A ([London] Times) Article on the previous article—New Dean pledges to bless gay unions in St Pauls

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral has spoken in support of gay marriage in a move that threatens to deepen divisions within the Church of England.

Dr David Ison, 57, said that the virtues of marriage should be available to gays, adding that it was better to talk of “Christian marriage” rather than homosexual or heterosexual unions. He admitted that he had conducted ceremonies for homosexuals after civil partnerships, even though formal blessing services for gays are banned by the Church and no liturgy has been authorised.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

25 Comments
Posted March 8, 2012 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

You couldn’t make it up - another prat thanks this time to the Bishop of London as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Why would any faithful Christian sign up to the wretched man’s Covenant?

March 8, 8:39 am | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Being Lambeth 1.10 non-compliant and preferably having been a founder or trustee of Inclusive Church is apparently a requirement for appointment to a senior post under Archbishops Rowan, John and Bishop Richard.  What a disgrace.

March 8, 9:11 am | [comment link]
3. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Was the Queen told before she consented to this appointment, that the candidate was planning gay weddings in St Paul’s?

March 8, 9:29 am | [comment link]
4. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

St Paul’s remains a source of arrogance, scandal, and fecklessness in the CofE.  Bishop Richard was invited in after the last mess to sort it out - much good has that done.  Nothing short of a complete clear-out will restore credibility, starting with the new ‘Dean’.  We have a bunch of ψ@#£€ß$ in charge at Lambeth Palace.

Slightly edited by Elf

March 8, 9:35 am | [comment link]
5. robroy wrote:

Why exactly was the bishop of London invited to Mere Anglicanism conference?

March 8, 9:36 am | [comment link]
6. c.r.seitz wrote:

Whew. One is not ones alma mater, but is this what comes out of St John’s Nottingham? At a time when the traditional ‘evangelical’ seminaries appear to be doing well in the UK, are we going to find this new trend? Like the Bishop of Liverpool?

March 8, 11:10 am | [comment link]
7. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

You can read more about this latest idiocy in the Grauniad without giving a quid to the digger.

March 8, 11:31 am | [comment link]
8. clarin wrote:

This is what his Bishop, the former evangelical Nick Baines of Bradford, has to say:
“The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines says, “I am delighted that St Paul’s Cathedral is to have as its new Dean a man of such warmth, ability and stature as David Ison. I am sad that Bradford will be losing a Dean who has done extraordinary work in the last six and a half years for the good of the Diocese, the city and its diverse people. David leaves a strong legacy for the next Dean of Bradford and moves to London with my deep personal gratitude for his friendship, advice and support in the short time I have been the Bishop of Bradford.”

Are there no biblical bishops left in England?

March 8, 1:12 pm | [comment link]
9. Br. Michael wrote:

Why exactly would anyone expect the Queen to honor her coronation oaths?

March 8, 1:42 pm | [comment link]
10. off2 wrote:

9. Br. Michael, Has The Queen the actual power to right these wrongs? I understood she was constitutionally bound to rubber stamp her government’s acts.

March 8, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
11. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

I think the more serious question is was HM told about the gay blessings Ison apparently regularly holds at +Nick Baines’ Blackburn Cathedral.  Did Nick Baines send in a truthful reference?  Was HM truthfully briefed?  Archbishop?  Bishop?  Who’s been telling porky pies to HM?

The Bishop of London sez

David brings with him the ideal credentials to take on the challenge

How so my Lord Bishop?  How does blessing SSU’s in disobedience to the teaching of the Anglican Communion and the Church of England enhance the mission of St Paul’s and the Diocese of London, not to mention the church?

and his experience of cathedral life in an urban centre will prove invaluable.

How so?  Scandalising the tourists who have only just returned from tripping over Giles Frazer’s mates on the steps?

His additional skills and knowledge of clergy training will be of significant wider benefit to the Diocese as a whole.

Really - doing what?  Training those eager young ordinands hot foot from HTB how to conduct gay blessings and marriages?  Is that what you mean?

Together with the rest of the Diocese’s Senior Staff, I look forward to working closely with David and the Chapter in supporting the mission of St Paul’s in today’s London.

What mission is that?  Churning the cash registers when they aren’t driving the tourists away [not to mention potential Christians]?  Being a continuing source of embarrassment to the church and the Lord?  Supporting a bunch of unaccountable effete oafs in expensive dresses in their idiocy?

You will remember that the Bishop of London told us about Nick Holtam:

Nicholas has made a significant contribution to the Diocese of London

Why should we have any confidence at all in the leadership of the Church of England or anything they tell us?

