Saturday, 9 June 2018

Opinion - 9 June 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of worthiness and sacraments

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love A bishop authorised to discriminate against LGBTI people

Savi Hensman Ekklesia Bishop’s call to deny communion defies church on LGBTI welcome

Meg Warner ViaMedia.News Sex & the Single Girl

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Inclusion is more than being nice

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 June 2018 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Totally with you, Colin, except that you seem a bit confused about lesbians! You write 'LGBTI people and women’ which I suppose is supposed to mean LBGBT people identifying as a range of genders and then straight women too? But then you say 'There have always been LGBTI priests and bishops in the church’ - well no Colin, not lesbian ones there haven’t, not before the ordination of women!

Posted by: Cassandra on Saturday, 9 June 2018 at 7:31pm BST

Thank you, Savi Hensman for your column.

Just how does Bishop Thomas propose separating those who are worthy of communion from those who are not?
I suppose if two men or two women who display signs of affection towards each other as they approach Communion would be shown the exit.
But, what about a husband whose football betting leaves his family perilously close to hunger or eviction?
The alcohol abuser and girlfriend beater who cleans up his act before appearing in church?
A woman who cheats on her spouse?
Do the ushers or vergers ask every prospective comminicant multiple questions before determining moral fitness? No, of course not. It would be considered rude, impertinent, and impractical.
So, only visibly same-sex couples would be affected.
Welcoming, indeed!

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 12:47am BST

Savi's article - on the Bishop of Maidstone's call to refuse the sacrament of the Eucharist to people living in a same-sex partnership - is counter-productive of the gospel call by Jesus to 'draw near' to receive the amazing gift of the Body and Blood of Christ to Sinners - because that is what we all happen to be.

Obviously, +Rod Thomas is not an Anglo-Catholic; for whom Christ is truly our Redeemer, Sanctifier and Giver-of-live. It is in the sacrament of Holy Communion that we are cleansed, renewed, forgiven. Grace over Law is truly 'Gospel'.

One reason many of us are wary of 39-Articular Religion is in its insistence on the rule of Law, rather than the Grace of Christ. This is as true for Baptism as it is for Holy Communion. "I am not worthy" is a more realistic approach to the reception of the sacraments of the Church than that of the Pharisee in the Temple. And who went away "justified", not the Pharisee.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 1:56am BST

If you will allow a point of pedantry, Cassandra, I would be very surprised if there was not a trans-lesbian among the ranks of ostensibly male bishops past and present.

Posted by: Jo on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 8:04am BST

Jo, now it’s my turn to admit confusion. I thought trans-lesbian describes women who had transitioned from biologically male and are lesbians. How would that ‘work’ before the ordination of women? Could a person presenting as female but with a birth certificate as male get through a selection conference in those days?

Posted by: Cassandra on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 9:57am BST

"Could a person presenting as female but with a birth certificate as male get through a selection conference in those days?"

I certainly hope so.

Posted by: Kate on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 3:28pm BST

Thank you Kate; I’m still amazed that the C of E was happy with this before the ordination of women. Can you recommend anything autobiographical written by trans women in this situation? I would like to learn more.

Posted by: Cassandra on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 7:31pm BST

Maybe my understanding is incorrect, but I thought trans was a description of one's gender self-identity as opposed to one's assigned-at-birth identity; rather than necessarily relating to outward presentation. My point was simply that among the myriads of Bishops down the centuries there will likely have been at least one who felt themselves to be female and who was also attracted to women.

Posted by: Jo on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 8:06pm BST

"Obviously, +Rod Thomas is not an Anglo-Catholic"

Which makes his letter even more offensive, as it is either woefully ignorant or willfully dismissive of sacramental theology. Between that and "male headship," it is incredibly difficult to see what is Anglican about this bishop, other than the fact that he's a bishop...

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 10:26pm BST

I am pleased Colin and Savi have stood up against the Bishop of Maidstone. I still find it hard to believe believe he was not making a point against LGBTI people - he chose to make his letter public for a reason.

But where are the bishops? If LGBTI people are genuinely welcome, why haven't two dozen bishops stood up and said "I disagree with the Bishop of Maidstone." It is the same with survivors. Where are the bishops saying, "This is not an acceptable way to treat victims of abuse"?

Why the silence?

Right now those silent bishops are doing the Church immeasurable harm. We are becoming a Church without morality, or at least without moral courage. So I am grateful to Colin and Savi but we need so much more. "Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand for me against those who practice iniquity?"

Posted by: Kate on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 10:43pm BST

As I understand it, a priest who transitioned to female, prior to women's ordination to the priesthood becoming law, was likely/certain to have to resign, even though there was no gender recognition procedure at that date, and legally they remained male. I have heard of one such case in England but don't have any details. There is more documentation, I believe, about trans men. Michael Dillon, for example, had a vocation to the priesthood at one stage, and as his transition was before Corbett versus Corbett he was able to have his birth certificate altered: his vocation also altered, however, and increasingly drawn to Buddhism he became a novice Buddhist monk towards the end of his life. Mark Rees writes about how his vocation to ordination in the Church of England was frustrated by the legal limbo in which he found himself (presenting as male but with a female birth certificate) between Corbett versus Corbett and the passing of the votes on women's ordination - see his autobiography 'Dear Sir/Madam' and his chapter in 'Trans Britain' edited by Christine Burns. There was also a rumour - never confirmed as far as I'm aware - from the late 1990s that there were two trans men serving as clergy in the Church of England at that time.

Posted by: Christina Beardsley on Monday, 11 June 2018 at 1:12pm BST

Thank you, Christina - that makes it clear that there was more at stake than having a male identity registered at birth. I’ll follow up the reading suggestions.

Posted by: Cassandra on Tuesday, 12 June 2018 at 6:56am BST
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