The question about pastors ordained in the Mission Province conducting baptisms was hotly debated earlier this year, as you can read from my previous posts. With the latest statement from the bishops, the matter seems to have reached some kind of a verdict. According to the press release, the baptisms performed by Mission Province pastors are "against the church law and church order. " I can't disagree here, yet I would like to add that the persons issuing such verdicts also continuously break the same law and order by not adhering to the first momentum concerning the confessional basis of Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland.
However, such children are not excluded from church membership if their parents wish to join them into ELCF. The decision will be made by the local senior pastor. This is basically good news, since I think generally these pastors are okay with having even children baptized in this manner in their membership rosters. Bishops did, however, state that a ritual for joining the church should be conducted in these cases. This will leave possibility for mean-spirited pastors to bully parents by consciously choosing female pastor to conduct such ritual.
Bishops also stated that "Luther-foundation should not use children as instruments in church-politics." Such an accusation is hard to bear, albeit I guess it is the only way bishops can save face anymore. By allowing children to be accepted into church membership they can be seen to have given in to Luther-foundation's aggression. With statement like this, Bishops try to portray children as victims and their resolution as a merciful consent for the good of these little ones. The accusation of us using these children as pawns in some political game is low indeed. I am 100% certain that no pastor in Luther-foundation would have felt disappointed if the children would have been accepted into parish membership in the first place, with no publicity or opportunity for political prestige whatsoever.
It is commonly known, that traitor trusts no one, since he suspects all other to be like him. Our bishops are not shepherds, but politicians. Therefore they can not understand our positions, but instead consider us politicians too.
And, as a side-note: Archbishop Jukka Paarma commented also the question about church personnel living in same-sex relationships. According to Paarma, "Legislation allows people to register their relationships and the church does not have any weapons in this matter." Thus the case is concluded: gay and lesbian pastors living together do not pose a problem for the church - or at least this problem can not be addressed in any way. No doubt such question was raised after a Finnish tabloid told in August about two female pastors living together in same-sex relationship. Such cases already exist (that we know of) in four dioceses. The pastoral vow to live an examplary life apparently doesn't stand anymore or - which is more probable - the church has de facto concluded that homosexuality is okay.