Lambeth Palace Speaks

We finally have some words from the Archbishop of Canterbury in response to the actions of TEC at their General Convention in Anaheim.

And guys, it’s good, it’s really good.

4. The first is to do with the arguments most often used against the moratoria relating to same-sex unions. Appeal is made to the fundamental human rights dimension of attitudes to LGBT people, and to the impossibility of betraying their proper expectations of a Christian body which has courageously supported them.

5. In response, it needs to be made absolutely clear that, on the basis of repeated statements at the highest levels of the Communion’s life, no Anglican has any business reinforcing prejudice against LGBT people, questioning their human dignity and civil liberties or their place within the Body of Christ. Our overall record as a Communion has not been consistent in this respect and this needs to be acknowledged with penitence.

6. However, the issue is not simply about civil liberties or human dignity or even about pastoral sensitivity to the freedom of individual Christians to form their consciences on this matter. It is about whether the Church is free to recognise same-sex unions by means of public blessings that are seen as being, at the very least, analogous to Christian marriage.

Rowan makes it very clear that the issue of blessing LGBT relationships cannot be viewed simply as a “justice” issue because it is ultimately a theological issue and if the theological argument isn’t there we can’t move ahead as a church on this issue.

And did you spot that subtle rebuke of C056?

However, the issue is not simply about civil liberties or human dignity or even about pastoral sensitivity to the freedom of individual Christians to form their consciences on this matter.

Compare that to this resolve from the motion.

That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church;

Do you see what he said? “Generous pastoral response” which involves allowing local rites to be used would be an utterly un-Catholic activity. A Bishop who did that would be changing theology and that is at the moment simply not acceptable.

You know folks, when Rowan is good he is excellent. Let’s carry on reading.

7. In the light of the way in which the Church has consistently read the Bible for the last two thousand years, it is clear that a positive answer to this question would have to be based on the most painstaking biblical exegesis and on a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion, with due account taken of the teachings of ecumenical partners also. A major change naturally needs a strong level of consensus and solid theological grounding.

8. This is not our situation in the Communion. Thus a blessing for a same-sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic, or even of the Communion as a whole. And if this is the case, a person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church’s teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires.

So Rowan raises the issue of the theological argument and then dumps TEC’s contribution into the trash. This is utterly damning for TEC – what Rowan is saying is that there is, as yet, no good theological argument for supporting same-sex activity as a valid Christian expression of God’s love working through us in our human relationships.

Further, because of this Rowan argues it is “hard to see” how someone in a gay sexual relationship can be ordained and recognised as a priest, let alone be consecrated as a Bishop. This is once again utterly damning of TEC, because they have for years been ordaining as priests men and women who are sexually active in relationships outside of marriage. What Rowan essentially says here is that TEC isn’t just proposing to do things that have no theological justification, it has been doing things that are “Un-Christian” for years.

It is a massive hand slap and the GLBT lobby in TEC completely understand this. Over at Integrity they’re positively spitting about it.

“We are frankly tired of being told we ‘haven’t done the theology,’” said Integrity President Susan Russell, “when the truth is that there are those in our wider Anglican family who do not agree with the theology we have done. But what we can do is keep doing it. We can keep reaching out. We can keep working together with our communion partners on mission and ministry all over this Worldwide Anglican Family of ours with those who will work with us. And we can stay in conversation with those who won’t.

Read that last sentence again because we’ll be returning to it later.

Here in the UK Changing Attitude have put their finger right on the nub of the matter. Colin Coward writes:

One trustee of Changing Attitude identified three things in the Reflections that make life impossible for LGBT Anglicans:

Does the Archbishop really expect those of us living in long-term relationships, whether the church recognises them or not, to break up with our partners and live solitary lives, even though there is nothing in our conscience or our own theology which would suggest it was a bad thing? Or is he happy for us to lead those ‘lifestyles’, as he puts it, as long as we keep them separate from our church and our God?

Spot on Colin – your trustee has identified the obvious conclusion to be drawn from what Rowan writes. So what’s the answer to the questions that Changing Attitude raise? Let’s carry on with Rowan to find out.

9. In other words, the question is not a simple one of human rights or human dignity. It is that a certain choice of lifestyle has certain consequences. So long as the Church Catholic, or even the Communion as a whole does not bless same-sex unions, a person living in such a union cannot without serious incongruity have a representative function in a Church whose public teaching is at odds with their lifestyle. (There is also an unavoidable difficulty over whether someone belonging to a local church in which practice has been changed in respect of same-sex unions is able to represent the Communion’s voice and perspective in, for example, international ecumenical encounters.)

