Comments: Church 'out of touch'...

This highlights the real question behind all these discussion: what is the source of the church's authority in matters of ethics and doctrine?

Posted by Ian Paul at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 9:30am BST

The Church? Out of touch? Get outta here!

Posted by toby forward at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 9:59am BST

Y'a think???????

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 10:29am BST

I find it odd that this is reported even in "faith" sections of the media as the church (or a dominant party within it) being "out of touch". I couldn't care less if the church is out of touch, what matters is that it's *wrong*.

Posted by Joan_of_Quark at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 12:39pm BST

As a gay man, I am impatient with the Church sometimes. But the Church does get many other things right (concerns about poverty, war, racism, violence, etc.).

Posted by Марко Фризия (Mark Friesland) at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 2:46pm BST

"Wouldn't it be so Christ-like, brave, to say for example: 'If the state sanctions civil partnerships, we are going to bless these ceremonies, and for those of us who doubt the wisdom of that, we will let God be the judge.'

Didn't Christ make it his mission to stand up for the weak and dispossessed?"

I can't believe I'm reading those words in a Ruth Gledhill column. Really, words fail me. The AC of Canada and TEC have been tormented almost to death for years because some among us have taken that position. The Church of England responded with cold indifference and curled-lip disdain. Gledhill's column puffed the schismatics and pooh-poohed TEC.

And now...

But what has made the difference? GAFCON? The spread of schism to England and Ireland with the launch of FCA? President Obama's invitation to +Gene Robinson to give a benediction at one of the inaugural ceremonies? Really, I'd like to know.

Posted by Charlotte at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 3:39pm BST

"Women are significantly more tolerant than men; Liberal Democrat and Labour voters than Tories; and under-35s as opposed to over-55s; and especially over-65s. All but the latter agree that gay couples should have the same rights as others". - Peter Riddell. Times on Line -

Not too surprising, this: that women should be more understanding of the need for tolerance on the issue of gender and sexuality. These are two significant areas where the Church, too, needs to catch up with the world. Women, by virtue of their historic battle for equal recognition of their worth in society, would naturally side with others who are in the same boat.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 6:02pm BST

I really hope that the good Canons that guard the ABC don´t share this NEWS with him (the same ones that have black electrical tape covering the outside of the peephole of his office door.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 6:37pm BST

From the Times article:

"Overall, 68 per cent of the public back “full equal rights” for gay men and lesbians, suggesting that the Church, the final bastion of formal discrimination, is out of touch with public opinion."

I'm an out gay man, but this is a terrible argument for change. So what if the Church is "out of touch with public opinion"? The question shouldn't be if the Church's position is consonant with the latest polls, but whether it is consonant with morality and the Gospel. Public opinion does not - or should not, perhaps - dictate morality.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 11:57pm BST

Permit me to second this.

As a gay man, I am impatient with the Church sometimes. But the Church does get many other things right (concerns about poverty, war, racism, violence, etc.).

Posted by: Марко Фризия (Mark Friesland) on Saturday

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Sunday, 28 June 2009 at 2:54am BST

And in other news, a cloudless sky is reported as "blue". ;-/

As all LGBTs have demostrated the *normalcy* of their lives and relationships, Christian same-sex couples have demonstrated the *sanctity* of their unions.

Time for the Church to learn, as Peter Gabriel put it so beautifully (re the struggle for justice in apartheid S Africa): "You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire". Fire: the Holy Spirit has made Her choice. Will the Church follow, or huff-n-puff in futile opposition?

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 28 June 2009 at 5:58am BST

Its time for the Church to lead society instead of looking foolish following hopelessly behind. The Church has too often been behind society in calling for civil rights. Now is the time to get out in front. Thank God the Episcopal Church is doing so, while paying a high price. But one day TEC will not have to say we were on the wrong side of history. What excuse will other Churches use as they try to explain their Bull Connor like prejudice to a younger generation?

Posted by Dallas Bob at Sunday, 28 June 2009 at 5:53pm BST

It's hard now to think that one of the main reasons why Tony Higton and his allies seized on the gay issue as a proxy for scriptural literalism back in the 1980s was the fact that conventional society held homosexuality to be icky (and liberal and Catholic opinion in the Church of England had a huge gay subculture). This was back in the days of Section 28, the rows over Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin, etc.

Now rather than ickiness towards homosexuality being an advantage for those seeking to use it as a pretext to bash people who disagree with them, it's something that divides them from conventional middle-class society. No, that isn't a particularly good ground for the church to change its teaching, but it's not an argument against either. And inculturation has always been a legitimate part of Christian mission.

A fairly conservative Irish Justice Minister introduced civil partnership legislation last week and the public reaction - as judged even by talk radio - is more or less "can't they already do that/why don't they just call it marriage/yawn". In Ireland.

And at the risk of starting an argument on a side issue, while I salute the courageous stand taken by ECUSA on LGBT justice issues - in contrast with the Church of England and even more my own Church of Ireland - no, this isn't anything to do with Gene Robinson being at Obama's inauguration. Not everything in the world revolves around America. Most of the demoscopic evidence would indicate attitudes to homosexualty in these islands are considerably more liberal than in the states, and the speed of transformation, speaking as someone who has been blessed to live through it, has been breathtaking. It's just a pity the Church lags behind.

And as for Gledhill's volte face, it's nice to see evidence that the Holy Spirit is still an active force in the world.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Monday, 29 June 2009 at 2:31am BST

The level of nastiness and vituperation in the messages responding to Ruth Gledhill's column is truly appalling. I suggest people who are grateful to her for her comments leaven the lump of nastiness by leaving positive comments for her.

Posted by jnwall at Monday, 29 June 2009 at 11:41am BST

Ruth Gledhill has undoubtedly shifted on this issue and I think we should be pleased, not critical. People really can change their mind!

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 29 June 2009 at 3:25pm BST

re Ruth Gledhill; It is refreshing to hear that Ruth is open to the possibility that homosexual people might have been created in the image and likeness of God, and capable of faithful witness to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It only takes a respectful attitude towards those 'gays' who happen to believe that they share the 'inheritance of the faith' with all people who are committed to Christ and one another in the Church. "By their fruits ye shall know them" is as true today as it ever was, and even hardened journalists are not immune to the Spirit's charism of enlightenment.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 29 June 2009 at 6:41pm BST

Yes Mike, Ruth has stood up with the angels!

Change is a Christians stock in trade, I am always amazed by those who seem so shocked by it!

I was once viciously against women being ordained priests - I changed, and managed the PR for the movement here in Wales. But old prejudices die hard and I still find a woman at the altar a little uncomfortable just as I quake at taking my pants off for my female doctor ........ I can't say I understand prejudice - but I have felt it and still sense it in me .

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 30 June 2009 at 1:21am BST

Martin, we all have prejudices, what separates us from the others is being able to identify them and overcome this impulsive behavior and know it for what it really is...fear.

Good for you in your 'recovery'!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Tuesday, 30 June 2009 at 4:21pm BST

It is annoying that she cannot state Benedict XVI's teaching accurately. He did not say 'in the past' that 'homosexality [sic] is an 'intrinsic moral evil'; the official teaching would say (in the present, not the past) that this description applies to homosexual ACTS. Homosexual orientation (as oriented toward such acts) is claimed to be objectively disordered. Only this latter idea is an original Ratzinger contribution.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 30 June 2009 at 4:48pm BST

'the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder' -- Ratzinger, CDF, Homosexualitatis Problema 1986.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 30 June 2009 at 4:49pm BST
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