Saturday, January 31, 2009

Toronto to get same-sex blessings

Rationale for this post as below.

Apparently the College of Bishops in the diocese is trying to circumvent a vote on same-sex blessings that would likely to lead to our becoming the seventh synod to approve them. The pastoral plan is as follows:

* "Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms.
* Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized.
* Episcopal permission for blessings will be required.
* Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year.
* No parish or clergy will be required to participate.
* A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review. "

A couple of points:

"Bishop Johnson said the bishops believe the issue of same-sex blessings requires a pastoral response rather than a legislative decision such as a vote at synod."

I'll bet they do.

"He said that 'We are committed to remaining in alignment with the decisions and recommendations of General Synod and Lambeth,' and that 'At the same time, we are trying to act in accordance with the House of Bishops’ statement to develop the most generous pastoral response to our local situation. Given that, we think that a pastoral response and not a legislative one is the correct way to move forward.'"

So the introduction of SSBs by episcopal fiat complies with the "moratorium" but synodical legislation of them wouldn't? Sounds a bit like Tract 90 reasoning to me. Why not just call the fairly feeble moratorium for what it is?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bishop Ferris leaves Canadian church



From the Anglican Journal.

I prefer to focus on liturgical porn over the politics of sexuality here, but since Canadian Anglican bloggers are so thin on the ground occasionally I feel obligated to note a story, lest it go unmentioned.

What chagrins me most about this story is that Archbishop Venables is still involved with the Anglican Network in Canada. I had been under the impression that the SoCo arrangement was a temporary, pastoral emergency, and that the point of the creation of the Anglican Church in North America was to provide the breakaway groups with self-sufficiency and unity under a domestic primate. That ++Venables is still providing oversight to congregations in Canadian soil is, to my mind, a far more serious breach of catholic order than the blessing of same-sex marriages. And I take it that Bishop Ferris intends to exercise episcopal ministry in this Dominion rather than relocating to Buenos Aires.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christmas Eve at Christminster


First Mass of Christmas celebrated at Christ the Saviour Monastery in Hamilton on 6 January 2008. Sung by the schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada. I was planning to attend, but ending up getting scheduled to work (even though I'm not available Tuesdays). Since I get a good deal of religious accomodation, I didn't fight it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second

Well, I did finish the novel before I went to sleep on Tuesday. (I'm now working on the latest Bishop Blackie Ryan mystery). I have to recommend it strongly. By turns touching, funny, and titillating, The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second was the best $20 I ever spent. The protagonist reminds me of me in high school.

Charlie is an openly gay Lutheran high school senior in Illinois. The novel, written in the form of a diary, traces the development of his first relationship, and the concurrent dramas in both boys' families.

The novel was perfect for someone like me because it combined the relaxed tone and language of a young-adult novel with enough material to keep full-blown adults happy (the cultural references Charlie casually drops would never be made by anyone else that age but me and the sex is rather explicit). What I thought particularly brilliant was the way in which the sexual orientation of the (anti-)hero and his boyfriend was handled. This is not a coming-out story: that watershed has already happened before the narrative begins and has ceased to be an issue. As someone who went to high school in affluent, liberal, mainly white suburb at the turn of this century, I found this a remarkably accurate reflection of my (pretty uneventful) experience as a gay adolescent.

It's really a charming novel and I can't recommend it enough, though I won't dissemble that one review I read called it "pretty much erotica with plot, and I do mean that in the best way possible..."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seeing Doubt

This evening I went to see Doubt with a friend. I have to recommend it; I nearly cried at the climactic closing scene. Here is a fascinating - and plausible - analysis of what may have happened in the film's subtext. A few notes:

*Fr Flynn wears a cassock-alb - over his cassock. If cassock-albs were in fact around in 1964, priests weren't wearing them over cassocks.

*He also wears his stole over his chasuble.

*And an anachronistic looking floppy-collared ("monastic") violet chasuble.

*I didn't notice any maniples, and these were not made optional until the following year.

*The congregation sings the Taizé chant "Ubi caritas et amor." Was it written yet?

*They also sing "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" to Old 100th. In a Roman Catholic church in 1964?

I note that the film was shot at the Church of St Luke in the Fields, a liberal Catholic Episcopal church in New York.

I sometimes wonder how much these filmmakers paid their technical advisors, because they could have just bought me lunch and I'd have caught several errors that their consultants let slip through.

I also today bought The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second, and depending on when I fall asleep tonight may finish before I do. I'll be reviewing it here.

When the cat's away...

My mother has gone to Florida for ten days in order to be with her own mother, who is a snowbird. I would have liked to have gone with and written a Mystery Worshipper report on this establishment, but that was not possible. Since my mother is also my roommate, this entails that I have the flat to myself for the week. This is exciting (freedom!) but also daunting (double the housework!).

So on Sunday I went to Mass by myself, then Solemn Evensong & Benediction, before having dinner at my father's and sister's.

Yesterday, then, after fulfilling my duties on the home front, I went to a routine doctor's appointment, and then took the opportunity to have a late lunch with a friend who lives near my doctor's office (which is in the neighbourhood where our last apartment was). He was rather dismayed to find that the small independent grocer he frequents is closed for a holiday until Candlemas and as he won't shop at Metro (did I mention he's a Communist?) we then had to hop on the subway and go down to Kensington Market (which is sort of like London's Camden Town only not, IMO, quite as cool). My sister rang me ordering me to buy her some chocolate and bring it to her place (she lives downtown) and I managed to pick up a pair of chocolate flip-flops at a specialty chocolate store, whereupon my friend pronounced me "whipped." I was delighted, until I got to her and my father's flat and discovered they were dark chocolate, which she doesn't eat.

The other thing I accomplished, while we were uptown, was to purchase the DVD I intend to screen at my impending birthday party. That will take place on Thursday, the Octave Day of my Nativity, as last Thursday my mother was still home. It turned out the video store didn't have the movie for sale, but the clerk sold me the rental copy - at the rental price. I was confused ("So, do I have to fill something out to rent it?") and he got surly ("No, take it and don't bring it back. It's called a favour"). So now I have a DVD for $5.07 . The movie, by the way, is Strangers with Candy, not seeing which is a fond thing vainly invented, and plainly repugnant to the word of God.

Today I am going to the LCBO (the provincial liquor monopoly) in preparation for Thursday. Then I'm going to the Art Gallery of Ontario with another friend, who has never been. We're then going to have an early supper before going to see Doubt. Wednesday I am going to try to go to Evensong at Trinity College. And Thursday is the party. My sister is coming (she has warned me that she will be predrinking) with a couple of her cohorts, as well as both of the above-mentioned friends and a few of my old group-home girlfriends. One of these guests is the current object of my affection. ("Never get drunk with someone for whom you have feelings," my mother once told me). Then I'm working all weekend, and I suppose I'll have to come up with new plans next week.

So all in all, it's a busy week for me. Wish me luck! And my apologies to the liturgy nerds for this personal digression.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Here beginneth the posting for 2009

Well, I am 21 as of today. Go me! An account of my Epiphany observance can be read here for all you fellow liturgy nerds.