10. This is not a matter that can be wholly determined by what society at large considers usual or acceptable or determines to be legal. Prejudice and violence against LGBT people are sinful and disgraceful when society at large is intolerant of such people; if the Church has echoed the harshness of the law and of popular bigotry – as it so often has done – and justified itself by pointing to what society took for granted, it has been wrong to do so. But on the same basis, if society changes its attitudes, that change does not of itself count as a reason for the Church to change its discipline.

To put it bluntly, the answer to Changing Attitude’s questions seem to be “Yes” and “Yes”.

Do not underestimate just what a significant moment in the life of the Anglican Communion these opening ten paragraphs are. Rowan has laid out in no uncertain terms that to bless same sex relationships is, at present, an un-Christian thing to do, that to ordain and consecrate such people is completely outside the bounds of catholic ecclesiology and furthermore, arguments in favour of doing so that ultimately simply appeal to the moral stance of modern western society is not acceptable theology.

Blimey! That’s even more blatantly conservative then his speech at the 2005 AAC in Nottingham and marks a clear line in the sand from Rowan. It is an absolutely unequivocal endorsement (for the moment) of the traditional theology on sexual activity and a conservative biblical anthropology. We can expect some pretty annoyed responses to this from the revisionist camp.

Rowan then moves into a discussion of how the Anglican Communion (and the wider catholic church) should come to a discernment on issues like this, and here things get more interesting. While he highlights the traditional Hookerian three-legged stool of authority, he raises vital issues for a church which expresses its doctrine not so much in a confessional statement but in its shared liturgical and sacramental life.

17. Clearly there are significant arguments to be had about such matters on the shared and agreed basis of Scripture, Tradition and reason. But it should be clear that an acceptance of these sorts of innovation in sacramental practice would represent a manifest change in both the teaching and the discipline of the Anglican tradition, such that it would be a fair question as to whether the new practice was in any way continuous with the old. Hence the question of ‘recognisability’ once again arises.

18. To accept without challenge the priority of local and pastoral factors in the case either of sexuality or of sacramental practice would be to abandon the possibility of a global consensus among the Anglican churches such as would continue to make sense of the shape and content of most of our ecumenical activity. It would be to re-conceive the Anglican Communion as essentially a loose federation of local bodies with a cultural history in common, rather than a theologically coherent ‘community of Christian communities’.

Rowan’s point is clear – to change liturgy is to change doctrine and that cannot be done on such an important subject on a unilateral basis. There is a mutuality in our life of worship that needs to be recognised and guarded, otherwise we lose any claim to be part of a catholic apostolic church.

How then do we handle the situation of one part of the church choosing to unilaterally change core doctrine and it’s liturgical and sacramental expression? The solution says Rowan is the Covenant, but what shape should that take? Do we want a Covenant that ultimately excludes, one that attempts to include as much as possible, or one that recognises severe differences and yet stretches as far as possible the bounds of unity in Christ?

20. The Covenant proposals of recent years have been a serious attempt to do justice to that aspect of Anglican history that has resisted mere federation. They seek structures that will express the need for mutual recognisability, mutual consultation and some shared processes of decision-making. They are emphatically not about centralisation but about mutual responsibility. They look to the possibility of a freely chosen commitment to sharing discernment (and also to a mutual respect for the integrity of each province, which is the point of the current appeal for a moratorium on cross-provincial pastoral interventions). They remain the only proposals we are likely to see that address some of the risks and confusions already detailed, encouraging us to act and decide in ways that are not simply local.

21. They have been criticised as ‘exclusive’ in intent. But their aim is not to shut anyone out – rather, in words used last year at the Lambeth Conference, to intensify existing relationships.

Here Rowan’s description of the nature of the evolving Covenant is related back to his previous discussion on the development of our shared liturgical life. Note carefully where he writes the following:

They seek structures that will express the need for mutual recognisability, mutual consultation and some shared processes of decision-making. They are emphatically not about centralisation but about mutual responsibility. They look to the possibility of a freely chosen commitment to sharing discernment (and also to a mutual respect for the integrity of each province, which is the point of the current appeal for a moratorium on cross-provincial pastoral interventions).

This is crucial to Rowan’s argument – any sense of unity must carry with it mutuality in decision making and doctrinal understanding. Of course, some Provinces will simply not be able to agree to such an understanding of mutuality, so the choice has to be made how to still remain in fellowship with them.

