Sunday, 4 February 2007

bishops seek to radically alter PMMs

The House of Bishops of the Church of England has indicated that it will move a substantial amendment to each of the two Private Members Motions scheduled for debate on Wednesday 28 February.

LESBIAN AND GAY CHRISTIANS
The Revd Mary Gilbert (Lichfield) to move:

700 ‘That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire; and, bearing in mind this diversity,

(a) agree that a homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life;

(b) invite parish and cathedral congregations to welcome and affirm lesbian and gay Christians, lay and ordained, valuing their contribution at every level of the Church; and

(c) urge every parish to ensure a climate of sufficient acceptance and safety to enable the experience of lesbian and gay people to be heard, as successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978 (resolution 10), 1988 (resolution 64), and 1998 (resolution 1.10) have requested.’

124 Signatures (February 2006)

ITEM 12 LESBIAN AND GAY CHRISTIANS
The Bishop of Gloucester to move:

Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:

“(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;

(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64; 1998: 1.10); and

(c) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church.”

The background note issued by the House of Bishops concludes:

The House of Bishops does not believe that it would be in the interests of the Church of England or the Anglican Communion for the Synod to attempt to pass a motion that was either so ambiguous as to cause confusion and misunderstanding or so clear-cut as to exacerbate the polarisation that already exists. A member of the House will, therefore, be moving on behalf of the House a substantial amendment which, if carried, would enable the Synod to make a positive statement without creating fresh divisions.

Details of the second PMM are below the fold.

CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS

The Revd Paul Perkin (Southwark) to move:

701 ‘That this Synod, deeply concerned that

(a) in an understandable desire to remedy injustice and remove unjust discrimination, the Government’s Civil Partnership Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of the relationship of marriage;

(b) the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement, while reiterating the Church’s basic teaching on marriage, has produced a recipe for confusion by not stating clearly that civil partnerships entered into under the CP Act would be inconsistent with Christian teaching;

(c) that the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has given to bishops the task of ensuring that clergy who enter into these partnerships adhere to church teaching in the area of sexuality without giving the bishops the clear means to do so; and

(d) that by declaring that lay people who enter into such partnerships should not be asked about the nature of their relationship, in the context of preparation for baptism and confirmation, as well as for the purposes of receiving Holy Communion, the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has compromised pastoral discipline at the local level:

declare its support for bishops, clergy and other ministers who continue to minister the godly discipline required by the scriptures and the canons and request the House of Bishops to set up a study of the ways in which that discipline is being applied and the implications thereof for future pastoral guidance and bring a report to Synod by the July 2007 Group of Sessions.’

110 Signatures (February 2006)

ITEM 14 CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS

The Bishop of Liverpool to move:

Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:

“(a) acknowledge the diversity of views within the Church of England on whether Parliament might better have addressed the injustices affecting persons of the same sex wishing to share a common life had it done so in a way that avoided creating a legal framework with many similarities to marriage;

(b) recognise the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement as a balanced and sensitive attempt faithfully to apply the Church’s teaching to civil partnerships; and

(c) note the intention of the House to keep the matter under review.”

The background note issued by the House of Bishops concludes:

The House acknowledges that there continues to be a variety of views within the Church over whether Parliament was right to have legislated to create this new form of legal status. It is now, however, more than two years since the legislation obtained Royal Assent and the House does not believe that there is anything to be gained by attempting to reopen the public policy arguments that for now at least must be regarded as settled. The question, rather, is whether the Pastoral Statement produced by the House constituted in all the circumstances a balanced and sensitive response to the new situation created by the legislation. A member of the House will move a substantial amendment to the motion inviting the House to agree that it was.

h/t AM.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 4:58pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

The bishops have emerged from their long hibernation have they ?

And such beautifully crafted politically adept re-framing....

Moral guidance, truth and spirituality would have been inconsistent with the political procedure undertaken here ( and so not ventured)

Posted by: laurence on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 5:55pm GMT

Typical fence-sitting, spineless twaddle.

No wonder no-one respects the CofE any longer.I'd prefer an honest homophobe.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 7:26pm GMT

And just so james Jones isn't under any illusion - ONLY a status and framework akin to civil marriage would have been acceptable.

Thats why we have CP's - to give equality and status to same sex couples. The Church view on their moral standing is not reflected in civil law, and neither should it be.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 7:30pm GMT

Clarity poured into frosty glass bottles and with corks firmly pushed in.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 7:57pm GMT

Mary Gilbert's resolution always seemed to me a fine enunciation of absolutely unobjectionable propositions framed in positive language - altogether excellent.

But even the positive tone is unacceptable to the bishops in the current climate.

How mean spirited and craven of them. Shame on them.

