Responding to a demand from Anglicans who long have sought a way to join theTo which I reply, what other explanation would Ms. Campbell care to offer?
Catholic Church without abandoning their Anglican identity, the pope authorized
the creation of a new canonical structure that allows these converts to retain
some liturgical riches of their Anglican heritage while uniting with Rome.
The decision buoyed the spirits of many self-described Anglo-Catholics who feel
marginalized and betrayed by the Anglican Communion's willingness to change
age-old Christian teachings to suit contemporary sexual mores. Recent years
have seen fierce debates between Anglicans who support their church's
ordination of women priests, appointment of openly gay bishops and blessing of
same-sex marriages and those who see such innovations as inconsistent with
Scripture and 2,000 years of Christian tradition.
No sooner had the Vatican's decision been announced than critics began berating
Benedict as a sheep-stealer and the would-be Catholic converts as bigots.
Interpreting the announcement through the lens of contemporary sexual politics,
the vast majority of mainstream media commentaries on the subject suggested
that the only reason the Catholic Church would want these theologically
conservative Anglicans, and the only reason these Anglicans would swim the
Tiber, is because of a shared animus toward gays and women and a contempt for
progress and equality.
Let us look at it this way -- let us presume that those who are leaving the Anglican Communion truly view women and gays as fully equal to heterosexual men in the eyes of God, and are inclined to include them fully in the life of the church. In other words, let us presume they have no "shared animus." Rather, let us attribute their objection to ordaining women and gays to a love of tradition above all else, or to a belief that God has spoken, and has been heard and understood correctly and definitively for all time, as recorded by Scripture and as understood by church dogma over the past 2000 years.
While this may not translate perfectly as "contempt" for progress, it certainly implies a lack of belief in it. Further, it suggests that those who would cleave to Rome believe God has made it clear that there is something innately unworthy about women or gays, which precludes their full participation in the life of the church. It presumes that God's will has been enacted inerrantly for thousands of years (during which time, coincidentally, straight men have had an essentially unchallenged hold on power), and that no matter how excluded women or gays may feel, it is God's will that they feel so.
Again, perhaps we who celebrate the ordained ministry of women and gays are mistaken when we attribute conservative objection to a collective "animus" or "contempt." But how would Ms. Campbell choose to describe it? How else are we to understand a love of tradition over a willingness to question it, if by questioning it more people are allowed to not only feel, but actually be full members of the church of God? For all her offended huffing about the "heckling of the mob," how would Ms. Campbell choose to describe her beliefs?
I would posit, of course, that Ms. Campbell probably doesn't really think God likes gays (or, dare I say, women?) very much. I would guess, from her adherence to beliefs that exclude these people from ordained ministry, that she is perfectly happy to see them excluded. I am, of course, happy to let her believe what she likes. But I am also perfectly happy to see people who share her beliefs leave the church I love, because clearly their understanding of the love of God harmonizes poorly with mine.