22. It is possible that some will not choose this way of intensifying relationships, though I pray that it will be persuasive. It would be a mistake to act or speak now as if those decisions had already been made – and of course approval of the final Covenant text is still awaited. For those whose vision is not shaped by the desire to intensify relationships in this particular way, or whose vision of the Communion is different, there is no threat of being cast into outer darkness – existing relationships will not be destroyed that easily. But it means that there is at least the possibility of a twofold ecclesial reality in view in the middle distance: that is, a ‘covenanted’ Anglican global body, fully sharing certain aspects of a vision of how the Church should be and behave, able to take part as a body in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue; and, related to this body, but in less formal ways with fewer formal expectations, there may be associated local churches in various kinds of mutual partnership and solidarity with one another and with ‘covenanted’ provinces.

The key point in this paragraph is the sentence

fully sharing certain aspects of a vision of how the Church should be and behave, able to take part as a body in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue;

because this implies that even the outer tier of membership may have its bounds. Ultimately membership of the outer circle of Anglican identity will be dependent upon what limits to fellowship those in the inner circle will permit. The vision of how the Church should be and behave will logically be dictated by those who have agreed such things, not those who have failed to agree. A “two-track” approach will still bring with it certain qualifications as Rowan rightly points out.

23. This has been called a ‘two-tier’ model, or, more disparagingly, a first- and second-class structure. But perhaps we are faced with the possibility rather of a ‘two-track’ model, two ways of witnessing to the Anglican heritage, one of which had decided that local autonomy had to be the prevailing value and so had in good faith declined a covenantal structure. If those who elect this model do not take official roles in the ecumenical interchanges and processes in which the ‘covenanted’ body participates, this is simply because within these processes there has to be clarity about who has the authority to speak for whom.

One wonders whether those who choose one way of witnessing to the Anglican heritage (that of a shared liturgical and sacramental life, and by definition a shared doctrinal witness) will truly be able to find themselves in fellowship with those who reject the very same limitations on shared liturgical and sacramental expression.

Ultimately this is a brave but dangerous path Rowan has set upon. He seems to have very clearly accepted the reality of a two tracked Communion, but within that are ecclesiological issues that need to be thought through. Rowan’s final prayer for the life of this church is heartfelt, but I seriously wonder whether his best hopes for our common life will be fulfilled.

If the present structures that have safeguarded our unity turn out to need serious rethinking in the near future, this is not the end of the Anglican way and it may bring its own opportunities. Of course it is problematic; and no-one would say that new kinds of structural differentiation are desirable in their own right. But the different needs and priorities identified by different parts of our family, and in the long run the different emphases in what we want to say theologically about the Church itself, are bound to have consequences. We must hope that, in spite of the difficulties, this may yet be the beginning of a new era of mission and spiritual growth for all who value the Anglican name and heritage.

Those who cry that this letter from Rowan is simply more of the same fudge have not read it carefully enough. This letter is no pot of fudge, it is a confection of much greater sophistication. The question now to be asked is what the Primates and their Provinces will do having tasted Rowan’s vision of the future for Anglicanism.

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  • http://davidkeen.blogspot.com David Keen

    Thanks for this Peter. I must admit that I generally ignore all the statements and letters and everything else flying about, because none of them take us significantly further forward, and there seem to be much more important things to do.

    I guess we’ll only know in a few months whether this missive sinks into the morass of other communications, or whether it marks a clear turning point. And it’s nice to find someone who’s not just dismissing Rowan Williams out of hand.

  • http://davidould.net davidould

    you’re far more optimistic than me, for sure.

    I agree that his affirmations are even clearer.
    But they’re made on the wrong basis, and so ultimately it’s a false foundation to stand upon.

    And his suggestion for progress is, surely, ill-founded and naïve.

  • winston

    Peter, I agree that the ABC is much more conservative in this document on same sex relationships and the clergy than hitherto. Interestingly, in being so, he is out of step with the House of Bishops on civil partnerships, his own actions in Wales, his theological writings, and with many of his friends who are clergy and in same sex relationships. I have written him a letter this very day asking him to address these points. I have asked him to have the courage of his convictions, and to now contact me and many of his friends, and ask us to no longer function as clergy of the Church of England. I intrigued to see if he has the courage to do so.

