Questions on Ecumenism and Ordination

In the previous posting I alluded to the distinction between valid and licit orders. This is a Western distinction that doesn’t seem to be recognised by Orthodoxy. But it does seem that it must be more complex than that. I would be interested in any comments that might help clarify this.

I can only go off of what I have found in the OrthodoxWiki, otherwise in Wikipedia, and something posted by Fr John Matusiak on the OCA website. Orthodoxy seems to believe on the one hand that consecrations (and by implication ordinations) are only valid if done within Orthodoxy. However, some Orthodox jurisdictions receive Roman priests without re-ordination (though can you be said to “re-ordain” if there was never an ordination in the first place?), but rather by “vesting”. In those cases the receiving jurisdiction would have ipso facto recognised the valid/licit distinction.

But then comes the issue of ordinations from consecrations by episcopi vagantes (wandering bishops) recognised as valid but illicit by Rome. If Rome recognises validity of the ordination and Orthodoxy recognises the validity of Roman ordinations is it a matter of a=b and b=c, therefore a=c? Or does Orthodoxy make a distinction as to which Roman ordinations to recognise?

And then I know of a case of a Roman priest, who was later received as an Episcopal priest, who was received as an Orthodox layman into what is usually considered the most ecumenical of the patriarchates, later ordained as a deacon (and sometime thereafter as a priest). What’s up with that?

I would think that any Orthodox hierarch who recognises the validity of a Roman Eucharist would have to recognise the validity of Roman orders. Isn’t a sacrament a sacrament?

And this leads to other questions that I’ve been pondering, just because they are naturally associated with all this… If a Roman priest marries, he leaves the clerical state but cannot stop being a priest, because at least the Western view is once a priest always a priest. If he becomes a widower, he is eligible to renew his vows. If a Orthodox priest is ordained as a celibate, he cannot later marry. If Orthodoxy does not take the same view as Rome concerning the indelibility of the priesthood upon the soul, does a celibate Orthodox priest who marries lose his priesthood (not just his clerical state)? And if so, does Orthodoxy view Roman priests who have married in the same way, and thus re-ordain them through the orders if they enter Orthodoxy? In which case does Orthodoxy view ordination as a multiple sacrament like the Eucharist or Unction or even marriage, rather than as a solitary sacrament like baptism and chrismation?

Abortion and Depression

It may seem like stating the obvious, but The Times today has discovered that abortion exposes women to higher risk of depression.

The article begins:

WOMEN who have abortions are risking depression and other mental illness and should be told of the dangers, a group of leading doctors says today.

In a letter to The Times, 15 senior obstetricians and psychiatrists say that new evidence has uncovered a clear link between abortion and mental illness in women with no previous history of psychological problems.

Women who have had abortions have twice the level of psychological problems and three times the level of depression as women who have given birth or never been pregnant, they say.

Government Back Down

The Government has reversed its policy on forcing faith schools to open their doors to 25% children of another or no faith.

Education Secretary Alan “No-O-Levels” Johnson was so innudated with objections from various faith groups, he had to rethink the legislation. But the driving force behind the objections came from the Catholic Church. Headteachers of Catholic schools were already geared up to campaign against it and the Government which proposed it. Facing the anger of a large proportion of 2 million Catholic voters, Johnson decided to cut his legislative losses to avoid electoral ones.

He saved face by using a letter from the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham. The Archbishop said he would agree to the quota in any newly opened Catholic schools only after all demand for places for Catholic children had been met.

Turnabout is not Fair Play

It’s okay for Muslims to parade through the streets promoting hate and violence against Christians, but anyone suggesting an opposition to terrorism or to pro-Islamic policies may quickly find themselves on the wrong side of th the law.

In the small west Wales town of Aberporth, Gary Mathewson draped a sign over his garden fence that read, “Kill all Muslims who threaten us and our way of life. Enoch Powell was right.” (Enoch Powell was an MP who, in 1968, famously gave a speech against unrestricted immmigration.) Mathewson was arrested, not because any Muslim saw the sign (I doubt there is a single Muslim in Aberporth, or a married one for that matter), but because a retired Army officer saw it and feared a visit from Muslim extremists in retaliation.

Mathewson pleaded not guilty to a charge of religiously aggravated disorderly conduct. However, according to the Tivy-Side Advertiser, “Finding Mathewson guilty presiding magistrate Anne Rees said she and her colleagues felt the words on the banner were likely to cause someone distress, and they did not find it as reasonable.” He received a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £150 in costs.

At least James Scott go away without a conviction. Mr Scott was collecting signatures in favour of Commons Leader Jack Straw’s comments about women’s veils being a barrier to communication. To help make the point he was wearing a balaclava. Two women police officers told him to remove it and he refused – something that would have never been demanded of a Muslim woman in a hijab – so he was arrested.

Suffolk Police said the balaclava had upset members of the public. Seems they made Mr Scott’s point for him – though being policepeople they were probably clueless about this. He was released after questioning.

H/T to Laban Tall.

Running Hot and Cold

The NHS post code lottery doesn’t just extend to Scotland.

The Sunday Telegraph has revealted that the best way to avoid the reprecussions of NHS funding cuts is to live in an area represented by Labour in the House of Commons.

Thirty-four per cent of Tory and 37 per cent of Lib Dem seats in England and Wales have been affected by cuts that have been either announced or proposed. Only 14 per cent of Labour areas are affected. The cuts range from the closure of single wards to the axing of entire hospitals.

