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Mar 14, 2006



You say to this prospective Roman Catholic, "Don't fret - there is an open invitation for you at God's altar in the Episcopal church, at any time, whatever your decision is."

On the one hand, that's very friendly. On the other hand, if he does become a Roman Catholic, then you are inviting him to violate the law of his Church. Canon 844 §1 of the RC "Code of Canon Law" provides: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone ...."

John wilkins

Well, if they are in an Anglican church, they can make that judgment themselves, Thank God. If they don't, it's still their judgment. If they do, it still is. As we consider ourselves catholic, it depends on if the Roman extends the same charity as we do.

Phil Snyder

First, this is an excellent pastoral response to a person questioning his (or her) faith and where to best exercise that faith. You seem to genuinely care what God wants for the author rather than what politically/theologically fits the author's views. I hope that when a similar question comes to me, I could handle it with equal grace and care.

Something that we all need to be aware of is the difference between discipleship and consumerism. We should seek out those things that make us more fit disciples of Jesus Christ rather than those things that fit us better.

As Americans, we tend towards consumerism and utilitarianism. We look for churches and congregations where we fit in or that fit us and not where we can receive what God desires for us and can grow as disciples and apostles. We look for "What is in it for me" rather than "What is best for the Kingdom of God."

If we practiced discernment more than consumerism we would all be better off.

Phil Snyder

John Wilkins

In practice, one of the main dimensions of the Episcopal church has been its emphasis on pastoral care. I don't think this is a bad thing. What we know about pastoral care is changing [and we will most likely see a change in Episcopal teaching from these changes]. I state this because when I say I start where people are, it is because it is a tactic to help them discern, or reveal their own intentions and needs for them.

The alternative is physical coercion rather than persuasion, but that is another issue.

Jared Cramer

This was a gentle, thoughtful, and thoroughly Anglican response. Thanks.

Boniface McInnes

"They would have probably continue to have gay friends and support their lives, and just ignored the priest when they spoke about homosexuality."

Speaking as a "traditionalist" Catholic who is fully in assent to the Church's teachings on sexuality, who also has more close friends who self-identify as "gay" than "straight", and who supports their lives, though not their actions, I must say catholics who swim the channel must be a sad lot.

John Wilkins

They are. And they tend to be much happier when they do swim the channel, perhaps because they don't buy the "hate the sin love the sinner" dichotomy. Works out beth for both parties, perhaps. You can have your beliefs and think they are correct. They have theirs.

But I think it is possible to still support their faithful relationships without becoming an Anglican.

I'm not sure what a life is without actions, but, whatever.

Boniface McInnes

"...perhaps because they don't buy the "hate the sin love the sinner" dichotomy."

It only appears a dichotomy when you confuse a being with it's actions.

I have no trouble loving my mother, though I detest her actions in abandoning me as a child. (It took a long time and a lot of Grace, but hey...) I love my neighbor across the back fence (and take every opportunity to demonstrate that) even if I detest the way he nicks everything not nailed down on the block. Ditto the fellow across the street who never can keep his narrow-minded xenophobic opinions to himself. I love myself, while I detest my many failings, too many to list here, and far worse in magnitude than mere homosexual acts. I think what you meant to say was that they simply don't believe this particular Catholic teaching; you stick yourself in the eye with such phrases as the one quoted above, however. A moment's reflection will demonstrate its silliness.

And my precise point was that one can bear a great love for those with same-sex attractions, and leave those dear friends feeling truly loved, while also unabashedly defending this very teaching. But yes, if you subscribe to modernist notions which reduce a being to the sum of its actions, you'll probably be a whole lot better in an "I'm ok, you're ok" communion. I just prefer being challenged to grow in holiness, to deepen my understanding of the Mystery and to admit my complete dependence on Christ and His body, the Church. And that can't be done in an environment of affirmation.

But hey, to each his own!