    On his writings on the Covenant, he is living in cloud cookoo land. He is going to struggle to get the Covenant through Synod, and he will find that most of Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada will stall on it. My friends in the Episcopal Church tell me that the Episcopalians will do all they can to ensure that they remain at the heart of the communion. Even if they were ejected, what about those Episcopalians who do not want to join a new province, but who remain loyal to the Covenant. If dioceses within a Province are allowed to be in the Covenant while their Province remains outside, does this work the opposite way, might it mean that the diocese of Southwark say could remain in the Church of England, but out of the Covenant? It is not surprising then that the majority of conservative bloggers are outraged by this – the Episcopal Church is in schism they cry, even heretical, and the central figure in the Anglican Communion is pondering abstract ideas of ecclesiology in order to create a very unAnglican structure at some point in the future which will be thwarted at every step throughout the Communion.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Winston,

      I think I agree with a lot of what you have written.

      Also, please believe me that despite the fact that I obviously disagree with your manner of ordering your personal life, I am genuinely grieved by the intimate implications that Rowan’s words logically mean for you and others. Despite what others might suggest elsewhere, I have no desire for a witch-hunt in the Church of England.

    • Blair

      Hello all – winston and Peter especially (!),

      I agree with much of what you’ve both said – this is indeed “no pot of fudge”, although I think you’ve gone further than RW’s text warrants Peter when you say that he “dumps TEC’s contribution into the trash. This is utterly damning for TEC – what Rowan is saying is that there is, as yet, no good theological argument for supporting same-sex activity”. I think I disagree with you (and maybe Susan Russell) here. I’m not sure he’s saying that the theology hasn’t been done (though RW may well disagree with TEC’s arguments on this, even if his personal views haven’t changed, and I’ll bet he still agrees with Jeffrey John’s position) – note that para 7 also speaks of “a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion, with due account taken of the teachings of ecumenical partners also”. It’s the ‘wide acceptance’ bit that’s really lacking, it seems to me. Similarly, you say that “Rowan has laid out in no uncertain terms that to bless same sex relationships is, at present, an un-Christian thing to do”, but again that’s reading it more harshly than the text supports I reckon. He hasn’t said it’s unChristian, rather that most of the church is not persuaded, and that there’s a lack of integrity in having representatives of the church living in a way that doesn’t match up to current teaching.

      On the integrity thing I think Karen B, below, is right that RW has said this before – perhaps a bit more trenchantly this time, but still. He seems to me to be saying that the church needs to live out its current teaching, until such time as (if this ever happens….) the teaching is changed and this change is widely accepted – ie he’s calling for integrity. I’ll come back to this…..

      Expanding on ‘most of the church is not persuaded’ – I think your brother and Pluralist are right to link women’s ordination / women bishops to this. Most of the “Church Catholic” does not accept these but RW supports both, provided there are proper safeguards for those who disagree, doesn’t he? I’d be interested to hear your take on this point Peter. How do you think RW can be pro women priests and bishops, despite the disgreement of ‘ecumenical partners’, yet be so very cautious over offically recognising same-sex unions?

      Interested also that you didn’t (unless I’ve read too hastily) comment explicitly on the bit about lay presidency at communion. Does anyone know if the Diocese of Sydney has responded to this? Do either of you think RW is implicitly calling for an end to lay presidency until (if this ever happens…) official teaching changes? He appears to equate lay presidency with the same-sex unions issue in para 18 after all.

      The bit I said I’d come back to is of course the bit that you and winston have mentioned, about gay clergy who are already ordained. (Time to pray for them I think). Given your first paragraph winston – what do you think the consequences will be in the C of E? If it’s true that one of the C of E bishops is a partnered gay man, what of him, and what of partnered gay priests? And for that matter, what of ‘straight’ bishops who agree with Jeffrey John’s position, and / or have partnered gay priests in their diocese? RW does not offer any reflection on how his words might be applied…

      This is rather a ramble – brain a bit mushy today…

      in friendship, Blair

      • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

        Hi Blair,

        As always we share the same pastoral concerns, even if we’re coming from different perspectives. I agree with you entirely that the Archbishop’s statement has but partnered gay clergy in the CofE in an intolerable position. Time to pray for such priests? Absolutely. If I was in that position I would feel terribly abused right at this moment.

        You’re right that the letter raises (implicitly) issues around women’s ordination and I think part of the journey Rowan is on is to understand how what happens within the Communion affects its relationships with those outside. To be honest, I don’t know what the answer is. I certainly don’t want union with Rome in a formal sense, but there is still the fact that the Bishop of Rome is the Patriarch for Western Europe and therefore we need to maintain good healthy relationships with the Vatican.