March 8, 4:50 pm | [comment link]
12. Ad Orientem wrote:

As my Godfather has correctly noted (in #10) the monarchy today is subordinate to the elected Government in all but name.  No monarch since Queen Victoria has taken a direct hand in government affairs. (She retired from virtually all public affairs following the death of the Prince Consort and went into mourning for the rest of her life.) 

Monarchs do still have the constitutional prerogative of “consultation” with their ministers.  Her Majesty has met near weekly with all of her Prime Ministers since she ascended the throne sixty years ago.  And while in general those meetings are considered confidential, it is known that The Queen has from time to time expressed opinions and offered concrete advice to her ministers on matters of state and even political issues.

In theory the sovereign retains the royal veto.  But if my memory has not failed no monarch has exercised it since the reign of Queen Anne.  Many might argue that a power so long unused has been de-facto discarded.  I think it would create a constitutional uproar if not an actual crisis were The Queen to publicly refuse the Royal Assent to any act of Her government.

It is known that there have been a very few rare cases where modern monarchs have privately refused to support proposed measures of the government.  But to the best of my knowledge this has never gone beyond private disagreement, and in some cases the government yielded.  One famous case occurred in the years shortly before the First World War when King George V adamantly refused to approve two proposed names for new battleships.  One being the Cromwell (naming an HMS after a regicide was a bridge too far for The King) and the other was to be named the HMS Pitt (after the great British statesman).  In the latter case his objection was based on his years of naval experience in which he had become familiar with the custom among common sailors of assigning, nicknames to ships, often of an obscene nature, based on their names.  HMS Pitt in the King’s mind presented too much of an obvious target.  The First Lord of the Admiralty was greatly put out by what he saw as improper meddling. And he acidly commented that his latter objections were “beneath the royal dignity.” 

Mr. Churchill eventually gave in though.

March 8, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
13. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#12 AO - I am not sure that church appointments fall into the same category as the signature into law of Acts of Parliament.  The real issue is why were the disobedient Dean’s blessings of SSU’s not picked up in assessing his suitability and in the pre-approval checks, and why was HM not informed about them?    I have a dim recollection of reading that she or a prior monarch may well have asked that an ecclesiastical appointment long ago was reconsidered; it may even have been of an archbishop, but I can’t always cite sources for everything.

Were the Dean’s pecadilloes truthfully reported in the reports submitted?

March 8, 5:07 pm | [comment link]
14. clarin wrote:

#11 - Pageantmaster: I think Nicholas Baines is Bishop of Bradford, not Blackburn.
I see he has a blog where he highly commends Dean Ison as a “brilliant, wonderful” etc colleague.
The recent pattern of appointments of liberal pro-same-sex marriage bishops and other senior clergy in England - Baines in Bradford,  Jonathan Clark in Southwark, Nicholas Holtam in Salisbury, and now David Ison to St Paul’s - shows that the strategy of progay ‘Affirming Anglicanism’ is succeeding and the liberal evangelical ‘Fulcrum’ have only facilitated this. Fulcrum Bishop Kings is suffragan to Holtam.
No biblical evangelicals are being appointed inEngland, even though their parishes are easily the largest.
Schism is inevitable.

March 8, 5:35 pm | [comment link]
15. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#14 thanks clarin - you are right it is getting late, I am mixing up Bradford for Blackburn - quite different - my references above should read to the Bishop, Cathedral and Dean of Bradford.

March 8, 5:42 pm | [comment link]
16. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#14 Add to that the others +Southwark, +Chelmsford, +Ely and all the rest it is not good.

As for the rest of what you say, I am not sure how to respond.  On the larger scene, the leadership of the Church of England is deciding whether it will continue to have a role to play in the future of the Anglican Communion and at the moment the signs are they are heading lemming like down the pan like TEC and ACoC.  Of course, whether the rest of us will follow them, or accept the ministries of these disobedient faux bishops and deans is another matter.

March 8, 6:18 pm | [comment link]
17. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Julian Mann says: Bishop of London must overrule Dean of St Paul’s

March 8, 7:24 pm | [comment link]
18. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

What does it say about the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops, that not only is the Church of England incapable of maintaining the moratorium on rites of blessing of same sex unions, but is actively appointing those who teach against its doctrine and in many cases are actively disobeying the moratorium?  Why should anybody take the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leadership of the Church of England seriously when they don’t take themselves seriously?

March 8, 7:34 pm | [comment link]
19. driver8 wrote:

I regret this appointment - but precision is important. The COE HOB forbade, without defining them, services of blessing. The Dean is careful in his words. He refers to ceremonies of affirmation and prayer. Prayer after civil partnership is permitted under the current Guidelines.

This just shows the mess the COE has gotten itself into.

March 8, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
20. driver8 wrote:

In other words the COE HOB offered no exemplars of services that would be permitted or of those that would be forbidden. The most traditional amongst us would presumably accept a service offering prayer for a celibate civil union. On the other hand, the Guidelines, offering no definitions or exemplars, would seem to give considerable leeway for those who want, like the Dean, to publicly oppose their intent.

