Thinking Anglicans

House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage

The House of Bishops issued the statement below today (Saturday 15 February 2014).

House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage

Following their meeting on February 13th 2014 the House of Bishops of the Church of England have today issued a statement of Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage.

The statement comes as an appendix to a pastoral letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York addressed to the clergy and people of the Church of England.

The text of the letter and the statement is reproduced below

15 February 2014

To the Clergy and People of the Church of England

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

We write as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ who are called to love one another as Christ has loved us. Our vocation as disciples of Christ in God’s world is to hold out the offer of life in all its fullness. God delights always to give good gifts to his children.

The gospel of the love of God made known to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest of these gifts. The call of the gospel demands that we all listen, speak and act with integrity, self discipline and grace, acknowledging that as yet our knowledge and understanding are partial.

As members of the Body of Christ we are aware that there will be a range of responses across the Church of England to the introduction of same sex marriage. As bishops we have reflected and prayed together about these developments. As our statement of 27th January indicated, we are not all in agreement about every aspect of the Church’s response. However we are all in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged.

We are conscious that within both Church and society there are men and women seeking to live faithfully in covenanted same sex relationships. As we said in our response to the consultation prior to the same sex marriage legislation, “the proposition that same sex relationships can embody crucial social virtues is not in dispute. Same sex relationships often embody genuine mutuality and fidelity…., two of the virtues which the Book of Common Prayer uses to commend marriage. The Church of England seeks to see those virtues maximised in society”.

We have already committed ourselves to a process of facilitated conversations across the whole Church of England in the light of the Pilling Report. These conversations will involve ecumenical and interfaith partners and particularly the wider Anglican Communion to whom we rejoice to be bound by our inheritance of faith and mutual affection. They will include profound reflection on the meaning, interpretation and application of scripture to which we all seek to be faithful. They will involve particular attention to the lived experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. We believe that Christian understandings of sexuality have a vital contribution to make in our society’s conversation about human flourishing.

The introduction of same sex marriage in our country is a new reality and has consequences for the life and discipline of the Church of England. We seek to model a distinctive and generous witness to Jesus Christ in our pastoral guidance to the Church at this time which is set out in the Appendix to this letter.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people in all times and situations. We continue to seek God’s grace and the prayers of the whole Church as we seek to proclaim that faith afresh in this generation.

+ Justin Cantuar               + Sentamu Eboracensis

On behalf of the House of Bishops of the Church of England

Appendix

The Church of England and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

The Church of England’s teaching on marriage

1. The Church of England’s long standing teaching and rule are set out in Canon B30: ‘The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

2. The Book of Common Prayer introduces the Solemnisation of Matrimony by saying, ‘Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee…

3. The Common Worship marriage service, consistently with the Book of Common Prayer, says, ‘The Bible teaches us that marriage is a gift of God in creation and a means to grace, a holy mystery in which man and woman become one flesh…’ The House of Bishops teaching document of 1999 noted that: “Marriage is a pattern that God has given in creation, deeply rooted in our social instincts, through which a man and a woman may learn love together over the course of their lives.

4. The Lambeth Conference of 1998 said ‘in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage’ (resolution1.10) This remains the declared position of the Anglican Communion.

5. The same resolution went on to acknowledge ‘that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’ It went on to ‘condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex.’

6. In February 2005 the Dromantine Communique from the Primates of the Anglican Communion again affirmed the Anglican Communion’s opposition to any form of behaviour which ‘diminished’ homosexual people.

7. It stated: ‘We …. wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of the moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.

8. It was on the basis of this teaching that the then Archbishops published in June 2012 the official Church of England submission in response to the Government’s intention to introduce same-sex marriage. They arguments in it were based on the Church of England’s understanding of marriage, a set of beliefs and practices that it believes most benefits society. During the legislation’s passage through Parliament, no Lord Spiritual voted for the legislation.

