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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Trouble and strife

Unhappily married: Andy and Flo                                       Credit: daily Mirror

Andy Capp and Flo are unhappily married. Andy is a working-class figure who never actually works. Andy's hobbies include pigeon racing, darts, snooker (his cue's name is "Delilah"), football (which always involves fights with the other players, and frequently ends with Andy being sent off), occasional cricket and rugby, betting on horses, getting drunk in the local pub (often falling into the canal and being fished out by a constable, and always, seven nights a week, arriving home late as a result), ending up in the local jail, fishing (and not catching anything bigger than a goldfish), unsuccessfully mooching money from everyone for beer, unsuccessfully flirting with barmaids, picking up other bargirls, loafing on the sofa, and fighting with his long-suffering wife, Florrie (also known as "Flo").

Despite their difficulties Andy and Flo have have stuck together but their life together is a cartoon. The reality for others is no joke. A loveless marriage other than a marriage of convenience is a burden to both parties. When children are involved the atmosphere can be unbearable for them when constant bickering and worse takes place. This is the problem the Catholic Church has to resolve without the divisions that have split and weakened the Anglican Communion.

Two addresses "set down important markers" for Synod-2015 on its first formal day of work. The Rorate Caeli Blog sets out the Synod's most likely outcome "barring a miracle". Surely a miracle is needed. Watering down the faith can lead to no faith other than faith in one's own desires as witnessed in liberal Anglicanism whereas absolutism can be equally destructive as illustrated by Islam.

The alternative of living one's life in a loveless marriage and continuing to receive Holy Communion compared with a loving, happy marriage but denied the sacrament is a dilemma the Catholic Church must resolve without all the baggage that has gone with it in the Anglican Church, much of it brought about by liberal clergy.

"Church risks being seen as 'homophobic' if it doesn't evolve" said the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan in his presidential address to members of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in April 2014. "Gay marriage should be accepted in the same way that divorce and re-marriage has been" and added that quoting the Bible is not the way to settle debate on such emotive issues: "Some people have changed their minds for example on women’s ministry and same-sex relationships when they have experienced the ministry of a woman priest in the one case, or discovered their own son or daughter to be gay in the other".

Dr Morgan argued, "Holy scripture itself is far more nuanced, subtle and complex than we often realise. We cannot just quote biblical texts on different subject matters and think that settles an issue". But that is exactly what Dr Morgan did in 2008 when he quoted St Paul ("In Christ there is no bond or free, male or female, Jew or Greek") to justify his stance on women bishops: "I do not see how, having agreed to ordaining women to both the diaconate and priesthood, the church can logically exclude women from the episcopate".

If Synod becomes embroiled in similar arguments the Catholic Church will find herself in the same sorry mess as the Anglican Church. For outsiders, denying the sacraments to people who have remarried looks particularly harsh, especially when compared with the practice of annulment.

The Rorate Caeli blog referred to "squaring the circle". Can it be possible without detriment to the Church? Pray that it is.

1 comment:

  1. The truth is to be found in the revealed Word of God - not in the Spirit of the Age.