CHURCH OF ENGLAND (Anglican)
Dr. Robert Runcie’s resignation as Archbishop of Canterbury came into effect on January 31, 1991.
Rt. Rev. George Carey will be his successor (on April 19). In an interview with Readers’ Digest magazine (February edition), the Anglican archbishop-to-be declared that “the idea that only a male can represent Christ at the altar is a most serious heresy.” Thus he condemns 2,000 years of Christian tradition and elevated the recent Anglican novelty of ‘ordaining’ women into a true and presumably long-neglected doctrine.
One month later, on February 27, he made a half-hearted attempt at retraction, saying, “I regret that in seeking to express (my) view I spoke of heresy rather than theological error.”
The Church of England numbers fewer than two million members. It is expected to approve women’s ‘ordination’ in 1992. The Bishop of Sheffield, David Dunn, had said he will resign if it does so in the next five years, because he cannot “endure” the divisions among the faithful.
Said Bishop Dunn: “It is bizarre that a doctrine and practice unknown for 2,000 years, unsupported by Scripture or Tradition and still overwhelmingly unacceptable to the majority of Christians, should become mandatory in the C of E after debate of only a few years.” (RNS, December 1990)
Catholic and Orthodox Christians who form four-fifths of Christianity reject this novelty as contrary to God’s will.
U.S. EPISCOPAL CHURCH (Anglican)
The Episcopal Bishop of Newark, N.J., John Spong, has published a book in which St. Paul is described as a “self-loathing and repressed gay male.” Spong has long denied that sodomy is forbidden by Christianity and has done his utmost to get active homosexuals accepted in his church.
In the 1980s he called on ministers to ‘bless’ homosexual marriages and in 1990 he ‘ordained’ a practicing homosexual as a minister in his diocese. With his latest book he has come full circle, adapting the Scriptures to his own predilections.
On February 16, Richard Turner, 57, of North Carolina, was ordained to the (transitional) deaconate and on March 23 to the (Roman) Catholic priesthood. Mr. Turner was the fiftieth married (former) Episcopal minister to thus join the U.S. Catholic Church.
Married former Episcopal ministers are admitted to the Catholic priesthood under terms of a special program established in 1980. Twelve more former ministers are awaiting review by Pope John Paul II, who approves each petition personally.
Siegfried Ernst, M.D., vice-president of the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life and a former president of the Baden-Wurttemberg Lutheran Synod in Germany, has published a lucid defense of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 Encyclical on Birth Control (Humanae Vitae).
Dr. Ernst states it is contrary to reason to separate the pleasure of sex from its procreative purpose. To do so amounts to excluding the Creator Himself and that, he says, is the essence of contraception.
In Norway, the Lutheran Synod at Bergen has declared that women bishops will ‘enrich’ the denomination.
The Norwegian Church has had women ministers since 1961.
Toronto. The national group, Coalition of Concerned Catholics, (CCCC) endorsed a full-page advertisement by the “Chicago Call to Action” in the February 13 issue of (CCCC) USA Today. The ad called for women’s ordination, the discarding of “the medieval discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy,” new modernized church teaching, selection of bishops only after consultation with them, and intellectual freedom.
In Toronto, CCCC members and other feminists such as the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (formerly Catholic Women for Ordination) were denied a church for their fourth ‘Celebrate Women’ religious ceremony.
The Archdiocese of Toronto overruled the pastors of St. Joan of Arc parish where the liturgy of Creation Worship, attended by women acting as ‘priestesses’, was to have taken place.
Ottawa. The feminist organizers of a ‘Women in the Church’ workshop on inclusive language decided to prohibit entry to Catholic women they do not approve.
The date of the meeting originally scheduled for January 16 was quietly changed. Then known supporters of the Saint Brigid’s Association and contributors to its bi-monthly publication, The Orator, which were listed among the registrants, were informed by phone that they were not welcome and would b e denied entrance.
The excluded women deny the feminist accusation that the Catholic Church is sexist and discriminates against women.
AFTERMATH OF WAR
In the March column summarizing Pope John Paul’s efforts to avoid a was in the Gulf, I noted two additional points: the silence about the real cost of war in human lives (described only as “collateral damage”) and the possibility that a real settlement of Arab/Jewish strife may not even be attempted.
How many Iraqis have lost their lives in this war? What happened to the 460,000 Iraqi soldiers missing in Kuwait alone? (Subtract 85,000 prisoners from a 545,000 strong Iraqi occupation army which was surrounded and then almost totally destroyed – all according to American sources).
It seems we’ll never know.
On the day hostilities ceased (March 1), a U.S. spokesman announced it had no interest in a body count. Neither did the Saudis or the Iraqis, both wanting to minimize the slaughter for their own reasons.
The U.S., of course, was aware that part of the killing had been like “a duck hunt” or “a shooting gallery,” expressions used by its own pilots.
Where do we stand today, March 15?
Iraq. After 40 days of ferocious bombardment, the number of dead or missing persons – military or civilian – is unknown. The country is torn apart further by civil was. Saddam Hussein is still its political head.
Kuwait is also devastated. Its autocratic emir has returned. The country is under martial law. No Moslem can be a citizen unless his family has lived there for 70 years. Others have no civil rights.
Saudi Arabia’s autocratic regime carries on like Kuwait’s, with its powers enhances and army enlarged. The U.S., with bases built there in the 70’s and 80’s, has now become a public protector, establishing its hegemony in the Gulf for the time being in order to ensure control over the oil fields.
Israel, America’s client state, often mistaken for a valuable ally, plans to settle the expected one million economic refugees from Russia everywhere, including in the ‘occupied territories’. The Palestinians there have lost their jobs and are now penniless and cooped up in a prison.
Part of the West Bank is being converted into an ever-expanding East Jerusalem, while other Jewish settlements are swallowing up more territory by the month.
The Israeli government has no intention of granting Palestinians rights in the territory under its control, let alone a homeland.
Syria’s brutal dictator Hafez Al-Assad is momentarily a ‘winner’.
Jordan’s decent King Hussein is a ‘loser’ (for daring to oppose the war). His country is on the brink of bankruptcy, its trading position having been destroyed.
The United Nations are in a precarious position. Some feel that its authority has been hijacked by the United States, a country which until August 1990, cared little for its business for many years.
Oil is selling at $19 a barrel; tourism to Europe has resumed and at the pumps business is back to normal. But in the Persian Gulf several huge oil slicks are threatening commercial fishing and desalinization plants, as well as flora and fauna.
In Kuwait 700 burning oil wells are creating a vast disturbance in the upper atmosphere, threatening the entire Asian continent with dropping temperatures (in some places, 10 – 20 degrees), within a radius of hundreds, eventually thousands of miles. A drop of 1-2 degrees on the Indian subcontinent will mean a failure of the monsoon harvest there.
Meanwhile, huge sums of money have been diverted to the war and a new Middle East arms race is expected to develop, with the U.S. as the main beneficiary.
In December 1990, Pope John Paul said: “War is an adventure without return.” And so it has proven to be.