As I say, it’s a mess.

March 8, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
21. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#19/#20 driver 8
I am not sure it is such a free for all.

It is worth reading carefully the canons of the CofE and in particular those under Section B.  The forms of service permitted in the Church of England are broadly those contained in the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship or which have been approved by Synod. 

Note Canon B2:

2. Every minister shall use only the forms of service authorized by this Canon, except so far as he may exercise the discretion permitted by Canon B 5. It is the minister’s responsibility to have a good understanding of the forms of service used and he shall endeavour to ensure that the worship offered glorifies God and edifies the people.

Variants may be permitted, particularly experimental liturgies, but only with authorisation such as the approval of the Convocations of York or Canterbury, the Archbishops, House of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

Note in particular Canon B5:

B 5 Of the discretion of ministers in conduct of public prayer

1. The minister who is to conduct the service may in his discretion make and use variations which are not of substantial importance in any form of service authorized by Canon B 1 according to particular circumstances.

2. The minister having the cure of souls may on occasions for which no provision is made in The Book of Common Prayer or by the General Synod under Canon B 2 or by the Convocations, archbishops, or Ordinary under Canon B 4 use forms of service considered suitable by him for those occasions and may permit another minister to use the said forms of service.

3. All variations in forms of service and all forms of service used under this Canon shall be reverent and seemly and shall be neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.

4. If any question is raised concerning the observance of the provisions of this Canon it may be referred to the bishop in order that he may give such pastoral guidance, advice or directions as he may think fit, but such reference shall be without prejudice to the matter in question being made the subject matter of proceedings under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963.

5. In this Canon the expression ‘form of service’ has the same meaning as in Canon B 1.

Note: The forms of service which have been approved by the
Archbishops or commended by the House of Bishops as being
suitable for use by ministers in exercise of their discretion under
Canons B 4 or B 5 respectively are detailed on pages 185–7

Note that there is no general discretion to just make up services.  Moreover while there is a discretion on a priest where occasions arise for which there is no provision, then any variant is subject to two overriding principles:
1. that it is reverent and seemly; and
2. that it shall be neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.

There is [without prejudice to the question of whether the priest is committing a disciplinary offence] provision for him to seek guidance from his diocesan bishop if “any question is raised concerning the observance of the provisions of this Canon” so that the bishop may “give such pastoral guidance, advice or directions as he may think fit”.

So there is no general permission to the Dean of Bradford as he then was to make up in public prayer a “ceremony of prayer and affirmation”.  He might have a defence I suppose if he had asked his diocesan bishop, presumably Bishop Baines for his permission to do so.  Did he?  Or did he just, like Dr Martin Dudley do whatever he wanted which was right in his own eyes?

March 8, 9:22 pm | [comment link]
22. driver8 wrote:

I’m not defending it Pageantmaster. It’s a complete mess. But read this: http://www.peter-ould.net/2012/03/02/same-sex-services-in-the-church-of-england/

March 8, 11:47 pm | [comment link]
23. John Boyland wrote:

In #11, Pageantmaster, you worry about SSB/SSM scandalizing the tourists.  I hope you will excuse me picking up on a throwaway comment like that and pointing out that it is wrong in two ways:

(1) First, there will be liberal tourists who applaud the liberal direction of CofE as much as conservative tourists who abhor it.

(2) Second, the whole reason liberal Christianity came about is because we had more fear of the world than fear of the Lord.  We were afraid of looking foolish in the eyes of the world, and so we accomodated ourselves to unfaithfulness to our Lord.

As Dorothy Sayers would say, we should be scandalizing tourists with our orthodoxy instead.  Nothing is more outrageous, foolishness to the Greeks, than the message of the Gospel. The Dogma is the Drama.

March 9, 8:58 am | [comment link]
24. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#22
Oh, I did read it, driver 8 - and like Julian Mann, I am not persuaded by it of the applicability of his conclusion in circumstances such as these.  It is hard to comment on the full opinion of Nigel Seed who it is said is the Chancellor of the Diocese of London, since I haven’t seen it, sot I have only been able to go on what is extracted in his response quoted by Peter Ould and his conclusions.  I will revert.

March 9, 9:00 am | [comment link]
25. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#23 John Boyland
There is much truth in what you say - While I have no problem with the offense of the Gospel and its claims and proclaiming it in church, I do have a problem with the new Dean’s plans to do anything which puts an obstacle in the path of visitors coming to faith.  There may be visitors who agree with the Dean, but that view is not in conformity with the doctrine and practice of the faith as it is observed in the Church of England.

March 9, 9:10 am | [comment link]
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