The RC Pope relaxes on abortion and SSM, time for us to make a stand?

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by Spherelink, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    Goodness me. I do seem to have problems getting this across to you. I am quite prepared to accept different opinions. What I'm trying to say is that part of the Anglican Communion which is the Church of England is traditionally very tolerant. I like the fact that it does not insist on its own way, but is genuinely tolerant of other religious beliefs and none. And that it is mature enough to recognise doubt. It tolerates creationists and anti-feminists.

    There are, of course, exceptions: our clergy are not allowed to be members of the far right British National Party.
     
  2. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

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    You know, you missed off the half the questions and I don't think these answers show much ostensible flexing of the empathetic imagination, which I had hoped they might provoke.
    However, that is your prerogative and I'm sure it removes a lot of anxiety to have everything so black and white inside your head.
    I hope you find your absolute certainties a great comfort.
     
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  3. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Member

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    I think you missed the question. It was not what she should do. It is what YOU would do (if a woman came to you...)
     
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  4. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    That indulgence ceases when some opinions are concerned, it seems to me.
    seagull: "That sort of attitude to me is simply not Anglican"
    seagull: "what I said was that being intolerant was not very Anglican"
     
  5. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Pardon, I understood him to mean what I might say to her if she came to me.
     
  6. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I believe I answered all four of the hypotheticals hadn't I? I field these questions in the real world every day so this was not untrodden ground on my end.

    I must add that I don't know where you might expect more empathetic imagination than taking my daughter's ought-of-wedlock child and helping her raise it as if it were my own. In your mind, does having even greater "empathetic imagination" mean slaughtering the child? Great enough empathy crushes the skull of a baby and vacuums it out of a woman? The immoral scenario like that had not crossed my mind, you're absolutely correct. I leave such "empathy" to the anti-Christian.
     
  7. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Member

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    I am personally opposed to abortion. I think God does not want us to destroy His creation made in His image. I would not want a child of mine to be aborted. It is my personal belief. Nonetheless, I stand with the Pope on his message as I understand it. The primary message of the Church should not be abortion or homosexuality. The primary message of the Church should be to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples. I will say again...it is not that these other things are unimportant. It is that the central message of the Gospel should be spoken of more. The Great Commission was not "Therefore go and stop abortion." It was "Therefore go and make disciples."
     
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  8. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

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    Leaving the hyperbole aside, there were 3 more questions after the lettered ones which elaborated the theme a bit further.

    It's really about linking our moral presuppositions to actual human realities. I was always impressed by a story one of my (Anglo) Catholic teachers told about his RC friend: This man was best friends with a woman at university. Then she got pregnant. Naturally he advised her against having an abortion. There were a number of upsetting clashes, but eventually she decided she couldn't keep it. This man then came to the abortion clinic with her, supported her through it, was with her. He never once changed his mind about the wrongness of the action mind, but he gave her her moral autonomy and then was as caring as he could be.

    I think that's the kind of behaviour and prioritisation that Francis is talking about.
     
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  9. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    I scrolled back. I said that calling a fellow Anglican apostate and accusing her/him of having turned her/his back on God was not a very Anglican thing to do. Certainly in my experience it's not. Perhaps such language is common where you go to church. But, and this is most important, we tolerate dissent. Do you?

    There are limits. If someone came out with openly racist comments or lewd ones at a church gathering, they'd be asked to desist. Ditto vile language. If someone spoke against women clergy, it would be suggested that they might go to a church with a male vicar. But creationists (if we had any) would be given an open-minded hearing. And the subject of abortion would be given an open-minded discussion. Ditto divorce and contraception.

    If our Vicar, say, denied the Holy Trinity, it is the duty of the Church Warden to report the matter to the Archdeacon.
     
  10. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    It is possible to reframe your example in another way.
    A woman has a vast family to take care of and simply isn't humanly able to take care and clean up everything along with raising all of the children. Nor does she have money to hire help. What she needs is a chattel slave that she won't have to pay money to. This friend she has, named after an ancient Greek adventurer, is strongly opposed. "Naturally he advises her against slavery. There were a number of upsetting clashes, but eventually she decided to get one. The man came to the Auction Block with her, helped her pick the right one, and supported her through it. He never once changed his mind, but he gave her moral autonomy, and then was as caring as he could be."

    Whats wrong with this example? Slavery is agreed to be evil, whereas abortion is viewed as something much less, an aesthetic disinclination really, that can be outweighed by other considerations.

    Arguments like yours seem to forget that abortion is Murder. Your whole moral scale has been distorted to enable a desire for convenience, similar to how slavery became acceptable in the European mind during the Age of Exploration.
     
