Comments: Petitioning Bishops of the Church of England

An excellent initiative. Just what is needed.

Also need to write to our MP and get Parliament concerned. Parliamentary concern is what actually got denominational leaders moving on women bishops- isn't it !

Scripture reading for this : the parable of the importunate widow. The bishops en mass act like the judge in the parable. We had been warned !

Posted by Revd Laurie Roberts at Tuesday, 18 February 2014 at 12:49pm GMT

2000 signatures the same number as Tessa Munt M. P. amassed in order to try and keep the next Bishop of Bath and Wells resident in his moated palace.
I recall that a petition containing 12,500 signatures presented to Archbishop John Habgood was not sufficient to prevent him consecrating David Jenkins, the controversial but much loved Bishop of Durham

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 18 February 2014 at 1:28pm GMT

"Also need to write to our MP and get Parliament concerned."

Why? They've mostly stopped caring about the CofE, just as they don't care about other fringe groups of single-issue obsessives.

The CofE is now ignored when it speaks, because it has made it clear that it's a single issue pressure group concerned only about sex, and deeply divided on even that. Some might think that it would be worth the CofE's while appearing to be an organisation interested in justice, equality and love. That's the CofE's problem to solve, not MPs.

Welby made a complete fool of himself over the Same Sex Marriage provisions, because he assumed that everyone else secretly agreed with him and just needed permission to vote the "right" way. When in fact the only people who were willing to side with him were cranks, oddballs and arch-conservatives. He's made common cause with them, at least, so presumably they'll listen to what he says about poverty and justice. Won't they? Decent MPs aren't interested in what an unashamedly homophobic organisation that has just codified its homophobia have to say about anything.

The CofE pushed hard for an opt-out on SSM. It got it. It pushed hard for an exemption to equality legislation to allow it to discriminate against its own members in a way which is illegal for everyone else. It got it. Why should MPs now act to try to remove from the CofE the protections it and its members campaigned so hard for? Welby wanted the legislative cover to permit him to discriminate. He's got it. People don't want to associate with those that discriminate. That's the end of it.

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 18 February 2014 at 2:11pm GMT

I understand the canon law argument and the law is binding whether we agree with it or not... But, what is a blessing ? If we can bless a house, a car or on certain occasions a hamster, why can we not bless a same-sex couple? Perhaps a regular liturgy is proscribed, but what is the philosophy ?
Jasper Ridley's biography of Cranmer discusses the validity of the marriage of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII. Ridley draws a distinction between the canonist and the theologian, with the implication that Cranmer used theological argument but that canonists claimed that the original marriage was binding. Should we conclude that the Bishops are required (ex officio even) to be canonists, while theological thinkers ask the difficult questions ?
This is not a hostile observation, but I just wonder ... while remarking that any reflective group may criticise a trend without the obligation to be counter-cultural. In the field of human rights I know where I stand and the bad laws that we obey are often repealed.

Posted by James Barnett at Tuesday, 18 February 2014 at 3:10pm GMT

Out of sight, out of mind, Interested Observer. For all its decline, the Church of England is still established, still the national church. However much its stock has fallen, many people stay invested.

That's why the church has fought desperately to silence its lesbian and gay members. It's one thing to vote through exemptions when it's an abstract: quite another when you're watching gay priests dragged through the courts for -- let's call it like it is -- being born gay.

MPs reacted furiously to the vote to continue the ban on female bishops. Once the gay "issue" has a human face, I doubt they'll long tolerate the persecution inflicted in their name.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 18 February 2014 at 6:36pm GMT

There are a sufficiently large number of parliamentarians who are aware that the C of E isn't a homogeneously homophobic entity despite its recent history, some of whom are members themselves. A few may be moved to make mention of the matter in the corridors of power even if they don't ask questions on the floor of the House. The wiser of the Lords Spiritual will be keeping their ear to the ground after last summer's humiliating debacle as they will only regain respect there by demonstrating they have the willingness to engender change.

Posted by Andrew at Tuesday, 18 February 2014 at 7:50pm GMT
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