bear - ingn.1 the manner in which one comports oneself; 2 the act, power, or time of bringing forth offspring or fruit; 3 a machine part in which another part turns [a journal ~]; 4pl. comprehension of one's position, environment, or situation; 5 the act of moving while supporting the weight of something [the ~ of the cross].
The Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev Peter Akinola has announced the election of new Bishops in the Church of Nigeria.
The election was conducted at the Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), which met on Wednesday, June 28 2006, at All Saints Church Wuse Abuja.
The Bishops-elect are:
The Rev Canon Christian Ideh, of Igbudu Christian Centre, Emevor, for the Diocese of Warri.
The Venerable Musa Tula, of St Stephen’s Anglican Church Wange-Tula, Gombe State, for the Diocese of Bauchi.
The Very Rev Adebayo Akinde, of the Cathedral of St Peter Ake, Abeokuta, Ogun State, for the newly created Diocese of Lagos Mainland. The inauguration of the diocese will come up in August.
The Rev Canon Martyn Minns of Truro Parish in Virginia, USA was also elected Bishop in the Church of Nigeria for the missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria called Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA).
Via Get Religion, whose post on the subject is also worth reading. I think the comments will only get better.
(Incidentally, I've always liked Get Religion, which is about the media portrayal of religion and religious people, and I've always admired the blog's title for its double meaning. "I was a bad person until I got religion." "The press just doesn't get religion." I was telling Mark about this today and he pointed out a third possible interpretation: "The press is out to get religion." Hmm --- maybe so!)
It's been really, really interesting bouncing around the Anglican blogosphere and reading the reactions to what's going on from traditionals as well as progressives.
I couldn't help but dive into the comments on this post, after reading the paragraph:
Jesus seems to have been completely indifferent to the "manner of life" of those he called to serve, and those who served him -- as long as they served! (Remember the woman who washed his feet with her tears, and Simon's pious reaction?) You know, Jesus never mentions personal holiness at all; it's part of the purity code he rejected. He talked about prophetic righteousness and not judging others. Hmmm... could sure use more of that in the Anglican Communion!
And that's from a parish vicar in the Bronx. Wow.
Having read the arguments of many different people, I honestly don't see how this denomination in the United States can remain one.
What's the proper Christian attitude towards what's going on with the Anglicans? I think it's really, really tempting for Catholics to be smug about it. "See? It just goes to show the inevitable consequences of rejecting centralized authority." Well, intellectually that's not inaccurate, but smugness isn't charitable, and it isn't helpful. Should we be pleased or not pleased? Is this a good thing or a bad thing, that the body of Christians is splitting further?
The key to figuring this out is to realize that the split (between "progressive" Episcopalians and the greater Anglican communion) has already happened. It happened in the minds and hearts of individuals, of whole Episcopalian parishes, of seminaries, long ago. What's going on now is the admission and acknowledgment of the split, probably leading to its actual manifestation in organizational structure. We can never, ever rejoice that people have fallen into heresies. But we can be glad when a heresy is exposed and when, by cutting it adrift, an orthodoxy is preserved.
Not every instance of heresy is necessarily an indication that a "split" has occurred. Sometimes it can be corrected without schism. As long as there's reasonable hope of that, splitting is ill-advised. But there comes a point when excommunication is the most hopeful act. It forces a decision. Heresy that can say truthfully that the guardians of orthodoxy accepts it is a much more dangerous kind.
The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider appeals from abortion rights groups wanting to block states from issuing car license plates bearing the message "Choose Life."
...Justices said they would not look at tag laws in Louisiana and Tennessee.
Abortion opponents contend they have a free-speech right to broadcast their own views on their car tags. Proposals to offer car owners an alternative "Choose Choice" plate failed in both state Legislatures.
A federal judge had found that Tennessee's tag wrongly promoted only one side of the abortion debate, but the decision was overturned by an appeals court.
... Last year, the high court let stand a lower court ruling that said South Carolina's license plates, which bear the slogan "Choose Life," violate the First Amendment because abortion rights supporters weren't given a similar forum to express their beliefs.
Jimmy's take on it is worth reading. I'm not really fired up over "special" license plates --- a license plate is supposed to identify a vehicle and confirm that it's registered with the state, something that is probably hindered by the lack of uniformity. Also the proliferation of these special plates has all but ruined License Plate Bingo on car trips.
