Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Vatican cannot help itself

THE Vatican has ordered a Victorian bishop to withdraw an offer to let Anglicans ordain deacons in a Catholic church tomorrow because four of the seven are women.
Bendigo Catholics and Anglicans have both expressed sadness at the decision, which comes a month after Pope Benedict XVI told Anglicans they were welcome to become Catholics and keep their Anglican identity.
Sandhurst Bishop Joe Grech offered Bendigo Anglican Bishop Andrew Curnow use of the city's oldest Catholic church for the celebratory service because the Anglican cathedral is closed for repairs.
Bishop Grech said yesterday that he had checked widely before offering St Kilian's, and had the approval of the Papal Nuncio (ambassador), Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto.
But he was ordered to withdraw the offer by a Vatican department - he did not want to say which - after a Catholic complained to Rome about the planned service.
''It had wider ramifications, and the conclusion was it was better not to have it,'' Bishop Grech said.
''I was saddened, obviously. I was disappointed I couldn't help more, but there is tremendous rapport between us and the Anglicans. They know it's not a snub, it's the doctrine of the church.''
Sandhurst Vicar-General John White also said he was disappointed. ''We believe we have a very good working relationship with the Anglicans, and there was no way we were endorsing their theological stance for the ordination of women - it was a generous offer to help when they could not use their own facility.''

Local Catholics criticised the decision and apologised to Anglicans in letters to the Bendigo Advertiser. Beryl Rokesky wrote: ''I was ashamed to call myself a Catholic … Contrary to what we were taught in Catholic schools, Catholics aren't the only ones who will end up in heaven.''
Peter Bugden wrote that the decision was evidence that the Roman Curia was concerned with power and control, and that Christianity had been usurped by Churchianity.
Anglican Bishop Curnow is on retreat with the seven ordinands and could not be contacted.
From the Melbourne Age

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pray for a Church Dog

We are thankful that Izzie has been cleared of cancer but please pray for the surgery on her back on Friday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christ the King

Yesterday was a very special day at St James, King Street. After 8 years as Rector, Father Peter Kurti was farewelled. Despite my age, I have never before been in a parish for the departure of the Rector.
We had a combined service of Choral Eucharist and the church was packed as we will expect on Christmas Day but different because at Christmas we have many visitors while a lot of parishioners are away on vacation. I hope it will not be as hot at Christmas. The temperature in Sydney yesterday rose to 41'C (106'F) and it is still Spring. St James has a very high ceiling but no fans.

Fr Peter asked for donations to a village water scheme in the Philippines rather than a personal gift but he was still given a framed photo of himself on top of the church spire taken a few weeks ago (the copper of the spire is being replaced so it is surrounded by scaffolding).  He is supposed to have announced that after 8 years as Rector he finally felt on top of the job. He was also presented with a copy of the cross which tops the spire made out of the old copper. This is traditional but whereas those given to previous rectors were made from the copper removed in 1890, this one was made from the copper removed this year.

The warden making the farewell speech referred to Fr Peter's habit of beginning each sermon with a recent news item but moving onto the gospel and how that was sometimes a worry as the Prime Minister is occasionally in the congregation.  I am glad Kevin Rudd was not present yesterday as Fr Peter began with references to claims the Prime Minister has been less than open regarding the recent asylum seeker situation as a lead into the Gospel where Pilate asks about Truth.

The service ended with the parishioners accepting that Fr Peter has concluded his pastoral relationship and then he received a blessing from our assistant priest Fr John.
Fr Peter then removed his cope and laid it on the altar.  I do not know if this is usual but I felt very emotional at the symbolism.

Fr John is now Acting Rector until a new Rector is appointed. This is where I am very bitter.  We are supposed to be grateful that the bishop has allowed this. I admire Fr John immensely and he is a great asset to the parish. I have found him far more approachable than Fr Peter who is very reserved. Fr John would make a great Rector. However there is a problem in this 'holier than thou' diocese. Fr John's wife is divorced. Actually Bishop Forsythe has said he would otherwise have already been snapped up by one of the other Anglo-catholic parishes in the diocese as he would make an excellent Rector. I find the whole situation absurd.

