Friday, 8 July 2005

synod questions: another sexuality one

HOUSE OF BISHOPS
The Bishop of Chelmsford to reply as Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Ministry
Mrs Jane Pitts (Liverpool) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q10 In view of the harm the Church of England has inflicted on itself in its polarized arguments over the understanding of sexuality as a whole, would the House of Bishops consider not asking clerical candidates for any posts personal questions about their sexual orientation or attitudes to the same, with a view to respecting the individual’s conscience before God in this deeply felt issue?

Answer:
As is clear from the Ordinal under discussion at this Group of Sessions, clergy make public undertakings to ‘fashion their life according to the way of Christ’. They also make an Oath of Canonical Obedience to their bishop. Bishops have a duty, in confidence, to explore with a priest all matters which are affected by the oaths and declarations which they make. All such conversations should be conducted with great sensitivity and respect.

The House of Bishops’ teaching as set out in Issues in Human Sexuality represents the position of the House. There is a proper expectation that clergy should hold to its discipline.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 8 July 2005 at 9:15pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: General Synod
Comments

In other words ; it depends on who the bishop is....but Jane (who I do know!) didn't ask about anything other than someone's sexual orientation, not whether they had a partner or not.

As in the Jeffrey John instance, its clear enough that some will suspect anyone who doesn't embrace ex-gay style repression, even if they are not in a relationship. This answer shows that to be the case.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 8 July 2005 at 11:08pm BST

Should I (ignorant Yank) read this as "Let the asymetrical inquisition continue!"?

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Saturday, 9 July 2005 at 8:46am BST

Yes! It very much depends on who the bishop is, of course - and in any case, do they really think that people are going to tell the truth? Its essentially a platitude, a box-ticking exercise.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 9 July 2005 at 12:07pm BST

I agree we need to be clearer; fudges like "Civil Union ok as long as it is sexless" will just cause havoc.

If the CofE is to uphold the position on homosexuality that has, since ACC-13, become the official stance of all four Anglican "instruments of unity" (ie that homosexuality is incompatible with Scripture) then our bishops and priests (and laity) have to be seen to support that.

Clergy living together in Civil Unions would at least have the appearance of forbidden sexual relationships

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 9 July 2005 at 1:41pm BST

They would have a hard job in justifying that legally, and thats what they have been advised.

Of course, in the long run, as gay marriage (sorry, civil partnership) becomes commonplace, the current CofE position will look even more arcahaic.

Still, by then a good proportion of the CofE may be following Lagos rather than Canterbury, so it may not be such a big issue.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 9 July 2005 at 3:56pm BST

Incidentally, how are you going to enforce that amongst laity, when the agreed position of the CofE (according to my evangelical Bishop, in our last conversation) is that relationships are acceptable for the laity?

We will be having a partnership ceremony next year. Clergy will be amongst those attending. I really don't think you have anywhere near a majority for the Anglican Extreme line within the CofE

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 9 July 2005 at 4:01pm BST

Merseymike wrote: "Of course, in the long run, as gay marriage (sorry, civil partnership) becomes commonplace, the current CofE position will look even more arcahaic."

Mike, the CofE believes in a real God; that Jesus as God come to earth 2000 years ago, sacrificed himself to atone for my and your sins, and was actually resurrected, and will one day judge the world. I think this already counts as "archaic".

If we use archaism as the determinant of what we believe we really are just hostage to the "spirit of the age"!

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 10 July 2005 at 6:57pm BST

You may believe that, Dave, along with other conservative evangelicals in the CofE.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 10:04am BST

No actually, Mike, it's what the Church of England believes.

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 2:16pm BST

I'd be fascinated to know how many people within the Church of England actually have literal belief in all of those things, as do conservative evangelicals.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 4:21pm BST

You've got a bit of a neck MM. If you don't really believe in God, Jesus Christ and the basic christian truths encompassed in the creeds, what on earth are you doing in the church, or trying to tell us what our faith means ?!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 8:41pm BST

Perhaps you should recognise that the Church of England doesn't only consist of conservative evangelicals, Dave.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 12:29am BST

"the CofE believes in a real God; that Jesus as God come to earth 2000 years ago, sacrificed himself to atone for my and your sins, and was actually resurrected, and will one day judge the world"

Let's see (I speak only as one Episcopalian):

"a real God": check

"that Jesus as God come to earth 2000 years ago": shouldn't that be "God as Jesus"? Yes

"sacrificed himself to atone for my and your sins": that's one way of looking at it (I wouldn't say it was wrong---but it's certainly not the only way of looking at it, either)

"was actually resurrected": yes . . . but resurrection should NEVER be *reduced* to mere "resuscitation"

"will one day judge the world": One day? I think he can find plenty about it that sucks, right NOW!

But MM has added another challenge: "literal belief"

What the heck does that mean, anyway? Not knowing, I certainly couldn't answer in the affirmative, that I "literally believe".

A further challenge: Dave's word "real"

I suspect, for too many Christians, "real" is a matter of mere FACTS. Are the above propositions "factually real...accurate"? I haven't a clue (not having empirical evidence by which I ascertain "facts").

Are they TRUE?

Inasmuch as I have said, I have *faith* that they are. Just exactly . . . HOW they are True, I leave to God.

God dwells "in Light inaccessible." Jesus spoke in parables (or said "Tell no one . . . ").

Apparently, Our God likes a good bit of MYSTERY.

. . . and I can deal w/ that. ;-)

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 7:10am BST

Well expressed, JCF. But I am sure that your qualifications would brand you a heretic in conservative circles!

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 12:07pm BST
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