Friday, 30 December 2005

civil partnerships: recent CT reports

In today’s Church Times Bill Bowder reports on what the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich said in Bishop: gays ‘amongst the best’ clerics.

Earlier in the month, Rachel Harden had two articles: Priests prepare to register their civil partnerships and also Both sides agree: this is not marriage.

And a further report was entitled Don’t try to bend gay rules, says Dr Wright.

This week’s column by Giles Fraser is headlined Protect me from prying bishops.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 December 2005 at 2:23pm GMT
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Looks like no-one's changed their mind then! ;-)

I'd love to know whether those arguing for the supremacy of "privacy" would only apply this arguement to homosexual sex within CPs.. What about a clergyperson having a series of lovers, or an "open" marriage ? Would "privacy" give her/him the right to refuse to truthfully answer a Bishop's questions about their relationships ?

Come on! Christianity is not just a club for people who like each other. It has beliefs, practices, ethics and morals...

Get over it everybody!

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 31 December 2005 at 2:39am GMT

Yes, Dave. We know that Christianity is not 'just a club'.

Its just that some of us don't agree with your beliefs, practices, ethics and morals....and I think many Bishops don't either and have no intention of interrogating their clergy.

Mind you, they only have themselves to blame given the sheer daftness of the compromise statement.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 1 January 2006 at 11:13am GMT

It's about equality of treatment and consistency. A Bishop would not be enquiring into what went on in the bedroom of a married clergy person. Why should he with a civil partnership? If a cleric is having an affair/s, in an open relationship, then the bishop has grounds to enquire further irrespective of whether the cleric is gay or straight. It is about respect.

Posted by: Alan on Wednesday, 4 January 2006 at 12:49pm GMT

Dear Alan, The Apostles, Church traditions, the CofE and the Anglican Communion teach that it is about sin !

It is not just about equality. After all, homosexuality and heterosexuality are not "either/ors". It is quite common for people to experience both desires; and for them to change over time. There are also other sexual attractions that some people find to be their "orientation"; and sex cannot be separated from the physiological, generational and socio-human context. Male-female unions have given rise to all of us! They form families containing both major parts of the human race, they can produce children, build generational family, the basis of society.

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 4 January 2006 at 9:56pm GMT

Dave - Thanks for your reply. I was addressing the implication in your original mailing - that to accept civil partnerships for clergy opens the door for multiple relationships and infidelities. The point I was making is that clearly it doesn't, and that Bishops would be free to enquire further if this was happening. With reference to your last mailing, the question is different. It is about how one approaches the issue of homosexuality. One can take (like you) the view that it is not God given and so there is no either/or. Others of us take a different view which is gaining increasing acceptance in many parts of the church - and so naturally come to different conclusions. Again - it's about respecting one anothers viewpoints and accepting that others can see things differently. If we believe the church is a divine institution then we surely we can accept that it has the authority to be more nuanced in these matters as it seeks to grapple with what God is saying to us in our present context. (This I believe has always been the Anglican way as opposed to the magisterial office of the Roman Catholic Church and the Sola Scriptura of the Protestants.) Yes, informed by scripture and tradition, but a scripture and tradition that is alive today and not set in some monolithic interpretation which all must accept.

Posted by: Alan on Thursday, 5 January 2006 at 12:25pm GMT

The supremacy of privacy? Don't ask, don't tell? I search in vain for these values in the New Testament (Mk 4.22).

They are certainly values held in certain kinds of society, and people who are brought up in that kind of society will therefore see them as normal - just as people who are not will not. But what has this to do with whether they are centrally Christian values or not?

They are also values very convenient to anyone doing things they would not wish to be made public. Is that a coincidence?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 5 January 2006 at 7:35pm GMT

Dear Alan, I was not discussing CPs themselves, but the use in the article of "privacy" as a justification for not inquiring into the behaviour of priests (or laity) within CPs.

As you say, in the final analysis what you believe about God and the Church is one of the basic reasons for the current controversy. I was interested to find that these arguements having been going on for a long time. A friend leant me a book by C H Mackintosh which starts thus:

"Some, we are aware, would fain persuade us that things are so totally changed since the Bible was penned, that we need other guidance than that which its precious pages supply. They tell us that society is not what it was; that the human race has made progress; that there has been such a development of the powers of nature, the resources of science and the appliances of philosophy, that to maintain the sufficiency and supremacy of the Bible, at such a point in the world's history as the nineteenth century of the Christian era, can only be regarded as childishness, ignorance, or imbecility."

That was written in the 1800's. I think we can conclude that the various positions are not going to change much any time soon!

However, I certainly disagree with your statement that the liberal view is gaining ground in the church - at least at the ground level it is the more conservative churches that are large and growing, and the ultra-liberal ones are small and shrinking. A recent projection suggested that evangelicals will be the majority in the CofE by 2020; but judging by the lay representatives in synod we are already at 50% ["EGGS" has about 50% of the lay members - though evangelicals lie on a range from fairly liberal (by your standards) to conservative-fundamentalist].

But, how long it will take to get the HoB to allow a representative balance of churchmanships in their own ranks is another question. The liberal catholics show no sign of loosening their clutch on power, or even of guilty feelings about their disproportionate over-representation! All I hear in defence of the current imbalance is that it is "a careful political balance".... :-0

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 8 January 2006 at 5:33pm GMT
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