Church of England lifts ban on gay bishops

The Church of England said Friday that it will allow gay men to become bishops, putting it closer to its sister Episcopal Church in the United States but at odds with many conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The House of Bishops put out a statement confirming that gay clergy in civil partnerships will be eligible for appointment as bishops, if they remain celibate. The announcement followed a working group’s review of Church of England rules governing civil partnerships.

In July 2011, the House of Bishops announced a review of a statement published six years earlier, which allowed for clergy to be in civil partnerships but effectively put a moratorium on gay bishops. After the review, the group of bishops decided that “clergy in civil partnerships and in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate,” the Rev. Graham Jones, bishop of Norwich, said in a statement Friday.

www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-church-of-england-lifts-ban-on-gay-bishops-20130104,0,2806956.story

Here is a link to the official statement

Statement Regarding Clergy in a Civil Partnership as Candidates for the Episcopatehttp://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2013/01/statement-regarding-clergy-in-a-civil-partnership-as-candidates-for-the-episcopate.aspx

Gay deacons and priests currently have to take a pledge of celibacy. The decision to allow gay bishops seems to build upon that rule. However, conservatives in the Church of England are unhappy with this change.

Rod Thomas, chairman of the conservative evangelical group Reform, said the church’s move on gay bishops would provoke further dispute.

“It will be much more divisive than what we have seen over women bishops. If you thought that was a furor, wait to see what will happen the first time a bishop in a civil partnership is appointed,” he told BBC television.

reuters.com/article/2013/01/04/us-religion-gay-idUSBRE9030TS20130104

(NB: Reform describes itself as “an Anglican evangelical network which works for the promotion of the gospel. It believes the Church will be more effective in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ the more it follows the teaching of the Bible. There are currently 1700 members of Reform, both lay and ordained.”)

Do they truly expect gay clergy in civil partnershups to be celibate?

They obviously do since they state :

“All candidates for the episcopate undergo a searching examination of personal and family circumstances, given the level of public scrutiny associated with being a bishop in the Church of England. But these, along with the candidate’s suitability for any particular role for which he is being considered, are for those responsible for the selection process to consider in each case.”

I know two gay couples who go to my church who are celibate - one of them has explained that their partnership is more of an emotional and spiritual attachment than a sexual one.

Another reason for my convsersion to the Catholic church.

I will admit that it is possible for two to live together for financial , social, health reasons and remain celebate. And I see nothing wrong with that (if it is true). But I would be by nature skeptical.

Gay deacons and priests currently have to take a pledge of celibacy. The decision to allow gay bishops seems to build upon that rule. However, conservatives in the Church of England are unhappy with this change.

reuters.com/article/2013/01/04/us-religion-gay-idUSBRE9030TS20130104

(NB: Reform describes itself as “an Anglican evangelical network which works for the promotion of the gospel. It believes the Church will be more effective in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ the more it follows the teaching of the Bible. There are currently 1700 members of Reform, both lay and ordained.”)

Wait… wait… I’m a little confused. As far as I know, the CofE does not preform gay marriages. Why wouldn’t it do this if it didn’t consider homosexual behavior to be disordered? If the CofE does consider homosexual behavior sinful, wouldn’t this be an occasional of scandal? I just don’t see any situation where this makes sense…

Unlike TEC they are not saying that they can become Bishops unconditionally. They have to declare celibacy and repentence for any past homosexual sexual activity amongst other things before they could be appointed.

Being discussed in Non-Catholic Religions

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