Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finnish Loudmouth Strikes Blow Against Ecumenism

We're looking at you, Bishop Teemu Sippu.

The Church of Finland elected its first woman bishop recently, Irja Askola. She is the new Bishop of the Helsinki diocese. To celebrate, Sippu -- the Roman Catholic bishop -- called the choice of a woman, any woman, "unfortunate," saying that it "would put more distance between the churches."

Sure, we guess. But so what? Will it create more more meaningful distance than the many female bishops already serving in Europe and America? More than the ordination of women? More than the principled rejection of transubstantiation, mandatory clerical celibacy, and the treasury of merits? The Thirty Years' War? The excommunication of Luther? No, not really.

In fact, it seems to us that the elevation of Bishop Askola is a pretty modest thing, common enough among Lutherans and of no inherent ecumenical importance. Unless somebody, perhaps playing to elements in his own crowd, wants to turn it into an issue by opening his big mouth.

Because if you really want to put distance between your church and your neighbor's, start meddling in their internal affairs and criticizing their choice of leaders. That will do the job nicely.


Pastor Joelle said...

Don't forget that whole pope thing.

Father said...

Oh, yeah. And that.

Actually, it's two "thats": they declared him the arbiter of catholicity, and one of us -- an (ahem) influential one -- declared him the Antichrist. That kind of stuff is going to put in some distance, no, question.