Archive for category: Tablet

Archive pour catégorie : Tablet

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In a very Anglican way, the Church of England sought to solve its internal crisis over women in the priesthood by legislation which made concessions to opponents. These provisions were remarkable — and, some would say, indefensible. One of them, the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993, allowing for alternative episcopal oversight, is now up for review, and under attack from the supporters of women priests, some of whom are campaigning for its repeal by 2002. But opponents, who believe their Catholic doctrine of the Church to be, if anything, more compromised by the concessions than by the ordinations themselves, are also looking for new solutions. Why are they still not satisfied, despite having been given so-called flying bishops and parochial autonomy? What are the issues at stake?

Let us not (for the moment) rake over the embers of the arguments that were carried on before the General Synod voted in 1992. Let women’s ordination be known, not by its roots but by its fruits. And by fruits I do not mean that experience of women’s ministry which it was confidently claimed would win every heart — no one has ever doubted the pastoral skills and sensitivity of women. I mean its theological and doctrinal consequences.
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Posted: July 31, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: Tablet
Transmis : 31 juil. 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Tablet

So women deacons in the early Church had no part in the sacramental ministry, according to Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos (The Tablet, 3/10 April, p. 500). His statement must have made the thousands of women deacons who faithfully served the Church in the past turn in their graves. For they were formidable women, if we are to go by the 28 tombstones on which some of them are commemorated. One was Athanasia in Delphi in the fifth century AD, who was ordained by Bishop Pantamianos. The stone carries a curse: May anyone who disturbs the tomb in which this honoured and blameless deaconess lies buried, receive the fate of Judas who betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fifty years ago, church historians and theologians alike routinely dismissed the women’s diaconate as obviously a historical sop to women, a blessing of some sort or just a minor order, for the simple reason that a sacramental ordination of women seemed a priori excluded. But the historical facts are becoming clearer by the day, and this position is now untenable.

From the outset we should realise what is at stake. If, as the records show, women were for many centuries admitted to the full diaconate which is now only imparted to men, then they did receive the sacrament of holy orders. For this sacrament has three levels: episcopacy, priesthood and diaconate. Anyone who receives any of the three is consecrated to the ministerial priesthood, as the Council of Trent defined it.

But were women ordained as real deacons — into a sacramental diaconate tied theologically to the Holy Spirit, to borrow Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos’s words?
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Posted: May 8, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: Tablet
Transmis : 8 mai 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Tablet

In 1954, four years after the solemn definition of the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, Pope Pius XII declared a Marian Year. With greater or lesser enthusiasm, Catholic Europe responded, and in my home town, on the east coast of Ireland, the response took spectacular form. The women were invited to donate jewellery, the men money, towards the creation of a solid-gold crown for the statue of the Blessed Virgin in our parish church. It was a poor community, yet the response to the appeal for the Virgin’s crown was remarkable, many of the women even donating their wedding rings. The statue, an insipid, life-sized plaster replica of Our Lady of Lourdes, white-robed, blue-sashed, smallbusted, neither a recognisably maternal nor even a very convincingly human image, was duly decorated with a crown which would have paid several times over for any one of the houses in which most of the donors lived.
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Posted: Feb. 6, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: TabletIn this article: Catholic, doctrine, Mary
Transmis : 6 févr. 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : Catholic, doctrine, Mary

More than 25 years ago in Northern India I first met Fr Dupuis. That meeting prefigured my contact with his remarkable book, and was also thoroughly physical. As he gunned his Yugoslavian motorcycle along narrow roads in the foothills of the Himalayas, I clung to him for dear life and prayed not to fall into the cavernous valleys that flanked our route to a high-altitude Buddhist monastery. After visiting the monks Dupuis roared off down another road to a self-help Tibetan refugee camp directed by the Dalai Lama’s sister-in-law and then to a mountaineering school run by the Sherpa Tensing who had conquered Mount Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary. These visits shaped my first impressions of Jacques Dupuis as someone who wanted direct contact with other religious traditions and was certainly not content to learn about them simply by reading texts at his desk.
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Posted: Jan. 24, 1998 • Permanent link:
Categories: TabletIn this article: dialogue, interfaith, salvation, theology
Transmis : 24 janv. 1998 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : dialogue, interfaith, salvation, theology

As a child, a friend of mine used to be told by his nanny: Before you say anything, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? The same three questions may well be asked about the current proposal to define Mary as Co-Redeemer.

