COMMENTARY: Male Episcopal Bishop wants to be a ‘June Bride’
hard and staying faithful to the end of a long life spent in missionary toil.
Slowly, not only were small numbers of “pagans” converted and baptized, but eventually their leaders and entire Nations followed suit. Resultantly, the Christian worldview began to influence the social order. The “clash of freedoms” continued, but the climate changed significantly. It was the Christian faith and the sexual practices of the Christians that began to win the hearts of men and women. The cultures once enshrined to pagan practices, such as plural marriage, homosexuality, exposure and abortion, began to change dramatically and this continued for centuries.
In the face of pagan societies of the past, it was Christianity that taught such novel concepts as the dignity of every person and their equality before the One God. The Christians proclaimed the dignity of women and the goodness of chaste marriage between a man and a woman and the sanctity of the family. It was Christianity that introduced the understanding of freedom not simply as a freedom from, but as a freedom for living responsibly and with moral integrity; a freedom to choose to live chastely both in Marriage and in the consecrated celibate life.
The Christians insisted that freedom must be exercised with reference to a moral code, a law higher than the emperor, or the sifting sands of public opinion or wandering sexual appetites. It was the Christians who understood that choice, rightly exercised, meant always choosing what was right and that the freedom to exercise that choice brought with it an obligation and a concern for the other. It was the Christians who proclaimed the virtue of self control, asceticism as a tool to curb wayward sexual appetites and fidelity to marriage and clerical vows.
Their faith presented a coherent and compelling answer to the existential questions that plagued the ancient pagans; such as why we existed and how we got here? What was the purpose of life? What is God’s design for our sexual identity and for procreation? How evil entered into the world and why we could not easily always make right choices? What force seemed to move us toward evil and how we could be set free from its power?
Christian philosophy and the arts began to flourish this new way and under the Christian worldview. Philosophies of government and economic theory began to be influenced by these principles derived from a Christian worldview. The institutions of the civil order protected such institutions as monogamous marriage between one man and one woman because they promoted the common good.
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, when deacons, priests, Bishops or other leaders succumbed to sin (wrong choices) and fell, they were rightly corrected and removed from leadership by Church authorities. When they insisted and taught that their error was “a new way”, they were put outside of the communion of the Church in order to secure their return to fidelity and to protect the faithful from their error.
What happened in Durham, New Hampshire years ago was not “new” at all. It was quite old. A member of the Clergy of a Christian Church broke his vows, divorced his wife, abandoned his family, took up with a male paramour and, then rejected the historic, clear teaching of Christianity. He also propelled a growing schism in the Episcopal Church forward.
Sadly, rather than being called to repentance, he was presented for consecration as a Bishop. That is what was new. Now Gene Robinson wants to be a “June Bride.”
How will what is left of the Episcopal Church in America deal with this turn of events?
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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