Saturday, March 20, 2010

Anglican detour

I don't usually post on non-monarchical matters, but this is probably too controversial for Facebook and I feel like saying something, so I'll do so here. I honestly don't understand why anyone in the Anglican Communion is particularly upset over the election of partnered lesbian Mary Glasspool as "bishop" suffragan of Los Angeles. In my view the current controversy over homosexuality, which whatever one believes about it cannot affect the sacraments, pales in comparison to the question of women's "ordination" in general. The situation is really quite simple: either it was OK for the Episcopal Church in 1976 (and the Church of England in 1992) to junk nearly 2,000 years of Christian tradition clearly holding that only men can be priests and bishops, or it wasn't. If it was, then logically everything else pertaining to sex is subject to revision as well. If it wasn't, then Glasspool is just one more woman wearing a silly costume, and we already have plenty of those, so it's hard to see how her private life makes much of a difference if all her purported sacramental acts will be null and void anyway. (My sympathies are with the latter view, but since I for various reasons remain in the Episcopal Church anyway, I realize that it may be difficult to take my own alleged traditionalism too seriously.) I respect consistent liberals and consistent traditionalists and have friends in both camps, but I cannot respect the viewpoint of those who insist on the legitimacy of the unprecedented and still controversial & divisive novelty of women in holy orders but get apoplectic when one of them turns out to be a lesbian. Pro-priestess anti-gay Anglicans are truly the most incoherent of factions.


Aaron Traas said...

We're on 100% agreement on this one, Theodore. Of course, as a Catholic, I must believe that it is impossible for women to be ordained and, the ones who were are just playing dress-up. If it's the case that Anglicans believe that this isn't problematic, the issue of homosexuality, while not trivial, pales in comparison to the argument of sacramental validity of ordaining women.

The Moderate Jacobite said...

I couldn't agree more.

Speaking as a current member of the Church of England, probably about to accept the Holy Father's most gracious offer to us; the two issues are not comparable.

According to those who do not accept that it is within the Church's power to ordain women to Holy Orders, a woman-bishop is a lay person and not a Bishop at all. All of her claimed Eucharistic celebrations, confirmations, absolutions, Ordinations and so forth are invalid and mere simulations (if we traditionalists are correct), just as if I were to grab some bread and wine and start to read from a prayerbook or Missal.

By contrast, according to the 'anti-gay' people; these are still Bishops, Priests, and Deacons (though I did hear some strange arguments to claim that Gene Neo Hantonia's Consecration was invalid).

There is a clear hierarchy of issues, at the top is validity, then liceity (that which is legal), then desirability. The question of women's ordination is within the first; the question of homosexuals' ordination is within the last.