Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reply to Coren/Blizzard Debate

Happy Pentecost

Recently, my attention was brought to a debate in the Ottawa Sun between Christina Blizzard and Michael Coren, both columnists with the Sun. Christina is Anglican and Michael, Roman Catholic.

The debate was over the treatment of "gay unions" by the Catholic Church and by the Anglican denomination. The debate itself I have not figured out how to import to this blog, but I would like to share my husband's response to the article. Thus:

Interesting debate... only so much as it epitomizes the complete lack of clarity within the Anglican position.

As M Coren says, the Anglican Church is a church that is in complete decline. God tends to excuse himself from institutions that become completely "man-centric" - and without God, religions tend towards despondancy and irrelevance.

And that tends to illuminate precisely the problem with this debate on a global scale. The Catholic Church (others as well, but really the Catholic Church's position is the most clear) continuously precepts this debate from the perspective of a sovereign God, and illuminates the debate with its understanding of God's dominion over all of creation (man proposes - God disposes). The Anglican Church presents the argument from a man centric position... Man being, unfortunately, the only thing it believes in any more.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just forget about the Word of God and just reinvent ourselves in our own image? Pretend that God does not exist and recreate the world as we see fit. But, and I say this as someone who has known and quite liked several gay people, we are not God. God does exist and God does, in fact, consider homosexuality a sin. God will not tolerate sin to be condoned and the Church as God's witness to the world must therefore not condone it.

And so they rejoinder with those very tired attacks on the "Church"... "blah blah blah, pedophile priests..blah blah blah". M. Coren's response was very precise here as well. As an institution (a corporate entity) the Church did not respond very well to individual cases. But as he said, neither did any of the other institutions of man when confronted with the same problem (school boards were just as bad at simply reassigning the "problem").

To be fair, maybe one should have expected better from churches but we weren't. So what!?! That a thousand sins might be committed or one sin committed a thousand times does not make the sin any less a sin. In fact, the fact that even priests can succumb to sin only emphasizes why the Church must stand so firmly in its resolve to "admonish the sinner" with love but "flee from sin" itself.

Anglicans (and others in this frame of mind) love to quote Jesus from John 15:17. They forget, however, that this is the culmination of a discourse that starts back in John 13:34 where Jesus clarifies the statement "a new commandment that I give you, that you love one another, EVEN AS I HAVE LOVED YOU...". So how did Jesus love them? Did he "just accept them as they were"? Did he leave them where he found them? Jesus Christ, the very Word of God himself... let people continue in their sin because he loved them? No!! His words to the prostitute in the temple resound down through the centuries... "neither do I condemn you (exclude you, hate you etc.), GO AND SIN NO MORE". Why "go and sin no more"? Because in our sin we condemn ourselves!!! The message of love in its proper context is "stop doing that which condemns you to an eternity separated from God". And that is the love that Jesus commanded his followers to pursue. And it is that love that the Church (the one, holy and apostolic Church) voices even today.

Faith liberates reason from its blind spots - Pope Benedict XVI

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