NewsStand 6 - 12 November
Australia's Anglicans invited to participate in national survey on family violence; how faith is likely to be central to Joe Biden's Presidency; shifting priorities for US Evangelicals in Republican politics; Archbishop of Canterbury links sacrifices in war with those during pandemic at Armistice Day service; a landmark Vatican report on sexual abuse and a disgraced cardinal; and more
November 12 2020
November TMA is online now here. The print editions of November and December TMA will be posted out to arrive by the second Sunday of each month, as is customary for what are usually our Synod and Christmas editions respectively.
By a five to one majority, the Appellate Tribunal, the Australian Anglican Church’s highest court, has effectively cleared the way for the liturgical blessing of same-sex civil marriages.
A national study is underway into family violence, with Anglicans across the country being asked to participate. This is the first national research into family violence within faith communities. Announced last year, the research has just begun utilising NCLS Research, which has established a confidential survey site for those who have current or previous connections with Anglican churches.
For only the second time in US history, a Roman Catholic will occupy the White House when Joe Biden is sworn in as the country’s 46th President. A man of profound faith, he has pledged to restore the “soul of the nation” after four years of rancour. Biden’s Catholicism is at the core of his life and is likely to shape the way he governs as president.
There will be many Christians disappointed with the likely result of the US presidential election, given the high level of support for President Donald Trump from White Evangelicals and Catholics, according to the National Exit Poll. But one group is even more distressed – those who claim to be prophets and who prophesied a Trump victory.
White evangelicals were not always a Republican auxiliary in US politics. They flocked to the Republican Party in the last decades of the 20th century and into the new millennium and remain the single largest religious constituency in the Republican Party today. But things are changing -- some feel uncomfortable that religion now takes second place to partisanship.
The culmination of what is thought to be the largest research and consultation project into identity and sexuality carried out by a Christian church has been published by the Church of England. Living in Love and Faith (LLF) is a collection of Christian teaching resources to help C of E parishioners address issues of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. It does not change the teaching or doctrine of the Church of England, but instead is designed to help church members discuss the issues which have led to serious disagreements within the Anglican Communion.
Following the news of the death of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the ABC revisits one of his contributions: his reflections on humility. For Rabbi Sacks: “Humility … is more than just a virtue: it is a form of perception, a language in which the ‘I’ is silent so that I can hear the ‘Thou’ — the unspoken call beneath human speech, the Divine whisper within all that moves, the voice of otherness that calls me to redeem its loneliness with the touch of love.”
Sacrifice comes not only in war, but is “the virtue that smooths the rough roads over which our societies travel”, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said as he paid tribute to those “unnamed and unclaimed except by God” who are commemorated by the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The socially distanced Armistice Day service at Westminster Abbey, marking the centenary to the day of the burial of the Unknown Warrior there, was by invitation only, but the service was streamed live by the BBC. Archbishop Welby said: “This year people have put aside all they hold dear. We may not know what they have suffered or given up. They may be anonymous, but their actions are glorious.”
As the UK goes back into lockdown, Church of England Bishop Brian Castle says the Government has simply not grasped the reality that communal worship, especially the Eucharist, feeds those who hunger for it just as foodbanks feed those in need. "The Government also does not appear to have taken into account the well-documented benefits of gathering for worship on mental and spiritual well-being," he writes in Church Times. "... It would be unreasonable to suggest that the Government is deliberately setting out to undermine people’s human rights, even though that is what it is doing, but the ramifications of its action are chilling."
An unprecedented Vatican internal investigation has found that Pope John Paul II knew about and overlooked sexual misconduct claims against former Cardinal Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, instead choosing to facilitate the rise of the American prelate who would be defrocked and disgraced two decades later. The Washington Post says the Vatican's report amounts to a stunning play-by-play of the kind of systemic failure that the Catholic Church normally keeps under wraps, describing how McCarrick amassed power and prestige in the face of rumours, and sometimes written evidence, of his sexual misconduct with seminarians, priests and teenage boys.