Saturday, 10 October 2015

opinion

Andrew Brown The Guardian Opposing gay bishops for the sake of church unity is stupid

Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, ‘Indifference is not an option’ - sustainable development and the Christian response to climate change

Christopher Howse The Telegraph English timber roofs where a host of angels roost

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 10 October 2015 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion
Comments

The argument a few top years ago was if women can be priests then there is no earthly reason why they cannot be bishops, like it or not! The stained glass ceiling had been breached once the first woman had received priestly ordination. Does not the same argument and reasoning apply to those who have a Gay orientation? If Gay men and lesbians have been openly received into the priesthood what prevents them from being consecrated bishops?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 10 October 2015 at 4:55pm BST

Yes, Father David+. From you keyboard to the eyes of the ABC. And if women and gays can be baptized, why can't we be married? (Disclaimer, I'm married, but I'm living in Colorado, USA).

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 11 October 2015 at 3:22pm BST

Note that the Church insider tells Brown that the Dean of St Albans couldn't function as a focus of unity but doesn't say whether he would be a diligent shepherd. The mantra 'focus of unity' has come to mean 'not LGBT', but there's little in the BCP consecration of bishops liturgy about unity which seems to be a recent concept. Instead there can be found prayers such as the one which exhorts 'Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not. Hold up the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring again the outcasts, seek the lost'. One would have thought John would be more than ably qualified to carry out this role and undo some of the damage caused by ravenous wolves.

Posted by: Andrew on Sunday, 11 October 2015 at 4:08pm BST

Father, I don't think your logic is correct.

The issue around the ordination of women is whether in NATURE the spiritual role of women is different to men.

The issue around the ordination of gay men and lesbian women is whether in their CONDUCT they are suitable candidates.

So while I agree that once women were accepted for priestly ordination there was no longer and justification for a bar on elevation to bishop, that does not apply to gay priests. It is possible (leaving aside whether it is right or wrong) to argue that gay men might be ordained priests but feel that their lifestyle falls short of the witness expected from the bishopric.

Posted by: Kate on Sunday, 11 October 2015 at 5:57pm BST

Is this the same Kate who thinks that it would be better if priests did not have sex at all?

Your distinction between nature and conduct is false. Talk to gay people about this.

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 11 October 2015 at 8:52pm BST

I would have to disagree with Kate in that the issue, as far as I can tell, in both cases is whether gender is a sacramental deal-breaker.

Even those who have a "traditional theology of marriage" tend to focus more on the "nature" of God's intention for sex difference and so on, rather than trying to contest the existence of gay couples who, in their "conduct", show exemplary Christian charity. We all know partnered and/or married gay people who live vows of fidelity and stability, raise their children responsibly (often the highest-needs adoptive children), sing in our choirs and teach in our Sunday schools. Denials of this are too mean-spirited too easily falsified to win anyone over, and so objections to Christian marriage equality actually usually do centre on "nature" - whether two men or two women can be adequate symbols for the love of Christ and his Church.

The "traditionalist" does not object to anything these "do" but on who it is within whom they do it - because of their gender. If the spiritual role of women is not "by nature" different from men, then the grounds for evaluating otherwise-alike conduct differently on the basis of gender fall away.

Put it this way: no Anglican is likely to argue that having a wife or a husband is misconduct! And yet some believe that one’s gender determines – by nature – which one belongs withal.

Posted by: Geoff on Sunday, 11 October 2015 at 9:54pm BST

Geoff, I agree with your argument. Contention appears only when one sees the sexual activity of gay people as being less 'authentic' - in terms of their validity as part of God's creation - than that of straight people.

However, in the case of Jeffrey John, the Church does not even have that excuse to deny him the episcopal role to which he has already (once) been called by the Church. Even the Roman Catholic Church might nowadays accept that some of its bishops (though 'celibate') are intrinsically gay.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 12:40am BST

Kate, when you say "their lifestyle falls short of the witness expected from the bishopric"... what exactly is a gay or lesbian "lifestyle"?

I am in a committed lesbian relationship, and like most gay or lesbian couples, our "lifestyle" consists of getting up, working, shopping, washing, ironing, cooking, paying bills, caring for each other if we get ill, fidelity, kindness, devotion etc.

We really don't have a "lifestyle" except in the sense that a heterosexual couple have a lifestyle.

It's just ordinary life and tenderness and care.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 9:43am BST

I find the use of the word "lifestyle" a good litmus test: few can be unaware of how hurtful it is to LGBT people; and for those few, if they continue to use it after being told, it tells us all we need to know. Its use isn't mandated by the Bible, and there's no reasonable justification for pressing on with it despite the hurt caused.

Will Kate undertake to avoid it in future?

Posted by: James Byron on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 7:07pm BST

Yes, "lifestyle" is very offensive. Susannah nails it, as usual. Our gay lifestyle involves being in a committed 24 year relationship, sanctified by marriage in TEC last January. But our regular "lifestyle" is as Susannah describes, getting on with life.

Definitely talk to gay people, Kate, about CONDUCT vs. NATURE. My Creator made me as I am, and many others. And many of us make major contributions to life and church. Michelangelo, anyone? And so many more...

