Thinking Anglicans

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Andrew Brown The Guardian Opposing gay bishops for the sake of church unity is stupid

Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, ‘Indifference is not an option’ – sustainable development and the Christian response to climate change

Christopher Howse The Telegraph English timber roofs where a host of angels roost

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Erika BakerFather Ron SmithFather DavidGeoff McLarneyKate Recent comment authors
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Father David
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Father David

The argument a few top years ago was if women can be priests then there is no earthly reason why they cannot be bishops, like it or not! The stained glass ceiling had been breached once the first woman had received priestly ordination. Does not the same argument and reasoning apply to those who have a Gay orientation? If Gay men and lesbians have been openly received into the priesthood what prevents them from being consecrated bishops?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Yes, Father David+. From you keyboard to the eyes of the ABC. And if women and gays can be baptized, why can’t we be married? (Disclaimer, I’m married, but I’m living in Colorado, USA).

Andrew
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Andrew

Note that the Church insider tells Brown that the Dean of St Albans couldn’t function as a focus of unity but doesn’t say whether he would be a diligent shepherd. The mantra ‘focus of unity’ has come to mean ‘not LGBT’, but there’s little in the BCP consecration of bishops liturgy about unity which seems to be a recent concept. Instead there can be found prayers such as the one which exhorts ‘Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not. Hold up the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Father, I don’t think your logic is correct. The issue around the ordination of women is whether in NATURE the spiritual role of women is different to men. The issue around the ordination of gay men and lesbian women is whether in their CONDUCT they are suitable candidates. So while I agree that once women were accepted for priestly ordination there was no longer and justification for a bar on elevation to bishop, that does not apply to gay priests. It is possible (leaving aside whether it is right or wrong) to argue that gay men might be ordained priests… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Is this the same Kate who thinks that it would be better if priests did not have sex at all?

Your distinction between nature and conduct is false. Talk to gay people about this.

Geoff
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Geoff

I would have to disagree with Kate in that the issue, as far as I can tell, in both cases is whether gender is a sacramental deal-breaker. Even those who have a “traditional theology of marriage” tend to focus more on the “nature” of God’s intention for sex difference and so on, rather than trying to contest the existence of gay couples who, in their “conduct”, show exemplary Christian charity. We all know partnered and/or married gay people who live vows of fidelity and stability, raise their children responsibly (often the highest-needs adoptive children), sing in our choirs and teach… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Geoff, I agree with your argument. Contention appears only when one sees the sexual activity of gay people as being less ‘authentic’ – in terms of their validity as part of God’s creation – than that of straight people.

However, in the case of Jeffrey John, the Church does not even have that excuse to deny him the episcopal role to which he has already (once) been called by the Church. Even the Roman Catholic Church might nowadays accept that some of its bishops (though ‘celibate’) are intrinsically gay.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Kate, when you say “their lifestyle falls short of the witness expected from the bishopric”… what exactly is a gay or lesbian “lifestyle”?

I am in a committed lesbian relationship, and like most gay or lesbian couples, our “lifestyle” consists of getting up, working, shopping, washing, ironing, cooking, paying bills, caring for each other if we get ill, fidelity, kindness, devotion etc.

We really don’t have a “lifestyle” except in the sense that a heterosexual couple have a lifestyle.

It’s just ordinary life and tenderness and care.

James Byron
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James Byron

I find the use of the word “lifestyle” a good litmus test: few can be unaware of how hurtful it is to LGBT people; and for those few, if they continue to use it after being told, it tells us all we need to know. Its use isn’t mandated by the Bible, and there’s no reasonable justification for pressing on with it despite the hurt caused.

Will Kate undertake to avoid it in future?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Yes, “lifestyle” is very offensive. Susannah nails it, as usual. Our gay lifestyle involves being in a committed 24 year relationship, sanctified by marriage in TEC last January. But our regular “lifestyle” is as Susannah describes, getting on with life.

Definitely talk to gay people, Kate, about CONDUCT vs. NATURE. My Creator made me as I am, and many others. And many of us make major contributions to life and church. Michelangelo, anyone? And so many more…

Geoff
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Geoff

I missed the end of Kate’s comment. It is definitely NOT “possible … to argue that gay men might be ordained priests but feel that their lifestyle [sic] falls short of the witness expected from the bishopric” – not with any consistency. Bishops are not “super-priests”: presbyters are the delegates of the bishop at the parish level. If married gay men are unsuitable for episcopacy they are unsuitable for the priesthood.

