on Thursday, 7 January 2010 at 12.10 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of England
The former Bishop of London, Graham Leonard, died on Wednesday.
Telegraph The Rt Rev Mgr Graham Leonard
Guardian Alan Webster Monsignor Graham Leonard obituary
The Times The Right Rev Mgr Graham Leonard: Bishop of London, 1981-91
These newspaper eulogies on the late Dr. Graham Leonard help us to understand the culture of the Church of England, before, during and after his term as Bishop of London. His provenance – from an Evangelical vicarage environment, to his later High Church Anglican affiliation – should tell us something about what might have been his take on the present impasses within the Anglican Communion. It is probable that, bearing in mind his stance on the ordination of women (which was the straw, for him, that broke the camel’s back and which sent him across the Tiber) he would have… Read more »
You’re being extremely generous to the late Right Reverend father. My reading of his character and inclinations – strong, intelligent but extremely narrow (“I would rather use nuclear weapons than live under Communism”), suggests to me he would have been as implacably opposed to the consecration of actively homosexual clergy and even possibly to the ordination of active homosexuals as any Akinola or Jensen. That impression is reinforced by the fact that he sought refuge in the Church of Rome, an institution which is simultaneously the employer of numberless homosexuals and the most homophobic institution on earth. Note: I understand… Read more »
William, this “active homosexual” (I enjoy running, lifting weights, going to the movies, and many other activities ) takes no offense, given the context of your comments. I would, however, amend your construction. It seems to me that what offends so many in the Church, and likely would have offended or did offend the late Monsignor f/k/a His Grave the Lord Bishop of London is not “active” homosexuality (btw, don’t translate that construction too literally into Romance languages, it takes on a whole other connotation…) but rather ***open*** non-celibate homosexuality (including “outed” folks, but primarily aimed at the self-acknowledged). What… Read more »
William, I was ordained by Graham Leonard and worked in the Diocese of London for many years. During that time he appointed senior colleagues and parochial clergy who it was well known were gay and partnered. His policy was very clearly ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, but he was not a naive man and knew the culture of London diocese quite well. He appeared quite neutral on the issue, simply accepting it as a fact of life in the Diocese.
Ron, Monsignor Graham Leonard left Anglicanism… because he discovered it was a Protestant creation of the British state and did not safeguard the teaching of the historic Apostolic and Catholic Faith.
May he rest in peace, and rise in glory (His narrow and/or misogynists beliefs, God willing, I humbly commend to the Fires of Gehenna. OCICBW.)
Leonard was indeed well-known for his tolerance of partnered gay clergy. He was equally well-known for his intolerance of clergy who suffered marital breakdown.
Dr. Leonard, as Bishop of London, was one of the first bishops to use a particular tactic later perfected by the sheep stealers of the so-called Global South. He travelled to the United States to perform confirmations in (incipiently) separatist parishes in the Diocese of Colorado, and deliberately did not seek the permission of the diocesan concerned. From that point forward, I always maintained that the see of London was vacant, Dr. Leonard having consigned himself to schism.
Thank you for a very constructive and helpful posting, David. My first formula was “self-acknowledged” but I rejected it because there are celibate self-acknowledged homosexuals (and presumably these people are not “gay”?)
Andrew – your memories are extremely helpful. Would you be prepared to speculate on how Msgnr Leonard would have reacted to the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson ? (Or do you know, perhaps, what his view was?)
Would it have been the same kind of … what shall we call it … false dichotomy ? … you’ve been debating with Graham Kings – private acceptance, official intolerance?
@William: Re “there are celibate self-acknowledged homosexuals (and presumably these people are not “gay”?)”:
Jeffrey John is celibate, self-acknowledged as homosexual, and quite gay, without any scare quotes at all. There are certainly celibate self-acknowledged same-sex-attracted people who eschew gay identity in favor of “ex-gay” or other identities, but there are plenty of celibate self-acknowledged same-sex-attracted people who embrace gay identity.
Activity or lack thereof, and vows of celibacy upheld or not, are issues distinct from identifying as gay or not.
