UK Church Tells Women to Submit

A new look at an old view on marriage is stirring up controversy at a church in the UK.

A curate at St Nicholas Church in Sevenoaks, Kent told parishioners that modern women are to be blamed for today’s divorce rates and failed marriages.

Curate Mark Oden, who is from Scotland, told church members that wives need to submit to their husbands in order to fix the problem with divorce.

The vicar of this particular church is a man named Angus MacLeay who has spoken out publically against women clergy and women having any position of power in the church. He is a leader of a group called Reform, which seeks old-fashioned change in the church.

Both Oden and MacLeay says that their views do not mean that they believe that women are not equal to men but that the Bible says that women should be silent and submit.

Several women in the congregation were very upset by Mark Oden’s sermon and say they will not come back to that church. They believe that the church should recognize women as leaders in faith and at home.

Angus MacLeay says simply that sometimes the Bible is in opposition to modern society. He believes that the role of women is one of those issues. He also adds that husbands should love their wives.

The Southern Baptist church in the United States has had trouble with the same issue. Several years ago leaders of the Southern Baptist church wrote that one of the church’s beliefs is that wives be submissive to their husbands.

The Catholic church still does not allow women to be priests, but most churches now have women clergy and allow women to have leadership roles within the church.

In the meantime, conservative women can get a degree in homemaking at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Most of the women enrolled in the program are wives of men who are studying to be pastors. The wives learn how to cook, sew and raise children while their husbands study theology. The wives are also educated in their role within the family.

The divide between churches widens as some churches move toward equality in the genders and others promote the wife as submissive in a Christian marriage.

A Tale of Two Henry’s: Henry VIII and John Henry Newman

In 2009, one Henry is celebrating, posthumously of course, 500-year anniversaries of his coronation and first marriage, with special exhibitions and books. Pope Benedict XVI is preparing the other Henry for beatification as a healing miracle has been attributed to his intercession. Henry VIII, King of England and Venerable John Henry Newman, Cardinal of the Catholic Church personify the history of Catholicism in England after Henry VIII claimed the title of Supreme Head and Governor of the Church in England. The one begins the English Reformation with acts of supremacy and succession and the other signifies Catholic survival after almost 300 years of enduring suspicion, persecution, and martyrdom.

Henry VIII began his reign on April 21, 1509

When his father Henry VII died, married his brother’s widow Catherine of Aragon on June 11 and was crowned on June 24, with Catherine crowned as Queen of England. He was a Renaissance Prince, a loyal Catholic, and a loving husband. When he died on January 28, 1547, he was an empirical tyrant, an excommunicated leader of the Anglican Church and had a bad track record as a husband: six wives (two beheaded, two divorced, one died in childbirth, one survived).

The latter statistic is the key to the first two elements of Henry’s later years

In his quest for a legitimate male heir, Henry was willing to break away from the universal Catholic Church, execute friends, wives, relatives and holy men and women, treat his female children with caprice and cruelty and give free reign to his lust for power.

Once Henry had determined that he had to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn he let nothing stand in his way. When he had turned England upside down, cast off his first wife, bastardized their daughter, beheaded Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher (two shining lights of humanism and Catholicism in England), emptied out the monasteries and vindictively executed anyone else who opposed him in this plan, Anne Boleyn failed to provide him with the male heir she promised. Henry had her executed and remarried within a month. His third wife finally gave him that elusive legitimate male heir.

All the while Henry still considered himself a good Catholic

As Supreme Head and Governor of the Church of England he did not want many changes in religious practice. He wanted the Mass, oracular Confession, an unmarried clergy, and, ironically, tough divorce laws. Although he made the Bible available in English he did not like the idea of people interpreting it on their own. Catholics who upheld papal supremacy suffered execution during his reign, but so did evangelicals who denied the Real Presence in the Eucharist. When he died in 1547 he wanted prayers and Masses offered for his soul for his quick release from Purgatory (although he had banned use of that word).

When John Henry Newman was born on February 21, 1801, England was a thoroughly Protestant country in religion

Roman Catholics had been persecuted or discriminated against for more than 250 years. They had not been able to practice their faith without the threat of fines, imprisonment, capture, torture and execution of priests who illegally went abroad to study and illegally returned to serve the laity. The laity had been completely cut off from public service by various oaths to the crown and against the Pope; unable to attend university; unable to pursue careers as lawyers, doctors, pharmacists or soldiers. At the end of the eighteenth century Parliament had finally eased some restrictions on Catholics, but even the slight freedom of religion allowed created hostility against Catholics–like the Gordon Riots in 1780 after the Papists Act of 1778 allowed Catholics to serve in the military without an oath against the Pope and transubstantiation.

John Henry Newman shared that hostility

In his classic “Apologia pro vita sua” he described the course of his religious development as a young man. As he progressed toward a High Church Anglo-Catholicism and leadership in the Oxford or Tractarian movement one constant was his animosity against Roman Catholicism. Traveling in Europe he was repulsed by what he saw as superstition and idolatry even as he was moved by the grandeur of ancient Rome.

In 1832 and 1833 he would have scoffed at the notion that he would be a Roman Catholic in as little as 12 years. When he came home from his Grand Tour of Europe after being extremely ill he thought God had spared him for a particular work to do. Newman found it in the Oxford Movement, writing tracts and giving sermons in Oxford to emphasize the apostolic foundation of the Anglican Church in spite of it political entanglements in nineteenth century or even sixteenth century England.

