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Archive for February, 2016

Bearing in mind the present row within the Roman Catholic church – for that is what it is – about admitting divorced persons to the sacraments, it is a jolt to come across, in passing, the following quotation from half a century ago:

“It is impossible to escape the impression that, to certain sorts of clergy, the effective exclusion from sacramental communion of divorced persons who have remarried is the highest form of the Church’s moral witness. The cynic might well be tempted to say that the heartless zeal frequently displayed in the bearing of this particular testimony, is a way in which ecclesiastics compensate for their unwillingness to engage with other besetting moral issues of our age, for instance the moral permissibility of nuclear weapons.” D M Mackinnon  Moral objections; in Vidler, Alec  Objections to Christian belief  London: Constable, 1963 p14

I attended Professor Mackinnon’s lectures when I was reading theology at Cambridge in the late 1960s and found them exhilarating.  Seeing a group of straight-backed Jesuits walk out of one of his lectures, on the great I Am statements in the Gospel, is a particular memory.

 

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Thirty or forty years ago, I recall, there was much anguished talk in the Church of England about Christian unity – or lack of it – and the perceived need for determined ecumenicalism to tackle the problem with ‘solutions’; much more so than nowadays. Thank God. (more…)

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