Blog Template Theology of the Body: Fr. Jay Scott Newman on being "catholic"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fr. Jay Scott Newman on being "catholic"

“Both schools are asking themselves what the future of Anglicanism is going to look like. And the return to a biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism isn’t just about our Bishops coming to agreement. It involves the whole Church--including its organs of theological education.

-This was the comment offered by the Reverend Martha Giltinan, Trinity’s Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology. That an ordained woman and seminary professor can talk about the return to a biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism without any irony is an index of how far gone the Anglican communion is from any form of Christianity which is biblically faithful and traditional. Friends, this is the camel’s nose under the tent, and until and unless it is driven back out into the desert, every manner of tempest will sweep in through that gap. To put it most simply: if a woman can be a presbyter, there is no coherent argument left against two men marrying each other. And given that even Nashotah House, the once proud flagship of American Anglo-Catholicism, has accepted this profoundly unbiblical and untraditional distortion of the Church’s sacramental life, there remains no hope (that I can see) of Anglicanism in the States being restored to biblical and traditional Christianity.

My point was not that this effort at reconciliation between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals will fail; my point is that whether this effort succeeds or not has no bearing on an unavoidable fact: the ordination of women was and is a departure from “biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism,” and for this reason, those accept the ordination of women will never be able to offer a coherent reason why other departures from “biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism” should be considered unacceptable by other Anglicans. And to repeat the example from above: Those who accept women priests cannot finally make a convincing argument against homosexual marriage or the ordination of gay bishops. That Nashatoh and Trinity are seeking common cause against (to take an example) gay revisionism on the Sacrament of Marriage may be praiseworthy, but since they have both already accepted feminist revisionism on the Sacrament of Orders, they stand on theological quicksand and have no base from which to wage this battle."


I think, for the record, that Fr. Newman has his finger on something critical about the difference between the Catholic Church and her separated communities- namely, he is distinguishing neatly between the humble and charitable acknowledgment of ontological realities defined and affirmed by Christ Himself and the veins of conservative meanness that have tended to characterize women and homosexuals by recourse to nothing better than a nebulous ick factor. Fr. Newman has recently been helping this woman (MM) prepare for her first book... he is terrific, and I always enjoy his commentary.