@RIW: Re “Ron, Monsignor Graham Leonard left Anglicanism… because he discovered it was a Protestant creation of the British state and did not safeguard the teaching of the historic Apostolic and Catholic Faith.”: Quite a sudden “discovery” to make at the advanced age of, what, 72? No, I’m sure you’re right, and it was purely cynical of me to note to myself the coincidence of (a) developments in the C of E to which His Grace objected and (b) his walking, er, swimming across the Tiber. Yes, that morning when he woke up at 72 only to “discover” the enormity… Read more »
William wrote “Note: I understand that the word “homosexual” and the phrase “actively homosexual” may cause offence to some. I have used these expressions because I am striving after an accurate representation of what I mean to say. I apologise in advance to those who are offended.” No offence from me either William. In fact there is already a word that meets your needs in common usage. the word “out”. An “out” homosexual is one who has chosen to be fully open about his nature, (or sometimes only partially, like “out to his mother but not his father”). I think… Read more »
‘..even as a validly consecrated bishop (thanks to the Dutch Touch), ..’ (Quoted from above etc).
In fact, for those who think in that kind of way (calling it ‘Catholic’ sic, – the ‘pipeline’ approach, surely he could not have been a ‘validly ordained bishop’ because his other ordinations (deacon and priest) were ‘not valid’. In other words the Old Catholic consecration could not ‘take’ because of C of E priesting.
I can no longer think that way, it seems plain daft really, and misses the point about what ministry is and how it ‘works’ for people.
Simon Dawson: “I think the CofE has more of a problem with the “outness” and honesty of a priest than with whether or not they are sexually active.” Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. I can think of many gay clergy of one’s acquaintance, including a few bishops, who have been “sexually active”, even if only to the extent of being known for their “wandering hands” when left alone with presentable young men. Yet, insofar as they, and said presentable young men, keep their mouths discreetly shut, it has been no problem for them. If, on the… Read more »
From the Telegraph obituary: “He held the traditional offices of the Bishop of London – Dean of the Chapels Royal, Prelate of the Order of the British Empire, Prelate of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor – but his impact on the capital as a whole was negligible.”
I am afraid that similar sentences could form a description of the C of E’s upper ecehlons as a whole at the moment – holding great historic offices but making negligible impact on society as a whole.
I think Msgr Leonard had a problem with the Church of England as early as 1964,as he arranged privately with the participating Old Catholic bishop at his consecration to say words in addition to the words in the prayer Book consecration service. Even a document was drawn up before hand. That is why in his case conditional ordination was allowed, but not in the cases where no such private arrangement had been drawn up…. as most Anglican ordinations now have Old Catholics in their line. Yet even in the Leonard case there was sufficient doubt as to need a fresh… Read more »
Yes, Simon – I was being dense and clumsy. “Out” is a good word, a grand word. Fr. Mark’s remark that “I am afraid that similar sentences could form a description of the C of E’s upper ecehlons as a whole at the moment – holding great historic offices but making negligible impact on society as a whole,” leads me to make another potentially-offensive comment. When the late prelate was alive (active!) he caused me great personal unhappiness by his decision to abandon the Church of England and enter the Church of Rome. Now that I have read the obituaries… Read more »
“They – who are called, anointed and consecrated to be our Fathers – and Mothers – in God MUST be special. Otherwise let’s all be Baptists and have done with it.”
Special means having been given a special task, like every one of us, whether we’re bishops, priests, readers, church cleaners, brass polishers or flower arrangers.
What it emphatically does not mean is that they’re an outstanding human being, somehow a bit more special than the others.
Well, Erika, that’s my whole point, isn’t it!!??
If they are not a bit more special, the odds are they’re going to make a poor job of their special task. And do.
Let us agree to differ on this point.
“Otherwise let’s all be Baptists and have done with it.
We are passing through second rate times and our defining squabbles – which have little or nothing to do with creedal orthodoxy – are second rate and absurdly over-heated and divisive.”
“Creedal orthodoxy”? If this isn’t protestant pleonasm, I don’t know what is.
