Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Communion In Crisis–A reflection offered by Lord Carey

"Allow me to offer my perspective on the issues that the General Convention’s decision of August 5th 2003 has opened up theologically.
It represents
i. A Departure from the Ordinal and theology of Ministry. The Anglican tradition has inherited from the undivided Church an understanding of ministry that those ordained must be either celibate or married. The fact that our Ordinals never mention the possibility of practising homosexuals being ordained is that such an option was considered inconceivable by previous generations– indeed, reprehensible. That homosexuals in same sex partnerships, which effectively replace marriage should be ordained, would have been seen as a serious and extraordinary departure from the Church’s practice.
ii. A departure from orthodox interpretation and the teaching of the Bible. The bible is unequivocal in its condemnation of practising homosexuality. It cannot be dismissed as having no consequence for us today. The matter is far more than the interpretation of a few Old Testament verses but includes significant Pauline texts that are central to the classical interpretation of sin and redemption. I cannot see any justification for bypassing Paul’s teaching in Romans I, concerning homosexuality physical relationships, as irrelevant to our times, or as a cultural equivalent to women wearing hats in church. It is a timeless commentary on the power of sin when people turn away from God.
iii. It is a departure from our understanding of the sacramentality of marriage. We know how central to message of Jesus is his understanding of marriage. The way that apostolic writers build on this in 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy and elsewhere show their continuity with our Lord’s teaching concerning the creational significance of marriage between a man and woman, that is lifelong, faithful and tender. The parallel of marriage to the union of Christ to his church in Ephesians V shows the error of identifying any other relationship as comparable with marriage. Paralleling any other relationship with marriage, however close the friendship it is, is a dangerous error and it is difficult to see how such alternative relationships may be blessed by the Church or considered ‘holy’.

Read all of former Abp's recent address on importance of ECUSA convention (less than a week away)

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