The effect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

9. The Government’s legislation, nevertheless, secured large majorities in both Houses of Parliament on free votes and the first same sex marriages in England are expected to take place in March. From then there will, for the first time, be a divergence between the general understanding and definition of marriage in England as enshrined in law and the doctrine of marriage held by the Church of England and reflected in the Canons and the Book of Common Prayer.

10. The effect of the legislation is that in most respects there will no longer be any distinction between marriage involving same sex couples and couples of opposite genders. The legislation makes religious as well as civil same sex weddings possible, though only where the relevant denomination or faith has opted in to conducting such weddings. In addition, the legislation provides that no person may be compelled to conduct or be present at such a wedding.

11. The Act provides no opt in mechanism for the Church of England because of the constitutional convention that the power of initiative on legislation affecting the Church of England rests with the General Synod, which has the power to pass Measures and Canons. The Act preserves, as part of the law of England, the effect of any Canon which makes provision about marriage being the union of one man with one woman, notwithstanding the general, gender free definition of marriage. As a result Canon B30 remains part of the law of the land.

12. When the Act comes into force in March it will continue not to be legally possible for two persons of the same sex to marry according to the rites of the Church of England. In addition the Act makes clear that any rights and duties which currently exist in relation to being married in Church of England churches do not extend to same sex couples.

13. The legislation has not made any changes to the nature of civil partnerships though it paves the way for a procedure by which couples in civil partnerships can, if they choose, convert them into a marriage. The Government has indicated that it will be later this year before the necessary regulations can be made and the first conversions of civil partnerships into marriages become possible.

14. There are three particular areas on which some guidance is necessary on the implications of the new legislation in relation to our common life and ministry in England.

Access to the sacraments and pastoral care for people in same sex marriages

15. In Issues in Human Sexuality the House affirmed that, while the same standards of conduct applied to all, the Church of England should not exclude from its fellowship those lay people of gay or lesbian orientation who, in conscience, were unable to accept that a life of sexual abstinence was required of them and who, instead, chose to enter into a faithful, committed sexually active relationship.

16. Consistent with that, we said in our 2005 pastoral statement that lay people who had registered civil partnerships ought not to be asked to give assurances about the nature of their relationship before being admitted to baptism, confirmation and holy communion, or being welcomed into the life of the local worshipping community more generally.

17. We also noted that the clergy could not lawfully refuse to baptize children on account of the family structure or lifestyle of those caring for them, so long as they and the godparents were willing to make the requisite baptismal promises following a period of instruction.

18. We recognise the many reasons why couples wish their relationships to have a formal status. These include the joys of exclusive commitment and also extend to the importance of legal recognition of the relationship. To that end, civil partnership continues to be available for same sex couples. Those same sex couples who choose to marry should be welcomed into the life of the worshipping community and not be subjected to questioning about their lifestyle. Neither they nor any children they care for should be denied access to the sacraments.

Acts of worship following civil same sex weddings

19. As noted above, same sex weddings in church will not be possible. As with civil partnership, some same sex couples are, however, likely to seek some recognition of their new situation in the context of an act of worship.

20. The 2005 pastoral statement said that it would not be right to produce an authorized public liturgy in connection with the registering of civil partnerships and that clergy should not provide services of blessing for those who registered civil partnerships. The House did not wish, however, to interfere with the clergy’s pastoral discretion about when more informal kind of prayer, at the request of the couple, might be appropriate in the light of the circumstances. The College made clear on 27 January that, just as the Church of England’s doctrine of marriage remains the same, so its pastoral and liturgical practice also remains unchanged.

21. The same approach as commended in the 2005 statement should therefore apply to couples who enter same-sex marriage, on the assumption that any prayer will be accompanied by pastoral discussion of the church’s teaching and their reasons for departing from it. Services of blessing should not be provided. Clergy should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways.

