Monday, 7 January 2013

Further coverage of the civil partnerships decision

Updated again 10 pm

Melanie McDonagh writes for the Spectator that Gay bishops and women bishops are not the same issue.

Giles Fraser writes for the Guardian Why gay bishops have to lie.

Colin Coward wrote at Changing Attitude Civil partnerships, the episcopate and the House of Bishops furore.

LGCM issued this press release: Go-ahead for bishops in civil partnerships welcome first step.

The Independent has this editorial: The unholy row over gay Christians.

Statements have been released by two retired bishops, Michael Nazir-Ali here, and David Gitari here.

Catholicity and Covenant has published two articles: Charity, moral imagination and discipleship: some reflections on the CofE House of Bishops statement and GAFCON, the CofE and civil partnerships.

Colin Coward has published again at Changing Attitude Archbishop of Kenya criticizes C of E decision on partnered gay bishops.

And, Colin has asked, and received, responses to queries from both the Bishop of Sodor & Man, and the Secretary General. Read about them in
Changing Attitude asks for Sodor and Man working party report to be published and then in
Why did the HoB take a decision about the eligibility of clergy in CPs becoming bishops?

The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali has weighed in here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 12:00am GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

I well remember that particular episode of "Rev" when the interviewing panel for a vacant bishopric asked Archdeacon Robert the final question about his sexuality. The expression on the Archdeacon's face said it all! He may well have worn a pectoral cross and be the fictional Bishop of London's eyes but he could not be the bishop.
However, with the latest statement from the House of Bishops - Archdeacon Robert may well be in with a chance - if he abstains from the pleasures of the flesh (stop tittering at the back there!).
After being rejected as Bishop of Reading and more recently as Bishop of Southwark - it would be truly iniquitous were the Dean of St. Albans not to be considered as a first rate candidate for the soon to be vacant see of Durham.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 8:08am GMT

I couldn't agree more with Father David. Dean Jeffrey John has suffered enough from the hypocrisy of the Church of England's 'double-mindedness' on the issue of his celibate Gay partnership. On the basis of the new -directive from the House of Bishops, he should be at the forefront of the candidates for episcopal preferment.

On the other hand, Fr. Giles Fraser's comments about the continuing chutzpah of the House of Bishops' statement that demands a statement of intentional celibacy from episcopal candidates is perhaps the 'step too far' that invites further need for institutional deception in order for a Gay person to answer God's call to ministry in the Church - either as priest or bishop. This sad situation needs immediate resolution - before the Church suffers further accusations of hypocrisy.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 10:18am GMT

One wondered how long it would take for the new Archbishop of Uganda to follow in his predecessor's footsteps and deliver a stinging criticism of Gays in the Church - likening them to perpetrators of child sacrifice (something he should know something about). The sooner the Church of England dissociates itself from the homophobia of this new prelate in the Communion, the healthier it will be for the Church and the Gospel it is commissioned to preach.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 10:49am GMT

How many youngsters from that Catholic adoption agency place in a year? Six wasn't it. A good record of placing children?

Actually that Spectator is wrong as it usually is. The issues are inexplicably linked. It's about what it is to be human and how best the church serves the community in which it finds itself. Mysoginy and homophobia are no longer acceptable in society, neither should they be in the church.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 4:29pm GMT

Inexplicably linked Richard? I would say inextricably; and entirely explicably.

Posted by: Iain McLean on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 7:00pm GMT

Re "retired bishops", since October 2010, Michael Nazir Ali has held the position of "Visiting Bishop for Anglican Communion Relationships" in Mark Lawrence's diocese of South Carolina,

Posted by: Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 8:26pm GMT

Thanks Ian. I blame predictive text on my new iPad

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 8:43pm GMT

The American Orthodox Rabbi Steven Greenberg said it best: "homophobia is but one room in the vast hotel of misogyny".

Posted by: John Thorp on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 8:47pm GMT

I read everywhere that this is a "new" or "changed " policy, when it is no such thing. The bishops' statement on Civil Partnership provided for just this, the bizarre moratorium declared in anticipation of legal action from Dean Jeffrey John was the aberration, and is now set aside, as has the so called "legal advice" from John Rees that even more bizarrely had taken on the character of agreed episcopal teaching.

This HAS given the opportunity for those who saw the 2005 statement as a travesty to revisit this.

The views of the African bishops above are mild compared to the views of archbishop Akinola eight years ago

What has been massaged away and generally forgotten has now been revived by the foolish rumblings of the CofE, the likes of Martyn Minns and others are whipping up the storm encouraging the disenchanted and hoping to generate interest in their schismatic enterprises.

The English House of Bishops have brought this on themselves.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 7 January 2013 at 11:57pm GMT

Well the reactions of the Archbishops of Kenya and Uganda have ensured the burial of the Covenant.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 8 January 2013 at 7:41am GMT

does that mean that the rest of the legal opinion has also been set aside or only the part that refers to bishops being in civil partnerships?

William Fittal's "note on the equality act" also lists the following considerations:

29. Relevant factors which can properly be taken into account include:

- whether the candidate had always complied with the Church’s teachings on same-sex sexual activity;
- whether he was in a civil partnership;
- whether he was in a continuing civil partnership with a person with whom he had had an earlier same-sex sexual relationship;
- whether he had expressed repentance for any previous same-sex sexual activity; and
- whether (and to what extent) the appointment of the candidate would cause division and disunity within the diocese in question, the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.

Has only the second point been set aside or all of it?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 8 January 2013 at 8:37am GMT

Erika, the first, third and fourth points are wrong unless, in the case of a heterosexual married bishop the following questions are also routinely asked, which I doubt:

- whether the candidate had always complied with the Church’s teachings on extra marital sexual activity so that for example he remained virgin until after the marriage ceremony (equivalent to the first point);
- whether he is married to a person with whom he had a sexual relationship before marrying her (equivalent to the third point);
- whether he had expressed repentance for any pre-marital sexual activity (equivalent to the fourth point).

Very few married men in this country could answer affirmatively to these questions - and the Archbishop of York is on record as approving those who, as he startlingly puts it, sample the milk before buying the cow.

Double standards are discriminatory and illegal and anyone who recommends them is not giving good advice.

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 8 January 2013 at 2:38pm GMT

Erika, the note from Fittall was just that.

It was in part a summary of what could have been done/said, we have already discussed the context.
It was not the teaching of the Church.

Though what individual bishops do with it? Well, that's anyone's guess. I once sat in a tribunal and heared the bishop of Hereford testify that what Rowan Williams was reported as saying during an interview at an East African airport was the teaching of the Church, the involuntary gasp that came out of me brought proceedings to a momentary standstill.
If I was told that an English bishop was upholding these points as decided doctrine approved personally by Abraham, Moses and Jesus - I would believe it.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 8 January 2013 at 5:18pm GMT

Thank you Martin.
It all becomes very complicated and slippery - reports and notes that end up having quasi legal character when they don't in reality have either, being partly revoked by a group of people who have not stated their aim for doing so despite the massive media attention this received. And as the reports and notes weren't legally binding to begin with it's impossible to know what was revoked in any binding sense, especially since the next report or note could reverse any aspect of it...
Happy New Year!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 8 January 2013 at 10:06pm GMT

I realise that my last comment may have misled the reader.
The bishop of Hereford in his evidence merely quoted the reported words of Rowan Williams from the Tanzanian newspaper, of those in the court only I and Simon Sarmiento knew its dubious source.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 8 January 2013 at 10:26pm GMT
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