Um, no, Boniface, you can't:

And my precise point was that one can bear a great love for those with same-sex attractions, and leave those dear friends feeling truly loved, while also unabashedly defending this very teaching.

That very teaching is that we gays are at best, "intriniscally disordered", and beyond that, "evil". JP 2 used that term. EVIL.

I am sorry, but i cannot see how a "friend" of mine could insult my faithful, monogamous, and loving same sex relationship by considering it "evil". It denies such a fundamental part of who we (my partner and I) are. "You're a nice enough person, but really I think this thing you are doing is evil".

I don't think so.


You guys remdind me that as Anne Lamott says in "Traveling Merices", I'm kind of "Christian-ish".

Boniface McInnes

"That very teaching is that we gays are at best, "intriniscally disordered", and beyond that, "evil". JP 2 used that term. EVIL."

Nope, false. Totally false. The teaching is that the inclination is intrinsically disordered. You are not your inclinations. But as I said, if you can't divorce your self from your desires, or from your actions, you aren't going to appreciate what the Church teaches.

In fact, the Church teaches that all men are made in the image and likeness of God, and that because of this, no man can be evil. He may desire evil, he may do evil, but he can never be evil.

You, on the other hand, reduce your very being to your desires and actions. I really feel terrible for you. My heart goes out, since it is such a sad predicament to find oneself in.

George P

I read this post today since I was searching for information on Catholics who have converted to Episcopalian.

I like the writer am interested in the Episcopalian religion due to my differences with the Catholic Church on sexual issues, birth control, and divorce and remarriage. I tend to be conservative in nature and politics and support most pro-life activities (abortion illegal except for saving the life of the mother, rape & incest). However I believe one must make judgments about things like birth control based on science and technology as it relates to our life in the world today.

I too fell away from the practice of the Catholic faith due to my differences with the church on these issues.

I felt it was disingenuous to be a "Cafeteria Catholic" even though I know that most others that show up on Sunday are. (Studies show that 94% of Catholics use birth control and 80% disagree with church teaching, the 14% cross-over always interested me).

We have used birth control since we were married (first & only time for both of us) (We took the optional NFP class listened and learned and even used it as a fertility awareness method for a while). At the time we chose this path we studied the available information at the time 1984 (pre-internet) and decided that we could in good conscience plan our family and our lives with artificial birth control. This being said we had saved intercourse for marriage out of respect for each other and our faith. We also were open to children at any time during our marriage. Fortunately we planned and have three wonderful children. Due to our planning combined with hard work I have had a successful career and my wife has built a solid and successful farming business that we hope to pass to the next generation.

I respect those of you who out of obedience or faith use NFP or chose to have large families, I believe in your right to chose.

My issue is that the Church spends a lot of energy talking about how NFP couples have an extremely low divorce rate. They then talk about how contraception leads to divorce, abortion and homosexuality. They then decry the 50% divorce rate in society. It is then interesting to me how they can annul 90+% of all the marriages that request annulment. Why did they marry so many of these people in the first place?

Abortion has been around a long time before modern contraception, and so has homosexuality. These are always issues with misuse of technology, guns, cars and prescription drugs all can be used or misused. They but certainly do not lead to ruin if used correctly and in context.

How about studying the 50% of us that use contraception and stay married - in our case very happily?

We have never regretted for one minute the choice to contracept or to have a vasectomy.

The reason I am searching for information now is that I am concerned about the message I (we) are sending to our children, a mixed message since; my wife still attends mass & I do not, since our we are honest with them about the fact that we used birth control and I had a vasectomy, since it seems to me that these issues are going to surface again with-in the church as a swirling storm and the day of the church having its head in the sand is over. It also saddens me to see the form of mental terrorism the church uses with people in less developed parts of the world like in the Philippines and Africa. I can not stand by and support a church that will use its power so rein in the people especially those who are less fortunate and uneducated see this link.

What do you think would happen in the US or the west in general if they tried this?

