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Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Tag: Christian ethics (page 2 of 4)

Score another for Bishop Wright: Euthanasia–a murky moral world

The more I’ve read about Bishop Wright recently, and the strong moral stands he has taken, the more I believe we should be thanking God for leaders like him and praying that he would life up even more in the Church and society at large. Having done my CPE training in an area of a veterans hospital that was transitioning to a focus on palliative care I can testify to it’s benefits for the patient and family.


Legalised killing is unacceptable. We must consider the radical alternative – palliative care

David Aaronovitch, using the pulpit of his column, challenged me to justify an “outrageous claim” that I made in my Easter sermon. I said that there was a “militantly atheist and secularist lobby” that believes that “we have the right to kill… surplus old people”. He replied that it was simply not true.

But there is clearly a strong body of opinion – part of a larger, albeit unorganised, secularising or atheist agenda – pressing in this direction. Such an agenda doesn’t need protest marches. It has powerful politicians and journalists presenting the case.

Lord Joffe’s “assisted dying” Bill, rejected by the Lords last year, was, at one level, about “voluntary euthanasia”. The normal word for that is, of course, suicide. But his Bill was about those too ill to achieve that unaided – it was proposing not just “voluntary dying” but “lawful killing” by people enlisted by the patient. You can’t reduce this, as Mr Aaronovitch implied, to “people having a right to end their own lives”. The question is, do other people have the right to help them do so? Those who support this Bill reckoned they do.

He might want to come back at me on two other counts. First, I said “old” people. But clearly young people, too, suffer debilitating and incurable diseases. Reports from the Netherlands suggest that moves are being made to extend the euthanasia protocol to cover new-born children.

{read it all}

From Inhabitatio Dei: The Role of Hauerwas in Contemporary Theology

I intended to post this several days ago, but got very busy during and after Holy Week. I hope Halden doesn’t mind me directing attention toward an older post.

Good stuff from Inhabitatio Dei:

Nearly everyone who’s interested in contemporary theology has heard of Stanley Hauerwas. Indeed out of all contemporary theological figures he may be the one who today its hardest to have not heard of or read. One way or another everyone has to deal with Hauerwas. Whether you’re Jeffrey Stout, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Robert Jenson, Stephen Webb or whoever, if you’re writing on ethics, politics, or anything pertaining to the Christian use of force, you simply have to deal with Hauerwas.

However, the flip side of this is that it also seems somewhat fashionable in contemporary theology to not take Hauerwas seriously. A great many theologians seem to take joy in deriding him as little more than a cantankerous bastard with a squeaky voice who is better laughed at then engaged. Now, to my mind both of these dynamics in contemporary theological discourse only point to Stanley’s importance as a theologian. If, on the one hand a great many people find him an indispensable interlocutor and a comparable number of other folks consider him simply someone to ridicule away, it would seem a reasonable conclusion that whatever Stanley’s got to say it is either vitally important or vitally dangerous.

So this brings me to my question, what is the role of Stanley Hauerwas in contemporary theology? What position does he, or should he occupy in the cartography of doing theology today? What do people think?

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Ok… here’s my response. I’m closing comments here because I want to encourage everyone to go over to the Inhabitatio Dei blog and leave their responses in the comments there.

Hauerwas is by his own admission a contrarian, but I think what is first and foremost is that he is a Christian contrarian, and he is someone who strives to allow the gospel to challenge his inclinations and then announces that challenge to others. Sometimes the challenge Hauerwas proclaims isn’t necessarily the one that others might see–sometimes the challenge is seen as simply part of Hauerwas’ own biases. Be that as it may, and taking into account that there are places where I disagree with him (his total commitment to non-violence for example), I can’t recall a time when he has asked a question that I’ve thought about later and said “that really wasn’t important” or “why address that?” Instead, I’ve been challenged to examine my own beliefs in light of the Holy Scripture and the Christian tradition. At times I have come to change my perspectives, while at others I haven’t. But even in the latter cases, my foundation for thinking as I do has been greatly strengthened.

