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September 20, 2005



In Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where I once lived, the Episcopalean priest recently left his diocese and started a new Anglican Church under the auspices of the Diocese of Bolivia....


I believe the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has banned gay seminarians for some time. Does anyone know how things are going there, eg., have more students entered the seminary.

David Kubiak

It is ironic that I should read this after just finishing a talk to students
on Cardinal Newman. I ended with his famous "biglietto" speech on liberalism
in religion, every word of which applies today.


I believe the more proper question, RC, is...do they have any gay priests?


Amy, and others,
Use of the word "gay" is a concession to media-driven special interests culture and is, in itself, a surrender to something that is, in itself propaganda.
"Homosexual" is the non-loaded term.
Using the term "gay" is to participate in the shaping of opinion towards the acceptance of social positions with which I presume you disagree as Catholics.
Just as Terri Schiavo's situation was not a debate about "dying with dignity" or "the right to die" but was about removing hydration to cause death, the word "gay" does not connote what the word "homosexual" connotes. The former is one of proud self-proclamation insisting that you fall into line, whereas the latter is simply a specification of orientation.
Could we please use the word "homosexual" when speaking of homosexuals?

J. Newton

Being persuaded, controlled and/or altered by a choice of word is an interesting topic.
"Homosexual" is a state whereas "gay" is a status - as an aggrieved party, generally, and carries with it a lot of baggage with which both user and hearer are forced to deal.
"Homosexual" speaks only to an aspect of one's self. "Gay" says that you are your sexual interests. Certainly, Catholics would hold that that is false, that we are more than sex objects and that we can be fully human without reveling in, without taking much interest in, just one aspect of ourselves.

Glenn Juday

Dear Amy,

Slight correction. The Anglican Communion is not GETTING closer and closer to a split. The Anglican church is closer to RECOGNIZING the split that has, in fact, evolved in its midst and making the appropriate structural adjustments. It is not that some meanies are undertaking to causing a division. It is simply the case that stylish self-loathing in some Christian circles has fully matured. This has brought about a situation in which some who are still within the shell of an organization have, by their own admission, set aside the basic tenets of Christian faith.

I wish it weren't so. I'm not happy that it's so. But it is so.

I wish those who have wandered off from Christian belief would reconsider. I wish they would just drop their political and cultural concerns that hold them back. I wish they would return. I wish they would come all the way back to the rock that could save them.

It's never too late, as long as any of us are alive. But we won't always be in the privileged position of being one breath away from repenting. Time is running out – for all of us. We ultimately will get what was ultimately most important to us, however hollow and empty that might be. Lord Jesus Christ help us all.

Venerable Aussie

"..A statement on the Nigerian church's Web site said that "all former references to 'communion with the see of Canterbury' were deleted" at a meeting last week. Instead, the constitution affirms ties with all churches that maintain the "faith, doctrine, sacrament and discipline of the one holy, Catholic and apostolic church."

Can someone help me out here? I applaud what Akinola is doing, but what's this last sentence about? Is he claiming that he is, well, ...Catholic?

Steve Cavanaugh

"Can someone help me out here? I applaud what Akinola is doing, but what's this last sentence about? Is he claiming that he is, well, ...Catholic?"

The Anglican Church has always maintained that it is part of the one Church established by Christ. Henry VIII's split with Rome in the 16th century was one of governance, not doctrine...that would come later, under Edward and Elizabeth. The reformers who took control of the Church at that time believed that Rome had erred in some of its teaching, and a combination of Lutheran and Calvinist doctrines were adopted, along with a change of the liturgy. But the Church of England never gave up the claim to be the Church Catholic in its English incarnation.

That claim is inherited by the daughter churches in India, Nigeria, USA, etc. Although in those places it is a much harder point to maintain (as if the CofE's isn't hard enough) given that the Anglican Churches of those provinces was usually not the original church in those countries and in most is not even the largest.

But the claim is that holding the faith of embodied in the Apostle's, Nicene and Athanasian creed, holding to the ministry of bishop, priest and deacon, maintaining the centrality of liturgical worship and the Eucharist is the substance of the Catholic faith.

The Catechism of the 1928 Prayer Book (USA) is fairly typical of the faith of the Anglican Church. While we would see, from a Catholic point of view, deficiencies, we can also recognize substantial agreement. High Church Anglicans, especially since the Oxford Movement in the early to mid-19th century, would affirm even more of what we, in the Roman Catholic Church, would claim, such as 7 sacraments (the defense of which, recall, won for Henry VIII the title "Defensor Fidei" from the Pope), etc.


How about this:

"If the Church is to really focus on the issues of the Bible's teaching and the core teachings of Jesus Christ, why do [b]V. Gene Robinson and Frank Griswold and their Spongite ilk[b] spend so much time on human sexuality issues while so many of Archbishop Akinola's countrymen and women are oppressed by poverty, illiteracy and violence?"

