462/485 05 Jan 90 21:30:00 To: Mike Arst Subj: Re: +quot;Saint+quot; Augustine Attr: [Kim]

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462/485 05 Jan 90 21:30:00 From: Ted Powell To: Mike Arst Subj: Re: "Saint" Augustine Attr: ------------------------------------------------ [Kim] >> "Saint" Augustine is *NOT* one of *my* favorite people. >> The Pagels I've been reading lately has convinced me >> even more that he practically single-handedly corrupted >> Christianity and turned it against women. [Mike] > He couldn't have done it if his feelings about women > hadn't found a receptive audience, however. He gave > voice to something a lot of people also felt - or else > he would not have been as influential as he seems to > have been. Acording to Dan Maguire, a professor of theology at Marquette University, the rot set in somewhat earlier, around the year 309 (Augustine was born around 354). The following quotes are from his essay "The Shadow Side of the Homosexuality Debate" in: Homosexuality, the priesthood, and the religious life Jeannine Gramick, ed. The Crossroad Publishing Co, 370 Lexington Av NY NY 10017 ISBN 0-8245-0963-3 BX1795.H66H67 1989 "Jesus was part of a reform movement in Judaism from which the Christian religion evolved. Neither that movement nor the Hebrew Scriptures nor the Christian Scriptures contained a systematic ethics of sexuality. Sex was not a central concern of the early Christian church. Thus, efforts to teach sexual or reproductive ethics on the alleged basis of `what the Church has always taught' in these areas are historically naive. "What can be said is that at a certain point the church did evince a marked tendency to define itself and its orthodoxy in terms of what I have called `pelvic theology.' This curious obsessional turn is with us yet and profoundly affects church discussion of homosexuality along with the whole of sexual and reproductive ethics. The formal beginnings of this unwholesome trend can be traced to the year 309 at the Synod of Elvira. This council was held in southern Spain in a basilica in what is today the Andalusian town of Granada. The bishops and presbyters at this event had a lot to worry about. Priests of the imperial religion were converting to Christianity and bringing many of their old ways with them. ... The elitist assumptions of well-off Christians were blunting the prophetic edges of Christian spirituality. ... Clearly the synod had its work cut out for it. So what did the synod do in this crisis? It concentrated on sex! Almost half of its canons were on sex, and the subject was treated with extraordinary severity. Why? "Samuel Laeuchli (1972) in his book Power and Sexuality: The Emergence of Canon Law at the Synod of Elvira [Philadephia: Temple University Press], argues that the real issue at Elvira was power. The church was no longer primarily defined by its resistance to the claims of the imperial cult. Clerical power in the church could no longer be ensured by this project at the dawning of the Constantinian age. ... The Christian elite sought to carve out a clerical image of the church, and sexual control was a tool in that project. ... "The church was moving from prophetic to establishment status. In so doing it turned to sex to define orthodoxy and authority. I have called this `the Elvira syndrome,' and it is with us yet. "Contrary to popular myth, Constantine did not convert to Christianity. Christianity converted to Constantine, and Elvira signals the first symptoms of this perversion. The canons of Elvira are windows to the soul of fourth-century Christianity. What they reveal is not edifying. The objections to soldiering are softened. There is what Laeuchli calls `astonishing callousness about the lives of human beings who happened to be of a low social order'. There is shocking anti-Semitism. The synod was also distinctly negative to women. And with all of this, sex became a prime zone for orthodoxy testing. "We see the Elvira syndrome operating today. ... Sex is so central that the entire Second Vatican Council was allowed to touch any topic _except contraception_. ... " And so on. --- ConfMail V3.31 * Origin: PSG Vancouver (1:153/4)

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