Peter Ould on the Leaked Colin Slee Memo and the C of E standards on Same Sex Unions

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most readers of this blog would agree that it would be hypocritical for the Church of England to refuse to appoint Jeffrey John to a Bishopric whilst it continued to have bishops installed who were in identical situations as Dr John and his partner. But, I am led to believe, that is not the case and the bullet points above have been drawn up because they cover safely in their five points any of the men that some might wish to out in their angry response to the leaks of this week. If it were not so then the Church of England, quite rightly, would open itself wide up to the charge of blatant hypocrisy and despite the fact that people at Church House and in the highest echelons of the CofE do make mistakes, they do not deliberately make those kind of mistakes. Those kind of mistakes lead to resignations at the highest level. If that is all true, then what would the outing of gay bishops in the Church of England actually achieve?

Well firstly, it would expose to public view as homosexual a number of men who have been faithfully celibate and abiding to the church’s teaching steadfastly for all of their lives. They would be outed for the only reason that they were single and gay rather than single and straight, outed by folks who argue vociferously on their blogs and websites that people should not be singled out just because they were gay and for no other reason. Who at this point would be the hypocrites?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

Posted May 31, 2011 at 7:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

I realize up front that pieces of legal paper do not guarantee that individuals are going to behave ethically or faithfully.  BUT, where some of this may be getting sticky is re:  bishops or clergy who are claiming to be gay “celibates” despite being registered in a “civil partnership”.  Based on that, maybe I should encourage every single person in Britain to find any old friend and register for a partnership, because I’m sure it would be nice to have government, insurance and bequest benefits even if you are, in reality, “celibate”. 

I think it has already been pointed out on this blog that part of Mr. John’s problem is that he says that he is “celibate” and their careers prevent him and his partner from living together, yet the men have a jointly owned, near-$500,000 London(I believe) flat at which they have entertained together.  If he wants to win his “case” someday then that sort of(probably) disingenuous talk is not going to help him do it.

May 31, 11:42 am | [comment link]
2. LumenChristie wrote:

“people at Church House and in the highest echelons of the CofE do make mistakes, they do not deliberately make those kind of mistakes.”


What has been going on around the Communion for the past 10 years?


May 31, 12:11 pm | [comment link]
3. off2 wrote:

“Well firstly, it would expose to public view as homosexual a number of men who have been faithfully celibate and abiding to the church’s teaching steadfastly for all of their lives.”

I’m confused. Would a man who is sexually attracted to other men, but who never tried “it,” self identify as gay? Would he be moved tell his friends he was a celibate gay?

May 31, 12:46 pm | [comment link]
4. Isaac wrote:

3.,  Why not?  If you’re defining sexuality simply as which tab A is going into which slot B, then I suppose all people who have never had sex are neither “straight” or “gay.”

May 31, 1:56 pm | [comment link]
5. Larry Morse wrote:

Why would you believe they are celibate at all regardless of their protestations? John is simply one case of a homosexual lying in his store teeth. Celibate indeed.  See #1. What rational being would concluded that these men are celibate?  Larry

May 31, 2:43 pm | [comment link]
6. Larry Morse wrote:

Beaside, #4, your distinction is specious. Because a plug has not been put in a receptacle does not make it any less a plug. Larry

May 31, 2:45 pm | [comment link]
7. Teatime2 wrote:

Larry, are you saying that it’s impossible to be celibate or that those with homosexual inclinations who haven’t acted on them are unfit for ministry?

May 31, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
8. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

No, he is saying that it is ludicrous to believe that some of these characters are celibate, given their public behavior. Some of that behavior might well disqualify some candidates for bishop simply because of the evidence of poor taste.

Acting out publicly with the homosexual community while claiming celibacy, even if it’s true, is not the same as living a chaste life. Claiming to be a chaste homosexual while publicly calling for overturning biblical injunctions against homosexuality lends the implication that said chastity has a political motivation rather than a moral one.

May 31, 5:26 pm | [comment link]
9. Teatime2 wrote:

Thanks, Creedal Episcopalian! That I can understand.
Otherwise, I do think we have to be careful not to make assumptions about people’s private lives. As a single, celibate woman, I’ve had it done to me and it’s breath-takingly nervey, not to mention hurtful. Besides, on any given weekend at restaurants and bars worldwide, married, so-called Christian men are sidling up to single ladies, claiming that they need us because there’s nothing going on at home and they’re horribly misunderstood besides. (Insert eye-rolling smiley here, lol). It truly is amazing what people will do and say to try to get what they want, isn’t it?

May 31, 7:40 pm | [comment link]
10. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Glad I could help. And, uh, hey, what’s your sign? wink

May 31, 9:50 pm | [comment link]
11. MichaelA wrote:

*LOL* Very amusing.

Re the article, I have a lot of respect for Peter Ould. I’m not sure I entirely agree with him on this, but still, I am glad he is putting this in perspective and raising the issue of the motivation of the late Mr Slee and his supporters.

June 1, 2:35 am | [comment link]
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