Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources


By Diogenes ( articles ) | Apr 28, 2007

The Revd Professor Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University ...

Having only read so far into this Church Times article, you know its author is enthusiastic about what Maid Marilyn has to say. Reverend Professors, like Reverend Doctors, are tags appropriate to place cards at table, but when used by journalists as identifiers they cross the line into obsequiousness. It's fair enough to remind us that she's the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, but the writer isn't risking the loss of any wallop by saving the smooch for the second graf. OK, we know she's on the side of the angels (and only a little lower than the angels herself) and we can get on with the sentence:

Revd Professor Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, has severely criticised the Windsor report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the communiqué from the recent Primates' Meeting in Dar es Salaam.

The Reverend Professor argued her case before the Oxford Society of Historical Theology, right?

In an address to the annual conference of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement in London on Saturday, she questioned the legitimacy of the Windsor report on a future structure for the Anglican Communion, and accused the Primates of seeking to exercise "dictatorial powers".

(Hint: dictatorial powers are bad.)

If memory serves, New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson also criticized the Primates and the Windsor Report as excessively rigid. And come to think of it, his complaint had to do with gay/lesbian concerns as well! An uncanny coincidence.

Referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury's reflection last year "Challenge and Hope", Professor McCord Adams said: "The Archbishop's conception of the Church combines with the Tanzanian communiqué to send the message: national or 'local' ecclesial bodies are only organs of an international, intercultural body-politic. They ... are not in themselves real Churches, any more than a finger or a gall bladder is a human body in itself. ... National or 'local' ecclesial bodies should not decide whom to ordain and whom to bless all by themselves."

The Rev Prof gives voice to this Tanzanian body-language only to reject it, you understand. The real culprit turns out to be Saint Paul, "channeled" by Archbishop Akinola via the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact:

She continued: "Body-of-Christ imagery is not apt for the human side of the Church. The organic body is a Fascist-Marxist political model, which had proved politically disastrous as a way to organise the human state, and is idolatrous.

Missed the idolatrous Fascist-Marxist implications of the traditional Body-of-Christ language, did you? That's why Marilyn's the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University and you're not. Not that the critical note wins out, though. She ends with a positive proposal.

The best model for the human institutional side of the Church is not the organic body, but the liberal state."

Ah yes. The Liberal State. Provider of those benefits that suffice unto salvation. When Jesus taught, "if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut it off," he was doubtless clueing-in the disciples to the long-term advantages of a handicapped parking sticker.

Please stand f... -- check that. Please remain seated for the Creed.

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 03, 2010 10:40 AM ET USA

    The problem with this is that I believe that this action should be taken only after the bishops in question are forced to deal with the scandals and priests of their own dioceses. The best penance is to have to work through the very problem they caused. Removing them immediately simply let's them off the hook so to speak.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Apr. 01, 2010 10:39 AM ET USA

    Not infrequently, the bishops implicated in the mishandling the abuse cases had also built reputations as modernists. The bishops are chosen by the Holy Father so it is impossible to absolve the Holy Father from responsibility, at least to some extent, when evaluating the actions of those he appoints as bishops. It's not just the actions in themselves, but the disturbing hubris that has been exhibited by men whom the public expects to exhibit holiness. Thus the story takes on a life of its own.

  • Posted by: garedawg - Mar. 29, 2010 9:48 PM ET USA

    Can the Pope really fire a bishop? My understanding is that the Pope is not like the CEO of a big company; the bishops have considerable autonomy. Also, if the Pope does tell a bishop to step down and he decides to go into schism, then what?

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Mar. 29, 2010 6:57 PM ET USA

    And that goes for JP II also.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Mar. 27, 2010 10:10 PM ET USA