Saturday, February 03, 2007

Strange bedfellows (so to speak)

Orange Lodge supports Catholics:

The trend [of "foes within Christianity and even within the realm of traditional religion . . . beginning to recognize the threat to religious freedom being imposed by the growing intolerance for traditional morality"] could not be more clearly illustrated than with the news this week that the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, traditionally known for its mortal conflict with the Catholic Church, has officially backed Catholic leadership on the question of homosexual adoption.

The UK government has informed the Catholic Church in the UK that it will not receive an exemption from Sexual Orientation Regulations which would force the Catholic Church to permit homosexual adoption. Official Catholic teaching states that homosexual adoption does "violence" to children since they would be placed in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.

Ian Wilson, the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, announced publicly this week the Lodge's support in the matter for the head of the Catholic Church of England and Wales, Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor. "There has to be more tolerance of the views of people of faith, and that includes the Cardinal," Wilson told The Scotsman. "Broadly speaking, the Lodge would take an orthodox, traditional Christian view of this - we see the family as a man and a woman."

But wait! That's not all!:

The leaders of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, supported the Catholic position in a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Also this week, Britain's Muslim Council the leading UK body representing Islam, issued a statement saying the group "fully supports the principled stand taken by the leaders of the Catholic and Anglican Churches."

The UK's Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, regarded as Judaism's highest authority in the UK, waded into the fray as well. Speaking of the new law he spoke of the need for respect for religion. "Jewish law is unequivocally committed," he said, "to the principle of marriage and the family: the stable association of husband, wife and child. This is at the very core of Jewish spirituality and cannot be compromised."

Well, at the very least, maybe now I should quit teasing my husband (who's half-Scots and 1/8th Ulsterite, with Orangemen in the "closet") for his "Orange" background - even though he was raised in a nice Catholic family and is an exemplary Catholic himself. P. J. O'Rourke said in "Parliament of Whores" that unintended consequences is the one piece of legislation that is always passed - this is definitely a pleasant, and unlooked for, consequence of the Church being backed into a corner by an areligious, or even antireligious, government.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Meg, I was going to comment on Molly Ivins, but this is more intruiguing. Maybe I'll get back to her later.

I personally am very pleased to see the Orange Lodge and the Catholic Church recognizing that their common ground is much more important than their differences.

Frankly, a lot of these conflicts are historical in nature and have very little purchase on the religious state of affairs in the modern world.

There are Protestants who still bring up the Inquisition as a charge against Catholicism even though it is patently obvious that this is a dimension that the Catholic Church left long ago in the wake of history.

Many of these historical conflicts really should be seen in this light. Speaking as someone who is a descendent of William of Orange, and has had involvement in Freemasonry, I can pretty authoritatively state that there is no longer any reason for there to be antagonism among Christians who find their homes in different organizations.

You know, in a way I thank God for the public school system even though today I condemn it. Because if it weren't for the many generations of us, both Catholic and Protestant, all growing up together and being best friends at school, it's possible that some of these old historic antagonisms would still have a resonance.

As so many have, I have wandered back and forth between Protestant and Catholic circles all my life, and I like the joke that some old comedienne used to make about small-town life. She said that her home town was so small that the Knights of Columbus and the Freemasons all knew each others' secret.

And although I'm not a big fan of Andrew Greeley, I do agree with him when he says in one of his novels that Protestants and Catholics are all very much the same, they just have different symbolism.

I can promise you that 99.99% of the Freemasons, Oddfellows, and Orange Lodge people are just good people, good citizens, and good Christians who like to spice up their lives with a little mystigoguery. Frankly, everybody can relax. Whatever reasons for the historic antagonism, it's all over and today we're pretty much on the same page.

--Greg in Dallas

2/05/2007 01:11:00 PM  

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