Sunday, 24 June 2012

Bishops disagree with Church of England policy on equal marriage

The Telegraph reports today on this.

Ed Malnick and Cole Moreton Bishops rebel against Church marriage policy

Two bishops have broken ranks to speak out against the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

They say that the Church’s official position does not speak for them, nor for a substantial number of clergy and churchgoers.

Their intervention comes as critics prepare to challenge the policy at General Synod next month, exposing faultlines within the Church…

Bishop Tim Ellis wrote this on his blog: Not in my name?

There have been many recent statements from senior bishops and others within the life of the Church of England which have raised questions in my mind as to the nature of our Church and its relationship with our country. In response to the Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage, public statements have been made which purport to give the ‘mind’ of the Church of England…

…So, I am forced to say that those of my colleagues who have spoken out on same-sex marriage do not speak for me and neither, I dare to say, do they speak for the Church of England-they are rehearsing their own opinions.

Bishop Alan Wilson was a signatory to a letter to The Times a few weeks ago, which can be read in full here.

He also wrote on his blog about this, see But mummy, he hasn’t got anything on!

And Bishop Nicholas Holtam spoke about this at a conference recently, see “Making space for an honest conversation”.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 7:33pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

I am moved and thankful for the witness of these few bishops -

ere long they will be joined by a great throng...

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 8:00pm BST

"ere long they will be joined by a great throng"
I wouldn't bet on it! Who, apart from the usual suspects do you think is going to join forces with Buckingham, Grantham and Salisbury? I remember Kenneth Stevenson, the late Bishop of Portsmouth, writing about the first time he attended a meeting of the House of Bishops (First Class) and looking round he divided the prelates into two categories - Prefects and Rebels. He decided that there were too many of the former and not enough of the latter.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 6:33am BST

Fr David,
yes, but today's rebels are tomorrow's standard fare and those left behind are the rebels without a cause.
We're not quite there yet - but there is always a time when formerly outrageous causes become nothing more than standard morals.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 11:49am BST

Considering the ethos of the Old Boys' Network in the House of Bishops, I find it remarkable that even three of these bishops should find the intestinal fortitude to challenge their conservative colleagues

Maybe now that this has happened, as Laurence has predicted, more Members of Diocesan Synods will feel able to challenge the hegemony of the Bishops of the Church of England.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 11:51am BST

I prefer to be optimistic and trust that this rebellion against the 'false collegiality' of the bishops , (which currently supports authoritarian dictatorship) will grow and freedom for bishops to speak out will be recovered.

Posted by: Jean Mary Mayland on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 12:03pm BST

And who would have bet on a former carpenter telling ordinary people that they had a power and an authority which the ancient world believed was exclusive to kings and to the gods, to forgive each others' sins? What an insufferable rebel He was!

Posted by: Counterlight on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 4:47pm BST


But it is of of course the King of Kings who has called you into the royal priesthood, be you a one-time vagabond, prostitute or tax-collector because you are His - children of God born not of the flesh but of the Spirit - exercising His delegated authority - placing you trust in what He has done for you. He has actually paid for your sins - so surely you are appropriating by grace what He has done.

Posted by: DAvid Wilson on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 6:58pm BST

It's good to see Jesus the "insufferable rebel" making a welcome come back. Didn't Schweitzer long ago conclude in his quest for the historical Jesus that the search was largely futile and that he remained a shadowy and indistinct figure? As the great Tom Wright (now there's an evangelical bishop who has the learning and the gravitas to fill Rowan's shoes if ever there was one) has written "Our culture knows in its bones that Jesus could not have been like we traditionally say he was". Further, who was it that wrote of this futile quest that "each one looked down the long well of history and saw his own face reflected at the bottom"?