What I find interesting about this is the notion (shared by some courts) that, if "abortion opponents" can have a special plate with their own message, "Choose Life," then "abortion rights supporters" should have the right to a plate that sends their own message, according to a sort of equal-access principle.
The reason I think it's interesting is that this argument assumes several points that the abortion-rights movement might be wiser to deny, at least for the sake of appearances.
First, it assumes what pro-life people have been insisting all along. Abortion is a black-and-white issue. There are only two sides: "abortion opponents" and "abortion rights supporters." There is no gray area. There is no room for I'm personally opposed to abortion but I think it is good that it is legal. Nor is there room for I support legal abortion but I think we should encourage people not to have abortions. In other words, there are exactly two positions: "anti-abortion," exemplified by people who would exhort other to "choose life," and the opposite, i.e., "pro-abortion."
This leads us to the second point, because one would naturally ask, "So what would the 'other side' exhort?" The message on the plates is "Choose Life." Arguing that abortion-rights supporters, as the "other side," have a right to display their own message, implies an assumption: that they don't want to display "Choose Life." So what do they want to display? "Don't Choose Life?" "Choose something other than life?" The article mentions "Choose Choice." What does that mean? This argument isn't exactly good PR for abortion-rights supporters. It makes them look like they're opposed to the choice of life, i.e., not pro-choice, just pro-abortion. Hardly the image they want to project.
Third point. Tennessee's court (later overturned) agreed with the abortion-rights supporters that the Tennessee tag "promoted only one side of the abortion debate." OK, so... which side does "Choose Life" promote? If "Choose Life" is one side of the abortion debate, then what exactly is the abortion debate about? You thought that it was "keep abortion legal/make abortion illegal." But wait! This plate doesn't say "Make abortion illegal." It says "Choose Life." If that's one side, we're talking about a different debate. So now, all of a sudden, the abortion-rights supporters are saying, "The abortion debate isn't about legality, it's really about encouraging women to freely choose abortions vs. discouraging women from freely choosing abortions."
It's pretty obvious that the slogan "Choose Life" is not an "anti-choice" slogan. It's neutral, if not positive, on the subject of "choice." It's positive on the subject of "life." Theoretically, an abortion-rights supporter should be able to carry that particular banner without any contradiction. (Except that, practically speaking, "I hope you choose life" apparently functions as code for "I don't support legal abortion." Which should tell us something.)
Of course, these plates do not exist solely "to show the car owner's opposition to abortion," as the WaPo article states. They are also fundraising plates. In Florida, for example, the money goes to organizations that support women in continuing their crisis pregnancies, including nonprofit adoption agencies and maternity homes. Perhaps the abortion-rights supporters want the right to a plate that says "Choose Life" but that raises funds for some other kind of organization. Hmm.
Other bloggers have commented on the text, notably the repeated statements that the Bible is the source of the Anglican Communion's churches' doctrine --- which can't be read in any other way than a criticism of The Episcopal Church's endorsement of same-sex unions, really.
I was interested in this bit (line spacing edited by me to highlight the structure of the argument):
We do have a distinctive historic tradition–
a reformed commitment to the absolute priority of the Bible for deciding doctrine,
a catholic loyalty to the sacraments and the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons,
and a habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly.
....The different components in our heritage can, up to a point, flourish in isolation from each other. But any one of them pursued on its own would lead in a direction ultimately outside historic Anglicanism.
The reformed concern may lead towards a looser form of ministerial order and a stronger emphasis on the sole, unmediated authority of the Bible.
The catholic concern may lead to a high doctrine of visible and structural unification of the ordained ministry around a focal point.
The cultural and intellectual concern may lead to a style of Christian life aimed at giving spiritual depth to the general shape of the culture around and de-emphasising revelation and history.
Pursued far enough in isolation, each of these would lead to a different place – to strict evangelical Protestantism, to Roman Catholicism, to religious liberalism. To accept that each of these has a place in the church’s life and that they need each other means that the enthusiasts for each aspect have to be prepared to live with certain tensions or even sacrifices...
The only reason for being an Anglican is that this balance seems to you to be healthy for the Church Catholic overall, and that it helps people grow in discernment and holiness.
(Emphasis mine.) Well! That clears something up. Now I know why anyone would want to be Anglican.
