Monday, 31 January 2011

Ordinariate - A personal viewpoint

I have read many insightful blogs on the subject in the last few weeks, and  feel compelled to write my piece. If it is not completely obvious by now, I am no theologian. I could laugh at the absurdity of the situation (and have) but I have also shed a tear. This is all a bit too close to home for me you see...

In 1978 a young Roman Catholic priest went to his bishop with a dilemma, or rather a decision in this case. He had met a woman whom he knew to be his soul mate, and so not wishing to break his ordination vows he asked to leave the priesthood so that he may be free to marry her. It was an agonising decision, he had felt a strong and persistent calling to the priesthood since childhood and had angered his mother when he followed God's call, and now he was to give it all away for a woman who had captured his heart.

The man was encouraged to attend a specific retreat centre which helped priests who were 'wayward' in all sorts of ways, and was made to feel as if he was committing a grave and dire sin by falling in love with this woman. He refused the retreat and left with a letter from his Bishop assuring him that neither he nor his fiancee (also a practising Roman Catholic) would be welcome in any RC church in his diocese and beyond. The man felt deeply hurt and saddened, but after they were married, he was encouraged by friends to try a church which would welcome them and be a catholic home within the Church of England. It was during this time that their children were born and that the man felt that he still had such a calling from God to ordained ministry that he wished to serve Him in the Church of England.

This couple are my parents. That committed and sincere priest my late Father who served 20 years in the priesthood and is a priest forever.

Dad had a peer in the RC priesthood. A person he held dear, who committed suicide after being treated in the same sort of centre that my Dad was recommended to attend. Falling in love is apparently a 'sexual problem' which needs 'treatment' and the treatment this man (whom I will not name) received led to his depression and subsequent suicide.

So you can see why I find it very difficult to accept that the Roman Catholic church have received with open arms priests who are married, whilst continuing to deny priests of Rome the opportunity to marry, should they so wish.

I feel that celibacy can be a great tool and benefit for those who feel truly called to it. However I do not believe that to be a priest in God's church one needs to be celibate or male for that matter! (That's a whole other blog post, although interesting to note that my Dad was in favour of the ordination of women.)

For me this is the greatest absurdity in a whole heap of absurdity.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Are you taking the mickey?

I'm into banter, I like good hearted friendly teasing, I relish the opportunity to find a joke! That's me.

When I was a child I was so insecure that the accusation 'you can't take a joke' was often levelled at me, along with being reprimanded for 'smart' remarks. Not a good combination. I learned to give as good as I get and am quite happy to be the butt of friend's joke as long as they know they will receive the same treatment, anyone who knows me will testify that I do just that! The longer you have known me the more ammunition you have stored!

It is a sign of friendship for me, a good-natured ribbing, I only tease when I am on safe ground, when I know the person well enough that I can be sure it will be taken well, and when the person concerned knows me we enough to recognise the joke. I make witty (or at least they amuse me) asides and often my humour is self-depracating, and when I use the latter I am not looking for sympathy - just a giggle.

I tend to be drawn to that kind of person, one who can take a joke and return it ten-fold. They become my closest friends - you know who you are... This kind of ability not to take oneself too seriously is an amazing thing as far as I am concerned, and understandably only shared within the closeness of friendship, it makes a person vulnerable.

When I am cross or disapproving, I try not to speak at all. There will be no sarcasm because once I have started I can't stop and it will hurt. If I get on with a person and understand them and that feeling is mutual then the jokes are shared as naturally as the rest of the conversation. If this is not the case I am as clear as I can be, there is no room for humourous asides which may be misconstrued or only funny to one party.

You see, the thing is, my kind of humour has to be shared through mutual respect. Otherwise witty becomes rude, teasing becomes bullying, and people become hurt and that is in no way funny.

NB:Many thanks to Dave Walker for the use of the Cartoon :-)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

What's in a name?

I have finally convinced my son to sign his thankyou letters today, we are a bit late but it is quite stressful as this whole learning to write lark is proving tricky for my Little Bear and he will avoid it at all costs.

Anyway, whilst signing his name under duress for the seventh time, the young one turned and saith unto me:

"Mummy, did my Tummy Mummy choose my name?"

I responded:

"Yes Little Bear, Tummy Mummy gave you all three of your names and Mummy and Daddy gave you our last name when you came into our family." 

He nodded solemnly then turned and saith unto me:

"Can I have another sweet?"  

This little interlude is just one of a few recent chats about his adoption which we have shared with Little Bear. All the conversations were short and sweet and all instigated by a question from Little Bear himself. It feels the natural and organic way to talk about his history with him.

It also lead me on to pondering the question I have used for my title, what's in a name?

When I was conceived my Dad knew I was a girl. He was so convinced he chose me name and addressed me buy it when I was still in the womb, singing a little ditty he had made up based on it. He would not be swayed and refused to discuss any other choices. When the midwife announced me arrival he answered solemnly "I know". He had no earthly idea, he just had this conviction.

When my brother arrived my parents decided on a particular choice of Christian and middle names. Dad registered him alone, and the story is that he was unsure of the spelling and so he chose two completely different names. My Dad's names. These had been in my Dad's family for generations and so forgive me if I doubt there was much genuine error in the mistake!

I had my children's names decided when I was about 14 years old. A boy would be called by my father and brother's names (despite not keeping the same surname) because my brother said he wouldn't name a child of his the same. A girl would have been called Louisa after a much loved great Aunt who lived with us for a time in childhood.

These days there are all sorts of names floating around. Traditional names, traditional names with strange spellings, relatively modern derivatives of traditional names, and these also come with strange spellings, surnames now used as Christian names, and of course because of the vibrant mix of culture and ethnicity in this country we also have names which are familiar and traditional in some countries which are becoming familiar and traditional in the United Kingdom. I myself have a first name which reflects my parent's cultural heritage despite being myself born in England.

I am glad that I didn't have the task of naming my son, the name his birth mother choose fits him beautifully. I also think it is such a responsibility, giving a person the first outward strand of their identity. I know of two adults who in their thirties have changed their first names by deed poll for their own reasons, neither had outlandish given names but are comfortable with the change.

Are you happy with your name? In this picture I look as if I am!