Thinking Anglicans

Mpho Tutu denied permission to officiate at a funeral

Updated yet again, Wednesday 28 September

Numerous recent news reports have described how The Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth, the daughter of Desmond Tutu, was not allowed to officiate in a Church of England building at the funeral of her godfather, Martin Kenyon. Here is a selection of such links:

Monday’s newspapers contain letters to the editor about this, see

Tuesday’s Church Times contains a lengthy report, Hereford bar on Canon Tutu van Furth over marital status sparks widespread reaction. Note this paragraph:

Lambeth Palace refused to comment, and directed all press enquiries to the diocese.

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has issued this press release:
Tutu Legacy Foundation dismayed at the callous position of the Church of England

A message from the Bishop of Hereford to his diocese has been published on Twitter by The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the CofE, which has also posted this article: “Churlish and hurtful”. This message is also copied below the fold.

The procedure for clergy outside the British Isles obtaining the relevant archbishop’s permission to officiate is described in detail on this CofE web page: scroll down to the heading Overseas (“Archbishop’s”) Permissions to Officiate (OPTO)

The Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 can be found here.

The House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage dated 2014, can be found here.

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Revd Howie Adan
1 year ago

Meanwhile in Amsterdam: http://www.allsaintsamsterdam.com. A series of once-a-month Eucharistic services through next June will help us determine next steps; but CofE episcopal oversight now seems even more out of the question.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 year ago

We are left with a difficult decision: who is the more credible moral compass, Desmond Tutu or the Bishop of Hereford? It’s a hard one. “despite it violating all of my pastoral instincts, I didn’t really have any options with the current rules” is complete nonsense. One of the claims made by Christian churches is their moral strength, and one of the things that almost all denominations laud, to varying extents, is martyrdom. German bishops who did as Hitler told them are not praised for their loyalty; those that refused, even at risk to their lives, are praised. The Bishop… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

‘We are left with a difficult decision: who is the more credible moral compass, Desmond Tutu or the Bishop of Hereford’

Desmond Tutu isn’t actually involved in this story. Why are you invoking his name, and not the name of Mpho Tutu van Furth?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

It is not unreasonable to suppose Desmond Tutu would have been totally supportive of his daughter’s ministry given his views on same-sex marriage.. I’m sure he’d be appalled by the way she has been treated by the bishop of Hereford/

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I would suppose that too. I was just curious as to why his status as a credible moral witness was being evoked here (in opposition to the Bishop of Hereford) and not that of Mpho Tutu van Furth. It’s as if she has no voice in her own right, but only as a daughter of her father.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

I assume if she hadn’t been daughter of Dr Tutu the refusal to allow her to officiate wouldn’t have become an international scandal.

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

FrDavid H – you are right; here are Archbishop Tutu’s own words: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven … I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”

JerryR
JerryR
Reply to  John Burt
1 year ago

It is such a shame that doctrine has to be so strictly and coldly adhered too rather than allowing common sense and compassion – remember the compassion Jesus showed towards his fellow travellers. Surely, the service could have been co-officiated in a gently and kind manner whilst still observing the rules of the service. I am sad at the amount of hurt that this has caused – by seeking zero risk the result has been serious damage to the Christian faith when it is struggling to get its traditional and outdated message over in the Modern Era-

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Tim. Not for the first time, comments on TA are missing the most salient point. I mentioned canon law earlier (written late at night!) but this is also a matter of church law and the law of the land, pure and simple. A C of E Measure has exactly the same legal status as an Act of the UK Parliament: in fact it is one.

Now I hope I have not anticipated more calls for disestablishment!

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

I realize that, and I’m not sure what in my comment above (which says nothing about any kind of law) has led to this reply.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Oh dear, you have interpreted it in a way I would not have expected or intended. Just a general comment that people were missing the salient points – not suggesting in any way that you were one of them.

In the context of your comment about the ‘more moral compass’, I thought my explanation that the Bishop’s duty is statutory, i.e., governed by law (and not optional), that would be helpful as was my intention in saying it.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

There was a time when a clergyman was expected to take a moral stand against an unjust statute (whether enacted by Parliament or General Synod). I point you to the Reverend Martin Luther King as just one example.

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Rowland Waterudge – but a moral stand for change must be taken. After all, an adulterous divorcee is now head of the C of E – unthinkable not so long ago!

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

And their “worst” would be… nothing, as “the rules” are toothless and diocesans are nigh-on unsackable (certainly over this).

Martyrdom isn’t required. Merely enduring some awkward looks over the port.

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

A sad, sad reflection on Christian hospitality, surely? Pastoral ministry is difficult enough without the pharisaical edicts of reluctant bishops of the Church of England. What would dear Bishop Desmon Tutu have thought? What would Jesus have done in this case? What does the world outside the church think? We only have to look at the international press to gauge its reaction. Is the Church governed by Law or the Grace of Christ?
God help us all. “Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray”.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

It’s doubtful that the press, and some of the people commenting here, have taken the trouble to read, or understand that the Bishop of Hereford was and is completely powerless to take the unilateral action people have suggested which would be in disobedience both to C of E canon law and his oath of obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury as his Metropolitan. Surely bishops in New Zealand are similarly bound? Not a ‘reluctant’ bishop, one obedient to Church law and his oaths.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Rowland, didn’t our founder offer a different approach to that of the Pharisees?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

Did He endorse breaking Judaic law, or Roman law for that matter (Render unto Caesar, etc.)? The emotive comments on this thread ignore that the Bishop of Hereford had no discretion in the context of a Statute of the UK Parliament – the legislature – which I can’t equate to the Pharisees!

