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abstain for the game!

Sex!

Sex and Religion!

Some people talk about New Zealand as if it is a “secular” nation. It is in fact a deeply religious nation. New Zealand has a state religion.

Here is a picture of the Christchurch cathedral of our State religion. No, not the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on the left, but the cathedral on the right. Look down on Christchurch and the cathedral on the right is what dominates the landscape – like all great cathedrals! And like all great, ancient cathedrals it has had a number of changes of patronal titles: Lancaster Park, Jade Stadium, AMI Stadium.

Arrive at church Sunday morning and you will be asked, “did you watch the game last night?” No question, what “the game” means. No issue if you weren’t at church last week – but whoa!!! if you failed to participate in our national state liturgy: watching “the game”.

There’s been a tradition of abstaining from sexual intercourse in preparation for many religious rituals. Abstaining before the game has a long history! Abstaining 24 hours before the liturgy affected the West in reinforcing clerical celibacy with the increasing to daily Mass.

Just this week I wouldn’t want to be at the dining room table of my e-friend, married RC deacon Greg Kandra, as he tries to explain how he would be a better deacon without his wife!

But, let’s not get distracted by Christianity and its obsessions with abstention. This post isn’t about Christianity. It’s about the NZ state religion.

And the call to abstain for the game! And wear a black wedding-ring-style band – much as a Kiwi monk or nun of this state religion.

What has not yet been made clear: are kiwis who are devotees of the state religion required to abstain until NZ wins a world cup? If so we may be looking towards a whole generation of Kiwis missing from our future national profile…

Here Sean Fitzpatrick, one of the greatest-ever All Blacks, a man from the only All Black team to win the Rugby World Cup, preaches the message of abstinence:

Ps. there is a protestant revolt happening in our State Religion! Some are going against the clear teachings of State religion Bishop Sean Fitzpatrick and suggesting abstention is not a requirement! There is much debate now whether such celibacy is part of doctrine or solely part of the discipline of our State Religion.

Pps. the logo of “abstain for the game” appears clear: it only applies to heterosexuals.

Ppps. Shock! Horror! What taints other religions now, apparently, applies to the national State religion: there is not one Holy Cup – there are TWO!!!

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4 Responses to abstain for the game!

  1. Yes, no. I think that if anything this episode shows those rumours aren’t true. Or they show that, with its money, while rugby football pretends to be a religion, it can never elicit the kind of commitment that religion like RC does. But it also shows how the common person thinks about sexual ethics among the religious – as though they have no logical connection to a person’s flourishing or success in their religious vocation. And a lot of the time this is true for “religious” people, and maybe for clergy who abstain. But for the run of the mill Christian that abstains, which makes the media when the likes of Destiny run an abstinence ring campaign, those people are doing so because it enhances the gift they bring to their marriage. Asking married and non-married, heterosexual and whatever else sexual, to obstain just for the cup, is a nonsense and just shows how shallow the notion of rugby as religion is. But possibly it is a mirror for many in our own tradition.

  2. The Protestants have won, Bosco. No apologies to your Catholic readers for this victory 🙂 … Telecom has backed down and canned its ‘abstain’ advertising campaign.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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