Clergy and ordinands

22. The preface to the Declaration of Assent, which all clergy have to make when ordained and reaffirm when they take up a new appointment, notes that the Church of England ‘professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation.’ This tension between the givenness of the faith and the challenge to proclaim it afresh in each generation, as the Spirit continues to lead the Church into all truth, stands at the heart of current debates about human sexuality and of what constitutes leading a life that is according to the way of Christ.

23. At ordination clergy make a declaration that they will endeavour to fashion their own life and that of their household ‘according to the way of Christ’ that they may be ‘a pattern and example to Christ’s people’. A requirement as to the manner of life of the clergy is also directly imposed on the clergy by Canon C 26, which says that ‘at all times he shall be diligent to frame and fashion his life and that of his family according to the doctrine of Christ, and to make himself and them, as much as in him lies, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ.

24. The implications of this particular responsibility of clergy to teach and exemplify in their life the teachings of the Church have been explained as follows; ‘The Church is also bound to take care that the ideal is not misrepresented or obscured; and to this end the example of its ordained ministers is of crucial significance. This means that certain possibilities are not open to the clergy by comparison with the laity, something that in principle has always been accepted ’ (Issues in Human Sexuality, 1991, Section 5.13).

25. The Church of England will continue to place a high value on theological exploration and debate that is conducted with integrity. That is why Church of England clergy are able to argue for a change in its teaching on marriage and human sexuality, while at the same time being required to fashion their lives consistently with that teaching.

26. Getting married to someone of the same sex would, however, clearly be at variance with the teaching of the Church of England. The declarations made by clergy and the canonical requirements as to their manner of life do have real significance and need to be honoured as a matter of integrity.

27. The House is not, therefore, willing for those who are in a same sex marriage to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry. In addition it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives.

28. The Church of England has a long tradition of tolerating conscientious dissent and of seeking to avoid drawing lines too firmly, not least when an issue is one where the people of God are seeking to discern the mind of Christ in a fast changing context. Nevertheless at ordination clergy undertake to ‘accept and minister the discipline of this Church, and respect authority duly exercised within it.’ We urge all clergy to act consistently with that undertaking.

House of Bishops
15 February 2014

Ends

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Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“From then there will, for the first time, be a divergence between the general understanding and definition of marriage in England as enshrined in law and the doctrine of marriage held by the Church of England and reflected in the Canons and the Book of Common Prayer.” They do talk nonsense, don’t they? Marriage was profoundly changed by the legalisation, initially under restricted circumstances, now under rather more loose circumstances, of divorce. The CofE fought that tooth and nail, but in the end is intensely relaxed about divorce, including remarriage. Indeed, within ten or so years, the supreme governor of… Read more »

Susan Cooper
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Susan Cooper

It starts as well as one could expect, given the current situation. Unfortunately, it ends rather negatively from the point of view of clergy. It is disjointed in not really recognising that laity provide the pool from which people are called into the three orders of ministry. I suppose that is the current situation.

What will happen if all clergy in civil partnerships convert them into marriages?

Victoriana
Guest
Victoriana

What a pile of contradictory hogwash.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

“However we are all in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged.”

Does that mean that Nicholas Holtam has recanted of his support for equal marriage? If not, can we expect a prompt dissenting statement from the Bishop of Salisbury? If one doesn’t appear, can we expect his defenders to cease their defense?

With friends like these …

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

Nobody in a marriage that happens to be with someone of the same sex will be accepted for ordination. So if you’re married, come to faith, and you and the parish you come to faith in discover a vocation to the priesthood, you’re stuffed. Or, more to the point, a Church desperately and increasingly short of stipendiary clergy loses the benefit of what you could offer. If you’re a priest and you tie the knot – well, nobody knows what will happen and the bishops seem more clueless than most. They’re urging priests not to get married, but what happens… Read more »

Revd Laurie Roberts
Guest
Revd Laurie Roberts

There is nothing in the least ‘pastoral’ in this disgracefully dishonest and self-serving document. Their attitudes to lgbt are appalling and the use of flowery, wordy, language of grace’, and ‘brothers and sisters’ cannot hide that.

