Sunday, March 15, 2015

The madness of ministers

Mentioning the Jensen boys in my Katoomba post reminded me of St Matthias, where both ministered. While at St Matthias I was in the midst of a long and complex relationship with a wonderful woman. I'll call her Echo (her parents gave her a different and more feminine name).

The relationship was enthralling but becoming difficult. I learnt much from Echo about loyalty, sacrifice, and what love truly was; she and her family were generous and I always felt welcomed into their home. But we were diverging. I was sliding from my 'high' Anglican affiliation to a more evangelical practice. Echo had no plans to move from her Roman Catholic commitment.

This problem vexed me. I knew the answer, and ultimately acted upon it, but I sought counsel from a minister at St Matthias. His suggestion was that 'they' talk to Echo. I had no idea what this was intended to produce, either in me or her, but I couldn't get over the arrogance of it. How could he think I would insult someone suggesting they talk to a minister at my church? Echo didn't even pay much attention to the pope, so she was not going to listen to a protestant splitter! She and her family persisted in their love of the Latin Mass and supported a breakaway group that followed Lefebvre. No pope was going to stand in their way!

All I can say, in some despair, is 'evangelical haughtiness' at work. It was some time ago, and I mentioned this to Carnley when he was Primate. He shared my despair, but was not surprised at the behaviour.

Contrast this with the approach of a friend, an older Roman Catholic priest. We discussed my frustration and concerns at some length and the implications of considering conversion. But he would not pave a way for my decision making. His conclusion to me, given with much kindness and concern, was that for Christians, their faith would be at the centre of the marriage, and if there was a divergence in the practice and content of that faith, there would be a division at the heart of the marriage.

Of course, I knew that. I just needed someone to tell me.

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