We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Monday, October 10, 2016

GAFCON and other Anglicans preaching on marriage and human sexuality.

GAFCON primates and Global South Primates (GFP), i.e., Anglican leaders, have issued a statement from their temporary perch in Cairo, Egypt.

Included among the some 950 words of the October 6th document entitled Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-sex Unions are phrases not likely to sit too well with certain western progressives.

Summarized ever so briefly, the Statement presents 11 themes:
  1. God is the Creator of the whole cosmos and of humankind;
  2. the dignity and value of every human being and the effects of sin;
  3. God’s message of hope of salvation in Christ;
  4. the call to repentance;
  5. the brokenness of our world produces many aspects of human behaviour which are contrary to God’s good design;
  6. "the clear teaching of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, is that marriage is an estate for all people (...); (i)t is a holy institution, created by God for a man and a woman to live in a covenantal relationship of exclusive and mutual love for each other until they are parted by death"(;)
  7. rejection of sexual behaviour that is contrary to God’s design;
  8. the foundation of Anglican beliefs;
  9. a liturgy or a service that obviates the need for repentance from unacceptable behaviour would contravene the teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage (see below: note in red) and sexuality;
  10. sensitive and compassionate ministry to those who are sexually broken;
  11. commitment to authentic pastoral care.
Paragraph 9 might cause some in the Anglican Diocese of BC and other Canadian Anglican jurisdictions some concern. That is, those Canadian Anglican jurisdictions which have signed on to pastoral initiatives which their GAFCON and GSP Anglican brethren are condemning. It could be noted further that the TEC (Episcopal/Anglican (c)hurch in the USA) was censured earlier this year by most Anglican leaders for enacting policies or initiatives which Canadian Anglicans have recently begun to implement.

The Statement makes a clear distinction between what people do and who people are. The Statement identifies and rejects problematic behaviours while insisting on the dignity of the person (who engages in sinful behaviours).
"We oppose the vilification or demeaning of those who do not follow God’s ways. We affirm that every person is loved by God, so we too must love as God loves. Our role is to restore them to God’s divine patterns by inviting them to receive the transforming love of Christ that gives them the power to repent and walk in newness of life."—Paragraph 10.
The remainder of Paragraph 10 might be informative for those interested in what Pope Francis has called accompaniment.
Regarding the specific topic of marriage, the Statement gets going around Paragraph 6.
6. We affirm that the clear teaching of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, is that marriage is an estate for all people, not just for believers. It is a holy institution, created by God for a man and a woman to live in a covenantal relationship of exclusive and mutual love for each other until they are parted by death. God designed marriage for the well-being of society, for sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, and for procreation and the nurturing of children (Genesis 2:18-25).9. Any pastoral provision by a church for a same-sex couple (such as a liturgy or a service to bless their sexual union) that obviates the need for repentance and a commitment to pursue a change of conduct enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit, would contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality. Such pastoral provisions, while superficially attractive in giving a more humane and socially acceptable face to the church, actually hide the contravention of doctrine involved. We must be faithful in guarding the good deposit of the gospel, in all its gracious gifts with all its covenantal obligations as well, not for the mere sake of orthodoxy but out of genuine love for God and our fellow human beings. (Which begs the question—When can we expect these Anglican leaders claiming to be heralds of orthodoxy to abandon the innovations of female ordination, married bishops, divorce and remarriage, and so forth? When can we expect to welcome them back into the Catholic Church?)
10. Our faithfulness to God and knowledge of his love empowers us to offer sensitive and compassionate ministry to those who are sexually broken in the area of same-sex attractions and unions. Our pastoral approach is to accept people for who they are, just as God accepted us for who we were. We oppose the vilification or demeaning of those who do not follow God’s ways. We affirm that every person is loved by God, so we too must love as God loves. Our role is to restore them to God’s divine patterns by inviting them to receive the transforming love of Christ that gives them the power to repent and walk in newness of life. We rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to reveal to them the measureless goodness of God and the greatness of God in setting the captive free as a new creation.

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