I would love to say to them, “It’s not all about YOU, you know.” I doubt that women bishops, will be unable to make little in-road into these attitudes; and perhaps they will ensure that the women they appoint are also ‘of one mind’ with their men.

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

It all sounds like pure discrimination against LGBTs by an institution pretending to be a moral authority. Clergy should be allowed to enter into civil marriage like anybody else. Relegating clergy to the second-class institution of civil partnership is unacceptable, especially if one has to pretend to be celibate to one’s bishop. What a cruel joke!

Disetablishment becomes more thinkable as a result of these silly policies.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Karen MacQueen+
Guest
Karen MacQueen+

What in heaven is generous about this “Pastoral Guidance”? A clergy person in the Church of England will have to choose between marrying his/her spouse and continuing to serve as a clergy person in the Church. Somehow, the bishops want us to believe this view has something to do with Jesus rather than with Church politics and their obvious desire to keep good relationships with Primates and bishops in the Communion who want to imprison us, deprive us of the most basic human rights, and quietly acquiesce in our murders. Not surprising since the bishops evidently do not recognize the… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

Well this is certainly far better than I had expected. But it is still a positive step in the direction of blessing same sex relationships in the Church, even if a small step. This is undoubtedly a huge disappointment to those hoping to change the teaching of the Anglican Church on homosexual marriage.

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

This document again hides the fact that in the Church of England, divorce and re-marriage are accepted and are reduced to the whim and opinion of a cleric.

What sheer hypocrisy… particularly as they have ignored the injunction of St Paul that a bishop/ presbyter should only be once married.

Mark my words, they will be trapped by their own self-deceit.

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

Well, the Holy Spirit gets a look in in Paragraph 22 of the appendix. But the pastoral letter snubs Her/Him completely. To my mind, that’s a sin, and this teaching is a dead letter.

Pluralist
Guest

It is clear to me that this religion and these overseers of this religion is stuck with these statements and cannot dismiss them. Those then who disagree with these ‘authoritative’ statements then ought to consider whether they fit within the religion as a system. Sentiments of inclusivity and diversity do not dismiss these statements but only seek to go around them in a kind of ever-stacking up duplicity. Fortunately I don’t believe it, so easily dismiss these statements in favour of a superior ethic.

Peter Dyke
Guest

So, for the bishops (as for the Pharisees in Matthew 12:11), obeying “the rules” is more important than the common good or any concept of mission. Perhaps this is the day we can no longer call ourselves an established church.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

For God’s sake. They learn nothing and forget nothing. This was written the day after the honeyed words of the Bishop of Sheffield. They mean nothing at all.

Alan
Guest
Alan

Funny – 1, 3 & 4 make reference to lifelong union, and yet somewhere along the line the church has agreed to divorce and remarriage (not that I’m complaining about that).

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

Discussion of the church’s teaching and reasons for departing from it? Such as: to live a human life.

Rev Drew Tweedy
Guest
Rev Drew Tweedy

Very disappointed with this. A terrible missed opportunity for the church’s mission and cruel, oppressive and insulting to its LGBT members and clergy. I had hoped our bishops could come up with something better than this, especially after the ABs’l reminder following church support of oppressive laws in some African countries. Where do we go from here?

Colin Coward
Guest

The Archbishops and the House of Bishops pastoral guidance about same sex marriage ignores the most important thing they stand for as Christian leaders and teachers – the primacy of love in creation and in the life and teaching of Jesus – unadulterated, unconditional, infinite, self-giving, costly, gracious love. They have prioritized other considerations – the need to avoid upsetting those with a deep prejudice against same sex love and intimacy which verges on and sometimes is homophobic, people in this country and in other parts of the Anglican Communion. There is nothing pastoral about the statement. It was produced,… Read more »

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

“[T]he power of initiative on legislation affecting the Church of England rests with the General Synod, which has the power to pass Measures and Canons.”