Posted by: badman on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 8:57pm GMT

Dear Merseymíke, I think that the church is *trying* to be as open as reasonably possible, not just spineless. However, I would prefer it if the HoB also restated what the Church actually believes about same-sex sex, rather than just refer back to previous resolutions.

After all we would have a right to be respected and to take part in the public square as Christians, even if everyone else thought we were wrong!!

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 10:45pm GMT

Why do I find it interesting that the amended version of the Gilbert motion leaves out anything about LGBT people in actual communities?

Clearly, at least to the bishops, we are still an abstract proposition.

Posted by: kieran crichton on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 11:00pm GMT

As for equality of gay partnerships with marriage. The fact is that there are similarities (two adults entering into a public and legal commitment) but there are also substantial differences (physiologically, biologically and sociologically, as well as religiously). CP and Equality legislation has gone too far by trying to legislate that the actual differences between different sexualities are unimportant.

I think that nearly everyone I know was supportive of the idea that, as people were no longer living by true Christian values, compassion should allow for those in committed dependent relationships, who could not marry, to be provided with legals structures to reflect the actual relationship(s).

But what the Government provided is not equality for all. That was not the real intention and it was not done. They didn't provide for *all* those previously disadvantaged by laws based on the old moral doctrine. They just imposed a new moral ideological doctrine that benefits a few new groups, leaves others still disadvantaged, and actively disadvantages a few groups.

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 11:10pm GMT

Yes we take part in public squares as Christians, those who affirm lesbian and gay people as equal, in relationships, active and inactive in all sorts of activities, the sexual included (boy are you obsessed Dave with "same sex sex" - please sort it out) who should be open to conduct all forms of church ministries, who could have forms of ceremonies that recognise the sacred character of their faithful relationships, just as with others.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 11:58pm GMT

All you need to know about +Gloucester's Item 12 amendment, are to be found in the following:

"commend continuing efforts to prevent [...] diversity of opinion"

:-(

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 3:38am GMT

+Gloucester won't please the GS radicals anyway - the affirmation of the rightness of homosexual people to full participation in the life of the church will cut no ice with some en route to Tanzania.....

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 8:57am GMT

Within the civil law, gay partnerships have equality with marriage, and so they should - because the state does not regard gay people or their relationships as unequal. Different, yes - that's why there are CP's for same sex couples, and civil marriage for opposite sex - but they offer the same rights and responsibilities, reflecting the role of committed partnerships in civil society. As they should, because the 'differences' people like Dave refers to are those recognised only be conservative religionists and the anti-gay lobby.

The CofE recognise that CP's are here to stay - outside the Church this simply isn't an issue any more.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 9:04am GMT

Whilst it seems to me that the LGBT case occupies a good deal of the moral high ground, its is surely cut away by such selective and dishonest editing as that in JCF's posting.

This is akin to editing the sixth commandment to read "Thou shalt [...] kill"

Posted by: cryptogram on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 10:50am GMT

JCF, the text reads "“(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion; "

If I wrote that I wish to prevent children from breaking windows, I would be very upset if you misrepresented me as saying I wished to prevent children.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 11:14am GMT

cryptogram talks about the moral high ground - and apparently one gets it by ignoring the moral teaching of scripture - amazing!

Posted by: NP on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 2:43pm GMT

"as people were no longer living by true Christian values"
While I grant people aren't living by "true Christian values", Dave, I wonder at your use of "no longer". Surely "still not, after 2000 years" would have been a better phrase, or perhaps you can point to one period in the past 2 millenia when this HAS been true.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 5:52pm GMT

To Fr. Joseph and cryptogram:

"No, write 'He SAID "I am the King of the Jews"!'"

Pilate wasn't wrong, there. :-/

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 5:54pm GMT

JCF
- Your perversion of the amendment isn't remotely parallel to the verse you cite, and you know it. You don't improve your case by such deceitful misquoting.

NP
- You make silly assumptions. You do not ask in what the "moral high ground" subsists, but assume you know. And in doing so you betray the moral paucity of your own argument.

Neither "side" of the debate is covered in glory here. You might both do better to listen (or read) and to understand what is being said, rather than respond with the same tired old reflexes.

Posted by: cryptogram on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 9:06pm GMT

JCF’s observation is acute. It is clear from (a)

“commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion … creating further division and impaired fellowship…”

that the (not so) good Bishop sees difference as a problem, not the animosity, division, spin, lies, havoc, intentionally nurtured and fomented in some places to destroy the Church of England and the Anglican Communion of churches.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 5:42am GMT

NP writes: “… ignoring the moral teaching of scripture – amazing!”

