Pastoral Statement Group Announced

A nice simple press release from the CofE.

The House of Bishops has announced the membership of a Group established to advise it on reviewing its Pastoral Statement issued prior to the introduction of civil partnerships in December 2005. The Group will be chaired by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Rt Rev Robert Paterson. The other two members of the Group are the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher. The Group will start work in December and report to the House in time for the House to reach conclusions during 2012.

The preparation of the pastoral statement was the last occasion when the House of Bishops devoted substantial time to the issue of same sex relationships. The House undertook to keep that Pastoral Statement under review and announced in July, this year, , that the time had come for a review to take place.

The House of Bishops also announced in July further work on the Church of England’s approach to human sexuality more generally.  The expectation is that the membership of that Group, whose work will be considered by the House during 2013, will be announced in the next few weeks.

Chris Foster was my first suffragan back in St Albans. Good bloke, but not the most conservative. Any comment on the other two names?

12 Comments on “Pastoral Statement Group Announced

  1. I don’t think the House of Bishops will approve same sex marriage… In my own beliefs, man and woman is created by God to have the matrimonial blessings and not with the same sex marriage.

  2. I realise that certain varieties of Sola Scriptura literalism give one a free pass to know he-haw about history (among other things), but is it not significant that those who claim that marriage was invented by the Christian Church are, simply, demonstrably wrong? I see that a mighty….200 (!) people attended the no-gay marriage in Scotland homophobia rally the other day. You’ll probably get more people in Bennet’s tonight ;)

    And freedom of conscience is exactly that. It’s a bit ironic that people are talking about churches being “forced” to do anything, when the pattern on these issues (c.f. Peter on same-sex blessings in Scotlands) has been naming-shaming-and-complaining in regard to the particular decisions of priests and bishops (although “The McCarthy Version” is good for straight weddings too!) I find it amusing that evangelicals, for all their invocations of stereotypes, seriously believe there’s a danger of gays trying to get married (to a backdrop of Shine Jesus Shine, and crappy electric guitar solos?) in evangelical churches: gay men, if we’re being stereotypical, have GOOD taste silly! ;-)

    • @cerebusboy Is this a reasoned argument or just another excuse to launch a polemic against Evangelicals?

      But to take you seriously for a moment, whilst I’m sure the vast majority of those seeking a same-sex marriage would want to have it solemnized in an approving environment, I suspect there is a small minority of activists (and let’s be honest, it would take only two people) who would jump at the chance of *forcing* an evangelical church to host their wedding.

      • @peterould Peter, it’s a serious contrast. I can think of multiple occasions (of the top of my head: +Gene Robinson’s visit and whether or not he’d be celebrating the Eucharist; same-sex blessing at St.Mary’s Cathedral; BCP-adopted London gay wedding – and that’s just counting stories you’ve blogged about!) of conservatives invoking authority (or ‘authority’) and requesting they supercede/punish the particular decisions of clergy and bishops. In contrast, I don’t know of any liberals deigning to (e.g.) shop evangelicals for not using the right liturgy, nor of objecting to blatantly homophobic speakers giving talks at evangelical churches. Let me stress that noting this contrast is, in your terms, hardly a bad thing – you could say that it indicates evangelicals Standing Firm (or Up) for Truth, whilst ‘liberals’ adopt a worldly live-and-let-live enlightenment-derived humanism.

        To the larger point: I’m pretty sure, not being Jewish, that I can’t stroll into a synagogue and demand that they marry me to a (heterosexual) non-Jewish partner. Nor could (non-Catholic) me do the same thing in a Catholic church, nor (not being a Muslim) would I demand that a mosque conduct my nuptials. Isn’t that the view that the vast, vast majority of people would take? As such, is it not highly pernicious – and pretty homophobic (STRAIGHT people would never demand that someone who didn’t want to conduct their wedding do so, but those gays are just troublemakers!) – to portray ALLOWING *some* religious organisations to perform gay weddings as really an attempt to FORCE *all* religious organisations to do so?

        • @cerebusboy Ryan,

          The fear (rightly or wrongly) is that the law as stands (the Equality Act) would produce a position where churches could not offer one kind of marriage (heterosexual) without offering the other (homosexual). That’s not homophobic, that’s simply a statement of legal opinion. There are plenty of conservative clergy who would find it unacceptable to have to perform the latter, and plenty of activists who would find it highly acceptable to force them to do that very thing.

        • @peterould Are you currently required, by law, to give a reason for choosing not to marry a heterosexual couple?

          For the record, I certainly have no problem with particular religious groups choosing not to marry particular people. Freedom of conscience works both ways tho.

        • @cerebusboy Short answer, no, but any couple where neither have married before has a legal entitlement to get married in their parish church. The incumbent however has no legal obligation to do it, OR to find them a clergyman willing to do it (but he has to be reasonable in allowing them to use the building).

        • @peterould Interesting. Whilst I of course concede that not wanting to marry *any* same-sex couple is in some ways quite different from not wanting to marry *particular* straight ones, surely it’s entirely possible to word a law in such a way that gay marriage would be allowed for particular religious organisations without forcing them to have to do so?

        • @cerebusboy You would need to re-write the Equality Act 2008 to do so. That’s the issue and was part of the Church of England’s submission.

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