HOUSE OF BISHOPS
The Bishop of Peterborough to reply as a member of the House’s Civil Partnerships sub-group
The Revd Paul Collier (Southwark) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q11 Will the proposed Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships address the question of how a bishop should act if clergy such as myself exercise our right to enter a Civil Partnership, alongside a joyful celebration of a relationship of love, fidelity and commitment, and at the same time refuse to answer any questions about our private life, including whether the relationship is a sexual one or not?
The Revd Stephen Coles (London) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q12 Synod was told in February that a report was being prepared in good time for the first registration of civil partnerships this December. Can Synod be given an update on the progress of this Pastoral Statement as there have already been some suggestive reports in the media about its contents?
The Revd Canon Paul Brett (Chelmsford) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q13 Is it true, as reported in the Church Times on 3 June that, if Church of England clergy wish to register civil partnerships under the new legislation, they will be required to assure their bishops that their relationships are ‘not sexual’ and, if so, how will a bishop ascertain whether such a relationship is sexual or not?
With permission, Madam Chairman, I should like to answer the questions from the Revd Paul Collier, the Revd Stephen Coles and Canon Paul Brett together. The Bishop of Norwich, who chairs the House of Bishops’ sub-group of which I am a member, has been taking a funeral this afternoon and is sorry not to be here.
The House has now had two discussions of the implications of the new legislation that will come into force on 5 December. It has agreed to issue a Pastoral Statement and that is likely to be ready for issue within the next few weeks.
I do not intend to answer questions now based on press reporting of what the statement may or may not be going to say. Let me instead simply urge Synod to study the document calmly and prayerfully when it appears.