Thursday, 10 July 2008

A Philosophical musement.

Mulling things over the last day or two, as I talk to friends who are deciding to go to Rome re wifie Bishops in the CofE. In one case at least it's no surprise, as he is engaged to an RC and was going to join her Church so they both could receive communion together. In the other case, it is a culmination of 15 years of worrying about the authority of the Anglican Church to "innovate".

My take on it is this: if you believe that the Anglican Church is part of the historic Catholic Church like the RC and the Orthodox, then it must objectively be part of that body. That (to me) means that it retains the 4 classic 'marks' of Catholic identity - the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the catholic creeds of the undivided Church, the Dominical Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist and the threefold apostolic ministry of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. This the CofE, the SEC, TEC et al all do.

To say that that has been lost or imperilled by the decison to ordain women or gays to my mind confuses the objective and the subjective. Christ redeemed humanity and objectively you must be human to be ordained. Our particular gender is the subjective manifestation of that humanity. There may have been subjective periods of time when it was impossible to ordain both men and women due to culture or perception, but that is not the case now. Subjectively, due to present culture, it is actually undesireable not to ordain women.

So I'm not even faintly thinking of Pope-ing because I still think the SEC is objectively Catholic! I am also very rusty at philosophy and may well have got my self in wee epistemolgical pickle! I'm happy to receive comments, corrections etc. Probably I am on shaky ground by classifing gender as subjective!


  1. So ... I'm a woman only because I think I'm a woman? Fascinating ...

    Glad you're not about to Pope off anyway!

  2. Damn! I knew I'd get into a mess on this! Gender is the specific manifestation of our humanity but secondary & therefore subjective to our human-ness. Is what I think I am trying to say.

    But since you mention it, you'be be a woman not just because you think you are but because we also think you are too!

    Which is fine, until you start bringing in stuff like cognitive science, which sez because our brains are structured differently by biology, gender cannot be a subjective matter because it is objectively part of our human-ness by virtue of biology.

    Maybe I'll stick to church history in the future! This philosophy stuff makes my brain hurt!

  3. My dog, the older one, has an issue over whether you need to be human to be ordained. He has had a dog collar on for 6 years now, and has pastoral oversight of a pup and a cat. He is the Boss, and shepherds them well, arranging feeding order, starting off the barking, and he even closes his eyes when we pray together. As Dog is obviously an anagram of God, he feels that since they are much the same, (like male and female), and only slightly different, he has a good chance at a Selection Board. And who could argue?

  4. This, dear Father, is an ontological problem. Although it is perfectly true that beasts have been ordained over the years (eg Graham Leonard and the 1st Pope John XXIII - not the nice old boy who called Vatican 2), your ontological identification of Dog with God via anagrammattic evidence reveals a suspect epistemology (Partick Thistle supporters cannae spell)!

    That said, he has an excellent chance at Selection Board. As long as he keeps off the furniture and doesn't try to hump Kevin Pearson's leg!