Thinking Anglicans

ABC answers a question about SORs

I do not know what exact question was asked, but the following was, according to a Lambeth Palace press release, the reply made by Rowan Williams:

In response to a question on the UK Government announcement on the implementation of Sexual Orientation Regulations:

“I’ll wait to see I think what the period of negotiation that lies ahead will bring, to see whether the concerns of the Catholic Church has raised are going to be addressed. But what we’d most want to do is to disentangle two things. There’s a particular issue on which the Catholic church has taken a stand, as other Christians have; and there’s a general issue about the rights of the state and the rights of conscience especially in voluntary bodies. Now that second question is one that, I think, is by no means restricted to this issue. And I think it’s not going to go away, so I would like to see some more serious debate now about that particular question – what are the limits, if there are limits, to the State’s power to control and determine the actions of voluntary bodies within it, in pursuit of what are quite proper goals of non-discrimination. So I hope there’ll be a debate about that.”

More on this later, maybe.

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Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
13 years ago

It depends on who is paying the bill. Dr. Williams would be well advised to meditate on the theme of, “he who pays the piper calls the tune”.

As the head of a state church he is a servant of the crown.

Richard Falk
Richard Falk
13 years ago

When will the AB of C and his Roman Catholic counterparts understand that everyone recognizes that this as a matter of conscience indeed. Unfortunately the churches have so given up their responsibility to truth that the lay governments of the world are outstripping them in developing a more truly ethical . . . and Christian society. They, not the churches, are seeking a true Christian conscience, while these befuddled old men muse on Byzantine theological constructs, 2000 year old societal behavior and dead science. How can a church claim “it’s against our conscience” to give a child to a gay… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Shouldn’t he have thought about that first?

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

Equivocation time, anyone? Am interested to see that the chief ecclesiastical functionary of the Anglican Church now refers to the Roman Catholic Church as the “Catholic Church”. Can it be that the Reformation is set to go down the same chute at gay rights. Just kidding. Mind you, after the business of the ABC’s kneeling to kiss the old pope’s ring a couple of years back ……?

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
13 years ago

Heck, it’s seems hard for OUR +++Archbishop to use the QUEER word (or any variation)…but he’s right about LGBT people “not going away” (or leaping back into the closet of pretend/suicide and selfloathing)…I got my telegram from the Gay Agenda Devil just today and he says we’re to Stand Firm and send in the Lesbian and Bisexual Army if necessary to confuse everyone/everything and “muck it up” real good for the “denial” bregade on the otherside of the dark, steamy/meanie swampathon!

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

Reading ++Rowan’s comment on this – and his many many words on other matters – reminds me of a story about Harry Truman, that blunt spoken President from the “Show Me” state of Missouri.

At some point in his presidency,an economic crisis or decision he had to make, prompted him to ask for a one-armed economist, because all the ones he knew said, “One the one hand, this might happen, and on the other hand that might happen.”

++Rowan’s dilly-dallying and shilly-shallying performances of dithering and thithering make me long for a one-armed ABC.

Or perhaps a mute one.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

Just so, the issue of conscience is far wider than any particular issue in connection with which it may happen to be raised. If the Govt arrogates supreme moral authority, effectively disqualifying individual conscience and protest from conscience-based groups, then morality becomes something decided by elections. To legislate is already a difficult task, without taking on the role of an arbiter of morality as well. As a moral teaching authority the Blair Govt is totally amateurish in any case. People who used the words “liberty” and “democracy” as they dumped clusterbombs on Iraqi children cannot be trusted to understand the… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

“but he’s right about LGBT people “not going away” “

Actually, that is not what he said. He was referring to the general issue of the rights of conscience, which has been around since the time of Thomas a Becket and is sure not to go away even when all present gay-related issues are satisfactorily resolved.

The whole point of the response is to “disentangle two things” but people seem impatient with the distinction he is making, a very basic and valid distinction.

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

Re Fr Joseph O’Leary’s mentions “the general issue of the rights of conscience, which has been around since the time of Thomas a Becket”. The “right of conscience” for which Becket fought was the principal that individuals in holy orders, which in his day included four minor, effectively “lay” orders – among them “doorkeeper” and “acolyte”, were exempt from trial in the civil courts and might only be tried in the ecclesiastical courts. In practice, any individual who could read could claim “benefit of clergy” and in general the ecclesiastical courts handed down far more lenient sentences than their civil… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

The Church does what it wishes within the confines of the church.