People can of course, canvass for change but maybe some here should reflect on – even repent – the personal insults they have fired at the Bishop.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Are you certain that he had no discretion? These days churches may be shared. So for example https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/churchcare/advice-and-guidance-church-buildings/sharing-your-building-and-finding While technically he couldn’t authorise the funeral as the Church of England service, could he perhaps have authorised the church premises to be shared informally with another Christian group to conduct the service viz the Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth? After all, nobody would object if a church near the Scottish border was shared with a Scottish Episcopal Church congregation. That’s just my first suggestion and, unlike the bishop, I don’t have access to legal experts who, I am confident, could have… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Let’s pose it as a multiple choice question.

Then:

Pharisees: the Law says that one cannot heal on the Sabbath
Jesus: pastoral care trumps that

Now:

+Hereford: the law says that someone in a same sex marriage cannot lead a funeral of a loved one

So, based on the Gospels, what would Jesus say?
a) that is correct
Or b) pastoral care trumps that

I think the overwhelming majority of respondents here believe that Jesus would answer b)

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

The decision was taken by Lambeth Palace, to which the Bishop of Hereford referred it. A pragmatic Vicar would have offered to co-officiate and nothing would have been heard of the matter: perhaps it’s better that she didn’t, as it’s time for the Church to face up to its Neanderthal stance in the full light of day.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

St. Paul, St Peter, and the other apostles broke the law by continuing to preach when forbidden to do so. Cranmer, Latymer, and Ridley broke the law. So did Martin Luther King, and all those Christians who hid Jews from the Nazis. The Bishop of Hereford was not ‘powerless’ to break the law; many Christians over two millennia have done so, and we honour them for it. He chose to obey a law which is widely regarded as unjust and prejudiced. Others in his position might have said, ‘Judge for yourselves, whether it is right that we obey God rather… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

But weren’t Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer heretics?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

Depends on your point of view, doesn’t it? The issue is, for the sake of this discussion, that they followed their conscience instead of the law – and we honour them for it,

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Janet: The Bishop of Hereford “chose to obey a law which is widely regarded as unjust and prejudiced”. So do almost all Inclusive Church leaders. How many post a public affirmation of gay sexuality on their social media? How many hold public services of blessing for gay or lesbian couples in relationships? A few, but most don’t. They too “choose to obey a law which is widely regarded as unjust and prejudiced. So I don’t think it’s as simple as shifting the responsibility to the Bishop of Hereford, when they don’t take responsibility themselves. I agree it was lamentable that… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

I take the point that there are legal issues here. But having read through the legislation, I’m still curious as to why permission could not have been given by the Archbishop and Bishop in this case. In other words, what specific part (section/phrase/wording) of the Overseas and Other Clergy Measure (or other part of relevant legislation) would have been broken by granting permission in this case, so long as Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth is in good standing with her own church, and has complied with safeguarding requirements? Genuine question. Can’t a bishop give an English Methodist minister, for example,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Clapham
Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Charles Clapham
1 year ago

Indeed a way could have been found. We have had some RC clergy and even a Sally Army Captain officiate at funerals and recorded in the Burials register including signatures with comment attesting to this.

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

It’s governed by doctrine, dogma and diktat- faith, hope charity and loving thy neighbour as thyself don’t get a look-in.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

“despite it violating all of my pastoral instincts, I didn’t really have any options with the current rules” So rules over pastoral care? Firstly – let’s be clear – the Bishop of Hereford could have allowed this to go ahead, but he was too weak to do so. OK there may have been action against him but couldn’t he let conscience dictate and have courage? What would be the judgement against him – a slap on the wrist at most. The final decision was that of Justin Welby, and he must bear the responsibility. This tells us then that any… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

In my experience Dave, diocesan bishops like to do pastoral care from their study through an intermediary such as a suffragan, archdeacon, the bishop’s chaplain or their Comms officer. Rocking up and looking potential conflict in the eye is not part of their repertoire.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

This is the Diocese in Europe’s webpage dealing with the subject. Note the emphasis that the permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury is required.

https://europe.anglican.org/ecumenical-information-and-links/a-note-on-overseas-clergy-measure

Your suggestion was an interesting one, but I think it might also have required the Archbishop’s PTO, but I’m not saying that categorically, and by now these points are academic.

Jeremy
Jeremy
1 year ago

“Advice was given”? By whom and to whom?
As often happens, the passive voice is concealing who did what.
I haven’t been able to look through all the coverage. Is it clear whether this was a decision by the Bishop or by the Archbishop?
Or by both, in which case each can point the finger at the other?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Jeremy
1 year ago

Advice was possibly legal advice – but that is conjecture. Forget the press reporting. It’s the Overseas (Archbishop’s) Permission to Officiate, linked above, which you need to read. The advice doesn’t really matter as the law is clear and the bishop does not have any discretionary powers in this. He softened the pill as far as he was able. It could have been stated far more firmly, and to that extent he tried to be pastoral in a sensitive situation.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Actually, under the Overseas (Archbishop’s) Permission to Officiate the diocesan bishop neither has the authority to accept nor to decline permission: that authority rests entirely with the Archbishop [of Canterbury, in this case].

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Kate, Correct but it is the Bishop who has received all the flak, even in the latest comments: ‘slap on the wrist’ etc. Some comments have been recklessly inaccurate and one, in my view, highly offensive both to the Bishop and to other TA readers.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

I’ll happily correct a good faith error if one’s been made, but it’s hardly reckless when the bishop himself appeared to say that he’d made the decision (if Canterbury made the call Hereford could’ve simply said, “I profoundly disagree and would’ve granted the PTO but I have no power to do so”).

If it was Canterbury, the substance of the criticism’s transplanted but remains: since CoE discussion documents have no legal weight, he could’ve granted a PTO.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

It seems that some people believe that the Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth should have been given special treatment because her father was famous.