The findings follow news that Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, commissioned “heat maps” to show the potential political effects of proposed hospital closures, and figures showing that seven times as many cottage hospitals have closed or are under threat in Opposition-held areas than in Labour ones.

As you might imagine, niether the Tories nor the LibDems are particularly happy about these revelations.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said, “It’s bad enough that there are nationwide cuts to frontline NHS services, but it adds insult to injury that Labour are manipulating cuts to save their own political skin. Patients and healthcare professionals must come first, but Labour
can no longer be trusted to do this.”

Lib Dems’ health spokesman Steve Webb added, “The way the dice seem to fall is very suspicious. It would be outrageous if decisions about cuts and closures were manipulated for one party’s political advantage, but this, I believe, is what’s happening.”

So now the truth is out, will the Opposition press the advantage home? Surely, if played right, this could yield a Cabinet scalp – especially after Patricia Hewitt lost the support of the nurses back in April. Hewitt has been impervious to all the heat so far, but the revelation of the existence of her own heat map has got to bring the flame up just a bit higher.

Enemy of the Friend of the Earth

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more stupid…

The front page of the Mail on Sunday carries the story of Britain’s first recycling martyr. Even though Michael Reeves testified that rubbish collectors could have mixed up his rubbish and that he did not commit the heinous crime of putting a piece of paper in a bag designated for other rubbish, he now has a criminal record.

Now this isn’t one of those cases where the term “criminal record” is stretched a bit. It’s really real. A spokesman for Swansea Council plainly stated: “It was dealt with in the magistrates court which means Mr Reeves now has a criminal record.” It will go on any job application and he will have to have a special entry visa if he wants to visit the United States.

To make matters worse – as if they could be – Reeves had volunteered to take part in the recycling scheme. He could have put all his rubbish in one non-recycling bag for the bin men to pick up and toss on a landfill and he would have been much better off. But this wasn’t his first bad experience with the voluntary programme. He had already been threatened with legal action because once – once – he put his rubbish out a day early because he was going on holiday the next day.

I can just see the jobsworths at Swansea Council saying, “Who does this man think he is? Does he think we are going to tolerate a misplaced piece of paper after he once set the rubbish out a day early? What does he take us for? Idiots?”

Reeves may have the first conviction for something like this, but his was not the first prosecution. In July, Donna Challice was acquitted by magistrates in a prosecution brought Exeter City Council. She was accused of putting the wrong rubbish in a recycling bin. In that case, magistrates accepted her solicitor’s argument that there were no witnesses nor was there any oher evidence that show that she was actually responsible.

Welsh magistrates aren’t so easily fooled. By golly, if the Council says he did it, he must have done it. They wouldn’t be wasting the court’s time with a frivolous case now, would they? If people are so foolish as to sign up for a voluntary scheme, they must be made to pay! Pay, I say!

The War on Terror

From The Times:

A thug has electrocuted a male teacher with a 950,000-volt stun gun then broke his female colleague’s jaw outside the gates of a school in Bristol.

The attacker pounced on the male teacher who was leaving the grounds of Ashton Park School at lunchtime yesterday and shocked him with the illegal weapon.

He then punched the female teacher in the face, breaking her jaw, as she tried to help her injured colleague.

I don’t think I’ll be applying for a job at Ashton Park anytime soon. The assaults on teachers at my school this year haven’t been nearly so bad. A little blood, but no stun guns or broken bones that I know of. I think I’ll stay in the Shire, where it is (relatively) safe.

Losing Out in the Lottery

It’s the bone cancer post code lottery and the winner is…

Anyone living in Scotland. Velcade has been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland since 1994. It slows the advance of myeloma – cancer of bone marrow plasma cells – increasing life expectancy by up to six months.

However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) the drug rationing agency of the Government (sometimes confused with the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments in That Hideous Strength) has decided that English lives are not worth as much as Scottish lives.

I’m not suggesting that this has anything to do with the fact that much of the English Government is run by Scots, while none of the Scottish Executive is run by Englishmen. I’m not suggesting because the Prime Minister was born and educated in Scotland, and many of his cabinet, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer (and Prime Minister-in-waiting), the Home Secretary, the Defense Secretary, the Transportation Secretary, the Trade and Industry Secretary, the Culture, Media, and Sport Secretary, and the Lord Chancellor (who is the head of
the Judiciary in England and Wales, the speaker of the House of Lords, and the Constitutional Affairs Secretary) are Scots, that there is some sort of bias toward Scotland. It is a coincidence that 35% of the Cabinet are Scots and only 10% of the UK population is Scottish. And that even though Scotland has it’s own Finance Minister, Justice Minister (Home Office and in charge of the Judiciary), Cuture and Sport Minister, those ministries in London that only affect England and Wales are run by Scots. But I digress…

As noted in The Times, “Since June, NICE has refused to endorse five treatments that would extend the lives of people with bowel cancer, leukaemia and breast cancer, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Is it any wonder that Janice Wrigglesworth, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, who suffers from multiple myeloma, commented, “Are they saying a Scottish life is worth more than an English life? They are effectively saying to people with incurable diseases, ‘sit down in a darkened room and die’.”

As reported by the BBC,

A spokeswoman for Myeloma UK said the charity was taking legal advice over the ruling.

“This represents probably the single biggest setback in the history of the treatment of myeloma.”

She said the entire myeloma community, including Myeloma UK and the other charities involved in the appraisal, were devastated.

“Velcade is a proven and licensed treatment and, quite simply, no myeloma patient in the UK should die without having access to it.”