        I think you know where I stand on lay presidency. It is unnecessary and more to the point, un-Catholic.

        P+

    • Sue

      God bless you, Winston, for having the integrity to write such a letter. So much hypocrisy and dishonesty in our Church,it makes me want to weep.

  • Karen B.

    Peter+, I got a chuckle seeing your post and your clone’s post side by side on Anglican Mainstream this morning, with your very different takes.

    The parts of +Rowan’s statements that you are so enthusiastic about, also initially enthused me yesterday, but upon some further reflection, I tend to fear they are wonderful, but ultimately empty words. I was particularly shocked when I re-read +Rowan’s 2006 reflection.

    Key portions of that are almost identical to yesterday’s reflection, and so I’m left thinking +Rowan has just repeated what he already said 3 years ago, though I do agree that in several ways his statement yesterday was clearer and stronger.

    And while +Rowan seems to place such hope in the Covenant, I find I cannot forget his actions at the ACC meeting in Jamaica which seemed to undermine the Covenant (especially Section IV — the part with some at least small “teeth”).

    So, ultimately, I end up viewing +Rowan’s statement more as David+ does – the words are nice, but I’m not sure they actually *mean* anything. I think we are left with local option – it will be up to each Province and Primate to decide how to react to TEC’s decisions and how to continue in relationship with the Communion. And I think we’re in for a mess. Here’s what I commented yesterday at Stand Firm as the day wore on and I’d been thinking about +Rowan’s piece for several hours:

    … the greatest weakness of this statement [is that it] is couched purely in theoretical terms. ++Rowan is up in the clouds and restating sort of a high-level doctrinal position, but it is not in any way clear how this concretely relates to what TEC has done.

    ++Rowan never actually states what he believes TEC has done, what resolutions D025 or C056 signify. His language is all focused on IF statements…

    IF a local province were to take unilateral actions, there would be consequences.

    IF a province were to do such and such, others in the Communion might not be able to recognize them as faithful to Christian teaching and practice, etc., etc.

    So, while the idea of a two-track Communion might be well and good, as the idea of excluding TEC from having a voice in representing the Communion might be well and good, there is NO indication that I can find here of ++Rowan’s drawing or acknowledging any line. He is merely repeating broad principles.

    Some will say (and indeed HAVE said) that TEC has already crossed the line and renounced the moratoria and taken unilateral actions that necessitate such consequences. But ++Rowan says no such thing, gives no hint of at what point TEC may be considered to have crossed such a theoretical line. By not signing the Covenant? Well, that takes us to at least 2012 if not 2015 or beyond.

    ++Rowan seems to leave open the question, in fact, that TEC has not renounced or breached the moratoria until / unless a non-celibate homosexual is ordained bishop or until there are authorized SSB rites. He doesn’t say one way or the other how he interprets TEC’s actions and the two resolutions. So the question is utterly open.

    WHO is to say when TEC has crossed the line?
    WHO is to say whether D025 and C056 constitute an overturning of the moratoria?

    In fact, while decrying individual action on the local level, ++Rowan’s silence on these matters, or at the very least his failure to name any kind of structure or entity that will in fact speak on such matters, means that he has in fact blessed local option: it will be up to each province & primate to decide for himself what TEC’s actions mean.

    Ugh.

  • tjmcmahon

    Personally, I am rather disappointed that the Archbishop neglected to address the fact that the PB of the Episcopal Church declared virtually every Anglo Catholic and Evangelical in the Anglican Communion to be guilty of heresy. Under any Catholic understanding of the word “heresy”, we are all, therefore, ex-communicated from the Communion.

    ++Rowan also played right into the spin doctors of TEC.
    http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_112891_ENG_HTM.htm

    “Finally, Williams upholds the proposed Anglican covenant as a way for the communion to maintain unity amid different viewpoints on human sexuality issues and theological interpretations.”

    Which is to say, the purpose of the Covenant (from TEC’s point of view) is to force the GS and others to maintain full communion with TEC (“unity”) regardless of sexual, theological, sacramental and other innovations and violations- or face removal from the “first tier” of provinces, or expulsion from the Communion all together. As I write this, the Covenant is being re-written for the 4th time to make it more acceptable to TEC. And with the JSC under the control of the PB of TEC, there is no chance whatsoever that it will emerge from the process as anything resembling an actual Covenant. So long as KJS has veto power over the Covenant, it will be a worthless document. So long as she controls the JSC- although not an “instrument” the group to which ++Rowan has given ALL the authority of ALL the Instruments, including his own- the discipline within the Communion is in her hands.

