Saturday, 9 February 2013
Giles Fraser's columns in Church Times have been thoughtful, often providing a unique perpsective. As a reader, I have frequently come away reminded of the adage "prophets and visionaries never settle." His Church Times pieces have often struck a chord with issues on the Canadian scene--a reminder to our part of the Communion that similar problems and similar obstacles exist here despite our sometimes tendencies to lapse into smugness.
On a not entirely unrelated note, The National Newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada, The Anglican Journal, has an independent editorial policy. However, The Principal Secretary to the Canadian Primate has just been appointed interim editor--while staying on with the Primate. Its a disconcerting and controversial move. Hence, this paragraph of Fraser's final CT piece, struck a chord.
"Writing a column from a Christian perspective is a tricky business. It is difficult enough, even without the Christian bit - and I often joke with friends that I am one of the few people who are obliged to have more opinions publicly than they have privately. But the moral challenge of doing journalism as a priest remains considerable."
Andrew Adonis is dead right.
"Introducing women bishops is your first challenge. The public looks on with incredulity as this keeps being blocked, particularly as the majority of new clergy doing the day-to-day work of parish ministry are now women. A “back me or sack me” position is surely the way to resolve this. Whether it is a special Synod, or a referendum within the Church, you need to break the logjam immediately."
"Progressive leadership is also the only way to resolve the issues of gay clergy and gay marriage. Do not heed those who say that these matters are best left alone. The Church cannot preach love and strong relationships if it ignores the reality — a thoroughly moral reality — that same-sex love and relationships are a building block of modern society."
- Andrew Adonis -
Andrew's two very practical challenges to our new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, strike right at the heart of 2 of the most troubling mis-steps of the hierarchy of the Church of England so far. These are: -
1. The length of time it has taken to affirm the ministry of Women Clergy - to the point where they ought to have been accepted as bishops, and
2. The refusal of the Church to take seriously the proposed Blessing of Same-Sex Civil Partnerships, which has now led to the Government's initiative, alternatively, to provide Same-Sex Marriage.
Unless the Church gets on board pretty quickly to process an ethos of enablement for both Women and LGBT persons within the body of the Church - to be able to flourish as our sisters and brothers, fellow children of God, in ways that are helpful, in both ministry and personal relationships - there may be a further distancing between the Church and the Society it has been called into being to serve, under God.
Yes, Archbishop Justin will need all our prayers to help him in this determination. But there are many among us who will support him, believing that both initiatives are God's will for the Church.
Douglas Murray is an atheist now? I cannot tell you how much that elevates Christianity in my estimation!
I'm sorry that Giles Fraser is putting down his pen as far as his Church Times column is concerned for - after reading it each Friday - what will I have to be angry with now?
However, "letting go" is a good and Christian thing to do. With regard to Giles' view of the new Archbishop - come on, give the guy a chance before getting your retaliation in first! It's difficult to know who Canon Fraser would have approved of as his first choice as the new ABC?
Peter, I think what you've done there is confuse the New Satesman with the Spectator - which probably not something that happens often....
primroseleague - I do know the difference!
I've corrected my error.
I can understand Giles Fraser's reluctance to continue to stick his head above the parapet on issues that seemingly will continue to cause further embarrassment to the marginalised among Women and the LGBT community; especially now that the new ABC, who is an avowedly Evangelical follower of the ‘status quo’ on such matters, may possibly be coerced, by the conservative Primates of the Global South, to rescind the recent H.o.B decision to ordain celibate Gay clergy.
For a Church Times columnist to be seen, by private conscience, to have to consistently oppose the direction of continuing conservatism within the Church of England, is to court the possible accusation of disloyalty to the Church Leadership – which Fr. Giles, as priest-in-charge of a London parish, is, understandably, no longer happy to shoulder. Nor should he. Maybe it is time some other young, opinionated, fighter for justice in the Church of England, filled the breech.
However, I’m sad to lose Giles’ charismatic and thoughtful comments in the venerable C.T..