I sincerely believe that Christian values of honesty, integrity, thoughtful reflection, charity & kindness need to be taught and practiced.

We also have taught our children that sex is best saved for marriage, but I think it is totally irresponsible to not also teach about the risks of sex, and that if they won't wait they need to try to be safe! (As a risk manager I understand that condoms are not 100% against all STD's and or pregnancy but the statistics show that 90+% of young people will engage in sex before marriage I hope but am realistic about the odds that my children will be in the 10%)

My sincere interest in Episcopalian religion is because for over 20 years I have hoped for moderation in the church’s position, instead it has ramped up the justification of its rhetoric. I know now that I should have taken this path years ago and been a better example.

Boniface McInnes

So then why did the Anglican communion wait until Lambeth to decide contraception was in accord with Christian belief? If it's been available for so long, why did no faith community within Chrisianity allow its use until the 1930's?

Sorry, we don't need to keep up with the times; we have the Faith. Or as Chesterton once observed, "The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the dergading slavery of being a child of his age." Truth is timeless.

But as I said, if you want to be told you're fine just the way you are, you don't want to be challenged about your life, Anglicanism is the perfect home for you. It is a communion of affirmation. Some of us just want more out of life.

George P

It seems to me that many of the "Catholic Truths" have indeed changed over time.

Didn't Augustine teach that sex even between a Husband and Wife was venially sinful?

It's not that I don't want to be challenged about my life, but that I want to live it according to logic and common sense.

My upbringing was that of a farmer, close to the land and struggles of life and death.

My formal studies took me to 4 years of college and the science behind our business of farming.

I understand not only the science but have studied the theology that the church purports to be natural law.

I just don't buy it. Neither does most of the west world, although I am sure not all for the same reason I don’t.

I see the Roman Catholic Church today in an obvious state of decline. If they could get the 14% of the people that say they agree with the church on contraception but still use it to give it up it would be a major win. The question is just where would that put them? How many people that are Catholic actually go to church each Sunday? 30%?

What about these vocations, I have been told for 30 years to “pray for vocations”, how has that worked out for them? In our diocese a priest now has 3-4 parish’s to look after.

What about sincere dialogue about a married clergy, I know several men who left the priesthood for marriage that would be excellent priests, and many others who would have entertained the notion if marriage was an option. I also believe that there are many women who would make excellent priests.

I am sure I sound like a raving liberal to you, but I am not. I am however a realist who believes that the Church focusing its attention to these issues where it can never win will lose its flock totally in the west.

Maybe that’s what it really wants, a much smaller, obedient, flock.

It will get its wish if my intuition is right.

George P

Evidently I am not alone in my beliefs:

Catholic group calls for update in outlook

Sun, March 19, 2006


TORONTO -- A Canadian Roman Catholic body representing 22,000 priests, nuns, and religious brothers has labelled the Vatican and the Canadian church outmoded on issues such as homosexuality, contraception and divorce.

In a letter sent to every bishop in the country, the Canadian Religious Conference also says the church is locked into defending church dogma rather than listening to people's search for meaning, and faults the Canadian church for its "unconditional alignment . . . with directives issued from Rome."

J. C. Fisher

Boniface, LGBTs are not defined by "inclinations" or "desires", but by their selves---which God made perfectly queer! (though just as prone to sin as the selves God made straight). It is your dehumanization of LGBTs down into the former, which reveals the LIE of "love the sinner, hate the sin" (Underneath the candy-coating, you've got the hate part down though).

If you want to believe your unthinking/unfeeling Papism*, Boniface, go right ahead---but when your hierarchy acts in a way to oppress others (as it did in my state, Michigan, spending over a million dollars to support the same-sex marriage ban), it can (w/ all due respect) Go To Hell!

*Papism: the religion that worships everything the Vatican pronounces, not to be confused w/ the faith of millions of wonderful Roman Catholics who question the hierarchy (and worship Christ).