We had great hymns of praise fitting the celebration of Christ the King.
'All hail the power of Jesus' name'
'The head that once was crowned with thorns'
'O worship the King all glorious above'
'Rejoice, the Lord is King'

However, despite my reservations about Choral Eucharist and the money the parish spends on a semi professional choir, I did enjoy the setting which was Mozart's Coronation Mass and have included the Agnus Dei.

I did not go to the farewell luncheon which followed but, rather than return home to a hot house, I took a ferry over to Manly. It was pleasant sitting on the deck of the ferry on the way over but I had to return on the inside and even next to a window it was still hot. There was no seabreeze at the beach either where it also reached 40'C and I had a lunch of calamari and chips. Even the airconditioning on the train home was struggling.
There were bushfires 9km to the north and 11 km south of me but none were threatening property. Fires much further west did threaten and one house was lost.
Finally today is much cooler with rain. It has been the hottest November on record but our conservative nitwit politicians deny climate change.

Even Dunedin is 29'C today but cooler tomorrow. I just wish I could sell my house and go.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


It has been a while since I described my Musical Activities. That was "Showboat' in the first half of 1991, the year when I had very little employment and no idea what my future would be.   After such a large production in the first half of the year, we took on the much easier 'Oklahoma' for the later part of the year. I was one of the Territory folks.  I did actually pluck up courage and audition for the role of 'Jud' without success.
I enjoyed being a cowboy, in fact I had all the necessary costume in my wardrobe. Here I am in the middle. The guy on my left, also named Brian, is still in the musical society.  He took a role in 'Sound of Music ' which I saw the Society put on two weeks ago.

I am wearing my leather vest in the finale in the second photo.

I cannot resist including the hunky, sexy, Hugh Jackman singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning'.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholics are better money managers

At least here in Sydney.
A letter in today's paper

Holy interest

With the recent success of the Catholic Super fund, I wonder whether the Anglicans might reconsider their investment strategy (''Back from the brink'', Money, November 11). Or would that be against their religion?

The article lists the percentage earnings of many of our Super Funds and how they have been recovering. The Catholic Super Fund is among the top 5.
Fortunately, having spent most of my working life in Catholic Schools, my retirement funds are with the Catholic Super Fund.  I am so grateful they are not being managed by the Sydney Diocese.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More on Bishop-Elect Kelvin Wright

In a comment to my previous post Rev Ivan Ackeroff directed me to a news item on Rev Kelvin's attitude to same-sex ordination.

Just before my first visit to Dunedin in November 2006, the Bishop of Dunedin, George Connor, had ordained to the diaconate a same-sex partnered man, Juan Kinnear. The local news was full of the debate. The Three Archbishops of New Zealand had opposed the ordination and there was plenty of criticism from certain sections of the New Zealand Anglican Community. It seemed to be mainly left to the then Dean of the Cathedral to support the ordination in the press.
Dean David Rice is now the Bishop of Waiapu ( centred on the city of Napier in the North Island) so his stand does not seem to have prevented his preferment.
There was loud opposition from the parish of St Matthew's which is located south of the Cathedral and is clearly evangelical. I wrote to the parish telling them I would not be choosing that parish when I moved to Dunedin. I am sure they were broken-hearted, they did not reply.

Apparently Rev Juan Kinnear was ordained a priest a year later with little if any press.
He is Honorary Priest assistant at the cathedral. I may be wrong but think he is an academic at the University of Otago. On my last visit to the cathedral in November 2008, at the Remembrance day service , he was in the clergy procession.

On my first visit in 2006 I chose an area of the city where I hoped to live. As mentioned the suburbs I have chosen are within the parish of St John's Roslyn.
I discovered the priest, Rev Kelvin Wright had a blog and I have been following it. He also uploads his recorded sermons but I have only listened to a few. In November 2008 I also worshipped at St John's and while Kelvin preached that day, a woman presided at the Eucharist.