One toe outside that door – then they are bound by the same laws as everyone else. Claiming that their beliefs are anything special just because they are ‘religion’ is unacceptable

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

“The “right of conscience” for which Becket fought was the principal that individuals in holy orders, which in his day included four minor, effectively “lay” orders – among them “doorkeeper” and “acolyte”, were exempt from trial in the civil courts and might only be tried in the ecclesiastical courts.” Again, we must “disentangle” the principle from the presenting issue. Thomas a Becket had the conscience of his time, and was ready to die for it. “Few, in this day and age, would consider exemption of the clergy from civil trial for murder a matter of conscience, as Becket did”. Quite… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Surely, if the Cardinal and the ABC had had any interest whatsoever in discussing the “principle” of Religious Liberty (and a “liberty” is not a right, remember), they would have done this.

Not mixed it up with whatever came their way.

Let them eat their just desserts.

;=)

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

Couldn’t resist posting this link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/6322075.stm

I’m sure those who demonstrated outside Westminster the other week will be delighted to have this support.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

“Surely, if the Cardinal and the ABC had had any interest whatsoever in discussing the “principle” of Religious Liberty (and a “liberty” is not a right, remember), they would have done this.” A liberty is certainly a right — the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are listed in the US Constitution, and the Church today recognizes liberty of conscience and religious liberty as human rights. It seems to me that the ABC did discuss the principle of Religious Liberty, or more precisely that autonomy of Conscience (for it goes far beyond church conscience) and that his… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

US constitution?

Akinola.

Wobble.

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

But religious liberty in terms of belief is NOT affected.

What is affected is the right to discriminate in the public sphere. And no, I don’t think that religious liberty should be able to extend that far

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

“Freedom of consience” is what is affected.

Sullivan misstates it as the freedom of religion and the right to free speech (even if bigoted).

The only freedom claimed to be under attack in the archbishops’ letter is that of conscience.

This is a classical theme, and the validity of the archbishops’ concerns is widely recognized.

The archbishops did not say that Anglican adoption agencies would refuse gay couples as adoptive parents (in practice they don’t). They supported the Cardinal on only one point — the right to respect for conscience.

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

Re Fr. O’Leary’s comment on Anglican adoption agencies that “in practice they don’t” turn away gay couples – ON PRINCIPAL these agencies do not turn away gay couples, Fr. O’Leary. An entirely different matter, and one of the principal reasons why the intervention of the two C of E archbishops in this matter left them looking as foolish as it did.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

I am happy to hear that the Anglican agencies do not turn away gay couples on principle — I did not know. But surely that makes it even easier the disentangle the two issues of concrete adoption policy and the State’s respect for conscience? If the 2 archbishops were saying: “We agree with the RCC that gays should not adopt” then they would be foolishly inconsistent (presuming that they approve of the principle of the Anglican adoption agencies). But, again, that is precisely what they did NOT say. What they said is “we thing the differing conscience of our RC… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

What the Anglican archbishops did, was allow themselves to be drawn into showing support for the English RC hierarchy’s appalling “back off, or the kids get it!” campaign, a blackmail attempt so crude that its failure was virtually guaranteed from its inception. Remember the passage in the Gospels about millstones around necks – a passage that should resonate through the modern Roman church – or did St. Jerome, foreseeing pedophilias yet to come, have the foresight to skip that bit? At heart this issue is no more a legitimate issue of conscience than were the arguments of the 19th century… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

“At heart this issue is no more a legitimate issue of conscience than were the arguments of the 19th century US slave-owners and their apologists, who argued – and argued, Biblically-speaking, correctly – that Leviticus, that great Rorschach test of personal belief and prejudice, firmly sanctions – indeed enjoins – the ownership of slaves. To these people, and indeed to any “strict constructionalist” of church/state relations, the 13th amendment to the American Constitution – the abolition of slavery – may be seen as unconscionable interference with religious freedom. Should such “conscience” be respected, simply because it may be sincerely held?… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Murder in the Cathedral! the story of the Kings lover who is supposed to be his friend and support, but turns against him, is of course a drama – but beware of dramatizations!

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