thus saith the lord, for the time being

By Diogenes (articles) | Oct 05, 2007

Writing in The Tablet, Timothy Lavin delivers the thoughts of the premier Mexican Anglican:

Meanwhile, the Anglican Archbishop of Mexico, Carlos Touche-Porter, sought to promote a middle way that "celebrates diversity" for the Anglican Communion at a press conference in London this week, writes Victoria Combe. Archbishop Touche-Porter said that the Latin American Episcopalian bishops - who have formed an alliance called the Global Centre - had managed to remain unified despite different views on human sexuality.

"The solution is not a compromise but for the Church to remember that its primary mission is to witness the Gospel rather than discuss sexual morals," he said at the conference hosted by the British-based network Inclusive Church in St Matthew's, Westminster. He said he remained hopeful that the Episcopal Church would remain part of the Anglican Communion because to lose it would be to lose a "prophetic voice" in the Church. "We do not need to agree on every issue," he said.

Sorry, Charlie, you've got that backwards too. You can't call your preaching Good News until you grasp the bad news you hope to be delivered from.

Notwithstanding their efforts to ignore it, Touche-Porter and his allies are tangled in a hopeless predicament. There is no neutral ground here. It makes no sense -- it's logically self-destructive -- for a church to teach that an act that damns you today may ennoble you tomorrow, subject to a majority vote of its bishops and to indefinitely frequent political revision. If sodomy was contrary to God's will in AD 1840, it will be contrary to God's will in AD 2840, and for a church to deny this is to deny it knows God's will, which is in effect to deny that it is a church.

Let's try to take Touche-Porter's notion seriously for a moment. Can it really be the case (to borrow Fr. Raymond de Souza's language) that a gay Anglican, on waking some morning in the near future, must wait for the Daily Telegraph to arrive in order to learn whether the act he performed with his partner the evening previous was a mortal sin or a sacrament? Could a man really suspend his judgment on such a fundamental question until the results of a vote were in from the House of Bishops? Could he then accept and spiritually reorient himself in conformity to the winning answer as to the mind of God on the matter, not knowing whether or when it might be reversed in some future meeting?

The scenario is theologically grotesque, yet this is the package Touche-Porter and chums are asking us to buy. And while the crisis hingeing on this incoherence is especially acute in the Anglican Communion, and may prove fatal to it, provisional Catholics like Andrew Sullivan occupy the same plot of quicksand. Gays ask the Church to welcome sinners (which she delights to do) and also to welcome their sins (which she can't). By urging the Church to change her teaching they are ipso facto asking her to cease to be the Church. The bottom line is this: what's at stake in the gay rights campaign is not some church in which gays want to share, but the Church they want to deny to the rest of us.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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