O goody, here comes another one…

Well. First there was John Dear, then John Bell, and then John Shelby Spong. And now (as the Monty Python crowd “sang”) here comes another one…

No, not another “John”. Another “theologian” to help us explore the “boundaries” of the Christian faith. Cathnews had the following announcement last Thursday (yes, I know your correspondent is a little behind the times):

Women Making the Vision Happen
Renowned American Catholic writer Sr Joan Chittister will be visiting Australia in mid-July at the invitation of Women and the Australian Church (WATAC). She will be speaking with theologian Sr Ann Gilroy on “Women making the vision happen” in Sydney on 21-22 July. Benedictine Sr Chittister will also givea public talk on 19 July for the Good Samaritan Sisters. [info].

Lucky Sydney. I’m sure the Cooees folk will be onto this before long. Maybe Sister Kumbaya will sign up to help “make the vision happen”?

Look, seriously, I’ve had a look at the WATAC Website, at their “issues” and their “story” and their “vision”, and I can’t really fault any of it. I think its great that they want:

to provide a forum for those searching and longing for an inclusive church.
to nourish them in diverse ways.
to act for justice in local and global issues.
to promote Christian feminism which has its roots in gospel values, which are transformative of both the individual and the social situation.
to provide healing and hope.
to celebrate multiple images of God on the path to freedom and transcendence***
to give birth to a transformed church.

The language might not be exactly the language I would use, and they might give the words meanings which would make these sentiments mean things completely beyond the pale, but hey, that’s what dialogue is all about, isn’t it? Using ambiguous language to say what I want to say and still let you say what you want to say, but make it sound like we’re saying the same thing?…

[Reader: Come on, Schütz, now you’re being naughty.
Schütz: Sorry. I’ll stop now.]

***Actually, I have my doubts about this one…sounds like a production line for idolatry…

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4 Responses to O goody, here comes another one…

  1. Christine says:

    Good Sister Joan has many spiritual sisters in the Protestant mainstream, particularly the ELCA, ECUSA and PCUSA.

    It seems they have more in common with each other than with their coreligionists who still adhere to the historic teachings of their respective bodies.

  2. Schütz says:

    I’ve always wondered whether over the following centuries we would see a new realignment of Christians–not along the old Reformation or even East West divides–but on the basis of the stance one takes to faith and morals. This can already be seen to be happening, although how far this effect will go is hard to say.

  3. Peregrinus says:

    Actually it seems to me that there are some who seek a realignment on the basis not of faith and morals, but simply of morals.

    I recall when Pope Benedict was elected, his first address included a commitment to work “tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers.”. A poster on the Cathnews board suggested that he was thinking primarily of the tradition represented by Peter Jensen. Because Jensen has “traditional” views on homosexuality and abortion, this poster felt, he must be closest to the Christianity espoused by Pope Benedict, and must offer the best prospect for church unity. The poster was unaware of, or indifferent to, the fact that Jensen differs radically from the pope on some very fundamental questions, and furthermore is completely uninterested in any project of church unity, which from his perspective is an irrelevance. His views on homosexuality, the implication was, were more important that his understanding of the Incarnation, his ecclesiology, or his views on sacramentality or priesthood.

    It may be unfair to read too much into a posting to Cathnews, but we live in a sex-obsessed society, and I can’t avoid the suspicion that this affects how some Christians see Christianity. I’ve no wish to dismiss the importance of homosexuality – indeed, of sexuality – but it is more than 2,300 paragraphs into the catechism before the subject is even mentioned. There are more fundamental issues.

  4. Schütz says:

    No, you are probably right to read that poster in this way. There are some who think entirely in this manner. The ecumenical task before us is to show our evangelical friends that there can be no inner coherance of the moral stance without the underlying foundation of the faith of the Church.

    Eg. A good case in point is contraception. Many evangelicals are embracing the “no pills” and some even “no condomns” message. They realise that somehow the contraceptive mentality is connected to the objectification and indvidualisation of sexual relationships prevalent in today’s society. Slowly they are coming to realise that there is something even deeper involved, and that’s when they begin to discover JPII’s “Theology of the Body”.

    At the same time, the official dialogues have tended to place ethics on the back burner while addressing issues of faith. As Kasper has made abundantly clear over the last few years, this cannot continue if the ecumenical pilgrimage is to continue.

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