In case you've not heard elsewhere, the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles are getting married in April. They will have a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle, followed by a time of prayer, led by the Archbishop of Canturbury. When Charles becomes king, she will be known as "Princess Consort" rather than as Queen.
Plenty has already been said and I'm sure will be said about the couple, their romantic history and the marriage. What I find particularly interesting is the role being played by the Church of England in all of this. The Anglican communion is already grappling with the issue of homosexuality among the clergy. The previous Archbishop of Canturbury made it clear that he opposed this union, stating that a divorced person could not legitimately remarry until the death of the other spouse. He (and many others) argued that while Jesus called us to love and forgive, he also forbade taking more than one spouse, and that divorce and remarriage was exactly that.
Given his willingness to officiate at a prayer ceremony following the marriage, it is clear that the present Archbishop does not oppose the union as strongly, but is still unwilling to give the official sanction. (Note: Diana, Princess of Wales is dead, but Andrew Parker-Bowles is still alive.) It is my understanding that he is opposed to homosexual clergy, whether celibate or not. This is certainly not a dull time to be a part of the Anglican communion.
I've already seen eight different lists of possible candidates to replace Pope John Paul II. Inevitably, such lists include speculations as to how the Roman Catholic church mght change under a new pope. One list quietly pointed out that Americans are a single-digit percentage of the world's Catholics. The next pontiff, said the author, would probably not have significant ties to America, as the sexual abuse lawsuits and perception of moral laxity do not impress. Truly not a dull time to be a Roman Catholic, either.
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, the preacher asked all of us to set aside our differences for a moment. He observed that each of us knows the arguments of those with whom we disagree. Yes, these differences are important, and we should work with them and through them. Yet as we do this, he asked us to pray for mutual understanding, mutual forgiveness, mutual compassion and mutual patience. Christ called us to love each other, meaning everyone. He loved the sinners as much as he loved the disciples. I deeply hope and believe that all of these challenges can be met, if we remember to bring that love with us.
Words Written: took lots of notes
Lessons Graded: six