Friday, 11 May 2018

Ireland: House of Bishops statement on Sexuality

from a press release:

House of Bishops Issue Statement to General Synod on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief

The Church of Ireland marriage service remains unchanged and marriage may be solemnised only between a man and a woman, the House of Bishops said today in a statement to General Synod in Armagh.

Their statement on human sexuality in the context of Christian belief was read by the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, the Most Revd Pat Storey, on behalf of the House of Bishops. It noted that the issue had been passed to the House of Bishops following the conclusion of the work of the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief at General Synod last year.

The archbishops and bishops said that it had been noted that following the production of the Guide to Human Sexuality, there was little appetite to discuss further these issues in parishes.

“It would seem that there is no consensus in General Synod, the House of Bishops, or in the church island–wide to change the Canons of the Church of Ireland on the matter of marriage. Thus the Church of Ireland marriage service remains unchanged and marriage may be solemnised only between a man and a woman. No liturgy or authorised service is provided therefore for any other situation. As the archbishops and bishops have already made clear to the clergy of the Church of Ireland, it is not possible to proscribe the saying of prayers in personal and pastoral situations, but if clergy are invited to offer prayer after a same sex marriage, any such prayer must remain consonant with the spirit and teaching of the Church of Ireland,” the statement reads.

The statement concludes: “It is widely recognised that there is no simple solution for these and other issues of human sexuality; but with compassion, humility and concern, we offer our continued commitment to attentive listening and to respectful discussion. We ask that all members of Synod who continue to hold strong opinions do so with integrity and compassion, and to also hold in prayer before God the challenging diversity that exists within the Church of Ireland”.

The full text of the statement is available here as a PDF.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 5:03pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of Ireland

What in the world is keeping the Irish Church stuck in the past? The Roman Catholic majority of Eire obviously has a consensus to support marriage between partners of the same sex. The Roman Catholic Bishops, on the other hand, will need a century to change, if ever. Is the hold up in the Church Of Ireland the laity, the clergy, the bishop, or all three? Meanwhile young LGBT people can hardly be criticized if they find the Church to be irrelevant to their lives.

Posted by: Karen MacQueen on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 6:54pm BST

So negative: 'little appetite to discuss ... no consensus ... No liturgy or authorised service is provided ... no simple solution' and, saddest of all, 'it is not possible to proscribe the saying of prayers in personal and pastoral situations' which presumably some people would like the Bishops to do in these circumstances.

Posted by: Christina Beardsley on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 10:54pm BST

'...continued commitment to attentive listening and to respectful discussion...'

Those of us who are gay have had enough of this kinda stuff - to put it into context, I am going on for 70 and had years of outright hostility, church-deception and two-facedness -- and now guff like this.

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 12:31am BST

Same sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland, and an attempt to change this was blocked in the UK parliament only yesterday. It is legal in the Republic of Ireland, and this difference adds another dimension to the debate on SSM in the C of I. This is the significance of the "island-wide" in the bishops' statement.

Broadly, within the C of I, there is something of a north-south divide on SSM, with the Republic more in favour and Northern Ireland more against. Although more people live in the Republic, most of them are RC so most Protestants live in the North.

Services are not identical north and south, prayers for the Queen for example, so making changes for the C of I to allow SSM in the Republic only, similarly to New Zealand and Polynesia, might be possible, but division would be unpopular in itself in a church which has remained united in a country which is not.

Posted by: T Pott on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 9:46am BST

This is hardly a surprising outcome. With SSM illegal in Northern Ireland (and that's unlikely to change so long as the ultra-puritan Democratic Unionists are giving the Tories a working majority in the British Parliament). It is also a further sign of how both Anglican and Roman Catholic churches have become so distanced from the momentum of Irish society generally. We are a (demographically young) progressive republic that delights in our belonging to the wider European community, and we are determined to be as unlike Britain - and England in particular. The churches are stuck in defensive survival mode. Just look at the Anglican Irish bishops' statements on the referendum over the 8th Amendment (abortion).

Posted by: Michael Mulhern on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 11:04am BST

I was a CoI parishioner 1988-2003, and rector 2011-2014, all in the republic. The future of the CoI in the republic is shaky outside posh south Dublin. In Co Laois, numbers are falling fast. "Mixed" marriages mean the dilution of protestant land ownership, very important in the mindset. The attitudes of yesterday's men who run the show are riddled with fear, conservatism, masonic intrigue and in the north, the Orange order. And it is still men in charge, the women baking and cleaning. Established CoI families expect to have a seat on the Select Vestry (PCC) which means that incomers are largely ignored - and there were plenty of them in Portlaoise when I was rector. I could go on. It will not be long before there are more Muslims in the republic than members of the CoI. The best thing to do about all this is forget it. Let circumstances take their course. Ignore the bishops. They are in thrall to the conservative laymen who "elect" them, and with two exceptions (Cashel and Cork) seem reluctant to think for themselves.

Posted by: Stanley Monkhouse on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 2:26pm BST

Here is the link to that statement on the referendum

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 2:38pm BST

They've always lied about listening before, so why bother? The church has no place for us, and the rest of the world increasingly has no place for them.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 11:28am BST
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