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:20am BST

If Jesus was as Counterlight claims Him to be -such an "insufferable rebel" - then how come He didn't include at least one woman among the Twelve? Had he so rebelled and done so nigh on 2,000 years ago, then we would not be having the tortuous debate scheduled for early next month at the York meeting of the General Synod.
Personally, in preference to "an insufferable rebel" - I prefer to think of Him as the eternal "only-begotten Son of God".

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 8:45am BST

"If Jesus was as Counterlight claims Him to be -such an "insufferable rebel" - then how come He didn't include at least one woman among the Twelve?"

And what was Mary Magadalene, the "Apostle to the Apostles?" Chopped liver? And of course, there was another woman without whom any of this would not have been possible, and who had a few things to say about the mighty being cast down and the poor exalted, Our Lady.

As I recall, the bishops' synod of the day in Jerusalem certainly did not see Jesus as a paragon of orthodoxy. As I remember, they were very happy to be well rid of that young blaspheming Galilean upstart.

Posted by: Counterlight on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 11:50am BST

Father David, the gospels attest that women were among the more devoted disciples of Jesus. That they were not among the Twelve is likely a result of the unique role that group play as the new heads of the Twelve Tribes.(e.g., Luke 22:30). More important is the power Jesus committed into the hands of the Apostles, to seal and to loose. This power extended beyond the Tribes to the Gentiles and all the world. There is no indication that this delegated authority need be limited to men.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:27pm BST

"then how come He didn't include at least one woman among the Twelve?"

SRSLY? Warmed-over rhetorical questions that were hopelessly outdated when patriarchy whinged them 30 or 40 years ago?

These sort of questions have long since been asked, and answered [Jesus: "Holy Spirit will guide..." "You will do greater things than I in My Name" "Truths you cannot bear now". Mary Magdalen: Apostle to the Apostles. Paul: "In Christ, no male & female". Other ordained women of Acts, and Early Church. Witness of ordained, mitre-wearing women religious. I could go on and on...]

Unlike 40 years ago, we also have the recent EXPERIENCE of priests&bishops-who-happen-to-be-women. They have been graced&gifted, they have been holy, they have been faithful, they have (through Christ) built up the Church.

Yes, there may be those individuals stuck in the endless-whirling backwaters, repeating the Same Old Questions, NEVER accepting the Scripture/Tradition/Reason-based answers.

But as a BODY, the Church has moved on, re responding to GOD'S CALL of women to holy orders.

Maranatha, marriage equality too! Alleluia! :-)

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 9:43pm BST

So, JCF - if this innovation is of the Holy Spirit, as you suggest, how come it is accompanied by so much disunity and dissent?
As to repeating the same old answers - as far as this issue is concerned based on Scripture and Tradition - the answer - as Bishop Alex Graham pointed out in Synod twenty years ago - is either NO or NOT PROVEN.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 5:11am BST

"if this innovation is of the Holy Spirit, as you suggest, how come it is accompanied by so much disunity and dissent?"

You mean like those church councils at Antioch and Jerusalem described in the Book of Acts? I'm sure there is someone out there still insisting that gentiles must be circumcised.

Posted by: Counterlight on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 11:37am BST

"If Jesus was as Counterlight claims Him to be -such an "insufferable rebel" - then how come He didn't include at least one woman among the Twelve?"
- Father David -

Possibly because Jesus knew it wouldn't have made a darn bit of difference to the ethos of the Church of His day. He did try to make of Mary Magdalene the first of the Resurrection Apostles, by sending her (apostello) to tell the Good News of this to His disciples - but even they would not take HER word for it. so what's changed in the interim? Well, plenty, in other churches of the Anglican Communion, but not (yet) in Mother Church

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 12:56pm BST

So, since there is disunity and dissent - and always has been - on issues like, say, greed being good (Ananias and Sapphira), that means that our rejection of those things, like greed, for instance, is not from the Holy Spirit?

There's a great deal of disunity and dissent, and has been for quite a while, about the traditionalist view on women and gays, so, clearly, the traditionalist view is not from the Holy Spirit, right?

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 5:30am BST
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