Friday, 3 February 2017

Church Times coverage of the bishops' sexuality report

There are two news articles today:

No change on marriage after the Shared Conversations by Hattie Williams.
Yes, this article was first published last week on the website, and linked here previously, but scroll down for a new article There was talk, but who was listening? by Madeleine Davies

Critics call Bishops’ gay report ungodly by Hattie Williams.

And there is a long editorial: The united front.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 10:41am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

I wasn't shocked by the report as it is broadly what was to be expected if one believed (as I did all along) that the Shared Conversations were a brilliantly conceived delaying tactic.

I think I thought that the report might have attempted to pretend to reflect on some learnings from the conversations but in the event it didn't.

However, I am genuinely shocked at the report passing in the English House of Bishops nem con. The implications of there being no bishops there at all prepared to stand up against it are frightening for all seeking change in the C of E.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 12:08pm GMT

Renewal and Reform seeks to encourage people to come to church both families with young children and adults. As a young person welcomed into the church family, going to Sunday School and being active in the church, recognises that they are homosexual, how do we, the Bishops and clergy explain that they are in effect no longer so welcome? From that day no longer able to receive, if they so wished, all of the sacraments of the Church of England.

Posted by: Sr Alison Joy Whybrow on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 12:57pm GMT

A good and thoughtful editorial from the Church Times.An increasingly tribal church will ineviably get the sort of report it deserves.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 1:05pm GMT

The Church Times editorial is excellent, though, and its contrasting of marriage (as generally understood in society) with "'holy matrimony', something churchy for straight people because the Church believes gay sex is wrong" is dripping with a particularly waspish sort of sarcasm. For those that have not read it, it is well worth reading. I also think this passage should be in bold, flashing, bright red text:

"For an example of what happens when pastoral practice and doctrine come apart one need look no further than the birth-control fiasco in Roman Catholic countries. Those who see Christianity as a counter-cultural movement would see no problem here. For those who believe that the Holy Spirit works in wider society as well as in the Church, such a divorce is pastorally disastrous in ways too many to mention."

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 1:25pm GMT

Church leaders could worse than to read this and follow it up - while there is still time (for them) :---

Posted by: Lauri Roberts on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 2:00pm GMT

Kelvin, I am a bit more skeptical about the news report, and also a bit more optimistic. Let me explain both.

I am skeptical about this reported "nem con" because, given the ACNS portrayal of the Episcopal Church delegation's participation in the ACC, it appears that some decision-making in Anglican bodies is deliberately misdescribed and misconstrued. For example, in this instance, was there a formal vote on the report in the House of Bishops? Or is it simply that no one spoke in a way that could be interpreted as clearly opposing?

This is the fudge involved in decision-making by "consensus." If no one asks that opposition be minuted, then the result can be portrayed as unanimity.

But procedural skepticism aside, on the substance I agree that the SharedCons were a delaying tactic. In my view, they were designed to get the CofE past the next Lambeth Conference without too much controversy about SSMs.

If that is right, then any supposed passage nem con is easier to explain. The bishops may simply have been acceding to the Archbishops' request that they push the issue off for a few more years, for the sake of Canterbury's communion role.

This is no less tragic for being temporary. For those affected, justice delayed is of course justice denied. It is wrong that the CofE is once again putting Communion considerations ahead of English interests.

But the bishops' appearance of consensus is also only temporary. Of that I am sure.

The next UK election is, after all, scheduled for May 2020. Both opposition parties are likely to question the continued presence in the Lords of leaders of an institution that discriminates.

So I believe that the CofE's so-called "quadruple lock" will not last long after 2020. There will--and there should be--parliamentary questions, and pressure for change. The CofE will not want to become a quinquennial campaign issue.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 7:28pm GMT

"However, I am genuinely shocked at the report passing in the English House of Bishops nem con. The implications of there being no bishops there at all prepared to stand up against it are frightening for all seeking change in the C of E."

I'm surprised that anyone's surprised: CoE bishops are unelected company men, chosen by CNC's for their ability to fit in and not cause trouble. If any were gonna take a stand for gay rights, they'd have done so years ago.

It's more essential than ever to introduce elections for English bishops, with the novelty of a right of recall to depose the current bench.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 9:51pm GMT

Perhaps all the bishops "received" the report, in the same way the ACC "received" the Primate's Report last year.

Which is to say, without complete rebuttal, but not necessarily with acceptance.

The ACC simply physically received the Primate's report, and that was misconstrued by Justin as 'accepting' and 'mandating' it.

I have no doubt whatsoever that not all the bishops in the C of E accept and mandate this most recent 'bishops report'.

What is disappointing is the seeming lack of transparency in the failure to publish the views of those who disagreed.

That failure creates a sense of 'collegiality' and consensus... but the reality in the Church of England is that there is NO consensus, and I think the reporting of the bishops report should have reflected that fact by being honest and open about what and where individual bishops held diverging views.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 3 February 2017 at 10:37pm GMT

My heart sank when I read these words in the Church Times Leading Article:-
"We appear to be heading towards a two-state solution"
This immediately made me think of the desperate situation in the Middle East, especially in the Land of the Holy One. How long has the "two-state solution" for Israelis and Palestinians been on the table with no sign of any real progress being made towards solving this intractable situation? The same can be said of the Church of England's response and attitudes towards same sex relationships.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 5:57am GMT

"However, I am genuinely shocked at the report passing in the English House of Bishops nem con. The implications of there being no bishops there at all prepared to stand up against it are frightening for all seeking change in the C of E."

Indeed, since it should be obvious to anyone that the Archbishop of Canterbury will spin that as universal acceptance, so staying silent is actually acceptance. It is why I hope Synod will vote not to take note of the report.

Posted by: Kate on Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 4:53pm GMT
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