Andrew Symes–The College of Bishops’ Statement on the Pilling Report: a Response

On one hand, it’s disappointing both to conservatives and liberals that the Bishops can only state the obvious ”“ that people are divided over the issue of homosexuality ”“ and cannot give any clear lead on what the church should be teaching. On the other hand, it is encouraging that the diversity is recognized; that capitulation to Western cultural norms is not seen as inevitable; that the viewpoint of majority global Anglicanism is taken into account, and above all, that
the Church of England’s pastoral and liturgical practice remains unchanged during this process of facilitated conversation”¦No change to the Church of England’s teaching on marriage is proposed or envisaged.

This presumably means that Pilling’s most contentious proposal, namely that blessings of gay couples in church should commence at the same time as facilitated conversations, has been decisively rejected. It also appears not to leave the door ajar for the acceptance of gay marriage.

There was fear among conservatives that those of their number among the Bishops would be marginalized, especially in the wake of the Bishop of Fulham’s endorsement of Pilling. However it seems clear that some kind of stand – which may have been costly ”“ must have been made to ensure a collegiate pulling back from the brink. For that we can be grateful.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology