I have been approached already by the BBC and others to comment on this story today in the Telegraph. I won’t however be making a comment on the content of the legal advice until I have actually read it.
In the meantime, we should be asking ourselves the following questions. What is different in this legal advice compared with the one offered to the Southwark CNC? What were the reasons given to object to Jeffrey John back in 2003 (specifically with regard to previous sexual behaviour) and would they be acceptable under this new legal advice?
The legal guidance makes clear that it would be wrong for a cleric’s sexual orientation to be taken into account when considering their suitability as a bishop.
However, the guidance will say that homosexual clergy should be made to clarify that they are not in an active sexual relationship – effectively make a promise that they are and will remain celibate.
It would also mean candidates for a bishopric being questioned over their previous sex life and asked whether they repent having gay sex.
This is the full legal advice. It is identical to the previously leaked advice.