Ironically perhaps, several of the critiques leveled at Hauerwas in the discussion thread seem to be highlighting aspects of this thought that he is intentional about. For instance, one commentator in particular criticizes Hauerwas for “inconsistency” because he largely focusses his criticism on liberal protestantism while remaining in “liberal” protestant institutions, i.e. teaching at a United Methodist University and attending United Methodist and Episcopal churches. As another commentator pointed out quite succinctly, to view this as inconsistent is to miss a major facet of Hauerwas’ thinking: to be a witness where God has placed you. There is a particularly poor example of “consistency” given by comparing Hauerwas to his former student R.R. Reno who did in fact leave the Episcopal Church for Roman Catholicism. This is not intended in any way as a slam on Reno (whom I have a great deal of respect for), but his move to the RC Church can hardly be considered the most “consistent” outcome of his theology.

But while Hauerwas isn’t particularly inconsistent, it is important to note that consistency as such doesn’t deem to enter into his project as any sort of laudable goal. There is consistency to be sure, but only in the sense that he tries to make faithfulness to the Jesus we know from Scripture the hallmark of his work. Hauerwas would be the first to say that any particular point of his theology that was seen to be in conflict with scripture should be rejected (of course, those pronouncements are debatable, as always). Hauerwas’ work primarily consists of “occasional theology,” that is, he writes for particular occasions or purposes, which is appropriate when one considers his Methodist/Anglican roots. Certainly he has ranged widely and been influenced by those he has come into contact with (Roman Catholics and Mennonites etc…), but perhaps there is a reason he finds himself at home among Methodists and Episcopalians.

In the occasional nature of his theology, one can also see the sense in which it is practical (one of the reasons he is not taken seriously by some academic theologians). Hauerwas’ writing serves, at least in my humble opinion, as a bridge between academic theology and practical theology without fitting squarely in either place. His work is too academic to be considered “practical” by some, and it is too “practical” to be considered sufficiently academic by others. But what he is doing is providing a framework for engagement with the world on the gospel’s terms (at least as he sees them), and in that sense he is providing a great service to the Church.

In the end, it seems that the person leveling this particular criticism of Hauerwas is simply irritated about the fact that there are people within their Church (it seems they are Episcopalian–probably could’ve guessed :-p ) who criticize liberalism. In addition to destroying any possibility for self-criticism, the commentator seems to have totally missed the differences between the various ways we use the term “liberal” in our society and instead views that as interchangeable. So, Hauerwas shouldn’t be in a “liberal” Protestant body because he critiques “liberalism” and he certainly shouldn’t be attending an Episcopal Church where the parishioners tend to be the most “liberally educated” among the various church bodies. Of course, “Liberal Protestantism” when referring to the theological movement, such as those professors of the German State Church that cozied up to Hitler, overlaps but is not coterminous with “liberal protestant” when used to refer to the mainold-line Protestant churches which is not the same as what is meant by a “liberal education” and none of the above is the same as political “liberalism,” all of which seem confused by this criticism.

In the end, I think Jonathan Wilson offers the best and most balanced assessment of Hauerwas’ place in contemporary theology. I could go on in more detail and at greater length, but this post is already very late, and I want it out of my “drafts” section. Perhaps it will be worthwhile to some of you.

The Bishop of Durham turns one loose on human-animal hybrid embryo plan

Remember everyone, this man is going to be in Nashville on April 22nd at West End United Methodist. Bravo to him for this stand and clarion call.

Bishop condemns embryo study plan

The Bishop of Durham has attacked government plans which could allow scientists to create embryos combining human DNA and animal cells.

In his Easter Sunday message, given at Durham Cathedral, Rt Rev Tom Wright issued a rallying call to all faiths to object to the “1984-style” proposals.

He accused ministers of pushing through legislation from “a militantly atheist and secularist lobby.”

The Anglican bishop also criticised the treatment of some asylum seekers.

As pressure from religious leaders mounted on prime minister Gordon Brown to allow a free vote on the issue of embryo research in the Commons, Bishop Wright warned that society was in danger of learning nothing from the “dark tyrannies” of the last century.

He told his congregation: “Our present government has been pushing through, hard and fast, legislation that comes from a militantly atheist and secularist lobby.

“In this 1984-style world, we create our own utopia by our own efforts, particularly our science and technology.

“The irony is that this secular utopianism is based on a belief in an unstoppable human ability to make a better world, while at the same time it believes that we have the right to kill unborn children and surplus old people, and to play games with the humanity of those in between.

“Gender-bending was so last century; we now do species-bending.