It appears that it has to do with having your cake, eating it, and also giving it to your neighborhood food shelf, or something along those lines.
I don't mean to be too facetious, but... It's impossible to be Catholic, Protestant, and Modernist all at the same time. Is this really what Anglicanism is all about? Trying to sail somehow equally among the three strongest opposing currents in Christendom? I'm surprised that they don't feel a bit guilty for leaving the Eastern Orthodox out of it.
Well, if Archbishop Williams is correct, I guess it explains the appeal of Anglicanism to so many. I wonder if he is correct. Perhaps we'll learn more after the Anglican bishops meet next year.
OK, so we've all heard that the new translation changes what English-speakers reply to the priest when he says, "The Lord be with you."
We're used to saying, "And also with you." The corrected translation will be, "And with your spirit."
This isn't new to me. I spent a few months in France when I was in college, and I went to Mass, and I noticed right away (it's the first response in the Mass after all) that the congregation was saying, "Et avec votre esprit." When I had a chance, I looked up the Latin Order of Mass and saw that it said "Et cum spiritu tuo." Strange! I thought. And it seemed a strange sort of greeting, too, this "And with your spirit." Why doesn't the priest say "The Lord be with your spirit(s)" to the congregation? Why the asymmetry? It doesn't sound like a natural sort of greeting.
It hadn't occurred to me that the odd sound is deliberate because it is more than a greeting.
Father Stephanos points out that this curious greeting occurs at four specific points in the Mass. (So there's one clue: if it were just a greeting, it would be only at the beginning.)
Each time the ordained cleric (bishop, priest or deacon) says at Mass, "The Lord be with you," and the people respond, "And with your spirit," something is about to take place that is reserved to an ordained cleric.
1. The start of Mass, with the penitential rite, absolution prayer, opening prayer
2. The Gospel and Homily
3. The preface and the Eucharistic Prayer
4. The final blessing
In a sense, the people's response of "And with your spirit" is an acknowledgement of the apostolic credentials of the ordained minister. It is an expression of faith in the sacramental powers the ordained receive from Christ through the apostles and their successors.
I never noticed that!
He quotes two early Christian fathers on the subject. One is St. John Chrysostom (347-407), who explicitly states that this is the meaning of et cum spirito tuo. (Yes, that's 407... we've been saying it for that long.)
When he stands at the holy altar, when he is about to offer the awesome sacrifice— you have answered “And with your spirit” reminding yourselves by this reply that he … does nothing by his own power … but by the grace of the Spirit
By removing the asymmetry that sounds a bit grating to our ears, by smoothing it to "The Lord be with you/And also with you," the ICEL translators reduced this exchange to merely a greeting.
Possibility 1: the ICEL translators were ignorant of the meaning of this exchange. (So what were they doing being trusted with translating the Mass? Huh?)
Possibility 2: they actually intended to suppress the asymmetry, making the people's reply to the priest a mirror of the priest's greeting to the people --- toning down the distinction between lay and ordained. Doesn't that sound like a bizarre conspiracy theory? But --- this was 1970. Which do *you* think was more likely?
"God's Milk: An Orthodox Confession of the Eucharist." Early Christians, apparently, frequently used the image of breastfeeding as an image of the Eucharist. What I like about this piece is that, although the imagery is distinctly about mothering, the ancient writers aren't tempted to stray from the revealed terminology of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. (A far cry from the new Episcopal Primate's now-infamous inaugural "Mother Jesus" sermon.)
The so-called "ex-gay" movement continues to be controversial. Eve Tushnet writes about (among other things) living chastely as a Catholic with same-sex attraction, and tends to turn a skeptical eye (both practically and theologically) toward the programs set up to "cure" people of same-sex attraction. This post contains some lengthy comments from readers; the one I found most interesting was one about the differences between Catholic and evangelical-Protestant views of the human person and how that affects their respective, for want of a better word, "prescriptions" for Christians who experience significant same-sex attraction.
A blog post of Eve's led me to Disputed Mutability, a blog by a self-described Calvinist Protestant woman who identifies herself as "ex-gay." She, too, is critical of many of the "cure" programs; her success, she says, was found in a Christian residential program that was "not ex-gay specific, but was for all sorts of spiritual/behavioral issues." Here's her story: as Eve says, "honest" and "challenging."