Is it true? The answer to that question depends on the way in which we interpret the title Co-Redeemer, along with the related titles Mediator of All Graces and Advocate of the People of God. As a member of the Orthodox Church I have no objection to these three titles in themselves — provided that they are rightly understood.

Indeed, closely similar language occurs in the prayers and hymns used in the Christian East. With the greatest frequency in Orthodox worship we say to the Virgin Mary, Most Holy Mother of God, save us. In our invocations to other members of the Communion of Saints, including St John the Baptist, except on very rare occasions we never say more than … pray for us.
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Posted: Jan. 17, 1998 • Permanent link:
Categories: TabletIn this article: Catholic, doctrine, ecumenism, Mary, Orthodox
Transmis : 17 janv. 1998 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : Catholic, doctrine, ecumenism, Mary, Orthodox

A sign in the hallway of the presbytery at St Patrick’s, Middlesbrough, leaves some visitors open-mouthed if they are unaware of the priest’s marital status. Under the heading of Turnham House Rules it reads: If you drop it — pick it up. If you sleep in it — make it. If you open it — close it. If you empty it — fill it up. If it rings — answer it. If it cries — love it. The list is not addressed to a misbehaving curate, nor is it there for mere display. Its author, Fr Derek Turnham, and his wife Margaret have three children, the eldest of whom has recently started at university. It’s his first time away from us and so we’re really feeling the loss at the moment, Fr Turnham says, echoing the common view of parents in a similar situation.

Yet as he leads me towards the living-room, it is also clear that this is a Catholic presbytery like most others: austere, modestly furnished and free of ornaments apart from the odd icon or statue. Outside lies the scabrous wasteland that covers much of post-industrial north Middlesbrough. Fr Turnham anticipates my thoughts as we survey it, explaining that the diocese were frankly very glad to have us occupying this house, because it would almost certainly have been vandalised if it had lain empty any longer.
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Posted: Dec. 6, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: Tablet
Transmis : 6 déc. 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Tablet

When Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople made a month-long tour of 16 cities in the United States in October and November, he was feted with honours at Washington’s Jesuit-run Georgetown University and greeted with splendour in Baltimore’s Catholic cathedral. As so often in inter-Church relations, however, the conciliatory declarations belied bitter realities.

Ironically, the sharp downturn in Catholic-Orthodox relations during the past six months came into the open after one of the Pope’s most impassioned appeals for Christian unity. The occasion John Paul II picked was a Eucharistic Congress held in May at Wroclaw in Poland. “In this our second millennium, when the unity of Christ’s disciples has suffered tragic divisions between East and West, prayer for the rediscovery of full unity is a special obligation”, the Pope said. “Can we bear joint and effective witness to Christ if we are not reconciled with one another? Can we be reconciled with one another without forgiving one another?”
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Posted: Dec. 6, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: TabletIn this article: Catholic, dialogue, ecumenism, Orthodox
Transmis : 6 déc. 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : Catholic, dialogue, ecumenism, Orthodox

For many Anglicans, the eleventh day of the eleventh month stirs memories of present as well as past conflicts: last Tuesday was the fifth anniversary of the General Synod’s vote in favour of women priests. By common consent the decision presaged the biggest upheaval in the Church of England since the Reformation, prompting 300 clergymen to resign their orders in protest at what they saw as a fracturing of the apostolic ministry. But in ordaining its women deacons in 1994 the Church gained nearly seven times as many new priests as it lost, and the new recruits are now serving at all levels of the hierarchy up to the rank of archdeacon. There appears to be ready agreement among most church people that the ordained ministry has been refreshed by “more open and collaborative styles of leadership”, and that women priests are accepted with enthusiasm by an evergrowing majority of congregations in consequence. “It’s an incarnational thing”, said one erstwhile sceptic. “When you see someone doing the job effectively, you’re quickly won over.”
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Posted: Nov. 15, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: TabletIn this article: Catholic, ordination, women
Transmis : 15 nov. 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : Catholic, ordination, women

To some, he is the agent of England’s conversion to the True Faith, to others, a danger to the nation’s soul. At first sight Fr Michael Seed seems an unlikely candidate for either role. Sue Gaisford encounters the man behind the reputation.
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Posted: June 28, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: Tablet
Transmis : 28 juin 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Tablet