Salty, I would say that if your "Young Catholic" tolerates the (extremely) problematic Roman version, how much more will he love Anglican Catholicism (Reformada et Semper Reformanda) as lives in TEC! :-D



You've probably realised that, regardless of what you say, you really hate all gay and lesbian people. Regardless of how nuanced and reasonable you are, nothing can counter your obvious homophobia. There are, it turns out, limits to love's reach. Some people are omniscient, know exactly what is right and wrong, and refuse to accept love that fails to meet their perfect expectations.

In the end, it comes down to the fact that many/most people who experience same-sex attractions begin to define themselves, their entire self-worth and identity by those attractions, and by the choices and relationships they have made. Any attempt to separate the two becomes hate. Any overture of love which doesn't also approve of particular behaviours becomes, at best, an ignorant rant, and, at worst, hate straight from the Devil.

It's a good thing that God's love reaches deeper than mine or yours.


I'm surprised it took you so long to look in, Nathan.

What about left handedness. Obviously being left handed runs against nature, since most people are right handed, and the world is designed to be right handed. As long as lefties make good efforts to change, and use their right hand, not their left, then B. will approve of them. But using that left hand--there's a reason that "left" is "sinister" in Latin. LEt them loathe themselves for their evil inclinations. They sure as heck should avoid other left handers, and any left handed support groups. B will love the sinner, but hate the sin. Tough luck they turned out lefthanded, but really, we all have our cross. lefties...there's really no difference between that revolting inclination, and pedophilia, incest, and beating your dog.

Y'know, it doesn't surprise me that some Catholics practise self-flagellation.

PRoblem I have is when they start falgellating the rest of us.



Well I wouldn't want to get banned from two sites in one week would I?

Your analogy of handedness is so far away from what I believe that it really just seems ridiculous to me. There are just too many discontinuities making the analogy specious. I will say that, with Ellis Peters' fictional monk Cadfael, I don't believe in the benefit of self-flagellation, whether for handedness or for mass-murder.


Your analogy of handedness is so far away from what I believe that it really just seems ridiculous to me

Yup, and I can say the same thing about what you believe. I mean, we really, really view this issue utterly differently. So, how do we manage to live together, civilly if not religiously?


First, I would say that the Internet is an entirely unsuitable medium for this kind of discussion. Despite the attempts people make to give it a happy, chirpy feel, I find it utterly cold and mirthless. (I'm actually a really sensitive, warm, affectionate guy, or so people tell me, and I go out of my way to be inclusive, friendly and supportive to people with whom I disagree. One of my closest colleagues in my last workplace was lesbian, and she and I got on like a house on fire. I even went to a couple of her footy team's matches. For some reason, this form of discussion just makes me more cynical and abrupt the more I use it.)

Second, like Goran, I think the church, whichever flavour you like, should not be directly involved in the civil institution of civil unions. This is not to say that the church should not bless marriages for those that wish it. I hope this is sufficient for us to live together civilly.


I agree. Keep the M-word to the religious, and let them be as rude as they like.

Civil unions for all!


A good test for the sincerity of the Christian faith of a person may be their wish that no one (with all due respect) goes to hell. IT, you appear filled with rage about this issue. I see the rest of us must obediently agree with you, and do so instantaeously, or we are damned.

Do you understand how your red-faced fuming and lack of tolerance of opposing viewpoints makes you look? Especially, when you claim to possess Christian faith in the same breath.

We oppose your lifestyle, not you, and that's it. Your incessant anger won't change this.


Your argument is lame. Left handedness isn't against nature at all. Last time I checked left-handed people are able to use their hands for the purposes they are intended for.

I challenge you to explain to me how the sexual union of gay people accomplishes this without resorting to the tired, 60's argument that sex is for fun.



I don't think IT identifies as Christian. However I do agree with you that the analogy of handedness fails on many points.

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