Gerald at Closed Cafeteria has put them up. Just as a reminder, what we're talking about here is the list of 62 amendments (to the new ICEL English translation of the Mass) that the U. S. Bishops proposed for use in the dioceses of the United States.
One thing surprised me: many of the amendments aren't changes to the "text" per se at all. Some are literally about punctuation and spelling. It didn't even occur to me that some of the amendments would be to, well, headers and footnotes, but there you are:
In several rubrics, the word chant was modified with the addition of a bracketed reference [or song], as in: · Entrance Chant [or song] (OM, no. 1) · another chant [or song] (Gospel Acclamation at OM, no. 13) · Offertory Chant [or song] (OM, nos 21 and 23) · Communion Chant [or song] (OM, no. 136) While the General Instruction of the Roman Missal translates the Latin cantus as chant, the slight emendation was proposed in order to clarify what may be properly sung...
Seems pretty reasonable. Why confuse people into thinking they are chanting when they are actually singing?
I have to say that of all the amendments, the one that has provoked me to think most is the bishops' rejection of consubstantial as a translation of consubstantialem in the Nicene Creed. Here's the context:
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipoténtem, factórem cæli et terræ, visibílium ómnium et invisibílium. Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum, Fílium Dei unigénitum. Et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula. Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri: per quem ómnia facta sunt.
Here's what we usually say:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
Supposedly the new ICEL translation had the more accurate, but somewhat clunkier and more jargony-sounding in my opinion, consubstantial with the father for the underlined words. I can't think of another translation for "consubstantial" though: "having the same substance as?" "Sharing substance with?" In Greek, this is "homoousion" ("made of the same stuff" if I recall correctly). The "con" implies a "with" is called for.
But is anybody else, like me, reminded by "consubstantial" of another word: consubstantiation? The reason it's important is that it isn't really in our theology, but rather, is placed in contrast with one that is: transsubstantiation. The words refer to two different ways of understanding how Christ's body and blood exist in the Eucharist. We say transsubstantiation: the substance of the bread and wine are changed into the substance of the body and the blood. Others, notably Lutheran, have a different understanding that we call consubstantiation: the substance of the bread and wine co-exist with the substance of the body and the blood. (Although I confess having a hard time telling the difference in meaning, because whenever I've heard an apparently knowledgeable Lutheran explain what they believe, it sounds suspiciously like our idea that the "accidents" of the bread and wine remain. Somebody, maybe, can clear me up on this one.) Still others don't accept any kind of transformation or change at all, believing that the denotation of bread and wine as body and blood is symbolic. (Nonsubstantiation?)
Anyway, I keep wondering if the idea of "consubstantiation" contains some clue to the meaning of "consubstantialem". It almost seems opposite, though. The Father and the Son are not two substances co-existing, commingling, in the same appearance, but rather the same substance in different "appearances" or manifestations or what-have-you. So I don't know. Maybe the words have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
There's other things that are interesting.
[In the Creed] the rendering ofhe suffered death and was buried, was changed to He suffered, died, and was buried.
Well, that's not quite the same, is it? The original uses suffered as a (better) synonym for underwent, really. The proposed change (which is what we say now, incidentally) uses suffered to mean experienced pain, I assume. Not that He didn't do that, but should we put it in the Credo if it's not in there?
Another change is only in the spelling of Laurence to Lawrence. I assume that the former is the British rendering of the saint's name; the latter is the only way I've ever seen it spelled in the States. That makes sense.
Here's another one that changes the meaning a tiny bit:
In the following paragraph (OM, no. 87), two words were deleted for the sake of easier proclaimability: ICEL: counted among the flock of those you have chosen. USCCB: counted among the flock you have chosen.
Don't you think that the ICEL version makes it sound as if the "flock" is assembled from carefully selected individuals, while the USCCB version makes it sound as if a whole and entire flock was selected from among many flocks? I think those two words made a difference!
Here's another one I don't understand:
ICEL: We proclaim your death… and profess your resurrection USCCB: We proclaim your death… and announce your resurrection
"Profess" and "announce" are hardly synonyms. Maybe they don't think we understand "profess."
(I'm not even going to touch the controversy over "dew"/"outpouring," otherwise known as the Poster Child Of What's Wrong With The USCCB's Command Of Liturgical English.)
Oh well --- interesting. Overall, most of the amendments don't seem to me to be a big deal.