“Marian” Apparitions; Binary Thinking; Prayer & Modern Technology*

This post has moved to my new domain at http://queering-the-church.com/blog

Abortion: “A Bracing Walk in History”

There can be few hot-button issues in the church so calculated to arouse the passions as abortion.  Yesterday, I read a post by William Lindsey at Bilgrimage on the current debate – or lack of rational debate.  What should be reasoned discussion, has instead been appropriated for other reasons:

Most of all, I’m unpersuaded because I don’t really hear anti-abortion activists trying to persuade me. Not through reason, that is. Not through the same kind of reason that all other groups, religious or otherwise, seek to use in the public square, when they want to get the rest of us to buy into the legitimacy of a moral or political argument.

I feel bullied, threatened, shouted at. I don’t feel engaged in a reasonable discussion. I haven’t found any of the anti-abortion activists I know or observe in the media or at public gatherings focusing on reason at all. I find them doing something else, and that is the starting point for my fundamental concerns about the anti-abortion movement, and what it intends.

Typically for any writing about abortion, this has itself generated discussion in the comments, some reasoned, some simple ridicule. Bill has followed up since with a follow-up “Reader Responds” post, reflecting on an extended comment by Colleen Kochinvar – Baker.

For what its worth, my own view has sympathy with both sides, and so I tend not to have strong feelings on the matter. I am pro-life, in that I am instinctively opposed to abortion in general as morally wrong.  I am also pro-choice, in that I believe we should respect the right of others to disagree in good conscience.

But I do not want to get into the substance of the abortion debate here.  Instead, I would like to share some further ideas from my internet ramblings yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

Church & Laity: More on the Sensus Fidelium

Michael Bayley at the Wild Reed has already noted how his post on Richard Sipe, with his observations about sexuality and the sensus fidelium, has provoked widespread comment. I want to elaborate now on why this should have been so, and why it is important – and also to address some of the confusion in that comment.

Sipe’s observations were just a few comments extracted from a longer article on the coming reformation of the church: “Sexuality Sets Stage for Church’s Next Reformation, Expert Predicts.” (Arthur Jones, NCR January 2003). Let us not forget this context.  Many other observers have commented on the same idea, not as something to be desired, but as an imminent event. The challenge then, is to identify the ways in which we can accelerate and participate in this Kairos moment. But before venturing into the bigger picture, we must consider the specific points covered in the original Wild Reed post, and the subsequent discussion.

In the short extract posted, Sipe notes that there is a sharp divergence in thinking between the hierarchy and the laity on matters of sexuality, and goes on to remind us that in terms of traditional teaching on the sensus fidelium (SF), a teaching which does not carry with it the support of the faithful as a whole, lacks authority. It was this observation in particular that produced most of the vigorous discussion. Read the rest of this entry »