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The Black Blessing and the Moral Dissipation of the Episcopal Church
By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.
July 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
On July 9, 2012, at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Indianapolis, the House of Bishops voted 111-41 to authorize a trial rite for same sex unions for use for the next three years. The next day, by a 171-50 vote, the House of Deputies approved the measure. This means that the rite, entitled "Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant," presents an alternative liturgical rite for same-sex couples in addition to the standard liturgical rite which involves a marriage between a man and a woman.CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt if the salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." (Matt. 5:13).
On July 9, 2012, at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Indianapolis, the House of Bishops voted 111-41 to authorize a trial rite for same sex unions for use for the next three years. The next day, by a 171-50 vote, the House of Deputies approved the measure. This means that the rite, entitled "Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant," presents an alternative liturgical rite for same-sex couples in addition to the standard liturgical rite which involves a marriage between a man and a woman.
With about 2 million members, the Episcopal Church of the United States is the 14th largest religious denomination, but it is the largest of the denominations in the United States to approve such a ritual. The U.S. Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion.
The new liturgical rite is not forced upon the bishops, and the mandate specifically says that no one should be punished if he (or she) elects not to use it in his (or her) particular diocese. Moreover, the liturgical rite is to be used only where such same-sex unions are, under civil law, allowed.
This represents another chapter in the moral dissipation of the Episcopal Church as it relates to active homosexuality. The salt began to lose its savor in 1976 when it vaguely declared that homosexuals are "children of God" and are "entitled to full civil rights." At the time, however, the Episcopal Church taught that it expected chastity and fidelity to be the norm in human relations, and that "physical sexual expression" was appropriate only within a monogamous "union of husband and wife."
However, by 1991, some bishops in the Episcopal Church had begun to bless monogamous same-sex unions, and in its 1991 convention, the church was asked to "continue to reconcile the discontinuity between this teaching and the experience of its members." It was unlikely that by this coded language the 1991 convention intended the "experience of its members" to conform to the teaching that "physical sexual expression" should occur only within a monogamous union of husband and wife. Rather, the writing was on the wall.
By the 2000 convention, the Episcopal Church recognized that there was a "variety of human relationships in and outside of marriage," and also recognized that there was "disagreement over the Church's traditional teaching on human sexuality."
By 2006, the homosexual agenda had taken over that church, and in the convention that year, the Episcopal Church called on legislatures to provide civil benefits to same-sex unions and called on its members to oppose any state or federal constitutional amendments intended to prohibit same-sex "marriages" or civil unions.
In 2009, homosexual men and women "in a lifelong committed relationship" were allowed to be ordained, and Episcopal bishops were given the authority to decide whether or not to bless same-sex marriage in their particular dioceses.
By 2012, any effective opposition had collapsed, and an official liturgy to bless same-sex couples and their "marriages," entitled "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant" for use at the various dioceses was approved.
The Episcopal Church shows the truth of Virgil's words, facilis descensus averno. It is easy to walk downhill to the nether-world.
Apparently, in its slow and steady dissipation, the Episcopal Church has plum forgot the Sixth Commandment, which traditionally has been seen as governing the requirement of chastity among all mankind.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§ 2357) teaches, "homosexual acts" are presented in Sacred Scripture as "acts of grave depravity." It references the traditional loci classici: Genesis 19:1-29 (the story of Lot and Sodom), Romans 1:24-27 (homosexual acts involve "impurity," an improper expression of the "lusts of their hearts," the "mutual degradation of their bodies," "degrading passions," and exchanging "natural relations for unnatural"), 1 Cor. 6:10 (practicing homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God), and 1 Tim. 1:10 (it is ungodly and unholy to be a practicing homosexual).
Additionally, the Church cited to Christian tradition which, as anyone with any historical sense knows, "has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."
Moreover, not only is the teaching against homosexual activity consistent with the Scripture and Christian Tradition, homosexual activity is "contrary to the natural law." The reason for this is obvious: such acts "close the sexual act to the gift of life." Patently, these acts "do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity," which is a touchstone of human sexual or genital acts. "Under no circumstances," the Church has stated in the Catechism, "can they be approved."
The Church is solicitous towards those men and women who have "deep-seated homosexual tendencies." Thought the inclination or tendency itself is "objectively disordered," the inclination or tendency itself is not sinful. But like all men and women-irrespective of their particular inclination or tendency-homosexual persons are not excused from the Scriptural and natural laws of chastity.
It would be perverse for a person with a homosexual inclination to be absolved from the law of chastity and a person with a normal sexual inclination to remain bound. Every human being-regardless of inclination-must abide by the same divine and natural law. The only moral use of the sexual faculty is within monogamous marriage, between a man and a woman.
As the Pope recently reiterated to the American Bishops on March 9, 2012: "The Church's conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation. Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage. Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike."
Earlier, on January 9, 2012, in an address to the Diplomatic Corps, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated the traditional Christian teaching that marriage and the family are not based upon social convention, but are part of human dignity and fundamental to humanity's future. Those policies which serve to impugn or detract from the family based upon the marriage of man and woman "threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself."
The Episcopal liturgical rite "Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant," which blesses same-sex unions, is a travesty. It is the bad fruit of a long-term dissipation arising from the loss of the salt of the Gospel.
A same-sex union is to marriage what a Black Mass is to the Mass.
So what has the Episcopal Church wrought? A Black Witness and a Black Blessing. Something to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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