Cathy M
Cathy M
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

No, I think some people feel that her identity as the daughter of a man known for his courage and integrity highlights the injustice and cowardice of this refusal, and why the Church of England is rapidly making itself a ‘toxic brand’. Actions like this don’t just drive away young people, they revolt many at all ages who wonder why on earth they should be expected to look for moral leadership to an organisation they consider to be behaving in an immmoral way.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

No, because she was asking for something that in any other circumstance (such as being married to a man) would have been granted without question.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Thank you for your customarily gracious, informed clarity here in the heat of this conflicted debate. It is as you say. But as the House of Bishops meet over the next few months to discuss LLF outcomes and prepare a response to bring to Synod, I hope and pray this incident will add boldness to the imperative of putting positive, hospitable and including initiatives on the table that we can all move on with.

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  Jeremy
1 year ago

As I have stated elsewhere, it was the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom Hereford referred the matter, who took the decision. I was informed of this by Hereford’s office last Wednesday, the day before the funeral.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  John Burt
1 year ago

Thank you for this clarity. Good to know.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

Unless I’m missing a British legalism, it was snide of the Shropshire Star to put “service” in quote marks when talking about the funeral service for Martin Kenyon. Didn’t Jesus of Nazareth hold services on the top of a hill and on the shore of a lake? In the latter case, he even had to speak from a boat on the lake itself and he wasn’t even the captain of the boat. There are services in churches or cathedrals, with all the “bells and smells”, and there are services in someone’ back yard. I think the Star does the Reverend… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

Sorry to monopolise comment here today. It was no ‘legalism’, just ignorance which, sadly, is widespread among some sections of the British press and media when it comes to Church of England matters.

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

Peter Gross – I had the privilege of attending the service, which I told the daughters of the deceased and Mpho Tutu van Furth was the saddest, happiest and best funeral (in fact, any service) I have ever attended). This seemed to be a view shared by all the congregants. The sad part was that a man who had been on the PCC of the parish church for decades and lent his village home and grounds (which – being the former Rectory – adjoined the church for the annual fête) was denied his wish that his god-daughter conduct his funeral.… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
1 year ago

At least own the decision. The Bishop of Hereford could simply ignore “rules” with no legal standing and grant the permission. He chose not to. That’s entirely on him.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

Hear hear James: in some circumstances the CofE throws up its hands and explains that dioceses (and in other circumstances PCCs) are independent and can’t be controlled by the impotent archbishop; then when it suits the centre it throws its weight around and the bishops fall in line behind Archbishop Welby. Put another way, running with the hare and the hounds. This fudge might conceivably supply short term gains but in the medium and long term it’s a PR disaster. I used to live in Hereford and in those days the Hereford Times had a salacious worldview; if they’re commenting… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

One reply to your two comments. The Overseas (Archbishop’s) Permission to Officiate Measure 1967 is a Measure of the Church of England which means that it has the same statutory force as all other UK legislation. It binds both the Bishop and Archbishop. Sorry to sound censorious, but some people haven’t got the facts right and clearly haven’t read the link to it provided above. Sadly, that is often equally the case with some sections of the press and other media. Some of the above comments are totally out of order, one in particular, anonymously accusing the Bishop of cowardice… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

My thanks for that point: I’ll of course substitute “Canterbury” for “Hereford” if that’s where the decision was made; although from the bishop’s words, he seems to be saying that at least some of the call lies with him (perhaps he’s talking about referring it on to his metropolitan: clarification from Hereford or Canterbury would be welcome).

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

It does not bind the archbishop at all. Rather, it empowers him to grant Permission to Officiate, to whom he will. It does not bind him to grant or refuse it to anyone. It certainly does not forbid him granting it to a person in a same-sex marriage.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

If a properly enacted measure had called for Mpho Tutu to be denied permission to officiate on the basis of the color of her skin or her gender, would you be so sanguine about the Bishop and Archbishop acquiescing to it? There is such a thing as an unjust law and the proper reaction to it is to protest it, including by deliberately disobeying it.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

The same has been used in the past to prevent overseas clergy from officiating because they were women and the Church of England did not at that time ordain women.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

And it was wrong then.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

So the CofE asks us to take moral guidance from people for whom adherence to the law is all. So the next time a minister turns out to have taken part in any sort of civil disobedience against oh, I don’t know, apartheid, you will criticise them? Desmond Tutu called for, and engaged in, breaches of the law to push a moral point. Rowland says that was wrong, and he should have obeyed the law even if the heavens fall. What do others think?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

To be fair, I don’t recall Rowland saying that. Rowland is trained in law, and it’s totally fine that he points out what the legalities are. We need people with trained and precise legal minds who can parse what the law actually is.

As to contravening law, then individuals have to weigh up the benefits and the downsides of doing that, and perhaps that involves exercise of God-given conscience. Law is not always good law. There are times when civil disobedience may be justifiable.

Especially if we believe a law is doing active harm to people.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

Of course it’s another own goal, but the fact is the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967, passed by the National Assembly, remains in force and is the law of the land. We may speculate, as I have, as to whether all current diocesan bishops would have taken the same line. Pastoral considerations are powerful. They would have had to consider whether a decision to grant permission notwithstanding the Measure would have had ‘consequences.’ I wager a slap on the wrist would have been the extent of the consequences.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Just to clarify Anthony, by “rules” I was referring to the various “discussion” documents on sexuality, not the 1967 Measure. If Hereford’s hands were tied by the latter, that’s another matter, and I’d be far more sympathetic (while transferring the criticism to the actual decision maker).

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

I understand that there was a legal duty to comply with the Overseas and Other Clergy Measure. But having read it through, I still don’t understand why PTO could not have been given in this case under this measure? There is nothing, for example, under Canon B43 (as I read it) that would prevent a Methodist minister in a same-sex marriage from being given permission to take a funeral service in a Church of England. . Why (legally) could the same not be done for a TEC priest in good standing with her church? Which section, in other words, of… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Clapham
Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Charles Clapham
1 year ago

Canon B43 does not allow a Methodist minister to conduct a marriage service, but only allows that they might assist at one. Funerals are treated differently (the word conduct is used in the Canon). I was once not permitted to conduct a wedding in an ecumenical partnership when my Methodist colleague was terminally ill and unable to conduct it himself – we had to find a Methodist minister, because the Superintendent Regstrar’s certificate referred to a Methodist service. Much is permitted, but with weddings there are legalities. The notes to the Marriage Service in Common Worship Pastoral Services say that… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 year ago

Mark, I agree re marriage. But the issue here was a funeral, for which, as you say, the rules are different.