So promulgating this teaching three days after said Synod meets is breathtakingly underhand and – I hope – politically disastrous. I will be writing to my Member of Parliament.

Christian
Guest
Christian

This makes me so sad. God wants more love in the world, he wants us to unite, not divide. How can the people in charge of the Church of England, actively go about NOT listening to Him. Please, this is so simple, a Christian message is one of love and acceptance of everyone. Let’s start by really spreading His message and stop this silly nonsense. Let’s show the world that EVERYONE is welcome to be married in a Christian church. It is the only way to truly spread His message.

paul richardson
Guest
paul richardson

Your Graces and my Lords, Thank you for your pastoral letter in which you encourage me to offer informal prayers, in church, with same sex couples who have either entered into a civil partnership or a marriage under the new “equal marriage” legislation effective from March 2014. In the absence of an authorised order of service, I will be more than happy to arrange individually tailored opportunities for informal prayers that are authorised or allowed by canon. I will ensure that this is well known within the parish so that any couples wishing to mark their union in prayer and… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

A rough summary runs as follows: “The Church of England, in principle, believes in justice, fairness and civil rights. But as a mature and pragmatic church with large financial holdings and an interest in global politics, we realise that sometimes justice comes second to realpolitik. Justice, therefore, is conditional upon acceptance by the wider Anglican Communion. “Same Sex Marriage presents us with a problem: a number of Anglican churches outside England are opposed, and some of our own members are threatening schism. We have thought hard about this, and decided that overall we are less concerned with justice, fairness and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Double-entendre? The French have a word for it. This fork-tongued pastoral advice would even puzzle the acrobatic mind of a latter-day Machiavelli.

Love the Gays – but don’t let them be recognised as capable of monogamous, lifelong partnerships like us heteros. How one longs for a coherent explicable statement from the hierarchy of the Church that loving,faithful and committed human sexual activity for two monogamously-related consenting adults can be a holy and life-affirming activity, well within the capacity of the created order and pleasing to Almighty God?

How long, O Lord, how long?

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

If they have decided that this is how it’s going to be, it looks as if taking part in the conversations suggested by Pilling will be a complete waste of time. This is utterly depressing, and intellectually very shaky.

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

‘Conversations will involve ecumenical and interfaith partners and particularly the wider Anglican Communion to whom we rejoice to be bound by our inheritance of faith and mutual affection’ – for which read, we’re kicking this into the long grass where we hope it may stay for a long time.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Ahem. Would this be a good place to remind LGBT CofE’ers that there are MANY Anglican/Episcopal churches in North America where you can get {full stop} MARRIED? Assuming Her Majesty’s Government will accept a USA or Canadian marriage license, just cross The Pond for your nuptial celebration & blessings! Weddings R Us! 🙂

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Mervyn Noote has it spot on. There will be priests who will marry in the coming months. Yes, the church can jump up and down on them, but that won’t stop other priests from getting married in the coming years. This toothpaste cannot be squeezed back in the tube. What are they thinking they’re doing, setting themselves up for public ridicule like that! The CoE is fast making a laughing stock of itself, at a time when even the majority of its own members no longer takes a blind bit of notice of this kind of rubbish. Whatever were they… Read more »

Jean Mayland
Guest
Jean Mayland

The Bishops write a lot of waffle about love but they show little love towards gay and lesbian people. They refuse to allow clergy who are homosexual to commit their love for one another through marriage. God sits weeping , the world turns away and some bishops must be tearing their hair but unable to speak.

