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Catholica, Indica, Et Cetera. The occasional blog of Fr. Gaurav Shroff
I think this situation, as with the cases of the ministers in Canada and Sweden are quite a bit more complicated than American Evangelicals are willing to consider. 1st off, the separation of Church and state in Europe has a completely different meaning than it does in America. This case is a prime example. Here you have a "state" (term used liberally) church who requires that the national Parliament approve its Ecclesial Law, a church that still performs some of the duties of the state - including census taking. The national government even collects a church tax from people. So it's not really that surprising when the Bishops meet in Congress to pass the following: "in 2006 the Bishops' Conference ruled that pastors do not have the right to refuse to work with female pastors, even if pastors believe it is unbiblical." That the state would 1) enforce the law of the church, and 2) because of the symbiotic relationship of between Church and State it's not surprising that the State would still treat the church as an agent of the state or by default that it approves Ecclesial laws subservient to the state.In other words, it might be ill-advised to file this under "Mega secular states = diminishing freedom of religion" after all in Finland you're either apart of Church or you're not, so where's the religious freedom in that?
Well, there is the basic freedom of religion of not being part of the church, I guess. :) I forgot when I skimmed the article that these are established churches. So, yes, in that sense, it's more under the file of "why the state shouldn't be a part of the church and vice versa." Cut the cord. We (the Catholics) have learned (still are learning?) that lesson the hard way.
it's for reasons like this that we should thank God that Vatican II supported the separation of the Church from the State - I can't remember which document other than it's one that the SSPX really pooh pooh's about. It's amazing to think about really how Evangelical Protestant America (in the context of it's last 40 year evolution) would see this as an infringement on religious freedom, but the same Southern Baptists of 50 years ago would whole-heartedly agree that this is why the Church and State should be separate and v.v.
Dignitatis Humanae (the Declaration on Religious Liberty). And, I think, Gaudium et spes as well (The Church in the Modern World). It didn't start at Vat II though. After reaction and defensiveness all through the 19th century (reacting against the destruction that occurred in the 18th century), and as the Church allied herself against the rise of liberty in Europe, the decisive moment came on September 20, 1870, when Garibaldi invaded Rome, took all the Papal States and attached them to the Kingdom of Italy and, effectively, locked Pius IX up in the Vatican. He sulked till his death, and the "Roman Question" as it was called, continued to simmer, really until the Concordat of 1929 that established the Vatican City State. But, 1870 was the liberating watershed, even though the Church may not have recognized it as such. Of course, in America, the Bishops were quite used to the American way, and liked it. And there was this one priest who especially thought that the separation of Church and State was actually providential. His name was Isaac Hecker ... :)
Well noted the above clarification that the church of Finland is an established church. Also, this guy's feelings are all well and good, but he is still part of an overall denomination that approves ordaining women. His niche might disagree, but that technically doesn't allow him to blanketly refuse to work with a woman if she is the only pastor available to officiate with him. I know plenty of Presbyterians (PCUSA) and some Lutherans (ELCA) who are not all that happy with women being allowed to pastor in those denominations, but they still have to deal with it if it's the only situation available. I respect this guy in Finland's beliefs but he is between a bit of a rock and a hard place. It might be better for him to find another denomination, but I don't really know what the ecclesial diversity situation is like in Finland...
I believe the choices are FELC, Finnish Orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism - or this new fangled cult craze called Atheism which is the red-headed step child of the nebulous movement of secular humanism. :) But Word Wench, you're completely right, what with the strides that Catholicism and Lutheranism have made with rectifying the finer points of theology, notwithstanding practice i.e ordaining women, he could very well try and swim the Tiber like so many of his high-church high-minded protestant co-religionists
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