Tuesday, June 07, 2005

COE to let gay clergy 'marry' but they must stay celibate - Sunday Times

Move evidence that theology is a mind game. Somehow - in concert with my 'whither the church?' theme, I'm reminded of the Monty Python sketch, "this parrot is not dead." Is not the COE certifiably laughingstock? Is it not, therefore, irrelevant? The more desperately the COE grasps at holding together the Anglican Communion the less there is there; the right thing to do is to tell the African bishops that the COE does not share your view of homosexuality.

The decision ensures that gay and lesbian clergy who wish to register relationships under the new “civil partnerships” law — giving them many of the tax and inheritance advantages of married couples — will not lose their licences to be priests.

They will, however, have to give an assurance to their diocesan bishop that they will abstain from sex. The bishops are trying to uphold the church doctrine of forbidding clergy from sex except in a full marriage. They accept, however, that the new law leaves them little choice but to accept the right of gay clergy to have civil partners.

If the civil partnerships law is so at odds with Anglican teaching on homosexuality, isn't civil disobedience the principled thing to do?

Despite the second class status in the Anglican Communion, to which ECUSA has been subjected because of its gay bishop, it appears that the COE is at least as open as the ECUSA with respect to clergy living in homosexual relationships:
Under the proposal, a priest intending to register a civil partnership would inform his or her bishop in a face-to-face meeting. The priest would then give an undertaking to uphold the teaching of the Church of England, outlined in the 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality. This paper prohibits sex for gay clergy.

Although no sanctions are included in the new proposal, it is expected that a breach of the rules may lead to disciplinary action or the possible suspension of clergy.

Some bishops, however, are uncomfortable about subjecting their priests to the proposed interviews.

One said this weekend: “We all have clergy in gay partnerships in our dioceses and there is a genuine reluctance on the part of a number of us to make their lives more difficult.”

Via Ungodly Rant who has some amusing relatives on the distaff side.

1 comment:

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