Anglican Samizdat

January 24, 2010

Not much discernment from an Anglican in discernment for Holy Orders

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Church of Canada — David Jenkins @ 9:45 pm
Tags: ,

Geoff from The Rose Maniple made this observation:

One article I read in the aftermath of the new papal bull included a quote from an Anglican layman who said that he was attracted to the RCC’s strong stance on abortion and homosexuality, but didn’t think he could join if it meant signing off on the stuff about transubstantiation or the Virgin Mary (hint: it does). As a gay man who reluctantly swam the Thames in spite of my assent to those doctrines, I was astonished that he would seek out a church on such narrow grounds while sweeping away central Catholic dogmas.

I couldn’t believe that he was so offended at the thought of sharing a church with gays and lesbians that any church with a more conservative line thereon than the Anglican Church of Canada was preferable to him, regardless of whether or not he agreed with its central tenets.

The interview that Geoff regales us with above bears an uncanny resemblance to an interview I had with the Toronto Star a few months ago:

David Jenkins of Oakville said he likes the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and homosexual rights.

“From that point of view, being Catholic is pretty tempting to me,” he said.

He would not switch, however, if it meant agreeing to Catholic tenets of the infallibility of the pope, the role of the Virgin Mary and transubstantiation, or the Catholic belief that the bread and wine of communion become the body and blood of Jesus.

A reporter’s account of an interview never quite captures what the interviewee actually says, of course, particularly when the interviewer relies on scribbles in a notebook rather than a voice recorder.

So I didn’t quite say what was reported in the Star. I did say that I respect and agree with the clear position the RC church holds on abortion and homosexuality, but the fact that I disagree with the RC doctrines mentioned makes the offer less than tempting. And I would have tried to swallow my own tongue before using “opposition” and “homosexual rights” in the same sentence.

Contrary to Geoff’s assumption, I would not be in the least bit offended by the presence of gays or lesbians in my congregation; I’m not offended by anything much – which is not to say I don’t disagree with some things and agree with others. The important question is, is the church in question Christian, a criterion that Geoff overlooked and which the ACoC is increasingly unable to satisfy.

Not that I suppose I am the actual “Anglican layman” in question.

As an aside, I have come to loath the phrases “swim the Tiber” and “swim the Thames”.

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1 Comment

  1. From the link:

    The Eucharist, the role of Our Lady in the communion of saints, purgatory, the number and efficacy of the sacraments, the definition of the Canon of Scripture – all of these were secondary to the important church-shopping question: are you sound on gays?

    Actually, the guy has it completely backward. The, “Anglican layman,” whoever that may have been did not say he would convert to Catholocism in spite of the differences in doctrine. He said that these differences were why he couldn’t convert.

    Comment by John K — January 25, 2010 @ 2:54 pm


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