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

James Byron – As I’ve said elsewhere, the decision was referred to Lambeth Palace.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

This is a foretaste of what will become more and more commonplace if JW’s vision for the Lambeth Communion comes to pass. The idea of unity in diversity amongst the Provinces was celebrated too quickly, without regard to canon law.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

I was awake in the early hours of last Thursday & saw the BBC news on my computer. I went back to bed and spent the night sleepless with sheer disappointment and anger at another own-goal for the CofE. The bishop took legal advice from Lambeth apparently.It is pretty clear that legal advice is unlikely to be prophetic in any way. It might be a good way of piling the responsibility onto somebody else? Certainly playing it safe! There are a good number of senior clergy openly in same-sex relationships and civil partnerships. When it comes to PTO for a… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

A reply to you and to Anthony Archer. How is obeying the law an own goal? People who don’t like it can canvass for change.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Because it makes the CofE look mean, petty, homophobic and uncaring.
In this instance the law is an ass. It is a classic example of churchy nit picking.
We already know that we don’t agree about much!

Ann H
Ann H
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Because the law is a ass. When people see that the church is still bound by a law which they consider inappropriate, they are not going to say, “Oh well, that’s alright then”. They are, justifiably, going to ask why that law still exists. Why has the church not done anything about it? And they will condemn the church as irrelevant, discriminatory and out of touch.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Rowland I understand the point that you are repeatedly making. The law does not permit etc…. But the point others are making, which I wholeheartedly support, is that the Bishop of Hereford could simply have ignored that and given his permission for Mpho Tutu van Furth to officiate at this one funeral. He would have been overriding the law – you will no doubt say flouting it – but such is the nature of law. It was, for example, against the law for Rosa Parks to sit where she did on the bus. But it was that action which eventually… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 year ago

Indeed we do!!!

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 year ago

A diocesan can do much lawfully: as the bishops have relied on “discussion documents”, there’s nothing to stop a diocesan from declaring that they won’t enforce ‘Issues …’ on their patch, and that clergy in same-sex marriages are welcome to hold post in their diocese. So why don’t they?

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

James I think you will find that while they don’t push the boundaries to the extent of welcoming clergy in same sex marriages, they do turn a blind eye to ‘Issues’.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 year ago

Of course Andrew, as ‘Issues…’ is unenforceable (at least without tumbling to the level of a Labouchere blackmailer, which not even the most unsympathetic bishop would do). This episcopal DADT attitude — endorsed by ‘Issues…’ itself in its assertion that there should be no inquisitions — is different in kind from affirmation.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 year ago

This has nothing to do with LLF or the other extraneous subjects being introduced here. See Kate’s comment and my reply to her. I really can’t spend any more time responding. The only reason I have repeatedly made the point about obeying the law (I would not expect anything different of a bishop) has been the stubborn repetition by people of the same fallacious argument and refusal to accept that complying with a statute isn’t optional. Now this really has to be my final word. I simply do not have the time to spend saying the same thing over again.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Rowland the point that you don’t seem to be understanding is that breaking the law in this matter was an option – an option that might have been the most pastoral thing to do in these circumstances.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

I would argue that there are two contexts in which breaking the law is entirely justified. The first is in campaigning to overturn unjust laws. In political history there countless examples where people canvassed endlessly for change and got nowhere, and then a breaking of the law gained the publicity which helped to cause the breakthrough. Rosa Parkes on her bus and the Kinder Mass Trespass might be two examples. I can understand that the Bishop of Hereford not fit into this campaigning context. But I would also argue that the mark of a good and strong leader is knowing… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Once again, because some laws are so obviously immoral and unjust as to demand disobedience.

Mark
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Was the Sabbath made for man or man for the Sabbath?

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

How is obeying the law an own goal?”

Tutu should have obeyed the laws of apartheid, and canvassed for change by other means? Which other means did you have in mind?

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

I’m curious — does canon law have a tradition of _equity_, which can in law mollify the strict application of legal rules that would otherwise result in injustice?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Jeremy
1 year ago

I am not sure what you are getting at…or are you being ironic?

Michael H
Michael H
1 year ago

If the ‘rules’ ie canon law prevents Mpho Tutu from taking the funeral, I wonder why some clergy routinely celebrate communion with little recognisable liturgy in civvies and don’t do ablutions afterwards. Doesn’t canon law also apply to them? In a sermon only this morning, the preacher asked why some Christians focus on a few verses from the Epistles while completely ignoring the four Gospels. Good question.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Michael H
1 year ago

This has to be my final comment on this subject. Canon law arises in the Bishop’s duty by his oath of obedience to the Archbishop as his Metropolitan. The ‘rules’ are something separate: The Overseas (Archbishop’s) Permission to Officiate Measure 1967 has the same force of law as any other Act of the UK Parliament.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

ALLELUIA

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Rowland Wateridge – as Hereford referred the matter to Lambeth Palace, could the Archbishop have given PTO?

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Michael H
1 year ago

Yes, there’s a lot of selective obedience (on vestments from some of a low-church disposition; and in the other direction, importing the Missal). This also extends to PTOs: how many unofficial “guest preachers” are there in operation?