Sally Barnes
Guest
Sally Barnes

What a confused, contorted and contradictory document so full of statements that can be challenged! Why should there be a difference between the way clergy are expected to behave and the laity? I am puzzled. Does it mean now that all clergy, including bishops, who are in gay partnerships will have to resign too?? It would be helpful to know so we can have a bit more honesty and transparency.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Jean Mayland, there are no bishops unable to speak, there are only bishops unwilling to speak. There can be no practical consequences for any Diocesan who speaks out. One presumes that all that happened to Alan Wilson is that he is now likely to remain an area bishop for the rest of his working life. David Walker and Nick Holtam don’t seem to have been thrown in the Tower of London either. No, what we have here are not tragic figures who are prevented from speaking the truth, but people who may wish things were different but don’t lift a… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Sally Barnes, of course there’s a difference in the way clergy are expected to behave, otherwise they’d bring recrimination on the church, if they could just do as they wished. It is too simplistic to argue, as many do, that just because we’re all human, the public representatives of the church should not have different expectations placed upon them. Priesthood demands sacrifice on occasions, and actually many laity, though they don’t always expect it of themselves, do somehow expect different of their clergy, as unrealistic as this may seem.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Very well said, Colin Coward. This has become realpolitik at its worst. The way forward? One way is to get as many pro-LGBT candidates as possible elected to the houses of Clergy and Laity, and put sustained pressure on the (unelected — for now) bishops. Ultimately, you’re right, there’ll be test cases from courageous gay and lesbian clergy. As the bishops’ statement has no force of law, there’s every possibility that a properly constituted ecclesiastical court will throw the case out. If they don’t, they can get judicial review, and get this abuse stopped, once and for all. History is… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Incidentally, I love Interested Observer’s comment on this!

Mick Ellis
Guest
Mick Ellis

The role of the Church is to call people to Christ – to preach the “Good News.” Yet, the Church continues to drive the LGBT community away. Looking at Christ’s same gender relationships, we can safely assume they were loving. According to the Holy Gospel, we know that Jesus had one unique loving same gender relationship – his relationship with the “Beloved Disciple” – “the ONE whom Jesus loved.” In fact, The Holy Gospel tells us that unique relationship was physically affectionate (John13:23-25). Therefore we know Jesus had loving, affectionate, and physically affectionate same gender relationships. Isn’t that “Good News”… Read more »

Helen Morley
Guest
Helen Morley

Christ’s two great commandments was to love God and love our neighbour. The long standing ‘religious’ tradition of sexism, homophobia, inequality and all other kinds of managerial bigotry practiced by our ‘moral betters’ in the church, pitches itself to be above the instructions Christ left us. I am not a theologian, I’m just a normal person who will never be able to part of this church (despite wanting to be) because of this out of date, inflexible attitude against equality. I am sorry for all those in your church that are hurting at this personal rejection, I don’t think you… Read more »

Scot Peterson
Guest

May I please just endorse what Paul Richardson, Interested Observer and JCF have said above? AND Quaere, what happens when a chaplain (of an Oxbridge college, HM armed forces, a prison or a hospital or …) goes to the US and is married to a same-sex partner by an episcopal priest? Those clergy are not under episcopal jurisdiction, are they? Would the prelacy have the guts to discipline *them*?

Malcolm Gray
Guest
Malcolm Gray

They will change their mind within a year, and just like the women Bishops issue next year this time we will see gay marriage in the CofE

John Wirenius
Guest
John Wirenius

Veiled, indirect criticism of the Nigerian law and its awful results, let alone of the Church of Nigeria’s advocacy for bad eager support of that law, and …this.