Someone is obsessed with sexual issues. Bishop Chane and his colleagues might try looking in a mirror.

And if they look very hard beyond themselves, they might also catch a glimpse of the slow motion collapse of their once-proud communion.

Dale Price

Good catch, Richard. It is a remarkable case of projection, and it has played out over and over again. When you reverse the argument and ask the progressive Piskies to sacrifice whatever they want to get all "prophetic" over, the response is incomprehension and refusal.

Because the sexuality and gender issues are, indeed, essential to their boutique gospel.

Steve Cavanaugh

Despite Bishop Chane's rant that the Nigerian Anglican Church and Archbishop Akinola are too focused on sexuality, it would seem that the Nigerian Church is focused on other things, as seen in this assessement and plan for the future.

As Richard noted, it is the American province of the Anglican Church which has become so focused on sex and "tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Eph 4:14).

patrick in ny

just a note on terminology....but it seems that in the past 5 to 10 years the term Same Sex Attraction (SSA) is used, especially by orthdox christian groups. For various reasons they do not use gay or homosexual. perhaps there is someone from courage or another group that can explain why they use this term and not the other? i guess it is easy to see why they do not use 'gay'.....having too much popular culture baggage with it?

Venerable Aussie

Thanks Steve for the clarifications about the C of E


To those into correcting my usage, please note this previous lengthy notorious post from last week, in which I make the issues clear with more precise usage. In this particular post here, the headline was long enough, and "gay" has three letters. So shoot me.

Patrick Rothwell

There is no more "Alice in Wonderland" esque controversy than the SSA vs. gay nomenclature controversy. Since in the real world people use the terms to mean whatever they want them to mean, it is, as Liam pointed out in the notorious thread, an obsession of categories over substance, unless, of course, the categories are deliberately designed as pejorative or to provoke anger in others.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

I don't really see that there is a short, neutral term that you can use in a blog post headline. I stumble over this all the time on my own blog, where I either use "gay" or "SSA" or "homosexual," depending on whether, at any given time, I'm mainly talking about people who think it's just fine that they're gay, or people who are struggling with same-sex attraction, or trying to include both sets of people. "Living with a degree of same-sex attraction" to describe Andrew Sullivan and "gay" to describe David Morrison sound kind of equally weird to me.

Anyway, back to the actual topic of the post, it's really weird to me to see both the church I grew up in and the church I married into currently torn up by their own different versions of debate about homosexuality. Why does exactly this question come to a head now in particular?

RP Burke

The musician in me howls at this line ...

interminable glum repetition of what was not worth singing once.

How sad it is that the lack of quality control in music for worship has infected the British, source of some of the greatest of all (from Tallis to Vaughan Williams to Rutter).

Ed the Roman

Well, the CoE certainly claims apostolic succession. But the use of the Edwardine Ordinal for over a hundred years kind of took care of that (see Apostolicae Curae).


When the ECUSA tried to make nice with the Anglican Church of Uganda by promising some aid if they could send a delegation, Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo responded: “Considering those things, we were shocked to receive a letter from you informing us of your decision to send a delegation to the enthronement of our new Archbishop in January, and your intention for the delegation to bring aid and assistance for the people who live in desperate conditions in the camps in Gulu that you have ignored for years. Recent comments by your staff suggesting that your proposed visit demonstrates that normal relations with the Church of Uganda continue have made your message clear: If we fall silent about what you have done—promoting unbiblical sexual immorality—and we overturn or ignore the decision to declare a severing of relationship with ECUSA, poor displaced persons will receive aid. Here is our response: The gospel of Jesus Christ is not for sale, even among the poorest of us who have no money. Eternal life, obedience to Jesus Christ, and conforming to his Word are more important. The Word of God is clear that you have chosen a course of separation that leads to spiritual destruction. Because we love you, we cannot let that go unanswered. If your hearts remain hardened to what the Bible clearly teaches, and your ears remain deaf to the cries of other Christians, genuine love demands that we do not pretend that everything is normal. As a result any delegation you send cannot be welcomed, received, or seated. Neither can we share fellowship nor even receive desperately needed resources. If, however, you repent and return to the Lord, it would be an occasion of great joy.”


If what Bishop Chane says isn't true, then it's a serious slander. It verges on the assertion that Bishop Akinola is among the damned.

Susan Peterson

ED, however their ordinal now is more like ours, (which is less like ours used to be, right, like missing some explicit language about sacrifice-or so I have heard said, I haven't read it.) AND, Old Catholic ie schismatic bishops with valid orders have taken part in Anglican ordinations so that supposedly most Anglican priests today can trace their orders to a bishop with RC approved valid orders. Anyway this is the argument which those Anglicans who care about this issue and accept the Catholic theology about the sacrament of orders, use.

