Comments: Civil partnerships and bishops: Church Times report

"Oh what a tangled web we weave............."

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 8:55am GMT

A phrase comes to mind which I am sure cannot be published here includes the word 'brewery'.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 9:23am GMT

Ah, Robert Patterson seems somewhat miffed at the process and outcome.
There will be leaks!
Robert and I are former colleagues and it should be remembered that he was one of only two bishops to vote AGAINST giving pension parity to Civil Partners. When I wrote congratulating him on this distinction he replied that he supported the view of Civil Partnership that Baroness O'Cathain had tried to introduce in her wrecking amendment.
So, my guess is that he is none too pleased with the present position being seen as the outcome of HIS work.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 9:50am GMT

At least the House of Bishops' intervening statement did accept that gay-partnered clergy may be considered for episcopal posts. This is a definite movement forward from the Jeffrey John debacle.

However, the real heart of the matter is whether the current requirement of an a-sexual (celibate) relationship between the clergy-person and their partner will remain the standard for selection.

Or will the group charged with untangling the sexuality hang-ups of the Church of England set a new standard for selection, which would include the possibility of a loving, intimate relationship between the between the clergy couple?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 10:02am GMT

Maybe the House of Bishops did not like the look of the Paterson group's (illiberal?) proposal and for that reason took the matter out of its hands as soon as its interim report and (secret so presumably rejected) "proposal" showed which way it was going.

Posted by badman at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 1:19pm GMT

Rev. Ron Smith. I'm uncomfortable with your use of 'a-sexual (celibate) relationship. Im really not sure that a-sexuality is the same as celibacy. I accept that the protestant tradition has no tradition of mandatory celibacy for its ministers but a-sexuality implies a real lack of loving. Celibacy is truly a way of loving. Love and Sex are not the same. We would do well to remember this.

Posted by Mark Wharton. at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 5:15pm GMT

Mark,
my asexual friends would be horrified if you told them that they do not love!
It is undoubtedly true that some people have a higher sex drive than others and that there are some who are so little interested in it that they self define as asexual, not being attracted to anyone at all in a sexual way. Like so many things in life, sex drives are also on a spectrum from none to very high and they say absolutely nothing about a person's ability to love!

Your view is the consequence of our overly strong focus on sex and our inability to see relationships in terms of love.

There is nothing strange about believing that asexual people find it easier to follow a call to celibacy than others.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 6:48pm GMT

"Bishop Paterson said that although the group 'did make a proposal', he could not say what it was."

Um. Why? Has he forgotten?

Posted by Susannah at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 8:38pm GMT

"Oh what a tangled web we weave'

Could be the Holy Spirit is weaving one thread at a time and the entanglers are not happy with their design being re-worked

Posted by Rosie Bates at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 9:31pm GMT

" I accept that the protestant tradition has no tradition of mandatory celibacy for its ministers"

- Mark Wharton -

It would seem that this response to my previous comment is offered by a Roman Catholic, perhaps unused to the Anglican tradition of monastic celibacy. I agree with Erika, that 'a-sexuality' may not (necessarily) mean 'unloving'. One meets many Religious who confess that they have no desire (never mind the directed will) to engage in sexual activity. For such people, is should be obvious that celibacy is easier than for others.
This does not mean that they are unloving in their relationships. It merely means they are not disposed towards sexual activity.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 11 January 2013 at 10:07pm GMT

More importantly, if:

" Love and Sex are not the same. We would do well to remember this. "

then how does it follow that:

"a-sexuality implies a real lack of loving . . . "

?

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 16 January 2013 at 4:51am GMT
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