Unfortunately, the Pilling Report also contains elements that are potentially destructive to the Church’s life and witness.
”¢While an “open ended process of facilitated conversation” is advised, the ”˜end’ of affirming same-sex unions is already recommended, and this bias affects the trajectory of both the report and the conversation.
”¢Underpinning this call for ”˜facilitated conversation’ is the controversial claim that the argument for the Church’s traditional teaching about marriage and sexual intimacy is “inconclusive.”
Inviting the church to discover a new consensus about sexual relationships beyond those of a lifelong union of one man and one woman in Holy Matrimony is not helpful.
Concerning these matters, I am in complete agreement with the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Birkenhead, and a member of the Working Group, in his dissent from the Report. The Church must not waiver from its received teaching. Scripture and the catholic consensus must be treated as givens, the attitude of the signatories not withstanding. Those who would re-construct the received moral order in the 21st century to respond to a culture bent on self-actualization, rather than dying to self, will do no better than those who””quite unsuccessfully but with much damage””in the 20th century sought to re-define the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ.
Our prayers are with the House of Bishops of the Church of England as the Pilling Report is received, considered and acted upon. Our prayers are with the entire Church of England as she seeks to be a faithful Church in a secular and post-Christian age.