Rome — and Poland — are buzzing with rumour, counter-rumour and denial: will Pope John Paul and Patriarch Alexis of the Russian Orthodox Church meet in Vienna on 21 June or won’t they? Perhaps by the time this article is published there will have been an announcement that puts paid to the rumours, but even an eventual negative provides a timely stimulus to consider relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

One argument against the likelihood of a meeting between the Pope and the Russian Patriarch is obvious: there has been no preparation. The Patriarch will be in Vienna on his way to the European Ecumenical Assembly in Graz and the Pope wants to meet him. The Pope has spoken prophetically about his desire to see the reunion of East and West, to reverse the basic division in Christendom of nearly a millennium, before the year 2000. Yet his health and the ticking of the clock make this an unattainable goal, at least in human terms.
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Posted: June 14, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: TabletIn this article: Catholic, ecumenism, John Paul II, Moscow Patriarchate, Orthodox
Transmis : 14 juin 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : Catholic, ecumenism, John Paul II, Moscow Patriarchate, Orthodox

Have any Catholic bishops in Ireland undergone equal-opportunities training? It is a serious question that I have asked before with a depressingly predictable answer. I could have asked the same question about the Pope and the entire Curia and been tolerably sure of the answer.

The fact that the answer is a resounding no is problematic today in a way that it was not even four or five years ago. The Western secular world has felt the impact of decades of serious equal opportunities debate, critique, research and legislation. Its momentum has gathered in Ireland as in many other countries, bringing all of us up a steep learning curve which has changed the face of education, employment, social policy, politics, human relationships and cultural perspectives. Some bastions of conservatism remain slumped at the bottom of the curve. Others climbed it reluctantly, some were pushed and yet others jumped it.
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Posted: Mar. 15, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: Tablet
Transmis : 15 mars 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Tablet

In the furore surrounding the ex-communication of Fr Tissa Balasuriya, very little has been said about the overall project of his book, Mary and Human Liberation. Beyond specific theological questions, Fr Balasuriya’s treatment of Mary touches on issues which go to the heart of the conflict between traditionalists and reformists which is dividing the Catholic Church today.

As in so many of Christianity’s decisive theological moments, the role of Mary is pivotal. The saying, “As Mary goes, so goes the Church,” is as true today as it was of the fifth century when the Council of Ephesus affirmed Christ’s divinity by declaring Mary Theotokos, or Godbearer.
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Posted: Mar. 8, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: Opinion, TabletIn this article: Catholic, feminist, liberation, Mary, theology
Transmis : 8 mars 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Opinion, TabletDans cet article : Catholic, feminist, liberation, Mary, theology

Thirty years ago, my father, Charles Davis, then a secular priest and considered by many the leading Catholic theologian in Britain, publicly denounced the Roman Catholic Church as corrupt, and left. It was a move which sent shock waves around the Catholic world. At the same time he married my mother, then Florence Henderson, a long-standing member of the international Catholic lay women’s organisation, the Grail. They had become friends through their joint work in the ecumenical movement in Britain. She followed him in his decision to leave the Church and together they went into a form of exile, which my father, in different contexts, has often referred to as the desert. It was in the desert that my brother and I were born and raised.
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Posted: Jan. 25, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: Opinion, TabletIn this article: Christian, Christianity, church, church reform, theology
Transmis : 25 janv. 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Opinion, TabletDans cet article : Christian, Christianity, church, church reform, theology

On 2 January, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a Notification, signed by the prefect, Cardinal Ratzinger, and by the secretary, Archbishop Bertone, and approved by Pope John Paul II, which declared that Fr Tissa Balasuriya OMI of Sri Lanka “has deviated from the integrity of the truth of the Catholic faith and, therefore, cannot be considered a Catholic theologian; moreover, he has incurred excommunication latae sententiae (can. 1364, par. 1)”. This canon states that an apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs an • automatic excommunication. The charge of “deviation from the truth of the faith” indicates that it is for heresy, rather than for apostasy or schism, that Fr Balasuriya has been excommunicated.
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Posted: Jan. 18, 1997 • Permanent link:
Categories: TabletIn this article: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, doctrine, ordination, women
Transmis : 18 janv. 1997 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, doctrine, ordination, women

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