Thursday, April 20, 2006

Iggy gets a wiggin'

I'm told an event of apocalyptic proportions has rocked Co. Meath. A Church of Ireland rector has helped officiate at a Catholic mass in Drogheda. Did you feel the earth shake? I didn't.

Fr. Iggy O'Donovan (I jest not) has been berated by his Primate, Dr. Seán Brady, and a similar fate has befallen another cheeky monkey, Rev. Michael Graham, who apparently may be feeling the sharp edge of Dr. Robin Eames' tongue at a convenient juncture.

I try to avoid being disrespectful, but this really is a load of old bollocks which has more to do with slavery to church politics than celebrating the outrageous generosity of the God who made us and then bought us back.

At the heart of the whole transubstantiation issue is the question of whether the bread and wine look and taste like bread and wine but are symbols of Jesus' flesh and blood (the Protestant view) or whether the bread and wine look and taste like bread and wine but are transformed spiritually into his actual body (the Catholic view). Now, I can argue the anti-transubstantiation bit as well as any good Prod, but why take our eyes off the ball? It's one for the pub, not for stopping me communing (in the true sense of the word) with my fellow Christians who also follow the man who prayed, "Let them be one, Father".

I'm in good company. Mary McAleese was rapped over the knuckles by Cardinal Desmond Connell for accepting Anglican Communion. What was he worried about? If, for some perverse reason, he thinks Anglican Communion, Methodist Communion or Baptist Communion has no spiritual meaning, then the worst she could have done was to eat some bread and have a drink of wine. Hardly the stuff a good damnation is made of.

However: even though the theological debate is a red herring, Seán's and Robin's imminent response is anything but a non-issue. In fact, it's central to the social healing we need in Ireland. Are we prepared to put honouring our neighbour before upholding silly dogmas dreamt up by power-churchmen in their own pathetic struggle of centuries past?

The man who prayed "Let them be one, Father" knew that the forces of evil prefer to disable from within than to attack from without. It's far more effective.

What honours God is not the pride of lifetime-academic churchmen but the heart of every individual that can see past it to Bigger things.


At 10:54 p.m., Anonymous Aileen said...


I can understand the lets all get along instincts behind this thread but surely it's up to the churches to make what rules they like and shouldn't they expect their clergy and flock to stick to them. I do not consider that an RC clergyman holding to the tenets of his faith and rules of his church to be dishonouring me. Indeed I would consider any assumption on his part that I required pandering to as insulting.

At 11:47 a.m., Blogger B.U. said...

What I'm saying is: rules imposed by humans shouldn't get in the way of following Jesus' instruction to 'be one'. Preferences and practices may vary (as different ways of human expression), but together we form a big church, so don't let's be pulled apart by the pedanticism of hierarchies more concerned with protecting their own turf. BU.

At 5:22 p.m., Blogger Lorainne said...

I agree - why can't people just bloody get along - whether they think the bread and wine are symbols or change into the real thing or whether they couldn't really give a damn at all. Looking at history it seems that people need an excuse to fight and disagree and petty differences of religion provide a good excuse.

At 6:55 p.m., Anonymous Ms. Jen said...

"see the bread see the wine
see the graft into the vine
this is what is to be
it always made sense to me
send us a shot of love
across the mountain to the sea
from the poles of north and south
wherever we may be
sometimes my cup is empty
my wish that it stay full
cause i am always thirsty
i can't get enough of you
there is nowhere else to go
there is nothing else to do
there is nowhere else to turn
the first and last is you
oh i hear the music
oh i need a brand new song"
-- the lyrics for the King's X song "Shot of Love"

As I have following this particular bruhaha in the letters section of the Irish Times the last week and a half, I keep singing the first 3 lines to the King's X song, "Shot of Love".

John, I concur with you on the on the John 17 passage of Jesus' prayer, "so that they may be one, as we are one." Also, it brings to mind 1 Cor. 17, St. Paul's passage on Holy Communion, out of which I have always taken that when one is taking communion, one is also taking it with not only the church that one is physically in but the whole of all believers, the Body of Chirst Jesus.

More importantly, are we not Christians first and our denominations are a subset of our larger belief in Jesus Christ? Roman Catholicism and Anglicans are not different faiths, but merely two subsets to the larger Christian faith.

As I have read all the responses to this Easter service, I want to shake folks and say, "HEY! We will all be at the Supper of the Lamb, sitting next to each other, side by side!" Ms. Jen will refrain from quoting the 3rd stanza of Amazing Grace...


At 6:58 p.m., Anonymous Ms. Jen said...

Oops... I meant 1 Cor. 11, not 1 Cor. 17.


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