Thinking Anglicans

Civil partnerships and bishops: Church Times report

Ed Thornton in the Church Times has this report: Civil partnerships: ‘We should have shown workings’.

…Speaking on Monday, Bishop Paterson said that the group – whose other members were the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, and the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher – had produced a 20-page report for the House of Bishops in May last year.

The group’s report examined three questions: should the moratorium be maintained or not? If not, should there be any additional requirements made of candidates for the episcopate that would not be made of those seeking a parish appointment? If so, what should those additional requirements be?

Bishop Paterson said that although the group “did make a proposal”, he could not say what it was. In addition, it had assumed that it would be asked to produce a final report. In May, however, the House of Bishops standing committee took over responsibility for the review.

The standing committee produced a shorter document, which was discussed by the Bishops when they met in December at Lambeth Palace. The Bishops issued a paragraph, included in a summary of decisions, on 20 December, which “confirmed that the requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally in relation to the episcopate”.

Bishop Paterson said: “It is fair to say that what came out at the end did not represent the fairly considerable amount of work by our group and the standing committee. But something had to be said by the end of the year, because it had been promised…”

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MarkBrunsonFather Ron SmithRosie BatesSusannahErika Baker Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith
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“Oh what a tangled web we weave………….”

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

A phrase comes to mind which I am sure cannot be published here includes the word ‘brewery’.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Ah, Robert Patterson seems somewhat miffed at the process and outcome.
There will be leaks!
Robert and I are former colleagues and it should be remembered that he was one of only two bishops to vote AGAINST giving pension parity to Civil Partners. When I wrote congratulating him on this distinction he replied that he supported the view of Civil Partnership that Baroness O’Cathain had tried to introduce in her wrecking amendment.
So, my guess is that he is none too pleased with the present position being seen as the outcome of HIS work.

Father Ron Smith
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At least the House of Bishops’ intervening statement did accept that gay-partnered clergy may be considered for episcopal posts. This is a definite movement forward from the Jeffrey John debacle.

However, the real heart of the matter is whether the current requirement of an a-sexual (celibate) relationship between the clergy-person and their partner will remain the standard for selection.

Or will the group charged with untangling the sexuality hang-ups of the Church of England set a new standard for selection, which would include the possibility of a loving, intimate relationship between the between the clergy couple?

badman
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badman

Maybe the House of Bishops did not like the look of the Paterson group’s (illiberal?) proposal and for that reason took the matter out of its hands as soon as its interim report and (secret so presumably rejected) “proposal” showed which way it was going.

Mark Wharton.
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Mark Wharton.

Rev. Ron Smith. I’m uncomfortable with your use of ‘a-sexual (celibate) relationship. Im really not sure that a-sexuality is the same as celibacy. I accept that the protestant tradition has no tradition of mandatory celibacy for its ministers but a-sexuality implies a real lack of loving. Celibacy is truly a way of loving. Love and Sex are not the same. We would do well to remember this.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Mark, my asexual friends would be horrified if you told them that they do not love! It is undoubtedly true that some people have a higher sex drive than others and that there are some who are so little interested in it that they self define as asexual, not being attracted to anyone at all in a sexual way. Like so many things in life, sex drives are also on a spectrum from none to very high and they say absolutely nothing about a person’s ability to love! Your view is the consequence of our overly strong focus on sex… Read more »

Susannah
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Susannah

“Bishop Paterson said that although the group ‘did make a proposal’, he could not say what it was.”

Um. Why? Has he forgotten?

Rosie Bates
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Rosie Bates

“Oh what a tangled web we weave’

Could be the Holy Spirit is weaving one thread at a time and the entanglers are not happy with their design being re-worked

Father Ron Smith
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” I accept that the protestant tradition has no tradition of mandatory celibacy for its ministers” – Mark Wharton – It would seem that this response to my previous comment is offered by a Roman Catholic, perhaps unused to the Anglican tradition of monastic celibacy. I agree with Erika, that ‘a-sexuality’ may not (necessarily) mean ‘unloving’. One meets many Religious who confess that they have no desire (never mind the directed will) to engage in sexual activity. For such people, is should be obvious that celibacy is easier than for others. This does not mean that they are unloving in… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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More importantly, if:

” Love and Sex are not the same. We would do well to remember this. “

then how does it follow that:

“a-sexuality implies a real lack of loving . . . “

?