Newsbriefs from the world -- By: Anonymous
Newsbriefs from the world
Episcopal bishops voted to require all dioceses to ordain qualified women to the priesthood. At their national conference in Portland in September, the bishops voted 121–15 to end exemptions from church rules for bishops who, in conscience, oppose women’s ordination. A group of conscientiously objecting bishops called the vote a “denial of the basic Anglican principle that the church cannot demand that which cannot be proven from the plain teaching of Scripture.” National & International Religion Report (NIRR),October 16, 1995
The Japanese government plans to allow married couples to use different last names (Washington Post, September 17, 1995). Japanese law now requires married couples to take one last name —almost always the husband’s —but that is set to change in 1996 based on new government recommendations.
In recent years, many Japanese women have been keeping their maiden names while officially registering their marriage under their husband’s name. Meanwhile public pressure challenged the Japanese government to change the rules.
Takeshi Usami, who works in Tokyo’s Ginza district, said, “The image and the identity of family is symbolized by having the same name.” A co-worker, Osamu Toyoda, added “In Japan, we have a long tradition of family, and it is very unique. Having two names contradicts that feeling of family.”
But continuing a practice based on mere tradition, symbol or feeling is inadequate. The significance of the above news item is highlighted in an insightful article in the November issue of First Things. Excerpts follow.
“The husband who gives his name to his bride in marriage is thus not just keeping his own; he is owning up to what it means to have been given a family and a family name by his own father—he is living out his destiny to be a father by saying yes to it in advance. And the wife does not so much surrender her name as she accepts the gift of his, given and received as a pledge of (among other things) loyal and responsible fatherhood for her children. A woman who refuses this gift is, whether she knows it or not, tacitly refusing the promised devotion or, worse, expressing her suspicions about her groom’s trustworthiness as a husband and prospective father.”
“Fathers who will not own up to their paternity, who will not ‘legitimize’ their offspring, and who will not name themselves responsible for child-rearing by giving their children their name are, paradoxically, not real fathers at all, and their wives and especially their children suffer. The former stigmatization of bastardy was, in fact, meant to protect women and children from such irresponsible behavior of self-indulgent men…who would take their sexual pleasures ans...
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