“It shouldn’t just be Roman Catholics who are objecting. It ought to be Anglicans and Presbyterians and Baptists and Russian Orthodox and Pentecostals and all other Christians, and Jews and Muslims as well.”

{Read it all}

Maureen L. Condic: Getting Stem Cells Right

The February 2008 issue of First Things is now available online to non-subscribers. One of the most interesting pieces is that of Maureen Condic regarding recent breakthroughs in stem cell research. No one can doubt the importance of stem cells in medical research, or the promise they hold, however, there have been a number of intense ethical dilemmas regarding their use, parrticularly the use of embryonic stem cells. Now, however, there seems to be some movement from a scientific front that may make the debate moot.

A true, no-cost resolution of a conflict, where the interests of all parties are served without compromise, is an exceedingly rare thing. Yet just such an unlikely resolution may be in hand for one of the most acrimonious conflicts of recent times: the debate over human embryonic stem cells.

Research groups in Japan and the United States have shown that ordinary human skin cells can be converted to stem cells with all the important properties of human embryonic stem cells by a process termed direct reprogramming. Like embryonic stem cells, reprogrammed cells are pluripotent, able to generate all the cells of the body, and so they have been named induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs). Unlike human embryonic stem cells, however, IPSCs are genetically identical to patients and are generated without destroying human embryos or using either human or animal eggs.

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I knew I liked this guy…

Check out this quote from St. John Chrysostom:

We must not mind insulting men, if by respecting them we offend God. — St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople and Church Father (349–407)

Six Books on the Priesthood

{HT: Preaching Today for pointing me toward this quote and book}

Burke Lecturship: Stanley Hauerwas on Bonhoeffer and Truth in Politics

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is well known for his heroic opposition to the Nazis. Dr. Hauerwas’ lecture examines Bonhoeffer’s understanding of lying and why it’s approporiate to hold politics to a higher standard of truthful speech. This relationship between truth and politics is a particular challenge for democratic regimes. Series: Burke Lectureship on Religion & Society.

I love Hauerwas’ writing and appreciate the questions he raises even when I disagree with him. Probably more than any living Christian thinker his work has affected the way I think about contemporary issues, and I particularly appreciate his recent works on Bonhoeffer. I recommend this lecture, but as always with Hauerwas, watch for the salty language.

My favorite point made in the lecture is when Hauerwas explains Bonhoeffer’s view of truth by giving the example of a school boy called in front of the class and asked by the teacher whether his father comes home drunk every night. The child then determines to say “no” even though it is a fact that his father does come home drunk every night. In an ideal world the child would be able to answer the question while satisfying the demands of truth which pull him from the direction of his family and the authority of the school, personified by the teacher. However, because the world is not perfect and the child tells a lie–and Bonhoeffer would say it was a lie–the child is forced to honor a greater truth, i.e. the familial bond. As a result of asking an unfair question in an unfair way, the guilt for the lie falls not upon the child who speaks it, but upon the adult who wrongly put him in such an untenable situation. But one must recognize the statement as a lie in order to assign guilt properly. Enjoy.

I also highly recommend this collection of Hauerwas’ essays, dealing with and inspired by Bonhoeffer:

{HT: Inhabitatio Dei}

An Oldie but a Goodie: Phil Turner on Unworkable Theology

Matt over at Religiocity points our attention to this commentary from Phil Turner on the Unworkable theology of mainline Protestantism (especially the Episcopal Church):

It is increasingly difficult to escape the fact that mainline Protestantism is in a state of disintegra­tion. As attendance declines, internal divisions increase. Take, for instance, the situation of the Epis­copal Church in the United States. The Episcopal Church’s problem is far more theological than it is moral – a theological poverty that is truly monumen­tal and that stands behind the moral missteps recently taken by its governing bodies.

Every denomination has its theological articles and books of theology, its liturgies and confessional statements. Nonetheless, the contents of these documents do not necessarily control what we might call the “working theology” of a church. To find the working theology of a church one must review the resolutions passed at official gatherings and listen to what clergy say Sunday by Sunday from the pulpit. One must lis­ten to the conversations that occur at clergy gather­ings–and hear the advice clergy give troubled parishioners. The working theology of a church is, in short, best determined by becoming what social anthropol­ogists call a “participant observer.”