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 at 1:03am BST

I missed the end of Kate's comment. It is definitely NOT "possible ... to argue that gay men might be ordained priests but feel that their lifestyle [sic] falls short of the witness expected from the bishopric" - not with any consistency. Bishops are not "super-priests": presbyters are the delegates of the bishop at the parish level. If married gay men are unsuitable for episcopacy they are unsuitable for the priesthood.

Posted by: Geoff on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 at 2:58am BST

I expressed views only on the logic in the father's comment not on whether consecration of gay men is a good or bad thing.

Posted by: Kate on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 at 7:39am BST

"I expressed views only on the logic in the father's comment not on whether consecration of gay men is a good or bad thing." Yes, and I expressed views only on your views on his logic!

Posted by: Geoff on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 at 1:47pm BST

Bishops have the power to ordain priests, which priests cannot do. We already have huge problems with the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda not accepting priests ordained by women bishops. Gay bishops would cause similar divisions.

Again, standing aside from the rights and wrongs of the issue, to suggest that there are no differences between priests and bishops is not grounded in fact. There is no logical contradiction in supporting women priests and bishops, supporting gay priests but nonetheless not supporting gay bishops.

Posted by: Kate on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 at 6:41pm BST

"There is no logical contradiction in supporting women priests and bishops, supporting gay priests but nonetheless not supporting gay bishops. - Kate -

Frankly, Kate; I may not be the only one on T.A. who cannot understand your distinction. The inrinsic difference/similarity between priests and bishops is the same in both cases - whether female or gay.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 12:35am BST

Although it is mere speculation, I wonder how many, if any, of the original Twelve Disciples were Gay? Today, the number one in ten has long persisted in popular culture as a reliable guesstimate of homosexual orientation. It stands as a district possibility, does it not, that as there were twelve not ten of the original disciples, the odds on are even higher!

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 5:54am BST

I agree with Fr. Ron, I too cannot understand Kate's reasoning or distinction and stick by my original comment at the top of this thread.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 11:47am BST

If it was that simple then there would be no objections and the Anglican Church would unite behind women and gay bishops. What both sides need to realise is that there are people of high integrity and good intentions on both sides of the argument. What distresses me is that views seem so entrenched.

And yes, I don't disagree that there are also bigoted arguments in play too but it would be a huge mistake to see all traditionalist arguments as bigoted. And as a member of the LGBTQ* community myself, believe me when I say I know about bigotry from personal experience.

The underlying challenge is this. A literal interpretation of the Bible is difficult in the 21st century. We all know of passages. At the same time the Bible and the Teaching of Christ must be our litmus and we must avoid using secular society's (even our own) sense of moral rightness or wrongness to determine church beliefs.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 6:37pm BST

"Bishops have the power to ordain priests, which priests cannot do. We already have huge problems with the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda not accepting priests ordained by women bishops. Gay bishops would cause similar divisions."

No: those who object to women in the episcopate generally question if they are bishops - or priests - at all, and thus whether those whom they ordain are indeed ordained. There is no comparable doubt about gay men in the episcopate, whose sacramental ministry is generally undisputed even if some consider them to be "unworthy ministers".

Posted by: Geoff McLarney on Thursday, 15 October 2015 at 6:28am BST

Geoff makes a totally valid point, surely nobody questions the validity of the scores of priests ordained by Mervyn Stockwood, the last great Prince Bishop of Southwark?

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 15 October 2015 at 7:43am BST

"What distresses me is that views seem so entrenched." - Kate -

Precisely. This is what distresses LGBTQ people too!
Nothing is more entrenched than a traditional conservative view-point - not open to change.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 10:26am BST

Kate,
what views would you like gay people to have? Would you like us to say "Oh, I mustn't look extreme and entrenched, I'd better agree that I should not be treated 100% equal in the church"?

Once we've engaged with the theology and we are sure about what is right, we all become "entrenched". That's what happens when people undergo a process of discovery and arrive at a conclusion.

The conversations focus on those who have not yet made up their minds or are who are capable of changing it. It's a given that many have reached a conclusion they will not shift from.

Given that each side believes it has good theology supporting its views, the only genuine question can be how to find a modus vivendi that gives everyone full equality while protecting those who genuinely cannot live with the views of those on the other side of the debate.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 7:56pm BST

"the only genuine question can be how to find a modus vivendi that gives everyone full equality while protecting those who genuinely cannot live with the views of those on the other side of the debate. - Erika Baker -

And your statement here, Erika, will no doubt be applicable to the reactions of the Primates at the Meeting with the ABC in January 2016.

The big debate there might be around the question: are the disagreements adiaphoral or do they impinge on the doctrine of Christ.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 18 October 2015 at 2:53am BST

Fr. Ron, I agree. And it is also a purely practical question. The CoE does not choose its members nor can it lock them out if it doesn't like them. Gay people aren't an abstract to be talked about but a living, worshipping reality in every church in the land.
This controversy cannot be legislated away. We and all those who want to see a just church and who are persuaded by affirming theology are simply not going to stop until we have full equality at every level of church.
Just like women didn't stop until we had women bishops.

For the church the only question is how long it wants to continue to be locked in this battle.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 18 October 2015 at 8:11am BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.