Now, NP, “moral” is a 12th century concept of the European Neo Platonist Academy. Not in the Bible.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 5:42am GMT

NP obseved
cryptogram talks about the moral high ground - and apparently one gets it by ignoring the moral teaching of scripture - amazing!

I know, I have a rebellious son, he REFUSED to tidy his room for years, and I didn't put him to death. I do apologise.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 8:34am GMT

cryptogram - yeah, so "silly" to assume that the CofE might take its morality from the scriptures...what do you want me to read - is The Guardian the current authority? (you know what I want you to read)

Mynster - glad you spared your son! Untidiness is not a sin, you know......and I don't think TEC's actions, "tearing the fabric of the Communion" deliberately) is mere untidiness - is it?


Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 10:16am GMT

Very well, NP, if you need it spelled out:

YOU apparently assume that all LGBT people are involved in genital acts which you believe to be condemned in no uncertain terms in scripture, and therefore cannot in any sense "occupy the moral high ground".

I do not make the assumption of those genital acts. Indeed, in many circumstances such acts would patently be impossible. However, in terms of acceptance of the outcast, refusal to cast the first stone and belief in the uiniversality of atonement, (rather than its restriction to the Elect) I believe they do occupy the moral high ground.

In Matthew 5:22 Jesus says that anyone who calls a brother "moré" will be condemned to hell fire. That conservative evangelical commentator, R V G Tasker remarks that it is better to read this as an Aramaic word (and thus parallel to "raka" in v.21) rather than as the vocative of the Greek adjective "moros". Thus: "Anyone who calls a brother "Outcast" will himself be cast out". I find less readiness to chuck anathemata around among the LGBT Christians than among the "righteous". As the priest is wont to say in the confessional "Go in peace, and pray for me, also a sinner"

As for your comment on David's post - while you may know your Leviticus, you clearly don't know your Deuteronomy.
Try reading Deut. 21:18-21

Posted by: cryptogram on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 12:07pm GMT

crypto - I made no such assumption.

I am addressing the issue of those who want to say "don't do x" means "do x, it is good" - a position which the CofE House of Bishops is clearly not willing to support as we can see....the same is not true of the majority of the TEC bishops, sadly.

By the way - my views are not just based on Lev. There is a consistent message in the OT and NT. Revisionists always have to end up ignoring certain passages and the bigger picture - because it ain't unclear.

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 12:46pm GMT

NP wrote: "I am addressing the issue of those who want to say "don't do x" means "do x, it is good""

Which implies, in applying it to my original post, an assumption that that is my meaning.

It is not my meaning, or anything remotely approaching it. But you carry on tithing your mint and cumin. One day you may notice the weightier things.

Posted by: cryptogram on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 4:28pm GMT

crypto - it seems like you think you have made some strong argument.....just so it is clear, I am not trying to read your mind, was not commenting on your undisclosed views and am more concerned with the issues anyway

You talked of "the moral high ground" in relation to people who seem often to sacrifice any moral teaching in scripture they do not like to the god called "Inclusiveness" - this is what I found ironic

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 11:06am GMT

NP wrote: “…to sacrifice any moral teaching in scripture…”

NP, I have told you before, that “moral” is a 12th century abstract concept. Scholasticism. NOT in the Bible.

I would seem it was ABC Cranmer who invented the threefold division of Leviticus into “Civil, Ceremonial and Moral” (it’s unknown here) in order to “justify” Henry VIIIs divorce from the Queen (claiming it was “”moral” ;=)

Leviticus itself makes NO such distinction – unthinkable even, before the late 12th century.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 9:49am GMT

Goran - you so love your technicalities...and remain so unconvincing but you seem to enjoy yourself, so that is fine.

I am sure you have read the opening chapters of Genesis. You will agree that they occur before C12....and you might find in them some idea of what sin means, how much God hates it and punishes it - and that right (moral) and wrong behaviour is not a new idea by any means.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 5:24pm GMT

NP - This is a genuine enquiry, not an attempt to score points, so please respond in the same spirit:
just how would you understand "sin"?

Would you see it, for example, as a sort of demonic goo which clings to us when we do things that are wrong - a sort of kakoplasma, to coin a term? It disgusts God who turns away from it, but has provided the remedy in the Saviour's blood, which alone can cleanse us of it?
Or would you see it perhaps as a dysfunction in our relationship with God, and consequently with our fellows, which hurts rather than disgusts God and for which he has provided a remedy in the perfect obedience of the Saviour, through whom alone it can be healed?
Or maybe you would put it another way?

I ask because I am a little concerned about the use of the word "hate" in your most recent post, and feel it needs to be unpacked a bit.

Posted by: cryptogram on Friday, 9 February 2007 at 2:24pm GMT
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