Monsignor Graham Leonard, RIP, obviously figured out that you are baptists already and felt called to something different(even though lots of Anglicans and Baptists are really great people and God loves them all)
For Robert Ian Williams, who seems fond of trashing Anglo Catholics and other Anglicans at every contrived opportunity, I am grateful — having been raised Roman Catholic, and educated in the RC system through elementary school and high school and college — to have been called by the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit to enter the Episcopal Church at the age of 32, where I found greater true piety, more inspiration than fear, and an ability to move me into a closer relationship with God. And, even though I would never be a Baptist or Presbyterian or other non-Apostolic Succession… Read more »
Jerry, It seems you are taken with feeling than reality…there is a way that seems right to a man and the end thereof is death.
R I Williams’ remark that GL made special arrangements at his consecration beyond what was C-of-E practice as a hedge against a change of church later on, is quite strange, if true. Why would an Anglican bishop-to-be go continue indeed accept ‘promotion’ in a church which he found (even then) invalid. Wouldn’t it have been more honest to refuse the post while he worked out his position to his own satisfaction, instead of becoming a bishop in a church he was coming to distrust?
The druid knows interesting words (“pleonasm,” my dear!) but does not see beyond his long beard.
The non-liberal conservative neo-puritans (thats a pleonasm, isn’t it?) are measuring orthodoxy (right thinking) against new tests not required or anchored in the Creeds.
As in “Where do you stand on the ordination of women?” Oh, and “Do you agree that homosexuals are revolting” (q.v. Mrs. Iris Robinson.)
So creedal orthodoxy – I think – is no longer a pleonasm, protestant or otherwise, in today’s fractured communion.
My regards, O Druid!!
Thus saith Robert Ian Williams: “Jerry, It seems you are taken with feeling than reality…there is a way that seems right to a man and the end thereof is death.” Robert, I was not aware that you had a Direct-Line-to-God; perhaps you were drawn to my former church — not my former faith, nor my former religion, but my former church — because you needed someone to tell you precisely what to think, and precisely what to do, and to believe that they alone had a Direct-Line-to-God. At Thanksgiving this past November, I was blessed to be with cousins I… Read more »
Please can we avoid personal remarks about other commenters.
“there is a way that seems right to a [human being]” – Posted by Robert Ian williams
While we “see through a glass darkly” (EVERY mortal—and therefore fallible—human being alive on the face of the Earth), RIW, that’s all there is. That’s just the way we Homo sapiens are configured. Roman Catholicism is the way that “seems right” to you, and God-be-with-ye.
Jerry, my heart warms to you – especially when you speak of your love of Anglicanism, which seems quite proper for a ‘Thinking Anglican’. Bless you, my brother in Christ.
As regards GL and his supplementary old catholic consecration he made no secret of it.
As regards Mark, I have little confidence in the abysmal religious education in many modern catholic schools.
“As regards Mark, I have little confidence in the abysmal religious education in many modern catholic schools.” – Robert Ian Williams
I don’t know about Mark, but my religious education in catholic schools was from September of 1949 through June of 1966.
Somehow a catholic education forty plus years ago does not even come close to being modern, particularly when you realize that thirteen years of that seventeen year period was even pre-Vatican II.
Sorry Jerry, you came across as young!
May I commend Catholic Answers Radio on the web..take another look at the Church. Also the Journey Home on EWTN.
Sad that your Irish ancestors resisted Anglicanism (and did so at great personal cost) and you seem to have drifted in to it, as you can make the slipper fit the foot.
Regarding R.I.W.’s comments (above). Perhaps he could be good enough to accept the fact that some people ‘leap out of the frying pan into the fire’. At least, in Anglicanism, there is no actual threat of Hell-fire – unless, of course you happen to inhabit the Sola Scriptura school.
Why Robert, it’s so nice to find someone who felt that I “came across as young.” I feel like giving you a hug (that is if I could ignore your final snide and gratuitous shot at my heritage and decisions). Yes, my body is aging, and not particularly well; but the mind is bright and still creative, and the spirit is quite young. In fact, my favorite title among all that I have earned is that of “silly Grandpa,” with which my five year old granddaughter has blessed me. But as to listening to any religions’s marketing department, including that… Read more »
Well said, Jerry!