Civil partnerships and same-sex relationships ”“ a statement by C of E House of Bishops

“Among the matters to be considered in the review of the 2005 Statement there is one of some importance which the House did not address in advance of any experience of civil partnerships. This is whether clergy who have registered civil partnerships should be eligible for nomination to the episcopate. The House has concluded that it would be wrong to pre-empt the outcome of the review and that clergy in civil partnerships should not at present, therefore, be nominated for episcopal appointment. The House’s intention is to complete the review, which will need to take account of the legal analysis set out in GS MISC 992 (Choosing Bishops ”“ the Equality Act) during 2012.

“The House has also decided that more work is now needed on the Church of England’s approach to human sexuality more generally. In February 2007, the General Synod passed a motion commending ”˜continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.’

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

17 comments on “Civil partnerships and same-sex relationships ”“ a statement by C of E House of Bishops

  1. guest says:

    Just to clarify the current position is:
    Laity can have gay sex but clergy cannot
    Clergy can be in civil partnerships but not bishops
    Those in holy orders can share a bedroom as long as they promise they are celibate
    A gay man in a civil partnership can advance to bishop if he is willing to admit earlier sin and denounce it.

    What a mess!

  2. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Regarding this assertion from the HOB Statement:

    Within the Anglican tradition our theological thinking is formed by a reasoned interpretation of Scripture, within the living tradition of the Church informed by pastoral experience.

    It needs looking at a bit more carefully. All three elements, are parts of what it is to be an Anglican. However, is the combination and expression of how they are linked put on them in this Statement as the basis of our theological thinking within the Anglican Tradition, really the Traditional Anglican way of thinking theologically? That is notwithstanding that you might find some such assertion on the Affirming Catholicism website.

    Perhaps it is not an Anglican outlook, but a liberal catholic innovation.

    If you want to look at what theological thinking is in the Anglican Tradition, you might start with the 39 articles:

    Holy Scriptures containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation…
    Article VI. Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

    The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ: yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation.
    Article XX Of the Authority of the Church

    Then again, you might look in the Canons of the Church of England:

    The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teaching of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.

    In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.
    Canon A5 Of the doctrine of the Church of England

    Then again you might look at the doctrine held in the Councils of the Anglican Communion, not the bastardised and anaemic reflections produced since Rowan Williams got involved, but the consistent doctrine set out by the Lambeth conferences and masterfully chronicled by Archbishop Mouneer Anis here

    There is a clear thread of resolutions from the Lambeth Conferences from 1888:

    Lambeth Conference 1888, Resolution 11.1 – “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as “containing all things necessary to salvation” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.”

    to 1998:

    Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution III.5.b. “In agreement with the Lambeth Quadrilateral and in solidarity with the Lambeth Conference of 1888 affirm that the Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation and are for us the rule and ultimate standard of faith and practice.”

    Contrast this with what, under the direction and chairing of Williams, the Lambeth Conference ‘Reflection’ in 2008 came up with:

    Lambeth Conference 2008 Section G in the Summary, [pg. 134], in this summary, we read this: “God’s Living Word, incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth and revealed in Holy Scripture, challenges and transforms us in ways that can be full of joy and at other times quite unsettling, even as our context influences our interpretation of Holy Scripture. We affirm that the Scripture also addresses our contexts with both judgment and consolation, with conviction and with grace. The Word of God has always held a primary and cherished place in the churches of the Anglican Communion. So shall it always be”

    It is worth reading AB Anis’s analysis carefully and you can see the break from the Anglican Tradition of theological thinking in the revision of the long held doctrine of the Lambeth Conference resolutions shown by the new ‘reflection’ in 2008 and its parallel with the new revisionist definition of the doctrine of the Church of England in the quotation from the House of Bishops highlighted above. They were both almost certainly drafted by the pen of the Archbishop, and reflect his thinking which from a distance is superficially profound and attractive, but when you go back to the sources he claims to be expounding, in particular the Anglican Tradition, on a close examination it melts away as insubstantial, historically ungrounded, and lacking in intellectual consistency and rigour. This is something I have come to recognise in much of his work and most of his recent pronouncements. More fool our bishops for letting him draft this.

    Why is this relevant to this HOB statement? It is because in a response to the HOB Statement, including some significant signatories who our HOB would be wise to take note of, AB Williams’ and the HOB’s revision and to some extent breathtaking bluff in this redefinition is being called:

    Our thinking in this is guided by our expectation that as our bishops and teachers you will publicly, courageously and consistently hold out to society the teaching of the Bible and the Church and the implications of it for holiness of life.

    It really does raise the question of the extent to which Williams and under his chairmanship our House of Bishops really ground their theological thinking in reading and understanding the Bible, which is indeed the ‘Anglican Tradition’.

  3. Hoskyns says:

    I would genuinely like to know what the current advice is about heterosexual relationships outside marriage. If I am in a heterosexual relationship that is not holy matrimony (or secular ‘marriage’), I cannot at present legally enter into a civil partnership. But can I be ordained? Can I be a bishop?

