Updated Monday evening
The Church of St-Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland, New Zealand published this petition on its website: Petition to the Anglican Bishops of New Zealand. The heading reads:
Stop White Collar Crime – Ask NZ bishops to end their discrimination against gays and lesbians
Following an explanation of the specific NZ circumstances, it says:
We respectfully ask the bishops of the Anglican Church in New Zealand to be true to the values of the Gospel and end the discriminatory practices that prevent the selection and ordination of gays and lesbians who are in committed relationships.
Bishop Philip Richardson, Bishop in Taranaki then wrote this response: White collar crime?
And the anglicantaonga website also published a news article about the exchange, Bishop refutes “white collar crime”.
A new petition urging bishops to end their “discrimination” against gays and lesbians misunderstands both church law and the power of bishops to change church doctrine.
That’s the view of Bishop Philip Richardson, who has released a public response to the “Stop White Collar Crime ” petition being driven by Auckland’s St-Matthew-in-the-City…
Both Kiwianglo’s Blog and Anglican Down Under have drawn attention to this. Both seem to think this dialogue is a good development. Scroll down here to see Ron Smith’s comments. Peter Carrell has identified the following key passage from Bishop Richardson’s response:
I believe that General Synod needs to reach an agreed position on these three inter-related issues, in the following order:
First , whether sexual orientation towards those of one’s own gender is a consequence of wilful human sinfulness, or an expression of God-given diversity. This in itself requires the process of collective biblical exegesis, prayer and discussion and debate which we are engaged in.
Depending on our collective answer to the first question, the church might then be in a position to move to the development of a formulary for the blessing of committed, life-long, monogamous, relationships other than marriage.
It is worth making the point that as bishops of the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki we have suspended the licenses of heterosexual ministers living in relationships other than marriage (for example, in civil unions) for exactly the reason that there is no agreed position in this church on the status of committed relationships other than marriage.
Thirdly, the church could agree that such relationships so blessed and formally recognised by the church meet the standards of holiness of life that is the call on every Christian life, and is required to be reflected in the lives of those called by God and affirmed by the church to holy orders.
Bosco Peters has written a response to this: Gay Ordinations Invalid?