Canon Angela Tilby, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 08:02 AM - Tilby
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

I'm a very broad minded, liberal, tolerant sort of Canon. I'm all for equality. Equality is brilliant. I think everybody should have equality.

BUT

Gay marriage is just going that bit too far. Both Catholic and Anglican bishops say so, so I must be right. It all boils down to who owns marriage. Is it society or the Church? I'm not going to come straight out and say it's the Church. That wouldn't make me look like the kind of very broad minded, liberal, tolerant sort of Canon that I am, but I will say this: marriage has been a sacrament for at least a couple of hundred years, and we owned it even before that.

All through the Big Book of Magic Stuff, we see endorsement for the kind of marriage that I approve of. From Adam and Eve's only two sons and whoever they got married to but it forgot to mention, all the way through David and Jonathan, polygamy, what you can do with your slave girls, virgin births and Jesus actually attending a wedding.

Some people say that homosexuality occurs throughout nature, which just goes to show how wrong nature can be. Gays have got Civil Partnerships. They should be happy with that and stop making very broad minded, liberal, tolerant sort of Canon's like me feel uncomfortable.

Listen/Read

Administrator (Rev. Dr. Peter Hearty) 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 08:09 AM
The odd thing is, I wasn't the least bit bothered about gay marriage being called Civil Partnership until the Church started being so mean about it. Now I want to have gay marriage just because I know it annoys them.



Flann123 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 08:25 AM
I enjoyed the statement that 'you can't just make up sacraments'. Or epistles, flood legends, dodgy family trees, morality. She was right, you can''t make these things up, but they have.

David Harper 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 08:31 AM
Today's Guardian has several letters arguing strongly for gay marriage. The letter from John and Cathy Duffy, who describe themselves as "Catholics who have been married for 40 years", is especially encouraging, as it shows how out of touch the two archbishops really are with ordinary Catholics.

Anne  
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 08:52 AM
So, let me get this straight: according to Rev Angela Tilby, a marriage conducted in a Register Office between Muslims or Jews or atheists or whomsoever is a *sacrament*? So it should be denied to same sex partners even though they can already celebrate a civil partnership? And all those people who have children without the blessing of that sacrament are -- what, exactly? I'm finding her logic hard to follow. There must be something in this marriage thing after all, which is all the more reason to be pressing for it to be available to everyone.

Steve 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 09:00 AM
Sorry if I'm out of touch, but what's the practical difference between marriage and a civil partnership? Is it simply that 'marriage' is a magic word and 'civil partnership' lacks the same connotations?

toreasonwhy 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 09:04 AM
That broadcast made me so mad that I can't begin to write anything more just now. But, you've put the smile back on my face; thank you!

Steve 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 09:10 AM
Outstanding. She finds hersefl caught between two opposing forces, but is so intellectually blinkered concerning one of them that she cannot (or will not) apply some critical thought to it. So, for example, she tries to blur the question of homosexuality and nature, bizarrely by suggesting that nature itself is in two minds about it (nature has no mind, everything in it is 100% natural by definition). And yet she will not admit that marriage existed long before any religion got involved.

These are two completely settled questions that lead to the same conclusion on marriage, yet by fudging one and brainlessly accepting the other she is able to invent the area of doubt she is looking for to give her some comfort in her prejudice. Trapped between a rock and a made-up place.

She provided the answer. The Eucharist is a sacrament of the church. It uses bread and wine. The church does not own the rights to bread and wine. It has no power over the baking and vinification industries. What it chooses to do with bread and wine behind closed doors is its own business, no matter how perverse the idea of pretending it is human blood and flesh might be to normal people. The idea that a deeply disturbing Scottish catholic bishop has some inherent right to tell society how to bake its bread would be rightly seen as absurd. So with marriage.

The church has two interests in this matter, particularly the catholics. First is their well-documented obsession with sex. Second, and this is the main one, is their increasing realisation that they are totally irrelevant to what society does. They have chosen this place to make their stand. It is a bad choice, because they will fail.

David Harper 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 09:31 AM
Steve:
She finds hersefl caught between two opposing forces, but is so intellectually blinkered concerning one of them that she cannot (or will not) apply some critical thought to it.

It's called theology. Apparently, many of our leading universities have entire departments devoted to it.

TFTDAbridged 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 09:32 AM
And yet, if I called her a bigot, she'd claim I was the intolerant one...

Laurence 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 09:44 AM
"It's called theology. Apparently, many of our leading universities have entire departments devoted to it."

I recently had cause to read through a theology essay written by a second year university student. It included a paragraph which compared myths with 'events such as the resurrection'. EVENTS!! She was awarded a First for this essay. Any History department would have failed it.

Laurence 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 09:51 AM
"Trapped between a rock and a made-up place." Steve

Wonderful! I'm going to use that
:)

Matt2112 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 10:02 AM
Oh dear, oh dear; as Steve eloquently outlines, Angela is terribly, profoundly muddled on this, but then she has to be, or else her theo-babble wouldn't make her feel better about a position she appears to know in her heart of hearts is untenable.

