Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Opinion - 25 October 2017

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer “I need a friendly bishop,” said the child abuse survivor, as the prelate passed by on the other side

Josh Parry Liverpool Echo Why I won’t be donating a Christmas charity shoebox this year - and you shouldn’t either

ViaMedia.News A Zero Tolerance Approach to the Weinsteins in the Church?

Adrian Alker PCN Britain She’s a woman - get over it!

Mark Harris Preludium AAC, ACNA and GAFCON, wandering astray in the fields of the Lord

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Crumbling Cathedrals?

Mike Higton kaì euthùs Making our minds up

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 10:45am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Mike Higton's article is interesting at a philosophical level (and possibly could be useful practically) but there is a problem with Justin's position (as typified by that interview) of 'sitting on the fence' in some kind of moral confusion.

The problem is that he presides over a Church that requires gay priests to live in celibacy. That's not sitting on the fence. If Justin is 'not sure' about gay sexuality, how can he justify the punitive restrictions imposed on gay people's lives?

"I don't know if gay sex is a sin, but we're having no gay sex among the priests in my Church."

A sceptical view would be that he is desperate not to alienate the conservative provincial primates by affirming gay sex, or else desperate not to openly admit that yes, he thinks gay sex is a sin.

Either it is a sin or it isn't. That's a choice of two. You would expect a leader to be honest and open about what he believes on this point.

I don't think it is good enough - when you're imposing restrictions on the lives of your priests, and their tender, loving relationships - to 'cop out'.

I don't think that's leadership.

In addition, by doing nothing, he extends the status quo (either deliberately or through a consequence of his confusion), and the status quo is conservative, which ignores the consciences of more and more people in England, or the moral affront this causes people outside the Church in England.

In "copping out", Justin is perpetuating the teaching he received at HTB, where he would have been told gay sex is a sin against God.

What exactly is left to work out after 20 or 30 years of debate and sharing and discussion, about the question:

"Is gay sex a sin?"

If you're not sure, then have the decency to let people make up their own minds. Don't impose bans on sexuality on other people, when actually you say you don't really know if it's wrong.

Recall, if you will, that Justin and his fellow primates have been instrumental in threatening sanctions on Provinces (like TEC, SEC, Canada etc) who are willing to give people conscientious right to affirm gay sex, and its love, and its fidelity.

Justin says he "doesn't know". But he doesn't act like he doesn't know. Along with the Covenant project, the Bishops' Pastoral Letter, the Primates Statement, and the recently rejected bishops' position in General Synod, Justin has championed a conservative line.

In this context I am sceptical about the transparency of his answer in the interview. Besides, as they say, actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 1:26pm BST

Hmmm... here we go again... the topic which costs me popularity on this forum I fear (not that's a big issue)... Adrian Alker seems to be demonstrating the capacity of liberal England 'to tolerate diverse conscience providing they agree with me'.

As I have stated before:

1. I personally strongly believe that women are as appropriate and well-equipped to be priests as men are.

2. Nevertheless, I believe that the traditional position in catholicism and orthodoxy that priests are supposed to be men, is a position that can be theologically argued and asserted, and that it is a conscientious position people can hold, including those called by God to be priests.

I think it's far too simplistic to say that people with the views of 2 millennia are - as Adrian implies - 'mysogynists'. Some may be. But many many catholic and traditionalist priests hold women in high regard, albeit they see men and women as having complementary roles in the Church.

I don't agree with this view, but nor do I attribute 'misogyny' to people who are walking ways of faith, following their consciences, burning up their lives in the service of God.

It's the same thing with LGBT issues. I don't agree with calling gay sexuality a sin (I wouldn't, I'm lesbian). But I believe that people of good conscience who cannot accept gay sex can hold that position in good faith.

There should be space for diverse consciences within our Church, and we need to learn to love one another a bit more, because as Christians we find ourselves living alongside one another.

As a woman, in a deeply happy lesbian relationship, it would be easy for me to condemn those who want to limit and constrain my life - but rather, I am called to love and live alongside... the liberal, the conservative, the traditional, the charismatic, the contemplative, those with deep social conscience, all kinds of people.

Even when they hold different views to me. It's the awkward stage on which we live out our lives. We can only grow by opening up more to love.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 1:51pm BST

I'd add to Mark Harris's updated views on ACNA and GAFCON two recent sets of comments:

1. Nicholas Okoh's latest statement on 18th October, demanding ACNA be recognised as part of the Anglican Communion -

2. Gregory Venables recent questioning of how the Primates' communique was put together -

I tend to agree with Mark's assessment that GAFCON leaders may be feeling a loss of traction, and Nicholas sounds a bit desperate when he writes:

"Let me humbly advise Canterbury here to take urgent steps to recognise ACNA as an authentic Province of the Anglican Communion before new realignments make that need unnecessary."