Those efforts led him to study the Church Fathers and then Newman began to struggle with the truth he began to see-that the via media of the Church of England he and his Oxford friends had been proposing, between the errors of the Catholic Church and the Luther or Calvinist Reformed churches, was a church made on paper. He left Oxford and settled in nearby Littlemore for more prayer and study until in 1845 he sought acceptance into the one true Church established by Jesus Christ, founded upon the apostles, led by Christ’s Vicar on earth, the Pope.

Since Catholics had finally been emancipated under English law in 1829, Pope Pius IX established a new hierarchy in England (with a typically anti-Catholic reaction from Queen Victoria and her government) in 1850. Newman brought the Oratory movement to England; established schools, founded a university in Ireland, wrote sermons, theological, philosophical and apologetic works, and contributed greatly, although often misunderstood, to what he called the Second Spring of Catholicism in England. He explained newly defined dogmas (the Infallibility of the Pope and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) to a rather hostile English establishment. His 1864 “Apologia pro vita sua” finally removed some of the suspicion with which both Catholics and Protestants had regarded his conversion, and Pope Leo XIII offered him a Cardinal’s hat in 1879.

When Newman died on August 11, 1890 public opinion agreed that he had done more than anyone else in his lifetime to dispel the anti-Catholicism of Victorian England. In a way, then, Newman had turned back some of the effects of Henry VIII’s actions centuries ago. Along with many converts, bishops, priests, and laity Newman helped Catholics reclaim their right to practice their faith openly while serving the government and the public. Throughout his lifetime new Catholic cathedrals, churches, schools and monasteries were established, replacing those destroyed, suppressed or occupied in the previous 300 years.

Thus Henry VIII and John Henry Newman do symbolize, like bookends on the shelf of history, the endurance of Catholicism in England from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. King Henry VIII stands for the state’s supremacy over religion in England, demanding uniformity and loyalty to the established Church of England, while John Henry Newman stands for the survival of Catholicism after enduring discrimination and decline.

Source: “Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation” by Stephanie A. Mann (New York, New York: Scepter Publishers, 2009).

Catholic Faith Fights to Survive in England: King Henry the VIII and the Catholic Church

It is an era of mistrust and brutal slayings of innocents with bogus crimes against the government. Charges of trumped up treason and betrayal against the great King Henry the VIII condemned a slew of people to die including two of the loves in his life, his wives Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard. It was a time when the English Catholic Church would have a falling out with the king and almost perish because of it.
King Henry the VIII took Catherine of Aragon to be his first wife. The marriage fell apart when Catherine couldn’t conceive a male heir for the King. King Henry got a divorce from Catherine despite the disapproval of the Catholic Church. The rift between King and Church led Henry to go his separate way apart from the religious faith. He got married five more times after that so divorce was a constant in his life as he desperately tried to land a wife who could bear him a Kingly Heir, a son.

Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth the 1st Catholics could not openly practice their faith

Instead the Fathers held mass in the privacy of homes as they moved about hiding from the law. The Church of England at this time was the reigning religion.

Queen Elizabeth wanted Edmund Campion to hold a high-ranking position in her church, The Church of England, but Edmund had other plans. Father Edmund Campion took on another role as Catholic Priest. He intended to build the Catholic Faith back up and recruit new followers.

On the run and wishing for the opportunity to make a stand against the government on his religion’s behalf he finally got his chance. It came when he got caught and stood trial four months later. He was charged with conspiracy to murder and found guilty. He was executed in front of the crowds from death by hanging. On that day it was raining as if the heavens were shedding tears for the ignorance England chose to see.

To the English Traditionalists, the Catholic Church wanted to change their culture and because of that one thing the Catholics were the enemy of the Country. King Henry the VIII certainly believed this or he wouldn’t have been so outraged over what the Catholic Church had to say about divorce.

England in 16th and 17th centuries paved a path to many martyrs of the catholic faith. Instead of the religion dying out, it managed to survive because of the faithful warriors who battled for a cause they held much higher then life itself.

Finding a Church in Another Country

Len and I belong to the Church of England.

n the years that we have lived in America we have been to so many churches of all denominations to find one that fits our needs.

In the immediate area of New Port Richey, Florida, and surrounding area we really do not have any Anglican churches. It was suggested to us that we check out the Episcopalian church. We found a very small congregation of 10 people using a Lutheran church to worship. This wasn’t what we were used to.

From here we went to Unity, which is a non-denomination, church. We stayed with the church on and off, but the main reasons for trying others was that they didn’t display the cross in church and didn’t recite the Lord’s Prayer.

I am a caregiver and started going to a Lutheran church with one of my clients. This was a small church and the people were reasonable friendly.

Upon losing my lady we went with friends to the Calvary Worship Center. This was like walking into a stadium with the fans joining in. The music was so loud that it made a thumping in my heart and hurt my ears. The Minister was casually dressed and talked about drinking, drugs, and his wicked life before he found Jesus. The choir was over a hundred and they had rock groups on the stage. This really wasn’t our cup of tea as we were brought up to be quiet in church and respectful.

Finally we found Westminster Presbyterian Church

The pluses are it looks like a church, the Minister is clothed like he should be, we have a proper service, and the hymns we sing are what I was brought up with.

Fifteen minutes before the service the choirmaster comes to the front and we get to choose hymns to sing. I love all the old English ones and this is the only church I get to sing them.

The service runs for about an hour, apart from the first Sunday in the month when we have communion. The people here have kind of adopted us. They come over and welcome us and are always checking on my husband’s health. They even phone to check on us.

We have been attending this church for about 5 years now and feel very comfortable there.

We had a huge move from England to Florida so it was much harder for us to find a church. If you are moving to a new area don’t give up if the first church doesn’t meet your needs. Just keep going until you find one that is the perfect fit. You don’t have to become a member of that religion you just have to believe in God and yourself. What you feel in your heart is all that matters.