Friday, 20 January 2012

CofE's Osborne report finally published

The Church Times has today published an electronic copy of the Osborne Report on homosexuality. This should have been published in 1989.

In an accompanying article, the Very Revd Dr Jane Shaw explains the background to its suppression at the time.

When the CofE wanted to talk
A new (all-male) group is rethinking Issues in Human Sexuality, the 1991 report that remains the Bishops’ line on homo­sexuality…

The increasing acceptance of gay men and lesbians in the wider society in the 1970s and ’80s meant that the Church of England had to address the subject. In 1979, a church report, Homosexual Relationships: A con­tribu­tion to discussion, was published, but was considered too liberal by many in the Church.

So, in 1986, a standing committee of the House of Bishops asked the Board for Social Responsibility to set up a working party to advise the bishops. This resulted in the Osborne report of 1989 (chaired by the Revd June Osborne, a member of the Board), which drew on the direct testimony of gay and lesbian Chris­tians…

The full text of the report is available as an 8Mb PDF file.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 20 January 2012 at 7:24am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Oh now I understand. Had women on the last group- didn't like the outcome so no women on this one!!! Makes sense.

Posted by: sally barnes on Friday, 20 January 2012 at 7:50am GMT

Oh dear. This might have scuppered Dean Osborne's chances of becoming Dean of St Paul's.

Posted by: Wilf on Friday, 20 January 2012 at 10:20am GMT

Jane Shaw was for 9 years Chaplain and Dean of Divinity at New College, Oxford, and she was one of those who helped shape Some Issues in Human Sexuality (which was more liberal than Issues in Human Sexuality). Her appointment as a Dean in the US is a grievous loss to the Church of England and I hope that we will soon be in a position to offer her a bishopric in England, when we at last have women bishops, and that she will accept and come back to us.

June Osborne did not and will not lose anything as a result of giving her name to the Osborne Report; quite the contrary. It is entirely to her credit. Her appointment as Dean of Salisbury in 2004 shows how highly she is thought of. She, too, would be a bishop were it not for her gender.

The secretary to the Osborne Report group later became a bishop, of Guildford and then Chelmsford, so we should not think that liberals are denied preferment in the Church of England.

The problem is that women and homosexuals are discriminated against; not that their champions are. And so it is with the latest working party, from which all women, young people, and homosexuals of whatever gender have been excluded.

That is not only an injustice; it is a mistake. The group has no credibility and it needs credibility no matter what conclusions it may come to.

Posted by: badman on Friday, 20 January 2012 at 2:07pm GMT

The letter in the current Church Times from General Synod member Lorna Ashworth (effectively saying No, no, no) show exactly why the 'listening process', if it ever had a chance of working in the 1980s, hasn't any chance now. Tony Higton derailed the Osborne report before it was published and the conservative rejectionists have kept on derailing any progress in this area. Listening isn't going to work, the Bishops' attempts to find a compromise are doomed to failure and the current working parties lack any legitimacy by the very nature of their composition. The only way forward is to tackle head on the rejectionists, dare them to do their worst and, as with the women priests/bishops issue, to which this is very much allied, say 'if you can't come with us you aren't going to stop us' and leave them behind. Then they have the choice, to accept the progress and development in the Church or to leave it.

In the end the Bishops have to stop hiding behind formularies, working parties, secrecy and the underhand. In the end they will have to reflect the view of our more open society and accept the place of gltb people in the church, as the real church, the people, does, and recognise their relationships as honourable and valid. Nothing less can possibly do.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 20 January 2012 at 5:40pm GMT

The other question is why has this report been published by the Church Times now? What is going on?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 20 January 2012 at 9:52pm GMT

No wonder this report was repressed by the hierarchy of the Church of England. It actually provides sensible and theological arguments for the authenticity of Gays in the Church. Perhaps now that the report has been released, we might get some action that will indicate the Church's willingness to consider the place of the LGBT community in its life and ministry.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 21 January 2012 at 6:17am GMT

Those interested in this report will probably be even more interested in the article by Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, renowned Oxford University Church Historian, on the problems associated with mandatory celibacy of the clergy (listed on another T.A. thread).

His history of personal dealings with the Church of England's treatment of Gay Clergy - in the wake of Tony Higton's infamous attack on Gay Clergy in a G.S. Motion in 1987 - no doubt informs his opinion of the hypocritical stance of the Church, which requires Gay people to make a promise of celibacy, whilke allowing straight clergy the benefit of serial monogamy.

I do hope these two events - the publication of the Osborne Report of Sexuality, and the appearance of Diarmaid McCulloch's article on mandatory celibacy for the clergy - will well and truly be discussed by the Church of England Bishops before the next G.S., with some positive results issuing therefrom.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 22 January 2012 at 9:04am GMT
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