For thirty-five years, I have been such a participant observer in the Episcopal Church. After ten years as a missionary in Uganda, I returned to this country and began graduate work in Christian Ethics with Paul Ramsey at Princeton University. Three years later I took up a post at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest. Full of excitement, I listened to my first Student sermon – only to be taken aback by its vacuity. The student began with the wonderful ques­tion, “What is the Christian Gospel?” But his answer, through the course of an entire sermon, was merely: “God is love. God loves us. We, therefore, ought to love one another.” I waited in vain for some word about the saving power of Christ’s cross or the declara­tion of God’s victory in Christ’s resurrection. I waited in vain for a promise of the Holy Spirit. I waited in vain also for an admonition to wait patiently and faithfully for the Lord’s return. I waited in vain for a call to repentance and amendment of life in accord with the pattern of Christ’s life.

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I really appreciate Matt’s take on this, and invite you to read his post as well. At least he provides a bit of hopefulness.

Archbishop Rowan Williams: Britain's abortion debate lacks a moral dimension

Very interesting to read this in light of the Charles Gore piece I posted earlier. Hat tip to Kendall.

Most of those who voted for the 1967 Abortion Act did so in the clear belief that they were making provision for extreme and tragic situations: conception as a result of rape, foetal or perinatal complications threatening a mother’s life. Forty years on, many of these same people have expressed their dismay at what has happened. As some of the issues are reopened in connection with the proposed legislation on embryo research, it is important to think about where this unease comes from and whether it has any lessons for us now.

Many supporters of the 1967 Act started from a strong sense of taking for granted the wrongness of ending an unborn life. What people might now call their ‘default position’ was still that abortion was a profoundly undesirable thing and that a universal presumption of care for the foetus from the moment of conception was the norm.But the rapidly spiralling statistics – nearly 200,000 abortions a year in England and Wales – tell their own story. We are not now dealing with a relatively small number of extreme cases (and clinical advances have in fact reduced the number of strictly medical dilemmas envisaged in 1967 act’s supporters). When we hear, as in a recent survey reported in the Lancet, that one-third of pregnancies in Europe end in abortion, we may well ask what has happened.

Recent discussion on making it simpler for women to administer abortion-inducing drugs at home underlines the growing belief that abortion is essentially a matter of individual decision and not the kind of major moral choice that should involve a sharing of perspective and judgment. And that necessarily means that certain presumptions have changed. Not only has there been an obvious weakening of the feeling that abortion is a last resort; the development of embryo research has brought with it the hint of a more instrumental approach to the human organism in its earliest days.

{Read it all}

The Hand of Welcome: Hope in a Contraceptive Culture

I’m working on a new post to reflect specifically on some of the issues I think our current approach (or lack of approach) to contraception raise, but I thought it would be helpful if I directed attention to this paper which lays out some of my primary thinking on this subject.

open handsThe problem arises when people begin to feel such a sense of security is the natural state of humanity, when in reality the natural state of humanity, and the state in which the majority of humans still live, is one of powerlessness. Rowan Williams rightly points out that it is through the pursuit of unassailable security that horrible injustices are perpetrated; as he states:

“the more we seek—individually, socially, and nationally—to protect ourselves at all costs from intrusion, injury, and loss, the more we tolerate a public rhetoric incapable of affirming our mortal uncertainties, errors, and insecurities, the more we stand under Ezekiel’s judgment for ‘abominable deeds’—the offering of fleshly persons on the altar of stone.”1

The part of our nature that seeks to control events and destroy or submerge any evidence of weakness—to sacrifice on an altar of stone—can be seen as an aspect of the spirit of rebellion and pride. Just as the first instance of this sin was closely linked to shame and fear, so too does fear play an important role in the desire to bury all evidence of weakness. Indeed, such a desire can be seen as a sort of spiritual backlash to the effects of the fall; resentful of the consequences of our sin we have two options: one, reconciliation with God, leads to life. The other, the further election of self, leads ever more down the path of decay and death. This spirit of rebellion takes many forms and the policies that combat or are animated by it cut across the political spectrum and stands in stark contrast to the spirit of the Gospels, the spirit of liberation and life, through which we are truly unable to find a cure for our restless souls and assurance even in our weakness.