It does feel odd to stand with Anglicans when they pray "For the unity of the Holy Catholic Church." I do think...hey folks...there is something you could do about that, you know.

But, either they think we have put insurmountable barriers in the way...or they don't understand unity...or the word Church...the way we do.

I wonder how Akinola understands it. I wonder how relationships between Roman Catholics and Anglicans are in Nigeria?

Susan Peterson

Patrick Rothwell

Both Chane (who is creedly heterodox) and Akinola are well-known for their highly distorted polemical blasts. Akinola, however, did a real disservice to American evangelical Episcopalians in the U.S. by asserting this:

"Homosexuality and lesbianism, like divorce, breed a society of single parents which gives rise to a generation of bastards. And in the context of much poverty and lack of education, this further produces an ill-bred generation of hooligans, portending much terror to the peace and stability of the society.

Homosexuality and lesbianism thrives on many sexual aberrations and improvisations typical of human selfishness and greed in the name of pleasure and self-actualization.

In a society where many women are finding it difficult to have husbands of their own due to the depletion of men by many factors, homosexuality will exacerbate the existing social disequilibrium, leading to much social unrest."

These assertions are, at least from the American context, extreme and implausible, and ECUSA Evangelicals will endlessly quizzed by their enemies as to whether they endorse Akinola's stated views. No doubt the Evangelicals as a whole will be unable to adequately respond to this and, therefore, they (not the Chane liberals) will find themselves to be discredited.


OK, I'll step into it. Now the availablility of men as husbands is questionable but which other of Akinola's statements do you find extreme and why. I could add heterosexual promiscuity to the list of causes but the results he states are things I see every day.


I'm with Steve on this one. Three cheers for Akinola. You can nitpick his statement, but it is basically sound and shows a whole lot more sense than most of what one hears.

A vast, choking crisis is upon us and our whole society is drowning in it. Even the best of us seem to be being cooked slowly like the proverbial frog, accomodating ourselves bit by bit to the most outrageous things.

I myself can't BELIEVE that orthodox Catholics are ARGUING over whether we should admit homosexuals to the seminary. Astonishing. And when's the last time you heard anyone get REALLY shocked and outraged over the prevalence of contraception? That's really going too far, isn't it?

We're dead and done if things don't change within a very few years.


""Living with a degree of same-sex attraction" to describe Andrew Sullivan and "gay" to describe David Morrison sound kind of equally weird to me."
Exactly. Exactly my point. The term "homosexual" - which is clinical - can be used for either or both. It has no political context, freight load of baggage. SSA suggests one is living in a storm of sexual attractions (who is he "attracted" to today?) and "gay" is deliberately subversive of traditional morality.
I don't know what you mean. Would you have used "papist" and argued it is the same as "Roman Catholic" and that it isn't loaded or, if it is, so what?


Hello Steve,

Re:P Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo

Now THAT is a bishop.


Funny to me that most of us are looking to an Archbishop of Nigeria as an upholder of traditional moral teaching. Do we have any knowledge of everyday life in Nigeria? The gap between the Anglican Archbishop's statements and the actual behavior of Nigerians, including Anglicans, in these matters is incredibly large.

I am sorry, but the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria has as much to teach us about moral theology as the President of Nigeria has to teach us about democratic polity. He has no legitimacy--none. In typical Protestant practice, let him found a purer Nigerian Anglican Church. The rest of the Anglican Communion will no doubt miss one of its most dynamic churches, but no demonination is big enough for Archbiship Akinola, unless he is its sole leader.

Patrick Rothwell

Well, Steve, for starters, homosexuality results in bastards and hooliganism seems a bit of a stretch. But, it simply isn't a matter of what he, but how he said it. This kind of rhetoric will turn off those who think homosexuality is wrong and have serious reservations about or oppose Gene Robinson, but don't want to be harsh towards homosexuals either, which is a considerable portion of the ECUSA. Homsexuals as the bogeymen rhetoric are extremely counterproductive, something which I am sure the attendees at the Kairos dinner would fail to recognize. But, I'm sure that it made them feel good.



That homosexuality results in bastards is true on its face. Homosexual woman who have children using only a sperm donor male produce bastards. Unfortunate language perhaps but true.

There is ample evidence that boys raised without fathers are far more likely to become criminals. The gang-bangers performing drive by shootings are largely boys raised without fathers. How's that for hooliganism.

If we don't honestly address the huge social problems that are created by a lax moral atmosphere, it just becomes us putting our private moral code into law. There are very serious reasons for even a secularist to think twice about the brave new family. IMHO, we don't talk about it enough. Only the very secular Jew, Stanley Kurtz seems willing to take the flack.

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