Endemic flouting and selective enforcement just adds to the problem, and worsens the injustice for those who are penalized unfairly. Yes, we can campaign to change the canon law: but when it’s applied so arbitrarily, it’s already failed.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

Not to mention that same-sex partnered clergy continue their ministry freely, in many cases. It seems to be the commitment of marriage that’s the problem – a very odd stance for the Church to take.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

It might just be that +Hereford is one of the diocesans that doesn’t want to see a change in the CofE’s teaching and clergy discipline on marriage, so would not want to push the boundaries anyway. I am sure a more progressive bishop will get a chance to challenge JW and the law on this point before long. But will they? I assume the same ruling would apply for a SSM priest from the CinW and the SEC.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

The 1967 Act does not apply to priests or deacons from the CinW, SEC or CofI.

John Burt
John Burt
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

Stephen Griffiths – the decision was taken by Lambeth Palace!

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Feelings are understandably high, first and foremost in the specific incident because of the personal circumstances around the funeral; and more generally, because we are collectively in a ‘no man’s/woman’s land’ as we await the actual action to follow the LLF process. The specific case in question is a microcosm of the Church-wide status quo which has, frankly, become pastorally unsustainable. Being pragmatic, nothing significant is going to change until the bishops define their response (collectively, and individually) to the LLF process, which many LGBT+ people (and others) have participated in with good faith. Therefore, we can all call out… Read more »

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

I am so disappointed that some here keeping saying it is the law of the land he could do no other. We can all give examples of cases where clergy, even bishops, have broken the law of the land and change has come about. In some cases I would argue these have been prophetic acts. It is often indeed part of the process of change in some cases. Liturgical change has often come about through people challenging the law and doing different – then the law comes along and sanctions. Now, of course, there will always be those who prioritise… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

I’ve never studied the law but my understanding is that the law requires interpretation and judicious application. In some cases it is very clear, but in most cases a greater or lesser element of judgement is required. Once again as a non lawyer a speed limit is on the face of it unambiguous, but if the signage has been vandalised, removed or obscured then a magistrate decides what is reasonable in the circumstances. The legislation Rowland is so exercised about may presumably be deployed to keep out those who are inadequately trained or irregularly ordained from exercising a regular ministry,… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 year ago

A number of years ago Canadian theologian Douglas J. Hall wrote a book titled, The Reality of the Gospel and the Unreality of the Churches. Here is a set of stories along that line. Reality, Elton John awarded a medal for work with HIV by President Biden. The Unreality, The good old C of E prevents Mpho Tutu Van Furth from presiding at a funeral because her spouse is female. If Barbara Tuchman were doing a revised edition of March of Folly, the church would be a subject for a chapter. 

John Burt
John Burt
1 year ago

It is very interesting to note that it is the Bishop of Hereford taking the wrap for this. However, when I contacted his office last Wednesday (the day before the funeral) I was informed that he had referred the matter to Lambeth Palace, which had refused permission. So, a series of backside-covering referrals, starting with the local Vicar, led all the way to the top.

#churchtoo
#churchtoo
Reply to  John Burt
1 year ago

Thanks John. I think the answer to who is responsible for this decision is local vicar, + Hereford, ABC and anyone else in that chain. However given that the one holding the most power is the ABC I would hold him as more responsible than + Hereford, and + Hereford as more responsible than the local vicar. The fact that the c of e is APPALLING at accountability and responsibility doesn’t mean we shouldn’t figure out where the power lies. However each one of these men demonstrated that they are NOT in favour of supporting married LGBTQ clergy to be… Read more »

Irene Vickers
Irene Vickers
Reply to  #churchtoo
1 year ago

The local vicar is a woman, not as you appear to assume, a man.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  John Burt
1 year ago

rap?

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 year ago

Behind all these arguments are human individuals. The priest, and the family of the deceased person..

For once it is about time the Church of England followed the example of the Episcopal church in Scotland, and welcomed all priests, married to who ever.

The whole debate has covered all my adult life, and it is so sad, and makes very tired..

Fr John Emlyn

T Pott
T Pott
1 year ago

Archiepiscopal permission is required for overseas clergy wishing to officiate as a priest or deacon. It can be permanent or temporary. What part of a funeral service constitutes officiating as a priest or deacon?

A funeral service typically consists of prayers, hymns, readings and an eulogy. All these are very often done, are they not, by friends or relatives of the deceased? What exactly was it that Rev Tutu was unable to do without archiepiscopal permission?

Nigel LLoyd
Nigel LLoyd
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

Spot on. She could easily have taken the service, without any need for permission from Lambeth. Lambeth, having been consulted, could have done nothing other than the action they did take. Nothing to do with pastoral sensibility. Everything to do with trying to hold a line and the fear of allowing anything that might seem to support LGBT+ people. Fear shapes the CofE position and that corrupts sensible pastoral decisions. It is an indefensible position that is continually presenting to the wider community a really unacceptable homophobic stance.

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

There’s been a lot of talk here about the morality of breaking an extant Law.

There were examples in the life of Jesus when he counselled this as a preferred option:

  1. The woman ‘caught in the act of adultery’ whose legal penalty was to be stoned to death.
  2. His advice on pastoral care trumping the Law of keeping the Sabbath.

The relevant question might be this: Is the Church above its Lord on this issue?

Last edited 1 year ago by Father Ron Smith
Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Excellent points for discussion. In the first, Jesus does not say that adultery was fine: He challenges those who are enthusiastic to inflict the legal penalties to examine whether they themselves are worthy to do so, which people on one side of the argument might wish to consider. But perhaps the principal example is Jesus suffering the penalty of the Jewish and Roman laws, that penalty being an integral and necessary part of the Atonement. From this we might learn that it may be right to break an unjust law, but it may also be right to acknowledge and accept… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

That is why I am a struggling Anglican. All the stuff from on high sounds so sugary as the knife is twisted.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

So the Permission to Officiate Measure is a red herring. She was banned from from reading, praying and speaking the eulogy, which are all things commonly done by friends or family, lay and even non-Christian.