The abuse of persons by others because their weakness serves as a reminder of our own powerlessness is seen through all stages and states of life. It begins in our own day with a devaluing of prenatal life and touches multiple aspects of our society. That this devaluing touches so many aspects of our society is unsurprising given that a rejection of children reflects a rejection of the future and hope—a society that rejects or marginalizes children is a society that is existing in a state of spiritual despair. Such practices exhibit tendencies that become more accentuated at other stages of human development.

Sometimes it is hard to welcome children. As Jeremy Taylor observed in the seventeenth century “Poor men are not so fond of children . . .”2 Yet its not so much that children are hard to welcome as it is that we’ve come to the position of conceiving our entire lives without the interruption of children, and have medicated them appropriately. As Amy Laura Hall has commented, many North Americans simply don’t desire the interruptions that children inevitably create. A rather pathetic indication of this is found in her statement that presently “the average father in [her] social class spends twice as much time each evening watching television as listening to his children.”3 Hall has written extensively on issues surrounding the welcome our culture shows—or does not show—children. By highlighting problematic assumptions underlying the pursuit of new medical and reproductive technologies, Hall hopes to demonstrate that the type of welcome we offer to the helpless and dependant infant will condition the welcome we offer to others whose limitations lay claims upon us. Other commentators have observed that children impinge on the vision of what Christian counselor Charles Taylor has called the companionship model of marriage that seems to have become the primary model in our society. As Ragan Sutterfield observes:

Children, undoubtedly, often keep one from doing what one may want to do. With children, travel is limited and more complex. Schedules become more regular and less spontaneous. Time and attention must be concentrated on activities outside of our list of wants and goals. Children interrupt the ideal modern marriage in which both partners want the same things and share the same goals. In short, children inevitably break the modern ideal of shared selfishness.4

In the end, the failure to recognize children as a blessing and receive them as such merely sets the stage for further abuses.

But the importance of the kind of welcome we offer to children does not begin or end with the question of simply welcoming their births. In Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement Rowan Williams builds upon the theme that a disordered sexuality is one that refuses to recognize the dangers inherent in human relationships—relationships which by definition include opening oneself up to rejection and emotional pain—and is to refuse participation in reality and to objectify other people by seeking pleasure without the attendant risk. By extending a similar analysis to issues surrounding children, Williams offers a deep critique of the manner in which our advertising culture targets children in a manner that limits their growth and understanding.5

According to Williams children within western society, being consumers, are economic subjects; by extension they are also sexual subjects. The fluidity of this barrier—if there is one–testifies to the extent sexuality is seen as a sort of currency. According to Williams the effect of the advertising culture is to shape children into pseudo-adults lacking understanding of the consequences of their choices. The rapid social aging engendered by the loss of free space in which to master appropriate choice-making results in developmentally disadvantaged or disabled children; these consequences aren’t limited to children however:

In this context—but also in many that are supposedly more ‘privileged’—the effect of blurring the boundaries of childhood and limiting the choices of adults is a situation in which adults revert to child-like behavior, uncommitted and fantasy-driven, and children and adults can come to see themselves as rivals in a single area of competition. Sexually, socially, economically, the child may seem to be bidding for the same goods, and the difference between a child’s and an adult’s desires is not grasped.6

This situation is perpetuated by the culture of scarcity, in which even the wealthy are conditioned to feel as though they lack something. Because children are seen as competitors for scarce resources we have created a contraceptive culture that cannot conceive of children as an intrinsic blessing. So internalized have our relations become that a child’s worth—indeed anyone’s worth—is simply a function of how much “I” value them—the statement becomes “how wonderful to have a wanted child” rather than “you must be so thankful for your child.”

{Read it all}


  1. Rowan Williams, “Hearts of Flesh,” in A Ray of Darkness, ed. Rowan Williams (Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 1995), 35-36. []
  2. Taylor, 261 []
  3. Amy Laura Hall, “Naming the Risen Lord: Embodied Discipleship and Masculinity,” in The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics, ed. Stanley Hauerwas and Samuel Wells (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 93. []
  4. Ragan Sutterfield, Weddings and Wrong Choices [Internet] (The New Pantagruel, Vol. 1.2 Spring 2004 [cited); available from http://www.newpantagruel.com/issues/1.2/weddings_and_wrong_choices.php. []
  5. This argument is discernible in much of Williams’ writing on marriage, sexuality and the body, but is perhaps most noticeable in his essay “The Body’s Grace” and in his homily “Unveiled Faces” in A Ray of Darkness. []
  6. Rowan Williams, Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement (New York: T&T Clark, 2000), 28-29. []

