|Fr Ceirion Gilbert has penned a dodgy article in The Tablet|
'Dissenter's Weekly' is really bending over backwards to be as 'inclusive' as inclusive can be in this intense and 'heated' debate. Why's it so 'heated' I hear you cry? Because the fires of Hell are lapping up against the walls of Holy Mother Church and The Tablet and its supportive clergy are pouring petrol on the flames.
If you thought Fr Timothy Radcliffe's piece on same-sex marriages was ambiguous in its treatment of the issue of homosexual unions, then wait until you get a load of Fr Ceirion Gilbert. When we have liberal clergy speaking out in contradiction to the Bishops of England and Wales, then we can tell Houston we have a problem. My thoughts, bold, gold.
'"Marriage" is a word, and yet its content is heavily determined by factors of culture and belonging, faith and history. The Catholic hierarchy believe [rightly] that however there is an essential "core" to the meaning of that word that is inalienable and non-negotiable; others (including other Christian communities and, interestingly, many members of the Catholic laity) disagree [But do you disagree, Father?].
As a priest who deals daily with young people, teachers and catechists [to whom you are duty bound to correct error when you hear it], I fear that yet again the Catholic Church is aligning herself with the wrong side, portraying herself as the "defender" of a position and an interpretation of society and humanity at odds with that of younger generations and almost incomprehensible to them in its rigidity and - to use an admittedly "loaded" term, bigotry. [The Church is defending marriage, truth, Herself and society, but that is 'bigotry'. Is this Priest taking brown paper bags from Stonewall or something?]
I sense that once again, as so often on issues of sexual morality [would you care to elaborate?], that there is a gulf between the diktats of the institution [That'll be 'The Church'] and the "sensus fidelium" [That'll be 'The Schismatics'] , that concept that seems to have almost disappeared in recent years for some reason from the ecclesiastical vocabulary. [Not really, but the concept needs to be understood in its proper sense. That is, in its Magisterial sense.]
I welcome the debate on the meaning of marriage and its role and purpose in a liberal diverse society. [Why? So that you can sow seeds of doubt over the Church's teaching?] But growing ever stronger in my mind is the fear that while as a Church we worry about language and words - Welsh or English or Latin; rock or plainsong; marriage or civil partnership - the message and meaning that we are here to proclaim is passing us by. [Clearly, the Church's message of Salvation is passing some by, indeed...]
Surely if there is one constant and common theme throughout the scriptures it is in the gradual discovery and recognition of the reality of God as a God of an inclusive and all-embracing Love whose ultimate expression is found in the Paschal Mystery of Death and Resurrection of his "Word" incarnate, Jesus of Nazareth. [Nobody says Our Lord doesn't love homosexuals. Indeed, He loves everybody and anybody. He is Love. However, sacramentally, naturally, biologically, societally, traditionally, legally and by any standard you wish to take, the State has no right to redefine marriage. That is what is under discussion, Father. Why can liberals not stick to the point?]
[...] Fortunately the letter read out in many Catholic churches over the weekend written by Archbishops Nichols and Smith was far more balanced and conciliatory in tone, although the arguments presented in it in defence of the status quo are not above logical and theological questioning.' [Neither, Father, are your own ambiguous statements in this article above logical and theological questioning. Except, I guess that over at The Tablet, you won't find too many people challenging your article, because, let's face it, they, too, have more or less deserted the Faith of Christ also.]
The purpose and mission of the Church, surely, is to be an effective and coherent witness to and expression of that love in our world and our time - however we do it, and in whatever language, for everyone. [Bringing Truth and Salvation to the World is just a footnote of the Church's mission, then?]
I saw little of that, sadly, in the words of the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh last week. Society sees little of that, sadly, when it sees a church hierarchy that all too willingly goes into convulsions when moral issues are called into question but remains silent when faced with the real social scandals of our time. [Which are? Abortion? The early sexualisation of children through explicit and amoral sex education programmes?]
But I do see it in the people, young and old, who still come faithfully to fill the pews and celebrate the mystery of a love that defies all our definitions and the limits we place on it [the mystery of a love indeed that, unlike you, does not deny Truth and Mercy to those with the condition of homosexuality]. I see it in their acts of sacrifice and solidarity, in their innate sense of dignity, justice and a shared and sacred humanity. Perhaps when as a Church we begin to speak about that a bit more, the world will once again sit up and listen.
Helpful, eh? Apparently, Fr Gilbert is Director of Youth Services in the Diocese of Menevia in south Wales, and editor of the diocesan magazine. God help Menevians and Tabula Delenda Est.