  11. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

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    Before I make a reply to this, might I please inquire as to what the man should have done when his friend firmly decided she was going to have the abortion whether he liked it or not, in your opinion?
     
  12. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    The same as if she decided to acquire a chattel slave, or, if she had decided to murder a grown human. We condemn the action as sinful and irredeemable. That's what we do with those who murder right?
     
  13. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

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    Irredeemable? Someone had better tell Moses, or David, or Paul.

    And then there's the question of what comes after. What do we do after we've gone red in the face denouncing our neighbour? How do we still live with them?

    You seem to think that I am undercutting the moral severity of abortion. I haven't actually expressed any view on the matter. Pope Francis however is adamant that the victory of God in the cross somehow outweighs even the most desperately heinous acts- would you not agree?

    To your counter-example (I also dislike somewhat the treating of that story as some sort of hypothetical gobbet flung out to substantiate a case like some move in a game of chess; that was a real story of a real person who faced a real challenge to his faith) the analogy isn't perfect of course, because there are things that can be done to change the circumstances or lessen the impact...abortion is different really as there's no way to undo or make concrete amends for that action. There has to be something that comes after condemnation. No amount of calling it a sin is, after all, going to bring the foetus back.
     
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  14. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Of course that very much depends on what you mean by God's victory. The devil is in the details, as they say, and here in the ambiguities is where the liberal flourishes. God's victory is rather total and complete, quite right, but what it conquers is sin, and we partake of his victory by following him and living saintly lives ourselves. You are willing to call murder a sin, unapologetically, and therefore I don't see apologetically calling abortion a sin fits the requirements of justice or a saintly life.

    To answer your question, we "live" with that neighbor just as we live with the neighbor that just killed a person. Why do you have difficulty applying this principle? There is an assumption somewhere in your mind that dealing with abortion requires a double standard with some sort of pat on the wrist, or a realignment of aesthetical views, treating it something other than a crime against the sanctity of man that it, like murder and slavery, is.
     
  15. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

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    That's it; I'm done.

    It's like fighting the worst Hydra ever; You cut off it's one head, and then that same singular head just grows back.

    Bravo. You win. Congratulations.

    I shall instead spend the rest of the evening trying to teach the cat conversational Urdu and the Charleston. Hopefully with more results than this circular exchange.
     
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  16. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I meant no disrespect Alcibiades. If I had not answered a salient point of yours please point it out to me. Your main contention was to say that once the commitment of the act became inevitable for any number of reasons like family, poverty or undesirability, we should change our approach to a pastoral one, because no amount of further condemnation can alter the inevitability. Did I get your point across correctly?
     
  17. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    When you will want to revisit this once again, I shall be glad to. Rapprochment here is most important.
     
  18. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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  19. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

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    Apologies, I have been away corrupting minds with neoplatonism and slowly killing my own brain cells with one pint more at the local. The cat remains as uncooperative and uncommunicative as ever, but I was reminded of a limerick I always enjoyed:

    There once was a curate from Kew,
    who kept a black cat in a pew
    he taught it to speak
    alphabetical Greek
    but never got further than μ

    The trouble being that the joke itself only actually works if one learns the hoary oxbridge pronunciation of the Greek alphabet. In actual Greek the whole pun and rhyme is ruined.

    To turn temporarily to your question briefly. Not really, actually. I think one of your quoted articles sort of articulated what I think the pope was gesturing towards, that the only true moral goal for a Christian is not to observe rules, but to achieve some kind of oneness with God, a union born of spiritual life, not obedience to some rules. Or to put it another way, Christ didn't become incarnate in order to stop abortions, that can be a side-effect of what he did in fact arrive to do.

    So it's not about being 'soft' when they've made choices you consider to be bad ones, it's about saying 'ok? How do I help this person move to that union with God?' Sometimes, that can include criticism, provoking us to come out of our own projections and fantasies about who we think we are and see ourselves with other eyes, which may lead to repentance. I guess the thing is that Christianity, in common with Judaism and Islam are forward-looking faiths. The 'Golden Age' isn't in the past, it's still set firmly in the apocalyptic future- everything must move towards that goal as best as they are able, even if they have erred and strayed. So it's about being pastoral all the time, asking what is the most fitting action in any circumstance, case by case.

    Does that make sense?
     
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  20. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

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    One more thought.

    To talk of sin and sinner is to focus on the actions of a human. To talk of forgiveness of sins is to focus on the acts of God.

    Which one strikes one as the proper spiritual insight?
     
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