  4. kmh1 says:

    This stupidity was foisted on the C of E by Rowan Williams and his bishops, instead of having the courage to say no to civil partnerships for clergy, and any other relationship outside of marriage.

  5. Cennydd13 says:

    3. Good God, I sure [b]hope[/b] not!

  6. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    Everyone, especially anyone reading here who is British, should read post #2 very carefully–thank you, Pageantmaster.

    He, in an orderly and eloquent manner, outlines the same bait-and-switch that went on over the years in TEC, until the revisionists achieved the majority.

    “Within the Anglican tradition our theological thinking is formed by a reasoned interpretation of Scripture, within the living tradition of the Church informed by pastoral experience”.

    Oh, isn’t that pretty. Doesn’t that sound good. Besides Pageantmaster’s accurate debunking, how about a bare-bones translation, too?

    “Reasoned Interpretation of Scripture”–This really means that Scripture is not paramount and our human-reasoning interpretation might know or be better;

    “the living tradition of the Church”–Well, right now many believe that the Church’s *living* contemporary tradition includes a fair amount of committed homosexual relationships;

    “Informed by pastoral experience”–Sounds an awful lot like Tom Shaw, when civil gay marriage was made legal in MA, saying that “we need to provide pastorally for these people”…as if some sort of civil union automatically entitles one, gay or straight, to a Christian marriage or blessing. Or, it might mean that, if a priest or bishop knows a lot of gays in committed relationships, and they are really nice people, it might be better to toss traditional teachings and somehow pastorally “honor” said relationships, too. But if some priests believe that pastoral care for such things might involve a referral to “Redeemed Lives”…well, that’s a bad thing; and don’t do that or someone will call you a “mean bigot”.

    For any UKers reading here, this is right out of the TEC playbook.

    My spouse likes to say that fig jelly and motor oil, when jarred, look the same. But, in this case, folks, you’d be putting motor oil on your toast instead of truly Christian fig jelly.

    Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean you’re not getting completely “faked out”. Always read between the lines.

    Have there been any sightings of Ian Douglas and RW commiserating in the London pubs?

  7. deaconjohn25 says:

    After reading all these stories and comments it is obvious that Satan is cutting his way through the Anglican Church like a hot knife through warm butter. Does anyone doubt the final result???
    Why not skip the preliminaries and put a “married” lesbian-or Gay– anti-Christ on the “throne” of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  8. Larry Morse says:

    But why? Why? What is to be gained? What is to be lost is clear enough.
    I don’t understand how and in what way the CofE will benefit. Is this simply a power play wherein a powerhungry Left is going to demonstrate is ascendency by forcing its dissenters to swallow what they do not want to swallow? Can it be money driving this revision, money hidden from the outside’s eyes? Who benefits? Is it possible that a homosexual lobby has gained the kind of power necessary to coerce this change? I simply don’t understand this. Larry

  9. Confessor says:

    Despite all their silly word games, attempts to deceive and have their way, in the end, they are only fooling themselves and will suffer for it.

    Serious Christians are not fooled by counterfeits will either leave or do as Mark Lawrence and the GAFCON, FCA, ACNA, AMiA and AMiE (and the Continuum and a number of other groups before them) are doing, simply ignore them and go on with real Christianity.

  10. kmh1 says:

    Pageantmaster: thank you for again sounding a clear and intelligent voice about the British scene.
    It truly is sliding into disaster, aided by the useful idiots of “Fulcrum”, whose only purpose seems to be to bring evangelicals along for the ride.
    What do you think AMiE can do about this?
    I think we can now see why Nazir-Ali got out when he could.

  11. Cennydd13 says:

    I have a better idea: Forget all of the niceties about being a respected author, theologian, and high-ranking bishop when the next Archbishop of Canterbury is selected, and instead, find a traditionally simple parish priest who wants nothing more than to bring people to Christ and His Church……to be a Chief Pastor to his flock whose responsibility it is to nurture them in the Church, and not a Churchman who mixes in politics? Surely, there must be a faithful man in all of Britain whould would fill the bill? Surely, there must be a man somewhere who does not do things according to the spirit of the age?

  12. guest says:

    yes but the state would not allow it and there is the rub and real problem.

  13. Larry Morse says:

    #12, you mean the Queen? And why not allow it? Why is THIS the problem? As if the ABC is at the heart of the homosexual victories.

  14. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    There are many good things going on here and good people in ministry.

    But we like sheep have gone astray, and our shepherds have lost their way.

  15. Cennydd13 says:

    I believe Her Majesty takes her religious beliefs seriously, although by law and custom, she can’t and therefore doesn’t expound upon them, but I’ll bet that if you were to ask her privately for her opinion, she’d tell you that she’s highly displeased with the shenaningans in Church and Parliament to the point where she’d lop a few heads off…….++Rowan’s included. Just presupposing, of course, and no offense meant to our British cousins.

  16. Cennydd13 says:

    Especially to my own relatives in Wales.

  17. MichaelA says:

    It appears the Lord is using the scourer on the Church of England – all sorts of persons are being forced to get off the fence and admit what side they are on.

    And He isn’t finished yet, not by a long way.