Updated again Friday 3 June
Andrew Brown, writing in the Guardian, has a report headlined Church of England tied in knots over allowing gay men to become bishops.
A meeting of Church of England bishops in York this week has broken up without agreement on whether gay clergy should ever be allowed to be chosen for promotion to bishoprics.
The leadership of the established church remains tied in knots over how far it can comply with the Equality Act in its treatment of gay people. Church lawyers have told the bishops that while they cannot take into account that someone is homosexual in considering them for preferment, they also cannot put forward clergy in active same-sex relationships and, even if they are celibate, must consider whether they can “act as a focus for unity” to their flocks if appointed to a diocese.
Conservative evangelicals remain bitterly opposed to the ordination of gay people, even though many clergy are more or less openly gay, and some are in same-sex partnerships…
The report continues with details of
…an anguished and devastating memorandum written by the Very Rev Colin Slee, the former dean of Southwark Cathedral, shortly before his death from pancreatic cancer last November. Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, and John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, vetoed candidates from becoming bishops of the south London diocese…
And it concludes by mentioning that
The House of Bishops sought legal advice to discover whether it would be illegal to deny John a job. A briefing in December from the Church House legal department appears to state that though it would be illegal to discriminate against him because he is a celibate gay person, it was perfectly in order to discriminate against him because there are Christians who cannot accept gay people.
The briefing states: “It is not open to a crown nominations committee or a bishop making a suffragan appointment to propose someone who is in a sexually active same-sex relationship; it is not open to them to take into account the mere fact that someone is gay by sexual orientation.”
The Church Times has its own report on these documents: House of Bishops divided on keeping out homosexuals (and scroll down for a second article, Slee: tears shed after angry talks).
And a further update, a week later:
There is another copy of Colin Slee’s memorandum that is slightly longer, available via this page.