our Church's closet: the complete intolerance, persecution, cruelty and heartlessness shewn those many whose only crime was to love the former liturgy and in fidelity to it react with dismay to changes they found threatened devotion and faith; and their complaints are justified by the documented low levels of belief nowadays in the Mass as Sacrifice, and in the Real Presence, among Mass-goers.

 
At Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:01:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

P.S. To show I have no bones about attending the Holy Sacrifice in the modern form, while preferring on solid grounds the older, see my latest post on my blog about attending Sunday Mass at the Cathedral in Melbourne.

 
At Friday, April 25, 2008 11:21:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

All good points, Josh, but the really pertinent point is that through all this silliness the Catholic Church has maintained its unity (generally speaking--there have indeed been a number of small splinter groups--see Marco's blog for details).

Now there are many (like PE) who would say: see, I told you, but personally I think it is a virtue to be slow to cut yourself off from your brethren and quick to seek reconciliation wherever possible.

Interestingly, I cannot find one biblical example of anyone who cut themselves off from the Church because the Church was teaching false doctrine. The only case where it would have perhaps have been defensible is the case in Galatians, where Paul confronted Peter over his refusal to eat with Gentiles.

BUT the point is that Paul never cut himself off from fellowship with Peter and the apostolic Church. He took it as his responsibility to maintain communion with Peter and the rest of the Church and do what he could to make sure that the true gospel prevailed.

 
At Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:03:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Thank you, Joshua.

Your comment is among the few, if not the only, recognition of the living reality of life in the post-conciliar Roman church I have encountered on this blog or, for that matter, anywhere else.

Your guess as to Orthodox reaction to what Vatican II made of the Roman church is true in my experience -- the most concise statement I ever heard was two words from an Orthodox friend: terribly sad.

You have drawn a different conclusion than I have about these matters, but clearly understand what the matters are, and for that I cannot but have complete respect and view us as brothers, though separated. And I know there are others like you in the RCC, and may I add that right along with my "same old, same old", as it is often called here, I believe the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church can be found and does exist within the visible boundaries of the Roman church.

I know this too -- that many such as you describe have also drawn different conclusions than I have and remain within the RCC, living either much as you describe or just shutting up about it and going along because, after all, it IS the church. My parents were two such of the latter.

No, I don't say See I told you.

What I do say is, the only unity that has survived is an institutional one, and to find that unity the really pertinent point is possible only when that institution has functionally, though not officially or in many cases consciously, become its own god. And even if one were not to draw that conclusion, to reckon the human carnage of the post-conciliar church as "silliness" is entirely too cavalier when one, as it were, knows where some of the bodies are buried.

Again, Joshua, thank you very much.

 
At Sunday, April 27, 2008 1:46:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

PE, many thanks in return!

I quite agree that unity has become such an idol that the intolerable level of bad practice and doctrinal deviation tolerated is quite scandalous. But how to cure it? The Lord only knows.

 
At Sunday, April 27, 2008 6:43:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Indeed.

It's often excused internally by saying, Well that's just their private opinion, the Church actually doesn't teach that. Which may be true per se, but life doesn't happen "per se" -- when your parish priest, parochial school teacher, professor at a Catholic university teaching a class in Catholic theology, etc, functionally the church DOES teach it.

You don't go through Burger King and find a Big Mac in the sack, and if you did having someone say Well that's not what we really serve doesn't make it OK, nor change the reality that a Big Mac was served instead of a Whopper.

In one of the two post conciliar conversions in which I lamentably had a part, the person was not confirmed as it was explained to me that since we now know Baptism and Confirmation to be aspects of the same thing and Methodist Baptism is valid there is no need to confirm. Not what the Church teaches? No it's not, but it's what the Church did, backed up by the archdiocese.

This was years before becoming Lutheran, and one of many such things that underscored to me that the idea that the Catholic Church represents some sort of unity or continuity in anything but being the Catholic Church is nothing more than a cherished fiction -- which in the end I could cherish no longer.

 
At Sunday, April 27, 2008 8:49:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

It seems to vary from diocese to diocese and from parish to parish - some good friends of mine, stuck back in Tasmania (a.k.a. ecclesia malignantium), so despaired that they went Orthodox - despite saying that if they had my old P.P. for a bishop (he is a bishop now, just not in Tas.), they'd never have left! Go figure. I think they may have misinterpreted "When you are persecuted in one city, fly into another"...

 

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