Bishop Charles Gore: Lambeth on Contraceptives

I found the following at Project Canterbury and I post it for your consideration:

Lambeth on Contraceptives
By Charles Gore, D.D., D.C.L., LL. D.
Bishop of Oxford
London: Mowbray, 1930, 30 pp


§ I
The Resolution 15 of the Lambeth Conference
SOME years ago I published a pamphlet on The Prevention of Conception, which has been quite recently reprinted. I had hoped that I might now remain silent on the subject, but the recent action of the Lambeth Conference, giving a restricted sanction to the use of preventives of conception, constrains me to publish a reasoned protest against what seems to me to be a disastrous abandonment of the position that the Conference of 1920 took up. I quote the Resolution (68) of 1920:

The Conference, while declining to lay down rules which will meet the needs of every abnormal case, regards with grave concern the spread in modern society of theories and practices hostile to the family. We utter an emphatic warning against the use of unnatural means for the avoidance of conception, together with the grave dangers—physical, moral, and religious—thereby incurred, and against the evils with which the extension of such use threatens the race. In opposition to the teaching which, under the name of science and religion, encourages married people in the deliberate cultivation of sexual union as an end in itself, we steadfastly uphold what must always be regarded as the governing considerations of Christian marriage. One is the primary purpose for which marriage exists—namely the continuation of the race through the gift and heritage of children; the other is the paramount importance in married life of deliberate and thoughtful self-control. We desire solemnly to commend what we have said to Christian people and to all who will hear.

Here we have a refusal to go into detail about abnormal ‘hard cases,’ but a quite general condemnation of contraceptive methods. The recent Conference, on the contrary, has given a restricted approval of them. To be quite fair we will analyse the Resolutions 13—18. Resolutions 13 and 14 are on the lines of the latter part of the pronouncement of the earlier Conference, emphasizing the dignity and glory of parenthood and the necessity of self-control within marriage. Resolution 16 expresses abhorrence of the crime of abortion. Resolution 17 repudiates the idea that unsatisfactory economic and social conditions can be met by the control of conception. Resolution 18 condemns fornication accompanied by the use of some contraceptive as no less sinful than without such accompaniment. It also demands legislation forbidding the exposure for sale and advertisement of contraceptives. But Resolution 15 (carried, it is noted, by a majority of 193 votes over 67, which would seem to imply that there must have been some forty bishops who did not vote), which contemplates cases where ‘there is a clearly felt obligation to limit or avoid parenthood,’ while giving the preference to the self-discipline and self-control which makes abstinence from intercourse possible, and recording the ‘strong condemnation’ by the Conference ‘of the use of methods of conception-control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience,’ yet admits the legitimacy of these methods ‘where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence.’

This is no doubt a restricted admission, but it is a definite withdrawal of the quite general condemnation expressed in the Resolution of 1920, and I fear it will be the only part of the contribution of the recent Conference to the question of sexual relations which will be seriously effective. The classes of persons aimed at in Resolutions 13, 14, 16, and 18 are not those which pay any attention to what the Church says. The same must be said of the worldly-minded who use contraceptives from motives of selfishness, luxury, and convenience: such people know quite well that they are disregarding ‘the parsons,’ and have no intention of listening to them. But there is a large class which cannot brace itself to ignore the voice of the Church. They have been anxiously waiting to hear what the bishops will say. No doubt they feel that their cases are ‘hard cases.’ In different ways we are all apt to feel that. They think that they have a morally sound reason for avoiding parenthood, and that they cannot practise abstinence. Now they learn that a representative assembly of the chief authorities of the Anglican Communion has ‘removed the taboo’ on contraceptive methods, and no doubt their scruples will in many cases be silenced and the easier course taken.

I observe that the Bishop of London says that he agrees with the conclusion of another bishop who, ‘reading the resolutions as a whole, thinks the balance appears quite definitely on the side of strictness.’ I fear that this is practically the exact opposite of the truth. I think the clause which sanctions certain methods as a ‘regrettable necessity’ in certain cases (to use the bishop’s expression) is the only clause which is likely to have any considerable effect: and I cannot doubt that that effect will be disastrous.

{read it all}

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