    And, until such time, if any, as the Covenant- strong or weak- is adopted by the Church of England, it is a meaningless piece of paper. And so far as one can tell, there is no certainty of its adoption, and if it is adopted, that is years, if not decades, in the future.

    While upon my own reflection, I think the Archbishop wrote a good, scholarly statement on where the Communion is, he clearly “over-accepted” TEC’s desire to act in good faith within the Communion- the entirety of General Convention was a demonstration of the contempt in which they hold the Communion and orthodox Christianity.

  • George Conger

    Well done … I believe you have nicely and cogently summarized the importance … need it be said the seminal importance … of this Reaction statement from Rowan Williams.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Thanks George. Coming from you that means a lot.

  • Jon G

    As a busy parish priest, I can’t claim to follow the convoluted and protracted arguments that are being thrashed out at these various conferences and conventions.

    But for me, the Archbishop’s latest words speaks to my own struggle for integrity as someone who wishes to remain true to the authority of the church catholic, while personally feeling that the issue of LGBT has been blown out of all proportion (on all sides).

    I became a Christian through the example of a gay friend’s care and support. As a consequence, I have been deeply angered and disturbed by the uncharitable words of some Conservative commentators.

    However, I do feel the process the Episcopal church has followed at Anaheim has undermined the Anglican Communion and has not been theologically worked out. I believe(particularly in points 7 and 8) Archbishop Rowan was right to criticise this.

    I might add, there is much in what the Archbishop has written here that other members of the Communion could do well to think about.

    To seek unity is in itself a moral act.

  • Pingback: ABC responds to GC09 « From The Priory

  • Brand

    Our bodies are a gift from God, and are to be used in the way they were designed, and meant, in God’s love to be used.

    Homosexual acts abuse the body and soul, as well as the body and soul of the other. Acts like homoanal intercourse are filthy, deviant and troubled, reject the reproductive gift of our bodies. They have nothing to do with real love (which wants the true best for the other). For Christians, there is no ‘right’ to sex. It is a privilege, to be reserved for a man and woman who bind themselves for life, and who are open to bringing forth into this world the fruits of the right use of our bodies.

    The right Christian prescription (in love) for homosexuals is chastity, followed by help in understanding the underlying pyschological and emotional problems which lead them to perversion.

    But more brodly, the now constant promotion and glorification of all sorts of sexual perversions and license (of which homoacts are a prime example), is a horrendous evil aimed at our children. OUr children should NEVER even have to think about or know about homoperversions. They should never have to have their minds warped by contemplation of what sodomites do.

    The Anglican Communion will die, as any so-called Christian institution does when it abandonds God’s will for us. The Anglican Communion no longer has the guts or courage or conviction to stand up for real love in the world – which dares to tell the truth to others – that divorce is sinful and an evil, that sexual license and perversion are evils, that contraception is an evil (because it corrupts the Godly purpose of our bodies), etc. etc.

    Finally, discrimination against homosexuals is fully warranted and moral and right where children are concerned. Children should be protected from contemplations of homo-deviancy, and from the promotion and glorification of such.

    Real men and real fathers know that, and always have, since the beginning of time. The Anglican Communion is now so full of 1/2 men, that it has become homo-ized and femin-ized.

    Like England itself, the Church of England is now gay.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Hi Brand,

      While I appreciate where you’re coming from with this comment, I wonder whether we could try and not use words like “perversion” as perjoratives.

      • Brand

        Actually Peter, we should use such words.

        A man going after another man’s rear end IS engaged in perversion – in a perverted use of our God-given reproductive facilities and bodies. It is a form of unlove to either tell that man that such is not perversion (such just enables it – a deep form of unlove), and it’s a form of unlove to tell children the lie that such is not perversion. Any normal child knows immediately that such is a perverted use of the body, and it’s wrong to not tell that child the truth. By not doing so – we give children the idea that nothing is perverted sexually – one of the terrible evils now existent in today’s society (particularly in your country) – an evil at the root of horrendous death, sickness, suffering and psychological deformation.

        It’s hard for homosexuals to hear such, because they’ve been enabled and shown complete indifference to what they do (both forms of unlove). Their ‘offense’ at hearing the truth is part of their overall confusion and sickness. They know it’s perverted. They just want to force you to not say the truth.

