HOUSE OF BISHOPS
The Bishop of Chelmsford to reply as Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Ministry
Mrs Jane Pitts (Liverpool) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q10 In view of the harm the Church of England has inflicted on itself in its polarized arguments over the understanding of sexuality as a whole, would the House of Bishops consider not asking clerical candidates for any posts personal questions about their sexual orientation or attitudes to the same, with a view to respecting the individual’s conscience before God in this deeply felt issue?
As is clear from the Ordinal under discussion at this Group of Sessions, clergy make public undertakings to ‘fashion their life according to the way of Christ’. They also make an Oath of Canonical Obedience to their bishop. Bishops have a duty, in confidence, to explore with a priest all matters which are affected by the oaths and declarations which they make. All such conversations should be conducted with great sensitivity and respect.
The House of Bishops’ teaching as set out in Issues in Human Sexuality represents the position of the House. There is a proper expectation that clergy should hold to its discipline.