Comments: more on the London church service

Channel 4 made a documentary in 2006 about Richard Haggis's dismissal:

"It wasn't a good week for Revd Richard Haggis, a practising homosexual and a priest in the Church of England. On the Monday, the bishops of his church announced that same-sex couples who 'got married' in the UK's new civil partnerships ceremony would not be welcome in church for a blessing. Even worse, priests who wanted a same-sex civil partnership would have to obtain permission from their bishop first. And permission would only be granted if the priests promised not to have sex with their partner.

"The next day, Tuesday, Richard wrote a scorching article in The Guardian, attacking the double standards of the bishops and throwing down a challenge: 'I very much hope to use the new law. I shall not ask permission and I shall not promise to be celibate,' he said.

"On Wednesday, he had a long-scheduled meeting with his boss, the Bishop of London, about the renewal of his contract as parish priest. On Thursday, he received a letter from the bishop, telling him he had lost his job. The newspaper article had been a key factor."

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Saturday, 21 June 2008 at 10:15pm BST

A different picture of Mr Dudley is painted here, . A long time parish member AND friend describes him, "He is a very particular man who wants things done his way. He's like a sergeant major. If people object, he doesn't tolerate it. Recently he led a prayer for the European Union and when somebody stood up and said this is outrageous, they were very quickly shown the door." Others are not so kind.

Posted by robroy at Saturday, 21 June 2008 at 10:59pm BST

Yes, I had already linked to that report in a previous article, see

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 21 June 2008 at 11:47pm BST

Well as we say in USA 12-step recovery circles, principles before personalities.

One of the disputed principles at issue in this hot button controversy is - honesty, or truth telling.

The offense given, if it be so, of this ceremony is plentiful, possibly.

First. These two men are committed to one another in pledges of lifelong care and self-giving (including the embodied giving that is essential to good sex, good sensuality, i.e., good enough to endure a lifetime?) - against all odds. But can we take queer folks having sex in a committed relationship as any more of an innate offense, than straight folks having sex in a committed relationship?

Second, as if things could seemingly get worse: the commitment is witnessed by several hundred community members. Not one audience member properly threatened the beloveds with the proper punishment of eternal hellfire and suffering, stemming from the properly wrathful God whose forgiveness is simply a rather soft exception to his vengeful and burning readiness to enact violence in service of his ancient and unchanging notions of justice. Nobody had the guts to stand up and say, I am the Lord of wrath and I will repay all of you.

Indeed, from the accounts publicly available, one thinks that the audience present participated, and not passively, unwillingly.

If the couple must be hounded and punished, and the parson - so surely must we honestly and proudly and with no lingering doubts hound and hunt down and punish each and every member of that all too actively-involved church audience.

But exactly what penalties are available? The church still may withdraw a license to preach in a diocese, undermine employment in particular parish circumstances, and though it seems to happen rarely among Anglicans - perhaps even refuse communion or more generally excommunicate the believers involved.

Alas, the state will do little. No employment terminations, no evictions from housing, no money charged in fines or penalties … little sentencing to the years of imprisonment by which, say, African states prefer to back up Anglican godliness.


Those religious or moral views which, say, cannot actually distinguish very well between two queer folks getting hitched for life - no matter what you call it technically - and the same two, say, being exclusively straight party animals - what sort of discernments are these?

Posted by drdanfee at Sunday, 22 June 2008 at 6:31pm BST

A little background to start with:

The rector of our parish is on sabbatical. In order to lessen the workload of the associate rector, every Sunday a lay member of the parish is acting as preacher, taking sermons from this website: Sermons That Work (link below).

It was my turn this morning and I was pleased when I checked out the available sermons and found this one. Just a small quote:

"Jesus was not scandalized by sinners and victims. More than that, Jesus was not even scandalized by the victimizers. He knew what they were up to. He publicly criticized it, and he watched his back, but he was not shocked or surprised. He recognized that, like their victims, these victimizers lacked freedom. Their power, their prestige, their pride may have kept them ignorant, but they were enslaved by their own injustice. They have crashed, they have burned, but they simply did not know it."

In this discussion, where certain people are scandalized by the ceremony in question, I find this insight useful.

The full sermon can be found here:

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 23 June 2008 at 12:44am 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.