There was enough dissonance in this broadcast to provide a whole night of fallacy bingo and it's difficult to know where to begin. So I won't; suffice to say that Angela seemed to want to be a homophobe while throwing herself through enough rhetorical gymnastics to not feel like one.

But this was simply bare Atkins-esque apologism at its feeblest.

Thought For The Dazed And Confused 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 10:51 AM
"I don't like the tome of recent church pronouncements"

BUT you agree with them! You just want to dress up your confused but equally vile bigotry in nice language.

"The point about sacraments is that they can't be made up"

You couldn't make it up!

"The inner memory of marriage goes back to the Garden of Eden"

What is this? A variant of homeopathy?

"Most parents have children but some do not"

You can be a parent without children?

I could go on but really must stop for the sake of my sanity. This was just too, too much.

It was bad enough yesterday seeing a black man reduced by the insanity of religion to proposing the virtues of separate but equal (no, honestly, see here: http://goo.gl/CzvtB and don't forget to vote in the poll) without hearing the same argument repeated the following morning in a two minute BBC religotorial causing me to regurgitate my delicious bowl of All Bran.

If anyone still has the will, complain here: http://goo.gl/IaSgp

I have to go for a lie down with a bottle of vodka.

PS: As for the only difference between Civil Partnership and Marriage being the word used then, as the California Prop 8 hearings brought out, if the only difference is the term then the only reason for that different term has to be to specifically degrade the impression of that institution and the whole class of people who are forced into it.

Martin 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 11:04 AM
"The inner memory of marriage goes back to the Garden of Eden"

Did Adam and Eve actually get married?

Steve 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 11:37 AM
Re: Theology

Potency and Act divide being in such a way that whatever is is either pure act or of necessity it is composed of potency and act as primary and intrinsic principles. Since act is perfection, it is not limited except through a potency which itself is a capacity for perfection. Hence in any order in which an act is pure act, it will only exist in that order as a unique and unlimited act. But whenever it is finite and manifold, it has entered into a true composition with potency. Consequently, the one God, unique and simple, alone subsists in absolute being. All other things that participate in being have a nature whereby their being is restricted; they are constituted of essence and being, as really distinct principles. A thing is called a being because of "esse". God and creature are not called beings univocally, nor wholly equivocally, but analogically, by an analogy both of attribution and of proportionality.


That's from the master - Thomas Aquinas - although not a direct quote (he wrote in Latin). It is completely irrefutable, largely because nobody has ever been able to make sense of it. It is thus perfection in theology, following the classic method:

1. Assume there is a god.
2. Find a catastrophic problem with this assumption.
3. Do not do what proper philosophers do at this stage and reject the assumption.
4. Instead, attempt to resolve the problem by twisting language and meaning into shapes it was never intended to make (see above).

And here's another quotation:

The capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas are not to be placed in the category of opinions capable of being debated one way or another, but are to be considered as the foundations upon which the whole science of natural and divine things is based; if such principles are once removed or in any way impaired, it must necessarily follow that students of the sacred sciences will ultimately fail to perceive so much as the meaning of the words in which the dogmas of divine revelation are proposed by the magistracy of the Church


That's from Doctoris Angelici, a Papal Encyclical from 1914, in which Pope Pius tells the world that we must never, ever question what Aquinas said, because if you do the whole of catholic doctrine collapses.

As David and Laurence have suggested above, to have a subject at our universities where major aspects of thought progression are off-limits, and where the fundamental conclusion is given to the students in Lecture 1, rather undermines the credibility of those places.

Henry 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 01:59 PM
This site is such a beacon of hope in a sea of bullshit. Thanks so much Peter, as always, and all of you above for cheering me up!



David Harper 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 03:35 PM
As David and Laurence have suggested above, to have a subject at our universities where major aspects of thought progression are off-limits, and where the fundamental conclusion is given to the students in Lecture 1, rather undermines the credibility of those places.

I'd just like to point out that my alma mater, University College London, has never had a theology department.

andym 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 03:54 PM
The strangest thing is that she probably thought it made perfect sense as she was writing it.I can't make out how ,though.

If you dislike a paricular football team,can you say that this dislike is a "sacrament" dating back years and then claim the right to alter their results? Is she saying the equivalent of this?

Cynic 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 04:36 PM
"The inner memory of marriage goes back to the Garden of Eden"

Who would have officiated, as they were, according to the church, the first two human beings. Theologists could tie themselves up in knots over this one - and probably have...

Dinah 
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 11:01 PM
It's obvious from the pronouncements from a variety of god-botherers over the last week or so, that they still think their Church, (whichever one it happens to be), still owns marriage, and consequently they have the right to decide who may or may not get married. But marriage, in this country at least, is not a religious institution, but a social and legally binding secular contract. Although couples may choose to have a religious ceremony, the marriage still has to be registered with secular authorities in order to be valid. Weddings not so validated, as sometimes happens with ones carried out according to Islamic rites, are not recognised in law, and the couples do not have the rights of married couples regarding property, custody of children, inheritance, etc.

