Sunday, October 22, 2006

Warts'n'all least that was how Oliver Cromwell wanted to be painted. This is one of the few times that I would feel like concurring with Oliver Cromwell, since the man stood for everything which I reject and against much of what I embrace. Why else would I, a committed Catholic have a picture of an arch-Protestant on my blog.

Yet whoever Oliver Cromwell was, he was a human being. I regard him as being misguided and the lead conspirator to regicide, but what of Mrs. Cromwell, and Richard Cromwell, his son? They loved him. But you see that Oliver Cromwell was a human being, fallen, broken, a sinner, one who makes other people's lives a misery, one who makes still other people's lives a joy. I also agree with him on another respect - he spoke of Jesus Christ as Lord and Master, and there is the Truth!

There has been much debate on Anglo-Catholic Central about persons such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu who have done so much to work for the liberation of the oppressed, and have now started preaching liberal doctrines on homosexuality. Clearly Archbishop Tutu has left the orthodoxy of the faith in pursuit of his understanding of freeing the oppressed, a calling that indeed we are all commanded to follow. Does that mean that now, Orthodox Christians must close their ears to anything that Archbishop Tutu says?

Also I note that there is a new cartoon of His Holiness, the late Pope John-Paul II, celebrating his life. to my mind it seems to be more of a putting of the venerable gentleman on a pedestal. In showing him as impossibly good, it makes him less of a human being. that's not to say that through him God did not achieve some truly remarkable feats of liberation, but rather we seem to focus less upon the Divine Operator and more upon the instrument of His operation.

The media worldwide paints pictures in black and white, people are either angels or demons. Indeed how often in the media are rogues seen as loveable and saints as evil, tainted beings. Paedophiles are irredeemable, our young people are all yobs and vandals, Moslems are reactionary and vengeful, and Anglo-Catholics prissy, gay, self-haters. Rubbish. No human being is just one abstract description.

No-one is allowed to be human anymore. No-one is allowed to fall without just damnation from the media. The career of English comedian Michael Barrymore is still struggling after the body of Stuart Lubbock was found in his pool in suspicious circumstances. Like the Evil Queen, or Captain Hook in a British Pantomime, it's as if we need a hate figure. Even Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are human beings, they have qualities of goodness within them even though their hands are covered with the blood of thousands.

What also of homosexual couples who are constantly being demonised by some Christians and Christian societies? The Bible is clear that those who practice their homosexuality are sinning. This sin does infect society, all around us in ways that we truly do not always know or understand. And yet if the feeling that one homosexual has for another is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, then is there not love within that feeling? And why should the homosexual be singled out in this? It is because their condition leads to a temptation that is accepted in modern society, and thus is not acknowledged as sin. However, the sins of each one of us that we too refuse to acknowlege infect society just as plainly, just as vilely in the same way.

This all comes down to making judgments upon others. The only person whose heart we know best is our own, and our judgments of others are impaired because we are not the person whom we judge.

Truly anyone who teaches that homosexual practice is right is not teaching the doctrine of Christ, but so is the one who preaches damnation upon any human being. St Paul says "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."

Does this mean that I am pro-individualism since I am advocating that we should judge only the actions of ourselves rather than the actions of others. I don't think I've said that anywhere. We are free to be the person whom God intended us to be, but that means responsibility; "rights" mean "responsibilities", and the right not to be judged means that we should not act in a way that will cause people to judge us. If we persist in sin, even without knowing it, then we endanger our relationship with God as St. John tells us: "[Y]ou know that [Jesus] appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." Our lives are not our own and consequently we must live as a community in supporting each other in the love of God, despite the crippling infection of sin.

Again, on the strength of St John we cannot have priests or bishops who practise homosexuality for "Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous."

However, sinners that we are we have to live with this fact: we are all worthy of being demonised, because we all act like demons in our accusations of others and in our own persistance in sin. (Remember Satan is "the accuser").

Archbishop Tutu is a sinner, and yet still a potential saint and I will always measure his words up to the Canon of the Catholic Church. What he says that concurs with the Canon, I shall know it to be the truth. What he says that is contrary to the Canon, I shall reject it. I shall remember that he has helped thousands by his example and by his tireless fight to end oppression. I shall also know that he is fallible, and in need of the Grace of God, as am I and more so, for I am the worst of sinners.

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