Ad Clerums

Bishop's MitreSo, am I right in thinking that the only Bishops who have sent Ad Clerums on the same-sex marriage letter are:

  • Guildford
  • Lincoln
  • Norwich
  • Oxford
  • Salisbury

Here in Canterbury we’ve had nothing. Nada. Nichts.

Seriously – only five Bishops? Come on…

8 Comments on “Ad Clerums

  1. Unsurprising given the bind the ban’s put them in. Either ignore it, and risk undermining their authority; or threaten sanction, and risk looking oppressive.

    No wonder the vast majority have taken the Fifth. Much as I disagree with those who’ve stepped up, credit where it’s due for saying something, especially John Pritchard’s heartfelt letter.

  2. Were I a bishop, the temptation to stick my fingers in my ears and whistle a happy tune would be very strong.

    Or should that be put my underpants on my head and stick two pencils up my nostrils? Either way…

  3. Went to Guildford Diocesan Synod on Saturday.

    While the Women Bishops vote took up most of the time, the Suffragan Bishop Ian Brackley of Dorking read this statement about the Pastoral Guidance:'s%20Sermons/01%2003%2014%20Diocesan%20Synod%20Same%20Sex%20Marriage.pdf

    His sermon is probably worth a post by itself. He is to be commended for his candour about the inner workings of the HoB in generating the guidance.

    One excerpt:
    This is a holding statement on the part of the House of Bishops in a new situation. It reflects our history and our teaching. Yet the longer conversation goes on. We were aware that in the past the Church has had to come to terms with understanding changes in society.

    The Church has made statements in the past about matters which later saw a change or development e.g. divorce in the 19th century and in the 20th century the remarriage of divorcees and their status in the Church (NB the letter from David Martin, Linda Woodhead & Diarmuid McCulloch in The Telegraph this week). We knew this statement would cause hurt
    and dismay to some. I and my fellow bishops have received emails both from those who felt the bishops had been far too lenient and progressive and from those who understandably felt this was just another kick in the teeth to gays and another example of the Church’s homophobia. It is a no-win situation. And that is the point. It is not about one side winning, hence the need for the facilitated conversations which Pilling has recommended and the House of Bishops are committed to.

    • Thanks for that, David.

      Brackley’s comment echoes much of Pritchard’s. What Brackley fails to see is that there isn’t a solution that’s gonna please all. There can’t be, the demands are irreconcilable. Someone will have to, in his words, “win.”

      • I think they know that already. What the facilitated conversation will do is to permit the expression of diverse theological views that isolate the most polarised sides of the debate as an undemocratic imposition.

        Skilled mediators asking culling extreme views through group dynamics. For instance:

        Facilitator: ‘Do we feel that everyone is getting a fair hearing? If not, what does anyone think we can do about that?’

        A.N.Other: ‘I feel that David and James are monopolising the debate’.

        Facilitator: ‘Does anyone else feel that way?’ (A majority of hands go up)

        Faciltator: Well, address that to David and James’

        A.N. Other: I know you’re both quite knowledgable, but this is our church as well. Between the two of you, the rest of us can’t get a word in edgewise.’

        David: ‘I’m sorry if I’ve spoken out of turn. I’ll try to give others a fair hearing’

        James: Same here!

        A bit later, a breakthrough:

        David: ‘Look, I think that the Bible is very clear in its prohibitions against homosexual behaviour’;

        Facilitator: ‘James, before you address the Bible issues, what do you want to say to David about how the way he expressed his views make you feel?’

        James: ‘David, your whole tone makes my friends and cherished friends and family feel excluded, rejected and judged.’

        Facilitator: ‘David, how do you respond to that?’

        David: ,i>’Well, I’d never want you to feel that way. I guess I’ll have to work on my tone.’

        Faciltator: ‘David, I just want to tell the group how brave it is to admit when we’ve, even unintentionally hurt some-one’

        Facilitator: ‘Let’s just take some time to reflect quietly on what just happened’

        Alternative ending:
        David and James p*** off early for a pint, cancelling further participation in faciltated discussions and preferring instead to debate these issues on Peter Ould’s blog!

  4. Peter, on a point of fact – Nicholas hasn’t put out an ad clerum in Salisbury. He put out a statement on the Diocesan website which was publicised through all the Diocese’s normal channels, but it wasn’t specifically addressed to clergy. Indeed, reading the text of the statement, it should be pretty obvious the statement was addressed not only to clergy, but also to the lay people of the church and indeed the wider world to which we seek to proclaim the Gospel.

    He does an ad clerum at Easter every year. I don’t know yet whether or not he’ll directly address the issue of marriage equality in this year’s.

    It might seem to be a hair-splitting distinction, but being a priest you’ll appreciate it isn’t, and being a statistician I’d imagine you’ll want to get your facts straight!

    • Thanks Jerry. I was using “Ad Clerum” in the loosest possible sense, but you are correct that some of these missives are not technically Ad Clerums.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.