Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 16 February 2019

Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Guest Post: Consecrated celibacy – a personal journey

Sara Gillingham ViaMedia.News Dear Church – A Valentine Lesson in Love
“Sara Gillingham … raises awareness of issues faced by people born with intersex traits.”

Andrew Gray Church Times A joined-up approach to tackling homelessness
“A task force would enable better working between the Church and other agencies”

Church Times ‘Jesus holding my hand has been the most powerful force in my life’
“Two gay priests of different generations talk about the challenges that they have faced in their ministry”

12
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
3 Comment threads
9 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
Tim ChestertonFather Ron SmithSimon DawsonKateFr John Emlyn Harris-White Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Susannah Clark
Guest

Fantastic and deeply moving conversation between Marcus and Stanley. Thank you so much to both men.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Vows of committed celibacy aren’t an act of dedication as the author of the Quodcumque piece believes but are, I suggest, an impediment to dedication.

I fear that the author has just swapped the supposed certainty and permanence of marriage for a different type of certainty and permance without realising that true dedication to the Lord is about a willingness to do anything any time He calls.

Fr John Emlyn Harris-White
Guest
Fr John Emlyn Harris-White

Kate’s comment in my humble opinion is both unkind and lacking in grace. I have read the persons account, and thank her for her honesty, and deep commitment to her celibate life. Prepared to be guided in her journey by the Bishop’s guardian,
. God Bless her, and those who feel called to the celibate life.

Fr John Emlyn

Kate
Guest
Kate

A celibate life is a noble thing.

My comment relates to the vows – and the Gospels are clear that we shouldn’t make vows anyway.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

So, Kate, you are obviously not a priest, otherwise, you would have been required to ‘vow’ (promise) to obey your Ordinary (local bishop) on ordination. Also, the rite of Christian Marriage requires the enactment of ‘vows’. Do you not approve of this Church tradition? I am in awe of Religious who DO make their Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. I got close to making these vows myself until I realised I probably would not be able to keep them. Dedicated Religious are a gift to the Church. Let us not downplay their role in dedicating themselves to celibacy/chastity if… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

I have some sympathy for Kate’s point of view. We can have an over-optimistic and unrealistic regard for vows.

All priests (and indeed Lay Ministers) make vows of obedience to their Bishop. But are we saying that all priests always obey their sacred vows, and never slag off the Bishop behind his/her back? How many marriages start in vows and end in divorce. And how many catholic priests keep their vows of celibacy?

I like Kate’s ambivalence about vows, and Kate is right to remind us that in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ himself preached against them.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

The question of what makes a vow a vow and not just a statement or an agreement seems a little murky to me. Is “Will you?” “Yes, I will” an oath? Jesus says “Let your yes be yes and your no be no; anything more than that comes of the evil one”. It seems to me that “Will you?” “Yes, I will” falls within the scope of what Jesus permits, but “Will you?” “Yes, I will, and my hand on this Bible to prove it!” does not. But then again, I could be wrong. I have the greatest respect for… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Thank you Tim.

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

Thanks you Tim, I agree. It is so easy to make a vow with every intention of keeping it, but then one year or twenty years down the line things have changed. To me a vow with a time limit or a get-out-clause is sign of honesty and integrity,not weakness.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Tim, likewise. Neither am I. However, God understands us better than we do ourselves. And what we may earnestly desire to do – at the point of our initial commitment – can actually be changed by our experience. Does God condemn us for that? I think not. HOWEVER, I still do thank God for those clergy and Religious who sincerely want to vow their lives and service and are able to keep their vows. They are an outstanding witness to the power of God over our common human weakness. I remember a wise old woman once telling me that she… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I could not, as a matter of conscience, take the vows expected of ordinands. I believe that taking such a vow is contrary to the Gospels.

One of the advantages of civil partnerships is that no vows are required but I am less troubled by the marriage vow, not least because Jesus expressly said that marriage is permitted

Tim Chesterton
Guest

“Will you?” “I will, with God’s help?” Is that a vow? We could split hairs over that, I guess. But for myself, I find my ordination commitments very helpful. I go back over them regularly, and I find they help me concentrate on what’s important and what’s not important in my ministry. Over the years I’ve noticed that when I focus on these simple commitments I have a lot more joy and satisfaction – and fruitfulness – in my ministry. But when I allow myself to be distracted by other stuff (when you’re in a parish lots of people have… Read more »