Defeat and Victory?     #pisky #anglican

Here in Dublin, we are continuing to see reaction to the Irish Constitutional Referendum on Same Sex Marriage.  The Vatican response came this morning.  Cardinal Parolin told reporters on the margins of a Centesimus Annus conference in the Vatican:  ‘I believe that we are talking here not just about a defeat for Christian principles but also about a defeat for humanity,” 

In my opinion, Fintan O’Toole is one of the best Irish journalists.  I’m looking forward to hearing him speak in Edinburgh next month.  I think he got close to the heart of what has happened in Ireland when he described it as a ‘victory for articulacy’.  He speaks of the ‘riveting eloquence of so many people ….  who spoke their hearts and minds on the airwaves and the doorsteps’.   

But he describes another kind of articulacy and says this: ‘What actually changed Ireland over the last two decades is hundreds of thousands of painful, stammered conversations that began with the dreaded words, “I have something to tell you.”  It’s all those moments of coming out around kitchen tables, tentative words punctuated by sobs and sighs, by cold silences and fearful hesitations.’

I was delighted to meet Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin last night.  For a long time now, he has been speaking uncomfortable truth to his own community.  He said that said the church needed to reconnect with young people to regain its traditional cultural standing and moral authority in Ireland.   ‘We [the church] have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities. We won’t begin again with a sense of renewal, with a sense of denial.   I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution.”

Thinking Anglicans gives the statement from the bishops of the Church of Ireland and a thoughtful contribution from Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin who is part of our meeting in Dublin

I’m with the articulacy which is tentative and expresses provisionality.  I heard some of it in our Cascade conversations – people speaking very different truths as they understand and experience them – speaking those truths in the presence of others who may not share them.  We didn’t expect people to give up their truth.  Just to share it and to listen to others.   That process was not about making decisions.  But it had a vital role in helping us to become the kind of church which can hold its diversity within a visible unity in Christ.