        The road to hell is paved with politically correct cowardice – and the widespread inability of men to say the truth, and to stand for it.

        (As George Orwell once said (paraphrasing), the time has come where it is the duty of all brave men to state the obvious.)

        Brand

        • Sue

          Well, are these the true colours of conservatism I wonder? I try to have the tolerance and justice not to think all of you think like this.

          A man who falls in love with another is not “going after another man’s rear end” any more than a heterosexual man who falls in love with a woman is just “looking for a hole to stick it in.” Gay people can love and respect each other too.

          We see here also the obsession with the act of anal sex ( which some gay men do not practice and some straight men and women do.)

          Morality is not about what your sexuality is but how you treat others, sexually and otherwise.

          • Wicked conservative

            “Well, are these the true colours of conservatism I wonder?”

            Of course they aren’t, don’t be so melodramatic and ridiculous.

            “I try to have the tolerance and justice not to think all of you think like this.”

            Well, that is very big of you. I am glad to have your permission to disagree with you, and that you even think it is possible to disagree with you without being an extremist.

            • Sue

              Hi WC,
              I’ve read enough of the articles on Anglican Mainstream to suspect that when you scratch the surface of some( certainly not all) conservatives “love and ministry” to homosexuals, there is a lot of loathing, hatred and disgust. That is not being melodramatic or overstating the case.

              I say things as I see them, I’m interested in rational debate, I’m not interested in trading insults.

              • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                Sue,

                You may have a point that for *some* conservatives this is less to do with theology. The big mistake though would be to suggest that most conservatives take that stance, or even when conservatives from time to time do come out with something that is homophobic that that is all that they are all the time.

                As to your second point – absolutely right. By all means we can disagree, but the line is drawn at insulting and demeaning behaviour. I won’t tolerate here, and I won’t tolerate it elsewhere.

        • Blair

          Brand, could I just ask you one thing? Do you approve or disapprove of anal sex between a man and a woman?

          in friendship, Blair

  • Brand

    “Morality is not about what your sexuality is but how you treat others, sexually and otherwise.”

    Why, Sue – because you say so? So what? People who rationalize all sorts of degraded acts are a dime a dozen.

    True morality comes from God (as does all truth).

    Real love between men (true brotherly and Godly love) does not involve playing around with another man’s waste (which is, by the way, what a majority of homoseuxals do). Two men drawing each other into a perversion of their bodies is NOT true love.

    You may believe whatever you want (but it will lead you to a dark place).

    Brand

  • Philip Cole

    I’d like to take a different slant on Rowan Williams statement (and also try and move the discussion away from Brand’s obsession with other people’s botties!)

    I agree with Peter and most of the earlier posters that RWs post GC statement is a significant and important statement of orthodoxy. (I’m very low church and non-episcopal, so I don’t go in for all the stuff with crosses and greek mythical beasts (think about it) that some posters go for on this site). Many liberal commentators seem to agree with this view as well and there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over RWs betrayal of his previous theology and expressed views.

    Still you don’t get to be Centaur without a firm grasp of church politics and RW is a very astute church politician. Its all about the numbers, sillies! Let me explain …

    According to Wikipedia, the largest religion in the world by numbers of adherents is Christianity with 2.1 billion followed by Islam with 1.5 billion. Figures from Operation World, a leading Christian mission organisation, show that Islam is catching up Christianity overall with a growth rate of 2.1% pa compared to 1.5% pa (2006 figures). Evangelical Christianity is the fastest growing major religion in the world, with a growth rate of 4.7% pa, but this growth is overwhelmingly in the two-thirds world.

    As a result, the percentage of Christians in Europe and North America (E&NA) has fallen from around 63% in 1960 to around 40% in 2000. Changes in the proportions of evangelicals in E&NA have fallen even more drastically, from around 67% in 1960 to around 27% in 2000.

    So, simply put, this says what we all should know.

    1) That traditional ‘broad church’ Churchianity (of the type epitomised by the good old CofE and numerous TV charicatures of wet liberal Anglican vicars from ‘All Gas and Gaiters’ onwards) is in serious and terminal decline.
    2) That evangelical Christianity in E&NA has a reduced influence on the surrounding culture as overall religious belief in E&NA has fallen (except for Islam). Evangelical Christianity in E&NA is however now more influential within the Church, as its decline has been less steep than liberal Chrisitianity.
    3) Evangelical Christianity is exploding in the two thirds world, including in countries that are developing rapidly, taking a greater share of the world economy and where per capita incomes are rising. (Hmm, does God bless countries as they turn to Him, and withdraw His blessing as they turn from Him. Perhaps we’ll not go there!)

