Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Boston Marriage

It would be remiss of me not to comment on the recent joyful wedding between The Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale (Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School) and The Rev Mally Lloyd (Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of MA), whose marriage was performed by Massachusetts Bishop Thomas Shaw at the Cathedral Church of St Paul in Boston.

From the EDS press release
At the marriage attended by close to 400 guests, Bishop Shaw commented: “God always rejoices when two people who love each other make a life long commitment in marriage to go deeper into the heart of God through each other. It’s a profound pleasure for me to celebrate with God and my friends, the marriage of Katherine and Mally.”
From the Bridgewater Patriot-Ledger:
The Rev. Lloyd said Monday night she hopes fellow Episcopalians and others won’t focus on her marriage as a gay ceremony, but instead see it as “a commitment and marriage like any other.”

“We are asking God’s blessing, and asking the community and our friends to bless our marriage,” she said.
Exactly: bless a marriage, not a "lesbian marriage". As Susan Russell puts it in her post about the event,
I believe the values that make up a marriage transcend the sexual orientation of the partners who vow to love, honor and cherish each other until death do they part. My partner and I don't pay lesbian taxes, take out lesbian trash, make a lesbian tithe to our church or fold lesbian laundry. Marriage is marriage. Period.
Meanwhile, the Bridgewater Patriot-Ledger also quotes other sensible voices,
“Same-sex marriages are not new in Massachusetts, and the marriage between two members of the clergy in the Episcopal Church also has a history,” … said [the dean of the Episcopal Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., the Rev. Mark Richardson].

“I am grateful that their life together can have this public recognition…."
Yes. Isn't that what a wedding is? Claiming the blessing, if you will, and the support of the public? I know we found that an amazing part of our wedding.

A lot of the gay-themed blogs picked it up too, although they may miss some of the nuance of church politics. Still, the fact that TEC has The Gay Bishop(s) and performs same sex marriages, is making a great witness to a community historically hurt by Christian faithful. What TEC does gets noticed, and provides tremendous evangelism.

Of course, not everyone is happy. AmericaBlog Gay, approving of this wedding of "high level Episcopal Priests", quoted a "Catholic response" from "Catholic Online;" I clicked over for the predictable outrage only to find that it was written by none other than David Virtue. (Is he Catholic now? Ah, no, just "the Voice for global orthodox Anglicanism [sic]." )

Not surprisingly, it drips with snide remarks. "Two Episcopal Lesbian Leaders 'Marry' in Boston" sneers his headline. Then with breathless distaste, he begins
In an act that will further alienate The Episcopal Church from the Global South and raise tensions for the Archbishop of Canterbury …The lesbian service "united" Episcopal Divinity School dean and president, the Very Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale and Mally Lloyd, Canon to the Ordinary…..However this action will only confirm in the minds of orthodox Anglicans around the world that the Episcopal Church has walked apart, snubbing its nose at Lambeth resolution 1:10, the Windsor Report and a Covenant designed to hold the Anglican Communion together.

It will also mean the Archbishop of Canterbury will not be permitted to yawn if and when the issue is raised at the Primates' meeting. It also further confirms why some eleven orthodox primates will not be attending the Dublin meeting called by Dr. Williams.
Do you really think anyone notices at this point, aside from David Virtue and his ilk? Does anyone think this will even come up? Marriage in Massachusetts between same sex partners has been legal for more than 6 years. Several Episcopal Dioceses have been performing marriages, where legal. Others are blessing unions and previously performed civil marriages. These aren't even the first gay priests to marry. There really is nothing new here. And why bother writing in the conservative Catholic press? The audience there already think that TEC is at best misled, and at worst, apostate or heretical. They don't care about the Anglican Communion. They don't even think a marriage performed outside of the RC church is technically a marriage. So why is David Virtue fulminating to this particular audience? Isn't it time he just got over it?

Meanwhile, we needn't be bothered by it. Instead, let's focus on the good news in this high-profile witness to inclusion. We send many hearty congratulations to the new brides, who have far more joyful things to think about. Fresh days of love accompany thy hearts!

As Susan Russell concludes,
Marriage equality is an increasing reality in this country and in this church and the significance of Saturday's wedding is in offering yet-another icon to the church, the communion and the world of the affirmation of the Good News of God's inclusive love made available to all. It is an opportunity for both celebration and evangelism.... it's good news for the diocese and for the church as we all work together to move beyond the "inclusion wars" and forward into God's future of love, justice and compassion.
Sing it!

Photo from here. You DID get the joke about Boston Marriage, right?


Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

IT, Virtueless Dave wrote the article for his own sight and the Catholics seem to have picked it up. It is actually one of his more benign pieces when it comes to GLBT issues. He is often much more vitriolic, so perhaps he knew this article would also get posted to the Catholic site and toned down his usual rhetoric regarding pan sexualist heretical clergy, etc, to abide by a stricter editorial policy.

So they ignored two single men abiding jointly in Boston?

I have never seen the Dean look so feminine in a photo!

JCF said...

So they ignored two single men abiding jointly in Boston?

Just the way they ignore those two single German men abiding jointly in Rome (Josef and Georg!)


From the Bounteous Bosom'd one's screed: " 'united' ". Is there NOTHING the Wingnut/Popoid/Fundies won't put scare-quotes on?!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

No doubt David Virtue will be pleased he is quoted/sorta-admired by the RC´s for trashing Episcopalian/Anglican ¨marriage¨ blessings--it´s so odd, isn´t it odd that another opportunity to smear love at Church is reshaped and becomes a juicy/mucky tid-bit that is something akin to sin, shame and disgrace? Meanwhile the Pope and the ABC attempt to save face by demonizing a HUGE segment of their very own clergy and flock? Or, better yet, ignore the whole business entirely as they kiss and make up!

IT said...

Well, I must say that (as we plan our blessing for February ) we have experienced nothing but love, welcome, and acceptance. So a pox on the mean man Virtue.