Is it now the case that any person in a same sex marriage is banned from reading the eulogy at a family funeral, and must stand aside while a different family member or friend does it?

It gets worse.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

As I read it, it is a matter of ordained persons being held to a different standard than lay people (see the guidance linked above by Simon). So any same sex married lay person would be acceptable to read a lesson or give the eulogy. It is the mix of being both ordained and same sex married that is the problem.

I am same sex married and (until I resigned last month) a Licensed Lay Minister, and being lay – no problems about being authorised by my Bishop to preach, teach and lead worship.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

If a priest from one diocese is asked to do a reading at a family funeral in a different diocese, would it be the usual practice to request PtO from the bishop? I think not.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

There is some confusion here. The Bishop of Hereford, in his statement, specifically framed it as a PTO issue. But the NYT report implies something further, a ban on same sex married clergy taking ANY part in a service, even if that service is led by someone else in good standing. The more this goes on the more I am struck by the cruelty here, and also in the reports of how Jeremy Pemberton has been treated. I wonder if there is something deeper going on – perhaps at a psychological level. Rather than discuss this as a legal issue,… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

The statements made by the NYT are inconsistent and therefore cannot all be correct. At one point the article says that Revd Tutu was refused permission to “officiate his funeral” and at another “she would not be permitted to deliver the eulogy, say prayers or perform readings at the funeral”. These are not the same thing and indeed latter is clearly incorrect: even a lay person is permitted to do all three of those things. It would be unwise to place any reliance on the specific details of the NYT post, given (1) it is, as I say, internally inconsistent… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

So let us unpack this. Eulogies and readings are routinely given by people who are not ordained. Indeed, at the funeral of the Supreme Governor of the CofE last week, a reading was given by the Prime Minister. Ms Truss is a woman who has had at least one documented [1] adulterous affair, in which both she and her co-respondent were married. This is not rumour; Ms Truss has spoken publicly about this, and was cited in the divorce papers of her affair partner. This is clearly “at variance with the teaching of the Church of England.” Why is it… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

People single out the Bishop of Hereford for not putting conscience before the rules of the Church… but how can they say that if their own local churches still uphold the rules? After all, blessing gay partnerships/marriages, and stating publicly on church websites that their church will do so… that would be consistent. And it’s far more urgent for a local church to do that, because it impacts on their own community. Afraid of sanctions, so rules are followed before conscience and doing the right thing? Then, sorry, but that’s even less impressive, because surely you have a moral obligation… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I broadly agree with that. But there is a single, vital difference between on the one hand Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, and on the other hand members of the CofE. In general terms, it is difficult to escape the coercive power of the state, and Mandela and Parks had a choice between either complying (which means “being oppressed quietly”) or resisting. Members of the CofE have a third choice: they can walk away from oppression. The coercive power of the Apartheid or Jim Crow state bore down on everyone, and particularly everyone of colour; the coercive power of the… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

I have never felt we were living under the coercive power of the State. I think that might be in days long past. Neither the Crown nor Government however ghastly it can be are coercive in my experience. I suspect governments have limited interest in ecclesiastical shenanigans…but someome will no doubt De Heretico Comburendo 1401 at me! The Church that taught us the Catholic Faith might claim affection and measured loyalty from us. The Church of England can seem silly, pompous and petty….and unimaginative and insensitive etc etc but I would struggle to find a church which is any better!… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

I have never felt we were living under the coercive power of the State.

I seem to remember a rather coercive episode a few years ago. It involved, among other things, being legally prohibited from going to church …

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

I think that was as much ABC as dread PM

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

Thank you, IO, and very true that Apartheid/Jim Crow are a different scale and level compared to an organisation which people can leave. And also, sadly, very true that probably many people have chosen to turn their back on the Church of England already – and sadly, in some cases, have probably turned their back on the Gospel as well, because of the alienation they feel from the signal that’s sent out that the Church says gay and lesbian people should never have sex, and if they do, that is hated by God. Frankly, the debate is over on this… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

One particular question strikes me in the midst of this spectacular own goal by the C of E: why is it that The Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth can minister in a marquee in a garden, but not in a church? Surely, she is either permitted to minister, or she is not. Or does ministry outside a church building not count?

John N Wall
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

Viewing this unfortunate sequence of events from the perspective of the Episcopal Church, I have to say that the Bp of Hereford clearly forgot a basic principle of the Anglican tradition — that it is often better to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission. Local pastoral exceptions to rules, laws, or customs are often called for when special circumstances arise. The circumstances clarify the fact that this would have been a one-off event, in which an exception was made, but no precedents were set and no changes in principle necessarily followed. This was obviously one of those situations.… Read more »

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Reply to  John N Wall
1 year ago

The late great Bishop Kenneth Skelton of Lichfield always used to say in similar situations (with a twinkle in his eye) “If you ask me you know what the answer will be”.

John N Wall
Reply to  Robert Ellis
1 year ago

Yes, exactly! One of the things that made him a great bishop.

JNW

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  John N Wall
1 year ago

Something else that made him a great bishop was his opposition to unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) in Rhodesia when he was Bishop of Matabeleland. UDI was declared in 1966, when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister of the UK. Wilson was to refer to him later as ‘the courageous Bishop Skelton’.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

I don’t think ministering outside a church building (or, presumably a churchyard for a burial) counts. But I suppose the CofE can always claim geographical coverage (the parish system) at e.g. crematoria (‘it’s in x’s parish!’). In which case the priest could claim they were not operating as a CofE clergyperson, simply taking a religious funeral, though using copyright texts might make that open to challenge in any ensuing challenge. Life’s too short – I hope she just got on with it as planned; but it would be interesting to know whether he was buried in consecrated ground and, if… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago
Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

It strikes me that if services held outside church buildings are deemed to be beyond the control and oversight of the hierarchy, then there could be some interesting, and presumably unintended, consequences. Clergy without PTO could presumably officiate at crematoria and ignore the endless warnings they get from the hierarchy. And the 10,000 new churches in people’s front rooms will be free to invite whomsoever they like to preach. This could get quite interesting!

