Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Bishops

Russian Orthodox Church Statement on Church of England Decision to Allow Women to Serve as Bishops

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The Orthodox Church News:

The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.

Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.

In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.

The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the Christian world as a whole.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 18, 2014 at 15:30

Bishops and Bloggers

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 21, 2014 at 19:44

Bishops Shouldn’t Try to Censor the Blogosphere

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Bishop Michael Campbell (Flickr/Mazur)

So say a leading English priest:

Fr Timothy Finigan, author of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog, made the comment after Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster asked Deacon Nick Donnelly “to voluntarily pause from placing new posts” on his blog Protect the Pope.

Fr Finigan, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, south east London, wrote: “I do wonder about the practical wisdom of attempting to censor the blogosphere. Protect the Pope now carries posts by Mrs Donnelly, and she has offered an invitation to others to contribute material – which several writers have already taken up. Other censored bloggers can also simply start up a new blog under a pseudonym, or use alternative social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter are well-known but the possibilities are endless. As activists on the internet pointed out years ago, censorship is just another bug for which you find a hack or a workaround. The danger is that a previously censored commenter will be probably not be inclined to moderation in a new social media incarnation.

“Bishops also have on their side the great respect of most Catholics for Bishops. Quite often a blog will criticise a Bishop severely, only to find that another blog tells a different side to the story, or the Bishop issues a statement clarifying things – and then receives a lot of support from Catholic bloggers. The discussion will continue, but the Bishop is not exactly powerless to defend himself. Bloggers work in an environment which is open to everyone. One of the healthy things about such open communication is precisely that you cannot rely on personal standing to squash disagreement.”

After the bishop’s request Deacon Nick Donnelly, who writes the Protect the Pope blog, will be taking an indefinite break from blogging, while his wife, Martina Donnelly, has taken on the running of the blog for the time being.

A statement released by the Diocese of Lancaster last week said: “After learning that a notice had been placed upon the Protect the Pope website on March 7 saying: ‘Deacon Nick stands down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection’ the Bishop’s Office at the Diocese of Lancaster was able to confirm that Bishop Campbell had recently requested Deacon Nick Donnelly to voluntarily pause from placing new posts on the Protect the Pope site.

“Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the bishop asked Deacon Nick to use this pause to enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church. Deacon Nick has agreed to the bishop’s request at this time.”

In a short statement on the Protect the Pope website Martina Donnelly wrote: “As Nick’s wife I am writing to thank you for all the kind messages, prayers and gifts that Nick has received. You may have noticed that he has not posted for a while and I did not want you to be worried, as although he is still far from better, this silence has not been caused by his illness. Rather Nick has been asked to observe a period of prayer and reflection. Please continue to pray for Nick during this time.”

When asked by The Catholic Herald if he thought his blog had ever crossed the line, Deacon Donnelly replied: “No.”

He said: “I think blogging is an incredible tool for evangelisation, I started blogging in 2010 before the papal visit because I felt I needed to answer lies and misrepresentations about the Catholic Church. When I launched Protect the Pope it received coverage all over the world. I even received coverage in Vietnam. When I finished Protect the Pope I was getting 100,000 views per month.”

He said that the aim of his blog was simply “to compare and contrast what’s being said and done in the Church with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That can never be wrong.”

He said that he would rather not continue blogging in the future if it meant that he would have to change this basic aim. He emphasised that the “period of reflection” was indefinite and added: “The past three days I’ve had so many messages of support from my readers, even people who don’t agree with me. I’ve found that really encouraging. That’s been a positive experience from all of this.”

When asked if he thought that Catholic bishops understood the blogosphere, he said: “My feeling is that their a priori position is suspicion and they don’t understand blogging’s potential. They don’t react to it well.”

Meanwhile, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has told the leaders of the world’s ordinariates that while blogs could be a helpful tool of evangelisation, they could also “express unreflected speech lacking in charity”.

The image of the ordinariate was not helped by this, he said, and it fell to the ordinaries to exercise vigilance over these blogs and, where necessary, to intervene.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 17, 2014 at 16:18

Bishops Should Serve, Not Lord it Over their People

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So says Pope Francis:

In a June 21 address to apostolic nuncios, Pope Francis stressed the importance of finding bishops who will be good pastors and servants of the faithful in their dioceses…

“Be attentive that they aren’t ambitious, that they don’t seek the episcopate,” the Pope said. Candidates to become bishops should be poor in spirit, he said; he warned sternly against those who have “the mindset of princes.”

The Pope warned the nuncios against the same sort of “spiritual worldliness” in their own lives. “Giving in to the spirit of the world, which leads one to act for personal realization and not for the glory of God, is that kind of ‘bourgeoisie of spirit and life’ that urges one to get comfortable, to seek a calm and easy life,” he said…

However, he suggested that it may be a means of spiritual growth, since “the goods and perspectives of this world end up disappointing, they push and are never satisfied. The Lord is the good that does not disappoint.”

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 22, 2013 at 09:32

Priests in Same-sex Relationships May Become Anglican Bishops

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Well, there you have it:

(CNN) – Men in a civil union will now be allowed to become bishops in the Church of England, but they are not allowed to have sex.

Intercourse between two men – or two women – remains a sin.

“Homosexual genital acts fall short of the Christian ideal and are to be met with a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion,” according to Anglican doctrine.

Men and women in same-sex unions were already allowed to serve as priests in the Church of England, but there was a moratorium on advancement to the episcopate – becoming a bishop – while the church considered the issue.

The church announced Friday that if men in celibate civil unions may be priests, then there is no reason for them not to be bishops, as long as they are “living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality.”

Rest here.

In other words, the ban on gay male clergy who live with their partners from becoming bishops has been lifted and that with some the flimsy conditions.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 5, 2013 at 18:32

Speaking of Gratitude…

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Someone is grateful to Archbishop John Hepworth for the unfolding Ordinariates.

How might things look different now had all the bishops behaved like good Catholics…

 

 

 

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 9, 2012 at 16:55

Church of England Faces Backlash Over Rejecting Bishopesses

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When the Church of England scuttled plans to allow women bishops on Nov. 20, incoming Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called it “a very grim day for women and their supporters.”Now, that grim day is turning into a church-state nightmare for Britain’s established church.

The Washington Post:

The Times of London quoted from a leaked memo to church leaders from William Fittall, secretary general of the General Synod, who called the public and political fallout “severe.”

After the unexpected defeat, the church said the process to allow women bishops would need to begin anew, and couldn’t start again until a new General Synod is seated in 2015.

According to The Times, Fittall’s memo outlined a plan that could lead to simpler legislation, such as a clause to consecrate women bishops with no provision for opponents. That measure could be put to the current synod when it meets again at the University of York next July.

“Parliament is impatient,” Fittall warned. “Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it’s capable of sorting itself out, we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in Church-State relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence.”

A former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, upped the ante when he called on church leaders to “rip up its rule book” and speed through the introduction of women bishops. He said it was “ridiculous” to assume that the General Synod could not reconsider women bishops until 2015.

A full 42 of the 44 dioceses of the church voted for legislation that would have made women bishops next year. There are 3,600 ordained women in the Church of England and 37 female bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion, including Africa’s first Anglican woman bishop, Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, who was consecrated five days before the defeat in Britain.

Meantime, Prime Minister David Cameron has warned the church to think again — and fast — about its “very sad” rejection of women bishops.

Very sad?! It’s a Biblical rejection, not so?

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 27, 2012 at 22:07

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