Mark Silk: Bishop v Bishop in Rhode Island

Mark Silk, who keeps The Spiritual Politics blog writes: [L]ike King Cnut the Great (though perhaps less prepared to retreat before the inevitable), Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Catholic Diocese of Providence has commanded the [marriage equality] tide to halt at his feet. Contrariwise, Bishop Nicholas Knisely of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island has gladly chosen to go with the flow.

Tobin took his stand earlier this month on the Immutable Plan of Nature’s God.

The proposal to legalize same-sex marriage is an attempt to redefine the institution of marriage as it has existed in every culture from the very beginning of human history. Marriage between a man and a woman was designed by God for two specific purposes: to affirm the complementary roles of males and females in a loving relationship, and to provide a stable foundation for the procreation and raising of children. Homosexual relationships can achieve neither of those goals.

Secondly, homosexual marriage enshrines into civil law immoral activity. The natural law, the Holy Scriptures, and long-standing religious tradition are very consistent in affirming that homosexual activity is sinful, contrary to God’s plan. It should never be encouraged, ratified or “blessed” by the state.

On Friday, Knisely appealed to biblically ordained empiricism:

Part of what informs my opinion is that before I became a priest and then a bishop, I was a scientist. So I know the importance of trusting evidence that we see with our own eyes. I have seen what St. Paul describes as the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in the married lives of two men and of two women. I have seen relationships that are loving, mutual, and monogamous and that have lasted a lifetime. Jesus tells us that we must test each tree by looking at the goodness of its fruit (Luke 6:43-45). Across our congregations and communities, I can see the goodness of gay and lesbian couples and their families.

The Providence Journal and the Associated Press also wrote stories about the letter Bishop Knisely released on Friday.

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  1. tgflux

    Knisely, WIN. Tobin, FAIL (SuperFail, due to bigotry).

    JC Fisher

  2. Bill Dilworth

    Given Bishop Tobin’s penchant for picking fights with public figures, I’m really surprised that he hasn’t inveighed against Bishop Knisely and the Episcopal diocese from the pulpit or the local paper.

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