As I understand it, there is no suggestion that any church or religious institution will be forced to conduct gay marriages, but equally they should have no right to dictate who should or should not be allowed to marry outside of religious buildings.

Geoff Coupe 
Wednesday, 14 March, 2012, 08:15 AM
What Dinah said.

Here, couples who are religious will always have their civil marriage ceremony in the local Townhall first, before trooping across the market square into the church for the religious marriage ceremony.

Even Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima did the same. They were married, by Amsterdam’s Mayor at the time, Job Cohen, on the 2nd February 2002 in a civil ceremony in the Great Hall of the Beurs van Belage, before going to the Nieuwe Kerk (the New Church) for the religious ceremony.


HarryR 
Wednesday, 14 March, 2012, 01:23 PM
I recall a certain noisy religiofrenzy spluttering about the infamy of allowing women - yes, women - to become vicars and other flavours of clergy. That battle lost, it reignited when women vicars wanted to become bishops.

Although personally indifferent to religion, my support of the priciple of women being permitted to become vicars & priests was to support the principle of equality and was against the principle of discrimination on factors an individual has no control over and is anyway perfectly comfortable with.

In this I supported the imposition of my beliefs upon religious institutions. If they were simply private clubs I would support their right to have whatever rules they wanted. But as assertive social/political organisations that expressly impose their official views on everyone else they could not have it both ways ( which, by and large, they still do).

Here now is one of those very woman expressing the simple discrimination upon others that was expressed upon her. However much she witters on about how liberal & tolerant she is, her conclusion is that a specific group should have fewer rights than others.

Not that gays cannot get married in her church - which they can't - but that they should not be permitted the use of the term marriage at all to define their relationships, even in civil ceremonies on civil premises under civil law.

You can see her connundrum: how to give a sermon on TFTD and galvanise the rapt audience of R4 listeners into frenzy of outrage to force some of their fellow citizens to use a somehow lesser term to describe their commited relationships if their lifestyle conflicts with Angela's theological views.

Solution: spend the first half of the sermon establishing her liberal, tolerant, gay-friendly personality and the 2nd half declaring gays to be 2nd class citizens.

Being a religious type, I'm sure Angela is familiar with the ever quoted poem by Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

According to my extensive reseach on this matter ( ie reading Niemöller's wikipedia page) MN himself supported hitler as a smiter of commies and only spoke against him when it turned out that when nice mr hitler acheived power he concentrated it for himself and did not share it with MN's church.

AH was commendably open about his views & objectives in mein kampf so how this could have been a surprise is puzzling.

I also recall from my own visit to Dachau that there is a memorial there that commemorates the persecuted groups. The political opponents, the Russians, Jews, etc. There were many such categories and I cannot recall them all.

What struck me was that the homosexuals were not included in the list until added decades later when official social toleration widened. the implication being that after the war there was at least one category whose persecution was held to have been justified.

Angela, as a liberal, tolerant kinda girl-vicar, does not fight the good fight against the principle of discrimination if she's picky about who she does not discriminate against.

DrHig 
Wednesday, 14 March, 2012, 04:43 PM
Steve asked :
Sorry if I'm out of touch, but what's the practical difference between marriage and a civil partnership? Is it simply that 'marriage' is a magic word and 'civil partnership' lacks the same connotations?

The main practical difference is that in civil partnership (CP), unlike marriage, neither adultery nor non-consumation would constitute grounds for divorce, which some might think were benefits. In the registry office we attended, there were framed notices emphasising that civil partnership and marriage were not the same. I am still confronted with forms asking my marital status, in which I am given the options "married" or "single" when I am neither.
It's astonishing that Spain, which used to be thought of as a catholic country, allowed marriage for same-sex couples as far back as 2005. As the woman behind the counter at the Spanish Consulate said to my Colombian partner, "Civil Partnership is something the British invented. We only recognise marriage".


Administrator (Rev. Dr. Peter Hearty) 
Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 06:36 AM
What struck me was that the homosexuals were not included in the list until added decades later when official social toleration widened.


IIRC, homosexuals liberated from concentration camps were immediately re-arrested and imprisoned by the occupying powers.

Geoff Coupe 
Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 08:21 AM
A good overview of the history of homosexuals caught up in the Holocaust is here: http://www.hardenet.com/homocaust/index.htm

It has links to further sources on the history.

Administrator (Rev. Dr. Peter Hearty) 
Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 09:58 AM
A good overview of the history of homosexuals caught up in the Holocaust is here: http://www.hardenet.com/homocaust/index.htm


Thanks - that's a very informative site.

Chris 
Saturday, 17 March, 2012, 04:44 PM
what you can do with your slave girls


and slave boys, of course, as long as they were not fully grown men - the practice continues in Afghanistan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacha_bazi
There's a BBC documentary about it here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/docum ... boys.shtml


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