The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yet more on Sex

Fr. Hunwicke has posted a thoughtful essay on what should be a "non-problem" for Anglicans and other Christians considering entering full communion with the Catholic Church, and that is the Catholic teachings on the moral use of one's sexual powers.

I. Homophobia

I write with apprehension; because Sex is always embarassing to write about. What does the writer reveal about himself? What does this piece he's written say about me? Is he getting directly at my sexuality here? Do I applaud him or condemn him?

But there is no getting away from the fact that Sex is one of the big new dividing points opening up between Christians (and by no means always solely between denominations). And between Christianity and the World. Not the least of the tragedy is that it is less easy to talk joyfully and affirmatively about God's gift of sexuality than one would like it to be.

I wrote a little while ago about Masturbation And All That. May I recall here the main point I was getting at: the fact that the World and its Spirit, Zeitgeist, have decided that this little practice is a matter of indifference and that people who carry on about it must have some very strange hang-ups. But it is 'Tradition' that the practice is "disordered". And that's not the only thing that is, according to the Tradition, disordered. The same split has opened up with regard to Fornication ... particularly in that form of it which is called Living Together Without Being Married. The two-millennia old Tradition of the Church unambiguously condemns it. But ... And what about the 'Marriage' of divorcees? It is condemned by the most explicit words of Christ, and yet has become mainstream among non-RCs - so much so that when I went to a New Incumbents' Lunch with the Archdeacon soon after I arrived in Oxford, I was interested to find that much of the conversation, between a couple of women 'priests', was about how embarassing and intrusive it is when the Bishop tries to check up on the circumstances of the break-up of one marriage before consenting to a clergygirl's next prospective coupling (lovely word from the 1549 Marriage Service, yes?).

And what about Humanae Vitae? As I point out below in Part II, this Encyclical proclaimed, in effect, that the sort of sexual culture lived by a great proportion of First World married people is disordered and unnatural...

Read the rest of Fr. Hunwicke's essay at his blog Liturgical Notes.

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