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

The use of vestments at Christ Church St Laurence (CCSL) in Sydney ceased in 1911 because of a ruling of the Archbishop of Sydney. John Hope, Rector of CCSL from 1926 to 1964, would sometimes wear the chasuble when celebrating Communion at an outdoor venue within the boundaries of the parish. It might have been that he was talked into that by the assistant priests or by people in the congregation, as John Hope himself had no strong attachment to the chasuble. There is even some evidence (recorded by his biographer) that he preferred to celebrate in a cope. I… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

Glad Fr Dexter is OK with woman priest… but utterly agree with him!!

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

Don’t make too many assumptions about what I think about various matters! I merely observe that what has happened here is grossly pastorally insensitive and may have unintended consequences. Beyond that I make no comment.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

We know you too well for that, Dexter!

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
1 year ago

Incidentally, I remember hearing Bishop Gene Robinson preach in a church in Manchester some years ago without either the sky falling down, or (to the best of my knowledge) anybody being threatened with disciplinary action. Either he was given permission, or he just did it without. Either way, it does suggest room for discretion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Clapham
Cynical observer
Cynical observer
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

That was before the current policy about actual marriage was set up…which was a result of the UK marriage legislation. Why is anyone surprised about this? Obviously the national press picked it up because of the “famous” people involved but actually the real victims are the family of Mr Kenyon. It’s no good blaming the ABC and the Bishop, actually. The people who have to take responsibility are (a) every member of General Synod and (b) every member of the C of E who has a vote for GS directly or indirectly (ie all licensed clergy, all lay people on… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 year ago

Jesus said nothing about same-sex marriage but was condemnatory of divorce and re-marriage between heterosexual persons calling them ‘adulterers’. I can’t understand how such re-married clergy can officiate at funerals and other rites. How can a divorced and re-married priest officiate at a memorial service for HM the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral, whilst a happily married priest is banned because she married her wife?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I think that might be a somewhat simplified condemnation…Matthew gospel exception.
But not being a fundamentalist I cannot get my nether garments into too much of a twist….sitzt im leben Usw.
However utterly agree about the happily married priest. I fear it is a conservative evangelical matter.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

The Matthean exception allows remarriage. I wasn’t condemning anyone but pointing out how people make up rules about marriage to suit themselves.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Indeed. I think that a glance down the various letters shows a dichotomy betwixt those fascinated by ecclesiastical legalism and authority and those who believe that basic Christianity demands that certain instructions are at loggerheads with the substance of the Gospel and have to be challenged or even ignored. It would be foolish to adopt an anarchical attitude generally but there are times when many of us are happy to have an episcopal slapped wrist for standing by what we believe to be of the core of pastoral ministry. I suspect in many cases there would be no slapped wrist… Read more »

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

A comment above compares the bishop of Hereford to those bishops who failed to stand against Adolf Hitler. It is the most extreme comment but by no means out of step with the general tone

Those commenting in support of Tutu’s relative in such terms have completely lost their grip on reality.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
  • a hypothetical situation, but…

A priest’s mother dies in the north of England and there is a church funeral.

The priest is in a same gender marriage in Scotland, and lives just a few miles from his mother.

So this priest cannot take part in his own mother’s funeral in the parish church?
———————————————————————————————

This is not a church I feel I want to belong to….

Our bishops remain silent and are showing unacceptably poor leadership and example.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I think it’s wrong to use the Bishop of Hereford as a whipping boy for a theological conflict which has been going on for 60 years or more. The situation, surely, is that the bishops have committed to see the LLF process through to its outcomes, and we’re entering the decisions phase now. During the process, the bishops have tried to stand back from perceptions of partiality in the process. If the Bishop of Hereford had stepped out of line, though I think that would have been morally commendable, it would have suggested to socially conservative Christians like bad faith,… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Thank you Susannah. I completely share your discernment. To call for a Bishop to do a Rosa Parks just months before LLF reaches its final decisive stages makes no sense. There are, of course, those here who do not believe in LLF. But this is the path the CofE has chosen for itself. But as you say, this has to be its best and final shot at taking this all forward. As I said above, I hope the Hereford incident nerves and galvanises the House of Bishops into putting bold and progressive proposals on the table for Synod. There is… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PzL8aL6jtI

The same answer for 60 years

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I do not understand your comment. There’s a commitment to a conclusion to the LLF process and decision for a way forward at the Feb. Synod.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

I think that is exactly my point David. The The Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth had an immediate need for pastoral and compassionate treatment in the present. So to respond come back next year when things may have changed is not a solution to the problem.

Sometimes the need is for action now. A response saying things may possibly change in the future is an inadequate and incomplete response.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Personally, I’ve not suggested that a bishop “do a Rosa Parks” (not that I’d frame it in such terms, as no bishop is close to her situation, and nothing they could do would require anything like her degree of courage). I have said that they should announce that any “discipline” rooted in “discussion” documents is hereby suspended in their dioceses, which would break no laws. As for belief in LLF (or doubtless, its many, many successors), well, my faith only goes so far.

Frank James
Frank James
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

The ability of CofE to shoot itself in the foot is remarkable, and this has been lampooned very effectively in Screwtape’s Tutu Coup – Huw Thomas https://huwnotes.wordpress.com/2022/09/23/screwtapes-mpho/

No need for a Rosa Parks. Classic CofE muddle & prevarication could have delayed any action until well after the event. A Nelsonic Blind Eye would certainly have done the job, but that is a bit much to hope for!