Kate
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Kate

I expressed views only on the logic in the father’s comment not on whether consecration of gay men is a good or bad thing.

Geoff
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Geoff

“I expressed views only on the logic in the father’s comment not on whether consecration of gay men is a good or bad thing.” Yes, and I expressed views only on your views on his logic!

Kate
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Kate

Bishops have the power to ordain priests, which priests cannot do. We already have huge problems with the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda not accepting priests ordained by women bishops. Gay bishops would cause similar divisions.

Again, standing aside from the rights and wrongs of the issue, to suggest that there are no differences between priests and bishops is not grounded in fact. There is no logical contradiction in supporting women priests and bishops, supporting gay priests but nonetheless not supporting gay bishops.

Father Ron Smith
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“There is no logical contradiction in supporting women priests and bishops, supporting gay priests but nonetheless not supporting gay bishops. – Kate –

Frankly, Kate; I may not be the only one on T.A. who cannot understand your distinction. The inrinsic difference/similarity between priests and bishops is the same in both cases – whether female or gay.

Father David
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Father David

Although it is mere speculation, I wonder how many, if any, of the original Twelve Disciples were Gay? Today, the number one in ten has long persisted in popular culture as a reliable guesstimate of homosexual orientation. It stands as a district possibility, does it not, that as there were twelve not ten of the original disciples, the odds on are even higher!

Father David
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Father David

I agree with Fr. Ron, I too cannot understand Kate’s reasoning or distinction and stick by my original comment at the top of this thread.

Kate
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Kate

If it was that simple then there would be no objections and the Anglican Church would unite behind women and gay bishops. What both sides need to realise is that there are people of high integrity and good intentions on both sides of the argument. What distresses me is that views seem so entrenched. And yes, I don’t disagree that there are also bigoted arguments in play too but it would be a huge mistake to see all traditionalist arguments as bigoted. And as a member of the LGBTQ* community myself, believe me when I say I know about bigotry… Read more »

Geoff McLarney
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Geoff McLarney

“Bishops have the power to ordain priests, which priests cannot do. We already have huge problems with the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda not accepting priests ordained by women bishops. Gay bishops would cause similar divisions.”

No: those who object to women in the episcopate generally question if they are bishops – or priests – at all, and thus whether those whom they ordain are indeed ordained. There is no comparable doubt about gay men in the episcopate, whose sacramental ministry is generally undisputed even if some consider them to be “unworthy ministers”.

Father David
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Father David

Geoff makes a totally valid point, surely nobody questions the validity of the scores of priests ordained by Mervyn Stockwood, the last great Prince Bishop of Southwark?

Father Ron Smith
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“What distresses me is that views seem so entrenched.” – Kate –

Precisely. This is what distresses LGBTQ people too!
Nothing is more entrenched than a traditional conservative view-point – not open to change.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Kate, what views would you like gay people to have? Would you like us to say “Oh, I mustn’t look extreme and entrenched, I’d better agree that I should not be treated 100% equal in the church”? Once we’ve engaged with the theology and we are sure about what is right, we all become “entrenched”. That’s what happens when people undergo a process of discovery and arrive at a conclusion. The conversations focus on those who have not yet made up their minds or are who are capable of changing it. It’s a given that many have reached a conclusion… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“the only genuine question can be how to find a modus vivendi that gives everyone full equality while protecting those who genuinely cannot live with the views of those on the other side of the debate. – Erika Baker –

And your statement here, Erika, will no doubt be applicable to the reactions of the Primates at the Meeting with the ABC in January 2016.

The big debate there might be around the question: are the disagreements adiaphoral or do they impinge on the doctrine of Christ.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr. Ron, I agree. And it is also a purely practical question. The CoE does not choose its members nor can it lock them out if it doesn’t like them. Gay people aren’t an abstract to be talked about but a living, worshipping reality in every church in the land. This controversy cannot be legislated away. We and all those who want to see a just church and who are persuaded by affirming theology are simply not going to stop until we have full equality at every level of church. Just like women didn’t stop until we had women bishops.… Read more »