Meanwhile TEC, Canada, and SEC go about their daily business, and England sadly threatens to implode. In the end though, most ordinary Christians in these provinces just aren't that fussed about sex. Or about GAFCON.

The Anglican Communion isn't a Church. Goodness, there are so many pressing needs in our diverse countries, that we would do well to keep fellowship together - even in our diversity - and draw closer not further apart in the pastoral care of the poor, the sick, the marginalised.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 2:47pm BST

What a powerful piece Martin Sewell has written, and how damning of our dealings with abuse survivors. The account he gives of one survivor's dealings with a bishop is very similar to the response Gilo and others have had. Do our leaders have any compassion, any sense of justice, any pastoral ability at all? 'Is there no balm in Gilead, no physician there?

Posted by: Janet Fife on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 3:50pm BST

What process exists to recognise ACNA as a Province of the A.C.? I can't imagine most of us in the C of E would want it.The Archbishop can't presumably anounce it ex cathedra.Is the ACC involved in the recognition of new Provinces? Im not sure Abp Okoh knows who to ask.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 4:21pm BST

It is a powerful piece, Janet: the comments, however ...

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 5:57pm BST

Venables: "It’s more than ‘not right.’ It’s life and death, and it has to be dealt with."

Why the "life" of fundamentalists depends on imposing their interpretation of Scripture on everyone else (sometimes resulting in deaths of LGBTQ people) is left entirely unexplained.

That is, unless Venables envisions an Almighty Judge who is so incompetent that he must mete out collective punishment.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 6:03pm BST

James Byron, your comment prompted me to look at the responses on the Cranmer blog. Many of the people commenting seem to be more concerned about clergy wear than they are about victims of clergy abuse. That's shocking. Or it should be, but since I did my MPhil on this subject in the 90s, I've frequently encountered this attitude. It reminds me of the old man who fell at Mar-a-Lago and was badly hurt, and all Trump was worried about was the 'disgusting' blood on his nice marble floor.

It's hardly surprising attendance figures continue to decline, if we're more concerned about the intricate details of worship and our own disputes, than we are about the traumas in people's lives. Especially when we caused the trauma in the first place.

Posted by: Janet Fife on Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 4:49pm BST

Ref the Cranmer blog,

If you sort by the newest posts (the default process) then you will be shown a discussion of liturgical apparel. Press the sort by oldest post button however and you will find the naked homophobia referred to above.

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 6:08pm BST

Simon, I had read through the newest posts and there is hardly any serious response to the point Martin Sewell was making. There is quite a lot of comment about the artwork, though, and the woman bishop, and clergy clothing.

Posted by: Janet Fife on Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 7:29pm BST

Regarding Simon Dawson's post, I'm really troubled that this site is linking to Archbshop Cranmer's. It's essentially an Ecclesiastical "Guido Fawkes" (I would be unsurprised if the Venn diagrams of their personnel overlapped) Can we have more than one degree of separation from "Identitarian Anglicans"? Please?

Posted by: ExRevd on Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 9:45pm BST

Isn't it worrying that the comments on this thread are so concerned about comments on Cranmer about clerical attire?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 27 October 2017 at 8:16am BST

I've now figured out how to access the older posts on the Cranmer blog. Yes, the homophobia there is awful. That doesn't detract from Martin Sewell's piece being a valuable one, but it does suggest the comments should be moderated.

It also reinforces my point that when abuse in the church is being discussed, people find it very easy to turn the subject away from survivors and victims and onto almost anything else.

Posted by: Janet Fife on Friday, 27 October 2017 at 9:10am BST

FWIW I find some pieces on Cranmer good and thoughtful. Some are provocative, but then I think we all need to be provoked - how else can we hone our own views?. Some give me a good laugh for all the wrong reasons. Mrs Proudie's column usually on a Saturday is often laugh out loud, but then my wife says I'm puerile. So please, TA, don't stop linking to His Grace's blog as and when you think fit.

Posted by: Stanley Monkhouse on Friday, 27 October 2017 at 10:58am BST

I echo Stanley's call to continue linking "his grace," regardless of the comments. I'm against echo-chambers on principle, but in any case, he writes interesting pieces from a Prayer Book conservative POV and the affectation's entertaining. As out-there as the commentators can get, we should all know what's being said.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 27 October 2017 at 11:09pm BST

Martin Sewell’s piece is a breath of fresh air which I hope all Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors as well as the National church will take seriously. However, his words are seriously undermined by the picture at the top which clearly shows a bishop wearing a skirt who is, therefore, a woman. This detracts from the post and is an unnecessary, snide way of undermining the ministry of our bishops who are women and I suggest may unwittingly demonstrate Arhbishop Cranmer’s personal views. I have a strong feeling that our women bishops are much less likely to walk by on the other side than some of their male counterparts. Archbishop Cranmer, this post deserves a better picture or better still, no picture at all.

Posted by: Anne on Monday, 30 October 2017 at 10:16am GMT
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