I was not sure of Kelvin's attitude to same sex ordination but as he had not vocally dissented from the ordination of Juan Kinnear (and he had been Vicar-general of the diocese so presumably his views would have carried some weight)  and his blog showed him to be a moderate within the church, I felt he would at least be sympathetic. He has placed my blog on his blog roll and did comment at least once, so he was not horrified that an outspoken  gay man plans to move into his parish.

In the recent news article, responding to criticism from Juan Kinnear he is quoted
"From my perspective, I am not yet a bishop, have not yet had an opportunity to canvass the whole mind of our diocese on this matter, and would greatly welcome Juan's obviously well-researched opinions on this matter any time he wishes to meet with me and share them.
"Apart from that, I feel I have clearly stated my position and, at this point, do not have anything further to add."

It had previously been reported that he plans to stick to the church's policy, and observe the moratorium on the ordination of partnered gays and lesbians.
But he believed the policy "inevitably will change", as the views of New Zealand society changed.
"Social attitudes change.
I think the church will change its attitude too."

I decided to search Kelvin's archive of sermons especially those preached around the time of Juan's ordination and found on 26 November 2006. Who should be ordained? summarised as Homosexuality and the Bible, and Dunedin's recent controversial ordination.
You can listen to the sermon
Generally he argues that while the Bible condemns homosexuality in Leviticus it also allows slavery, selling one's daughter etc. Women who are not wearing hats are disobeying a Pauline instruction. He explains that homosexuality is not a choice anymore than lefthandedness and that he did not choose to be heterosexual. However at the end he asserts that while the church is so divided on the ordination of gay people it would be better to refrain.  This seems to be the stance he has taken in the press interview last weekend. 

I would ask him, why he, therefore, will presumably ordain women as the same argument can be advanced that it will upset some church members.  I presume he will argue that women now generally have the numbers but not gay people as yet. 

However they did not have the numbers when women were first ordained in the Episcopal church and I doubt the numbers were there when Penny Jamieson became the first woman to run a diocese, the diocese of Dunedin and  under whom Kelvin worked. 

Bishop-elect Wright is so far advanced to the homophobes and misogynists who run the Diocese of Sydney that  I am still happy to move to the Diocese of Dunedin. I can just hope that a time will come, not too far distant, when he will believe there is no reason why a suitable gay person should not be ordained.

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Bishop of Dunedin

Four weeks ago the electoral synod of Dunedin elected their new bishop. In New Zealand this election must be approved by the other bishops and the General Synod so I have been keenly awaiting an announcement.

For nearly 2 years I have been following the blog of Archdeacon Kelvin Wright "Available Light" It is on my blog roll and my blog is on his blog roll.  He is vicar of Saint John's, Roslyn which is the parish covering the suburbs of Dunedin where I plan to live.
My sister and I worshipped at St John's on November 2nd last year and I introduced myself to him.
When people ask if I know anyone in Dunedin, I have said "the local priest" Well, I read his blog and have followed his fight with prostate cancer and his pilgrimage to the San Camino earlier this year. We have rejoiced that he has been declared clear of the cancer after a session of radiotherapy.

It has just been announced that Kelvin Wright is to be the 9th bishop of Dunedin.
I feel a bit flabbergasted. Now when I am asked do I know anyone in Dunedin, I can say the new bishop but I am a little disappointed that I will not know the vicar of my new parish. He is to be consecrated on February 27th, 2010.  Please pray for him in this new task.

On November 22nd St James is farewelling Fr Peter Kurti who has been Rector for the past 7 years. Please pray for  the parish nominators as they choose a new rector. So many changes.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


It is three and a half years since I was slammed by the sledge hammer which is "Brokeback Mountain" I thought I had shed all the tears possible until today I saw this video.
I can never listen to "I dreamed a dream" without tearing up so combining the two sent me over the edge. How can people say gay love is a lifestyle choice? How can they vote to deny same sex marriage? How can they deny the reality of our love? How can they deny that same-sex love is also a gift of God?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

We each have our faults

Life is very difficult. About two weeks ago I was very self righteous in a comment on Wounded Bird after Grandmere Mimi admitted her late arrival at church. I had noticed earlier comments about her being late including to a doctor appointment which had me agape. Here you would generally be charged for being late for an appointment unless you had a very good excuse. This annoys me as it seems unusual for doctors not to be running late and one expects to sit for long periods in waiting rooms, they are well named.

