Sunday, August 2, 2009

"The Healing of The Centurion's Boyfriend"

Today's San Francisco Chronicle reported:

"Two Episcopal priests in same-gender relationships are among the nominees for assistant bishop of Los Angeles, officials said Sunday.

The Rev. John L. Kirkley of San Francisco and the Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspool of Maryland will be among six candidates on the ballot when lay people and clergy vote in December, despite a long-standing request from world Anglican leaders for a moratorium on consecrating openly gay bishops."

We are familiar with Reverend Kirkley. Our post's title "The Healing of the Centurion's Boyfriend" also happens to be the the title of a homily given by the Reverend Kirkley at an ecumenical service at (where else?) San Francisco's Most Holy Redeemer's Church back in December 2006. From the homily:

"Tonight we gather to observe World AIDS Day. We gather to remember, to mourn, to celebrate, and to advocate. We come to this place for healing, and for the strength to continue to be agents of healing and reconciliation in a broken world. It is in light of this that I invite you to consider with me the extraordinary Gospel lesson we just heard, the story of the healing of the Centurion’s boyfriend.

Notice that the translation of this text refers to the paralyzed person as the Centurion’s “servant.” The Greek word here is pais, which can mean “servant” or, more properly, “servant boy,” but in other contexts is the Greek word used to refer to the younger lover of an older male. While the construction of same-sex love in Hellenistic culture posited such an age difference as normative, it is quite likely that the use of “boy” to refer to one’s beloved in Greek is more akin to the English use of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” as a term of affection regardless of the age of the lovers.

That this is the case here is underscored by the contrast between the use of pais to refer to the object the Centurion’s special concern, and the use of doulos, the Greek word for slave used to designate those under the Centurion’s command, the people he bosses around. Just any old slave would have been unlikely to garner the Centurion’s attention. He was moved to approach Jesus because of his love for his boyfriend."

Talk about disordered!

The Reverend Kirkley's webpage also tells us he has been "married to my husband, Andrew, for 15 years", and that they have one son. The Episcopalians have nominated a whacko who even interprets scripture through the prism of his sexuality. No wonder they are breaking apart.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney


Anonymous said...

I "swam the Tiber" in 1961. Even back they, the Episcopal Church had nut-cases like Bishop Pike. I could see it coming then. I have never regretted the swim to Rome.

Anonymous said...

That argument is a *real* stretch. "Pais" is St. Matthew's word for the servant. First of all, "pais" refers to a child under the age of puberty, or adolescence at the latest, so it wouldn't be a boyfriend as we understand it but a young lover--does this "priest" want to imply Christ endorsed pedophilia? Second "pais" ("puer" in Latin) generally referred to young slaves or servants. It could refer to a homosexual relationship, but didn't have to. Third, in St. Luke's telling of the story, the word used is in fact "doulos" (Lat. "servus"), the very word this priest claims is not used. St. Matthew's Greek is very Semiticized, whereas Luke's is the most classical Greek. Surely if a sexual relation were implied, Luke, with his precise Greek, would have not have used "doulos". So, this priest is taking an ambiguous word out of context and making it suit his needs. Is there any better argument for religious authority (the Church) than that?