I’m in the Episcopal Church, and heaven knows we’ve got our problems and flaws, but this combination is putting the C of E on the wrong side of history.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Someone said during GS last week that the pool of male clergy eligible to be bishops has been seriously overfished. This long and disappointing statement suggests that view may be correct.
Perhaps we need a moratorium on further fishing to allow restocking, and until the pool has been immeasurably enrichened by the addition of the ladies?
But what were the ladies already elected to assist the House in their deliberations saying? It would be good to know if they went along with this statement.

fr.rob
Guest
fr.rob

What an astonishing week. On Tuesday the archbishops and most bishops (rightly, in my view) chose to ignore a take-it-at-face-value reading of 1 Timothy and the tradition of the Church as still held by the RCs and Orthodox and move to make women bishops. And about time too. Tomorrow’s Gospel reading, taken at face value, excludes the possibility of remarriage of divorcees, as does Church tradition (lifelong union…). Yet in the past week, with the sanction and support of the Church, I have prepared divorced people for marriage in church. The bishops appear to be working to a hermeneutic, therefore,… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“some bishops must be tearing their hair but unable to speak.”

What is stopping them, apart from their cowardice?

John
Guest
John

I agree it is dreadful. I don’t really understand it. Perhaps Welby was sat on by men in suits. Like others, I look forward to gay priests marrying and calling this bluff. Certainly such priests will attract tremendous support both within and without the Church.

Sue Benjamins
Guest
Sue Benjamins

Is this the first recorded instance of the CofE withholding Blessings against a whole community/diaspora? Hmm interesting for this creed supposedly of love and acceptance…and so sad

ChicagoEric
Guest
ChicagoEric

Pastoral care to church not willing to fill its tank with love. CofEmpty

RevdDave
Guest
RevdDave

Actually, item 21 has cleared up one area – in the conservative direction:

“The same approach as commended in the 2005 statement should therefore apply to [lay] couples who enter same-sex marriage, on the assumption that *any prayer will be accompanied by pastoral discussion of the church’s teaching and their reasons for departing from it*.”

In other words, when offering pastoral prayer, clergy should explain why the Church disapproves of same-sex marriage.

badman
Guest
badman

I suspect the Bishops thought that there was enough sugar in this to mask the bitterness of the pill. The BBC doesn’t seem to have noticed; their report is uncompromisingly negative: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26206192 Where the Appendix falls apart is in the transition between paragraph 23 and paragraph 24. The first talks about “the way of Christ” and the “doctrine of Christ” but the second seems to assume that this is the same as “the teachings of the church” – yet Christ was not married himself and said nothing about homosexuality at all. This is, quite simply, a second order issue so… Read more »

Billie
Guest
Billie

Contrast that with:”Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered) rights: The Episcopal Church has been clear about our expectation that every member of the LGBT community is entitled to the same respect and dignity as any other member of the human family. Our advocacy for oppressed minorities has been vocal and sustained. The current attempts to criminalize LBGT persons and their supporters are the latest in a series, each stage of which has been condemned by this Church, as well as many other religious communities and nations. Our advocacy… Read more »

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

“It is too simplistic to argue, as many do, that just because we’re all human, the public representatives of the church should not have different expectations placed upon them. Priesthood demands sacrifice on occasions, and actually many laity, though they don’t always expect it of themselves, do somehow expect different of their clergy, as unrealistic as this may seem.”

Perhaps the C of E should resolve this issue by requiring all of its ordained to be celibate. Look at what a success that has been for Rome.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

This appalling document is nothing more than a parody of their former teaching on DIVORCE! There too the Church teaching and law of the land were at odds. Though, as others say this seems to have been missed …… The impact of that policy was a pastoral disaster, divorced people were refused ordination and those who were ordained and subsequently divorced ejected from pastoral responsibility. It was a horrifying sight as many of us will remember. It brought shame and scandal on our Church, people saw it as nasty and frequently that was just what it was. Now, in a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Outrageous. At least we now know we’re 2nd class Christians. This will end badly. Personally, I suggest a network of PCCs and priests take collective action and just go ahead and bless people (and marry a person they love, if they are priests). This genuinely needs local action, instead of ‘top down’ imperium, because this is a matter of conscience. If bishops want to ignore one whole half of their flock (and these days a majority of people in the pews) then it really is time for PCCs and communities to just say ‘Well we’re going to.’ This statement they… Read more »