Thinking Anglicans

More about the House of Bishops summary of decisions

We published the official summary of what was decided at the December House of Bishops meeting here.

Two articles have since appeared which discuss this.

David Pocklington wrote at Law & Religion UK Decisions by the House of Bishops and most of his analysis concerns the actions related to Women in the Episcopate. But he also notes:

…The House of Bishops is currently considering two aspects of human sexuality: one group is providing advice on the bishops’ review of the 2005 civil partnership statement, the membership of which was announced on 1st December 2011 another group to advise the HoB on the more general issues relating to human sexuality. The membership of this group was announced on 5th January 2012. With regard to the latter, the House considered an interimreport from the group, but pending the conclusion of its work in 2013, (i.e. the preparation of a consultation document), announced its intention not intend to issue a further pastoral statement on civil partnerships. However, it confirmed that the requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally in relation to the episcopate…

Christina Beardsley wrote at Changing Attitude Whatever happened to the HoB working group on civil partnerships?

…Paragraph 7 says that the House considered an interim report from the working party on sexuality chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling. It continues:

Pending the conclusion of the group’s work next year the House does not intend to issue a further pastoral statement on civil partnerships. It confirmed that the requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally in relation to the episcopate.’

There is no mention of the working party on civil partnerships, chaired by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, which was formed prior to Sir Jospeh Pilling’s group, and was due to ‘report to the House in time for the House to reach conclusions during 2012.’
http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2011/11/group-to-advise-house-of-bishops-on-2005-pastoral-statement-announced.aspx

It does look though, from paragraph 7, as if one important outstanding matter has been decided, namely, that a member of the clergy who is in a civil partnership is no longer automatically debarred from nomination to the episcopate. This appears to lift the ban on such nominations that was introduced when the working parties were announced in July 2011…
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1289380/gsmisc997.pdf

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Rosie BatesCynthiaLaurence RobertsRosemary HannahDavid Walker Recent comment authors
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David Walker
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David Walker

Perhaps the brevity of the House of Bishops report slightly conflated two issues.

The final sentence of paragraph 7 refers not to Pilling but to the group that +Sodor and Man chaired. That group reported back and the House determined to apply exactly the same requirements for potential bishops in Civil Partnerships as apply to those being considered for ordination as deacon or priest.

Hence the House has reached its conclusion on this particular issue by the end of 2012 as was promised.

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

They are not ‘standards’ – they are limitations. I accept that applying them across the board, rather than additionally penalising potential bishops may be more just, but asking two people to live together with love but without the fulfilment of that love is downright wrong. It is necessary to keep saying that it is wrong, and downright unbiblical (given that ‘it is better to marry than to burn’) at every turn until the stupid policy, the stupid and harmful policy, changes.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

It ‘gives the lie’, to their lie that they supported Civil Partnerships from the word ‘go’.

They didn’t and they don’t.

The bishops en group have lost all credibility before the public.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Yeah, Laurence. I read one of Rowan’s Christmas Sermons and he talked about society’s treatment of the elderly. He said it was sad how people put them in homes and “watch the clock.” It’s hard to disagree with that. Here in the US we should certainly heed the ABC’s word on compassionate treatment of the elderly. However, as far as the CoE leadership is concerned, pretty much all that’s left is “watching the clock” for a generational change. As well as the fervent hope for much needed diversity. It is impossible for the ABC to have credible authority in the… Read more »

Rosie Bates
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http://t.co/9wlz0fiw The Bishops could check out Bishop Jeff’s website where they would find a rigorous role model for a holy consultation process which CofE would do well to model. Essential in my view.