Friday, March 21, 2014

CoE Bishops start interrogating gay clergy

You will recall, church geeks, that the Church of England Bishops released a report recently (so called "pastoral guidance")  in which they unwillingly admitted that some gay people will be married, but this WILL NOT happen in church.  And while blessings might be provided, grudgingly, they should be private, preferably in a closet.  And under no circumstances should gay clergy (who are supposed to be celibate anyway, wink wink) even CONSIDER marrying their partners.  (And lets not even mention those closeted gay bishops).

Yeah, how do you think that's going to work?  There are gay clergy in the CoE and some of them are planning weddings.

And the Bishops are looking into it.

From the Church Times:
GAY clergy have this week been describing the ramifications of the pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage, issued by the House of Bishops last month. Bishops have begun meeting gay clergy, at least five of whom are reported to be planning to marry. 
The Vicar of St Mary with All Souls', Kilburn, and St James's, West Hampstead, the Revd Andrew Cain, said on Tuesday that speaking publicly about his plans to marry his partner of 14 years ( News, 21 February) had resulted in an "uncomfortable" meeting with his bishop, the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, on Wednesday last week. 
"It was very uncomfortable for both of us," he said. "He was with HR, and I was with a union rep. That would not be normal for a meeting between a bishop and a priest. I could not honestly say it was particularly pastoral. It was awkward."
Ya think?  Wow.  Apparently the Bishop is trying to get them to change their mind.
He suggested that perhaps I would consider having a civil partnership, and I said my partner and I had deliberately not done that because we believe in marriage, and now it is possible for us to marry, we will marry."
Of course.  BP and I deliberately did not get a Domestic Partnership because, d'uh, IT'S NOT MARRIAGE.  We held out for the real thing (coming up on 6 years married, in October).

And the other feature of this is that the CoE Bishops were generally against civil unions, before they were for them.

Reminds me of that recent case in Washington where the vice principal was fired by a Catholic school for marrying his partner, and they offered him a blessing if he would just get a divorce.    You cannot make up this stuff.  

Meanwhile, back to the Church Times article:
On Monday, the Chaplain at Portsmouth University, the Revd Andy Marshall, confirmed that he plans to marry his partner of six years, despite the House of Bishops' statement.... 
Since the publication of the guidance, he has had conversations with people who have been told by their diocesan director of ordinands to sign a document stating that they are single or celibate. 
They had asked him "whether I feel they should end a relationship of several years, in order to sign the document and pursue ordination. 
"What was intended as a discussion document was used to oppress and bully people."
And really, CoE, how do you think that's going to go down in a country where same sex marriage is legal, starting next week? Not only is this greasing the skids to irrelevance, it's giving a large push towards the death of the church.  Anti-women, anti-gay, and placating a bunch of southern bishops whose countries want to imprison and punish LGBT people.

Can you spell "Disestablishment"?  Because, by George (or should that be, by Justin?), I think it's coming.


dr.primrose said...

Another paragraph from the Church Times article:

"When asked about the consequences of the marriage, and the potential for disciplinary action to be taken, the Bishop had said that the Church was in 'unchartered territory'. It had been made 'very clear' to Mr Cain 'that they would prefer it if the marriage was as private as possible'."

So much of what the English bishops are saying about same-sex couples getting married seems to be more about a fear of scaring the horses rather than morality, ethics, or the Bible

James Pratt said...

The problem is that when the bishops gather around to lay hands on a new bishop, what the rest of us can't see in the "holy huddle" is that they remove the new bishop's backbone. With very few exceptions, bishops refuse to rock the boat or stand up to their convictions. (Even Jack Spong passed off the ordination of a partnered gay man to a retired bishop to keep himself out of the crosshairs).

JCF said...

"they would prefer it if the marriage was as private as possible"

Do these CofE bishops not see just how PATHETICALLY laughable this "Don't Frighten the Horses!" schtick is?

The irony: it's precisely BECAUSE they're *inquisitioning* their same-sex partnered clergy, that this all becomes WAY more "public" than it need be.