Comments: The Times interviews the Dean of St Albans

A thought-out argument. Well said.

Posted by James A at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 12:18pm GMT

Great to see Jeffrey join the fray with his usual warmth and considered responses.

For those who do not have the print version this interview was carried on the front page and was supported by a robust editorial supporting gay marriage.

Quite unusually and significantly the Telegraph carried the full story the next day giving all credit to The Times. Their editorial position is in opposition to gay marriage.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 12:48pm GMT

Dr John's actual words are far more extensive, interesting and impressive than the potted version in the Times article.

His treatment of the issues is concise and compelling.

Posted by badman at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 1:01pm GMT

That is a wise, thoughtful, insightful man.

It is clearly very, very wrong that he has been prevented from becoming a bishop. Shame on the Cabal of Bishops!

Posted by Dan BD at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 1:04pm GMT

For once the voice of sanity on this subject from a religious spokes-person. I broadly agree but with one small caveat. The subject emerged during post-Choir practice socialising and one of our top line said that she and her husband knew a number of homosexual couples, some of whom actually preferred to refer to their relationship as something other than marriage. This on the grounds that they felt their relationship is different in type and needs its own label rather than what they see as a borrowed one. I think the real problem is not so much what the relationship is called but parity of esteem. Maybe though Fr John is right and bringing homosexual relationships in under the umbrella of 'marriage' is the best way to ensure this.

For I guess there's always the danger that 'equal but different' will disguise the fact that one or other type of relationship is seen as 'second class'. After all it's the Roman Church which came out with the memorably chilling phrase 'intrinsically disordered' ('Persona Humana': Declaration of certain questions concerning sexual ethics' 29/12/1975, end of paragraph VIII). The same document re-iterates their stand on the 'immutable' word of Scripture on sexual matters. Perhaps they should ask themselves (as Jeffrey John clearly has) just what St Paul would have made of stable, respectable homosexual unions. There are plenty of those including people I know or have known personally. One feels that members of the Vatican hierarchy need to get out more. So much of their arguing seems to be 'a priori' whereas as I understand it philosophically speaking the range of 'a priori' is very limited.

Posted by Humphrey Reader at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 1:34pm GMT

Here I sit, quite early morning at the village at the foot of a volcano (active) in Central America...I´m absolutely filled with thanksgiving (and confirmation) that Dr. Jeffrey John this in England EXACTLY what I do in the rural campo of Guatemala:

¨So same-sex monogamy seems to me to be spiritually indistinguishable from a marriage between two people who are unable to have children together. Admitting same sex couples to marriage would extend the sacrament, not undermine it...¨

I love the worldwide fellowship and sharing of truth/experience at the Anglican Communion

Please, No Anglican Covenant as ¨we¨, from afar in the ¨third world¨ of Anglicanism, don´t want to be removed from the Anglican ¨family¨...we ARE your family, your sisters, your brothers at The Body of Christ.

Mil Gracias

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 1:49pm GMT

Humphrey Reader seems to be wondering whether perhaps there's a problem in opening up marriage to same-sex couples because knows someone who has heard of some gay people who really don't want to call their relationship marriage.

Funnily enough, I've met some straight people who don't want to call their relationship marriage either.

I'd never have thought that this was a good reason for banning straight people from getting hitched though.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 2:11pm GMT

I see that the current bishop of Reading, Andrew Proud (no comment) is pictured and quoted on the Oxford diocese "Yes to the Covenant" page.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 3:41pm GMT

I am glad that Jeffrey is able to speak with such wisdom and clarity, and sad that this is an issue which is causing such division today. my own church (CoE) is split on the issue. I believe that scripture should be read through the 'lens' of Jesus who was the most inclusive person to ever walk the planet. In years to come I think (hope) that Christians will see the current injustice towards gay people in the same light that we currently see the injustice of slavery

Posted by christine rose at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 4:21pm GMT

My wife and I used to look at our friends in the university community where we lived and say, There are a hundred different arrangements, all called marriage. (We decided after many years that our arrangement wasn't what we wanted our kids to know as marriage. My present husband and I don't find that "marriage" has added much to our 29-year relationship, but it has helped to define us to family and friends.)

Posted by Murdoch at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 7:10pm GMT

Quite a coup for Ruth G to get JJ to speak so frankly. Seems like a tipping point. Although in general I'm in favour of 'fudge', it's only tenable if people on opposite sides observe a certain restraint. Perhaps Sentamu, Williams, Carey and others have broken that unspoken compact, and it is - should be - a fight to the finish on this issue. In which case, they will most assuredly lose, to their great diminishment and disgrace. Incidentally, it was a great disppointment to hear Angela Tilby on 'Thought for the Day' arguing - albeit with liberal charity - against 'gay marriage' in the full sense. But she didn't even bother to consider legitimate and necessary Church-state separation. It was a flabby performance.

Posted by John at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 7:45pm GMT


Posted by Judith at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 7:46pm GMT

Can somebody with access behind the Times paywall, or whatever else is needed, help me with the first question in this superb interview? What did David Ison say about gay marriage?

Posted by Edward Prebble at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 8:19pm GMT

At last, I hear someone speaking with a voice that does not drive me away from Christian Community.

Jesus put love as top priority for us all. By what measure can bigotry hatred and exclusion be considered to be loving?

Posted by Chris Jeffries at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 9:59pm GMT

Thank God that Jeffrey John's experience of the negativity of the Church towards his admitted homosexual nature has not soured him against the seeming lack of willingness of the Church to accept that monogamous same-sex relationships can be one of God's loving provisions for humanity.

The Dean of Saint Albans has become the focus of many faithful Anglican LGBT people's hope for the future acceptance of them; as fellow bearers of God's image and likeness in the world - and, therefore - worthy of respect and recognition.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 10:25pm GMT

God is the God of love. Let HIM define love!
God is the God of marriage. Let HIM define marriage!

Posted by Matt Fergus at Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 2:16am GMT

"it was a great disppointment to hear Angela Tilby on 'Thought for the Day' arguing - albeit with liberal charity - against 'gay marriage' in the full sense."

Or, to put it another way, she said some pretty unpleasant things in a nice way. Her TFTD effort was excellently parodied here:

Posted by Laurence C at Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 8:25am GMT

Thank you Laurence C for your platitude for the day link. Terrific ! I was appalled by her homophobia with its veneer of easy meaningless liberalism'-- great 'bishop material.'

Bring back Lionel Blue.

DO listen to the Moral Maze repeat Saturday night radio 4 for more vacuous balderdash and gratuitous homophobia from Michael Portillo, and vacuous condescension from Clifford Longley - BUT with a great rabbi cutting their cr-p and Ben S from Stonewall.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 15 March 2012 at 4:56pm GMT

The announcement of Dr Williams departure from Canterbury for Cambridge will take centre stage for a while, I'm sure. But I do hope that it doesn't stop the circulation of Dr John's interview with Ms Gledhill. Whoever follows Dr Williams would do well to read and re-read Dr John's words quite simply for the survival, let alone the growth, of the Church of England.
So, fellow readers of Thinking Anglicans, please disseminate this interview far and wide. But remember, most of all, to send a copy of it to the successful candidate for Canterbury!

Posted by commentator at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 9:50am GMT

Here is a remarkable piece from an RC bishop:

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 12:45am GMT

Thanks, Spirit of Vatican II for that link. A very powerful argument from a Catholic perspective. I wonder if the official Church will work on it?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 21 March 2012 at 9:08am GMT
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