    A case in point is China where, under severe persecution, the number of Christians has risen from almost nothing at the time of the Communist take over in 1949 to more than 91.5 million in 2006 (7% of the population) growing at more than 7% pa. In other words there are more than 6.6 million new Christians in China alone every year, around 7 times more than attend the Church of England every week. Makes you think doesn’t it?

    Now I doubt that your average liberal CofE or ECUSA bishop or vicar knows anything about the explosion of evangelical Christianity in the two-thirds world, and cares even less. After all, evangelism and church growth isn’t really a liberal Chrisitian thing is it?

    But it should matter, because the global locus of the Christian faith has shifted dramatically to the two-thirds world. And this is especially true for the evangelical Christianity that has always produced church growth and brought new people to Christ.

    And RW is a good enough Church politician to know these realities and to know that, whatever his personal convictions, he needs to keep the Global South onboard. Hence the two-track solution, a typical polite Anglican way of hoisting ECUSA on its own expressed call for greater local independence and let it walk its merry way to oblivion. RW is smart enough to know that while liberal Christianity is a good way of getting column inches in the media and of keeping cultural ties with the university educated, its a blind alley as far as church growth is concerned. He doesn’t want to go down in history as the Prelate that split the Anglican communion, so ultimately he has to stick with the orthodox.

    You see, its all about numbers. Simple, innit?

  • Brand

    To the above posters:

    I don’t have an obsession with other people’s bodies – nor with acts like homorectalalism.

    What I spoke of above are just the facts. If you’re discussing an issue, you shouldn’t be afraid to name exactly what you’re talking about. (All kids today know exactly what it is you’re so afraid to talk about – and 98% of them are disgusted by it (and rightfully so).

    And it’s homosexuals who have an obsession with acts like homorectalism.

    I’m just not afraid to speak the truth (like the weak and PC-infected minions of the Church of England and ECUSA).

    Folks – any church that condones sexual perversion will be abandoned in droves by people who care about their children – and who see to inculcate in their children an appreciation for God’s beautiful design of our bodies and for sex.

    If the CoE wants to become England’s ECUSA, it only has to follow ECUSA into depravity.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      For the life of me, I have absolutely no idea what “homorectalalism” is (and I’ve been around the block a bit).

      • Sue

        I think it means “anal sex between homosexuals”. Homo = same , rectal = to do with the rectum. Is there a term “heterorectalism”? Back to Blair’s question.

        • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

          I don’t think Blair’s going to get an answer to that question.

          By the way, would be great if you could sort yourself a personal gravatar. Hint, hint.

          • http://suem-musingaloud.blogspot.com Sue

            I’ve tried but I’m so not technical! I’d be so torn between a very glamourous picture or something a bit provocative, like a rainbow cross :)
            I’ll have another go.

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              You know you can do it. Go on!!

              • http://suem-musingaloud.blogspot.com Sue

                What do you think?

                • http://suem-musingaloud.blogspot.com Sue

                  I tried two different images but prefer this one. However, the other has come up on the comment list ( told you I’m not technical!)

                  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                    I think that’s been well worth the wait.

                    The other image appearing is a caching issue. Just refresh the screen and everything will appear as it should.

                    Now, we need to persuade Blair and Winston to do the same!

                    • http://suem-musingaloud.blogspot.com Sue

                      If I can do it, anyone can.

  • David

    Like Karen B I am worried, when I read +Rowan’s statement, by what seemed like repetition of things he said before… but in my case, by things he said regarding how the Communion might adjust to cope with such severe disagreements (read heteropraxy and immorality). I seem to remember that SIX years ago, around the time that TEC consecrated Gene Robinson, he was suggesting that the Communion might just have to become more like a federation, with differing levels of communion.. and I think that is, in practice, what he is still pointing towards. No discipline, as such, just varying degrees of accommodation.

    I worry about this for two reasons:

    1. I wonder whether he, or the Communion’s ruling liberals, really believe in accommodating to different church’s beliefs and morality, or only to those that are more liberal than standard?
    2. I was reading about God’s condemnation of Eli (in 1 Samuel) for not disciplining his sons – who were priests but did not know the Lord and fell into heteropraxy and immorality.. Even though Eli did plead (weakly) with his sons to stop doing wrong, he took no firm action, and for that God condemned not only his sons, but Eli too!

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