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

David greetings and I understand the point you make about keeping the ship steady whilst we await the proposals next February. But a sense of proportion here is important too. All that was being asked was the ability to take part in a funeral of a godfather. This wasn’t a sacramental act or a main Sunday service. It was me who mentioned Rosa Parks first because Rowland was indicating that bishops always had to follow the law and that change would not come about by breaking laws. I was giving an obvious example. It isn’t exactly like the bishops situation… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
1 year ago

On the question of conscientious objection to unjust laws and civil disobedience in standing against them, there is also a perhaps more subtle tradition of very public obedience to an unjust law as a way of bringing its injustice to light. This can also happen quite apart from any intent. That may be true in this case.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
1 year ago

I think it was the late great Jeremy Hardy who said that the problem with comedy that satirises racists is that racists laugh too, for different reasons. The Bishop of Hereford might be following the letter of an unjust rule to highlight its absurdity. Or he might be following it because he thinks it’s the right think to do. Whatever his position, many Anglican homophobes will be very happy, and will draw succour from it: my beliefs must be right, because they are supported by the Bishop of Hereford. That he might perhaps have his fingers crossed while he does… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

I agree entirely; that is the problem with the “work to rule” approach as opposed to an outright “strike” or “walkout.” I do think, however, that in this case the action will not serve in the long run to promote the assumed “benefits” of the current law.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

If the Bishop of Hereford has read that at all, his response will be “Am I bovvered?” There’s nothing in there that he doesn’t already know, and he’s squared the denial of Mpho’s participation with his conscience. Rules are rules, after all.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

Except that is not what he wrote about it. We may strongly disagree. But why assume he is unfeeling and even cynical about the decision he felt he had to make?

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Why do I assume he is unfeeling? Because he chose to make an unfeeling decision. He could have granted permission, and left it for the CofE to overrule him, for example.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

I too am an interested observer here. Having spent the majority of my own professional life involved in the training, resourcing and support of people in various expressions of public ministry and leadership. It is a favoured few who have never had to manage situations that present as near impossible dilemmas – between the law and pastoral conscience, between the unreconcilable demands and expectations of those they serve, and between institution role and personal faith. Most carry bruises. Some are left scarred – or worse. It was John Updike who said ‘leaders are those who carry the woes of a… Read more »

TimN
TimN
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

One salient point not mentioned here was that she had to hand in her licence as a priest in South Africa (because she married), and is now pastor at an independent church in Amsterdam, so is not really acting as an Anglican priest at the moment. Whilst the debate over sexuality is behind the issues, I wonder if she was still an active TEC priest the decision might have been different.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

Does this mean that any Anglican priest from outside England who wishes to take part in Church of England worship needs permission from Lambeth Palace?

(PS – including via Zoom?!)

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Not to take part in worship in the CofE, but to exercise their presbyteral ministry, yes. I think it does not apply to clergy in the three sister Churches in these islands, but only to those outside Britain and Ireland.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

According to the 1967 Measure it applies to any episcopally ordained priest or deacon outside the four Anglican churches of the British Isles. So as well as “overseas” priests, it includes Roman Catholic priests who are British. What counts as officiating seems less clear. Cardinal Nichols led a prayer at the Queen’s funeral, in the presence of the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Yet Mpho was told she would not be able to lead a prayer at Mr Kenyon’s funeral. I doubt Cardinal Nichols applied for permission to officiate. The way the Bishop of Hereford is interpreting it, the… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

And there is more, from an American perspective, which is whence Tutu’s ordination comes. Clergy Ordained Abroad measures were in part instituted because an Act of Parliament from the late 18th c., by which permission was given to extend Orders to the nascent Episcopal Church (in the then United States), also explicitly prohibited anyone ordained by them (or in that succession) in the Episcopal Church from ever exercising ministry in any of [then, and now] His Majesty’s dominions. In other words, this act (and its ancestors) was not about restrictions but widening the opportunity for ministry.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

Clarity is needed on this. Not least for those who may be considering asking a Gay priest who is married to take part in worship. The Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth was not allowed to take part in any way. This was not a priestly rite and she was not allowed to read / lead prayers or anything. So are gay married clergy from outside England permitted to preach in a Church of England church? Are they permitted to take part in any way in sacramental worship – for example to read Scripture, concelebrate, robe? I am told there are… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

The view is expressed here that “The Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth was not allowed to take part in any way.” Is that correct? It seems to assert that she was not allowed even to be a member of the congregation. That’s very different from being refused PTO. What evidence is there for that claim?

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Simon Sarmiento above quotes the New York Times (linked but with paywall) as saying: Ms. Tutu van Furth said that she was informed by local representatives of the church that while she could sit in the congregation during the ceremony, she would not be permitted to deliver the eulogy, say prayers or perform readings at the funeral.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

I have doubts about the accuracy of that reporting, because while an individual church minister/priest with very socially conservative views might object to a married LGBT person saying prayers or reading a lesson in their particular church, I’m not aware that that is churchwide policy or the position of the episcopacy in most sees today. It would need Mpho herself to confirm this. However, given her media prominence and the sensitivity of her case, I should be surprised if the ban on her conducting the funeral would have extended to her not reading the lesson or saying prayers, unless the… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

This link https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/sites/abc/files/2021-04/OPTO%20%20Non%20CofE%20Clergy%20-%2025.03.21.pdf is to a document from the Archbishop of Canterbury purporting to answer FAQs on the effect of the 1967 Measure. Answer 3 claims that officiating includes “presiding or assisting at the occasional offices”. Answer 9 says overseas and Roman Catholic clergy may not officiate at all, even at a one-off service without the Archbishop’s permission. It seems to me clear that Welby is claiming that no overseas or Roman Catholic priest may assist at an occasional office without his permission. If that does not include reading, leading prayers and delivering eulogies, what else could it mean? It… Read more »

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

As T Pott says more clearly than I she was permitted to attend as a member of the congregation – but not have any other role.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
1 year ago

Martin Kenyon’s obituary is in The Times today (3rd October).

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