I explained that I had absorbed from my Father that one must never be late, one must never be on time, one must always be early. This is just as well as I usually go places by train and as we only have one train per hour (half hour in peak) it is a bit disastrous if one is late for it. However I am usually waiting on the platform 10 minutes before the train. In my teaching career I was usually at the room before my students and was annoyed by teachers who habitually arrived late resulting in all sorts of uproar from their rooms. Of course there were occasional hold ups which could not be avoided.

However if I can be smug about punctuality, it is quite a different matter about tidiness. I generally discourage any person from "dropping in' on me. The knowledge that someone is going to visit leads to an orgy of tidying and cleaning.  This is such a trial that I prefer to meet friends at a cafe or restaurant. On my desks in staff rooms and even more so at home, the filing system had been - if I used it 3 months ago it will be about a foot down under the pile. My dining room table is usually covered with newspapers that I intend finishing reading sometime and when the table needs to be used for eating then the floor will take the papers.

So now that my house is open for inspection with only a 15 minute warning from the estate agent,  it is sheer agony. Everything has to be put away as soon as I have finished with it. I have to wash up after each meal instead of once per day. Vacuuming has been twice a week instead of every 2 months (and yes, Mum was right, it does not take as long if done regularly). Clothes have to be hung up or put in the wash basket instead of being left lying over the bedroom chair.

I feel like a visitor in my own home, HELP.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

House For Sale

Although I chose the Estate Agent 2 weeks ago, photos were taken and one couple inspected, our law does not allow a property to be officially up for sale and advertised until the vendor has had a contract of sale drawn up. The conveyancer delivered this to the Estate Agent yesterday and so we are up and running.

When I purchased the property 28 years ago, the previous owner was also selling the vacant land next door and it was offered to me. I was moving from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house on half an acre of land and declined.  I had not long moved in before I realised the vacant land protected the views from my house.  Fortunately the couple who purchased the block, decided to build elsewhere and so 3 years later I was able to buy the land and now own slightly more than an acre on two titles. Since then I have landscaped part of the block putting in paths, lots of steps and many plants including some now very tall conifers as well as flowering fruit trees.  There is a shade house, which needs repair and a latticed arbor covered with clematis and containing a stone bench.

I do not want to sell the house but not the land. The land is very steep and it would be difficult to build a house on it. I do not want to be living in NZ paying rates but unable to maintain the block of land. Therefore at the moment I am offering the 2 blocks for sale as one at a reduced price to what I could obtain separately.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Climate is the reason

I often mention the reason for my move to New Zealand is to escape the Sydney Diocese and to live near a local church which is inclusive and welcoming. However that is not the only and perhaps not even the main reason. It is certainly not the reason I give to most people with whom I chat who have little idea of the Calvinists who run the diocese except the little they might gain from the local news if it actually gets onto their radar.

There have been complaints in our paper that October was the coolest October for 17 years. I have enjoyed the cool, damp weather. Now we are into November and it is the first Total Fire Ban Day of the season. With hot North-west winds the temperature has already, at 1pm,  reached 37'C (nearly 100'F) in the nearby town on the plains and even in the city by the harbour it is over 34'C (94'F). It is probably just over 30'C here. Not unbearable as the house has not had time to heat up, it needs a few days of such weather and while yesterday was also hot and I was forced out of the garden about 11.30am, there is a cool change due tonight and much lower temperatures forecast for tomorrow.

We actually had our first bushfire 2 weeks ago and it was uncomfortably close at 8km to the SW.  I watched the smoke develop in the afternoon and could see the red glow on the hills during the night.  Fortunately the winds were not strong and we had heavy rain a few days later.

However this is only the last month of Spring with 3 months of Summer yet to begin.

In contrast temperatures in Dunedin are forecast to reach 20'C (68'F) tomorrow before dropping back to the usual 15' to 16' of this time of year. It has been known to occasionally top 30'C in January. To me that is heaven. My legs were aching when I woke this morning after a fairly warm night.