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Gay Bishops are good for you

July 9, 2010

What a mess the Church of England has made of the latest appointment fiasco. Someone – presumably a hard line Evangelical – leaked the fact that the Dean of St Albans, Jeffrey John, was being considered for the Bishopric of Southwark. You will remember that JJ was nominated for the suffragan see of Reading by the Bishop of Oxford even though he was openly gay, but after another Evangelical outcry, the Archbishop of Canterbury convinced him to step down.

What are the Eveangelicals playing at? JJ has testified that he is in a loving relationship with another priest (male) but that their lifestyle is completely celibate. It is true that he advocates a very liberal line on even actively sexual gay relationships, but so do many heterosexual Bishops, and there has never been any attempt to block their appointments.

I have known many gay Bishops, and can testify that most of them have been faithful preachers of the Gospel and wonderful pastors of souls. The fact that they were gay has often been a gift to them, making them available to married and unmarried alike, but especially to the marginalized and those who find life hard because of being gay and finding little understanding or compassion in society and the Church.

The Church used to bless same-sex friendships, as long as they were celibate. Indeed, some of the great communities of the Church started off that way. But latterly our Holy Mother has got cold feet (and a bit of a stony heart) and, because of the ghastly child abuse cases of the Roman bit, and the super-liberal excesses of the American Episcopal bit, has lost all sense of proportion and of history about the God-given gift of love for members of one’s own sex. Surely if anyone can demonstrate this tough love it should be some of our Bishops.

Married and divorced heterosexual Bishops are much more of a departure from the tradition of the Early Church than unmarried ones living with a loving partner. If the Diocese of Pennsylvania has to choose a new Bishop in the near future, we could do much (and I mean Much!) worse than the Very Reverend Jeffrey John.

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64 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    July 9, 2010 3:07 pm

    “Someone – presumably a hard line Evangelical”

    That’s an interesting take – I had assumed it was someone supportive of Jeffrey John who was trying to make it difficult for the Crown Nominations Commission to sideline the good Dean. Just goes to show how two people can read the same story and come to opposite conclusions!

    I must confess, the media here in the UK are having a field day with suppositions and innuendo. Ultimately we do not know what is going on within the meeting and all the news has come from a single source. Never good. There was a helpful blogpost on the media’s involvement by the Bishop of Croydon which is worth a read: here.

  2. Chris permalink
    July 9, 2010 3:12 pm

    ps – more from +Nicholas in the Guardian.

  3. Jeremy Haselock permalink
    July 9, 2010 3:42 pm

    I do agree with Fr Reid’s analysis and his brief survey of “gay” bishops of the past and present – he and I have known/know and admired a good number. These, for the most part, have all functioned without protestant protest because they were fortunate enough not to be made a “cause celebre” by those who wish for political reasons of their own to make disapproval of homosexuality the touchstone of orthodoxy. Poor Jeffrey John has been used shamefully by the cynical and the unscrupulous as a means to an end. There ought to be a law against priest abuse – conviction should involve a prison sentence and life-long registration on an offenders’ register. There is also going on a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters during this General Synod meeting when far-reaching decisions have to be made. Just because homosexual bishops and women bishops are emblematic of a certain type of liberal Anglicanism does not mean that they are the same issue. They are not. I would welcome Jeffrey John as my bishop if, heaven forfend, the present one were translated elsewhere but I am afraid Rose Hudson-Wilkin or Lucy Winkett would be a step too far, delightful ladies though they are.

  4. Russell Fuhrman permalink
    July 10, 2010 2:59 am

    Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s American Episcopal Church it was glaringly obvious that the Anglo-Catholic movement was predominantly homosexual. Those were the days of the American Church Union under Canon DuBois of Pelham Manor, New York and Catholic Congresses, which seemed to this observer to be meeting places for those of that persuasion as was the Nashotah House seminary in Wisconsin. I had to have our bishop remove one such priest who was aggressively pursuing my then twelve year old brother. I wonder if the author of this blog would like to candidly tell us more about himself and the gay Episcopal subculture?

    • July 10, 2010 6:41 am

      Surely Fr Reid is too recent an arrival to ECUSA to be a product of any subculture therewithin – unless your last sentence refers to a gay Scottish Episcopal subculture, of which I must confess I have no knowledge. In any case, the question sounds like a potent blend of fishing, leading, and ad hominem. (The author affirms the entirely orthodox idea that a celibate gay person can hold church office, so let’s insinuate that perhaps he is himself gay, in which case we can ignore anything he has to say on the subject as obviously he is bound to uphold the party line of the sinister gin-and-lace cabal, and invested in protecting its unimpeded sexual access to our children!)

    • July 10, 2010 12:19 pm

      Russell Fuhrman makes the common error of confusing homosexuality with pederasty. That this is nonsense can be demonstrated by the fact that most sexual crimes against children are committed by heterosexual fathers against their daughters.

      It is a well known fact that Anglo-Catholic churches attract more homosexuals than Low Church ones. But why does that surprise anyone? Another well attested fact is that homosexuals are often artistic people, musicians, painters etc, and so are attracted to Catholic worship with its emphases on colour, ceremonial, statues, icons, glorious music, rather than the kind of worship which appeals only to the ear and (sometimes!) to the brain. So to talk of an Episcopal gay sub-culture is far more dramatic than accurate.

      It used to be said (rather unkindly) that the Episcopal Church was for “thinking Catholics”. A far more accurate statement might have been that the Episcopal Church is for Catholics with taste! Sadly, even that is not quite as true as it once was.

  5. Russell Fuhrman permalink
    July 10, 2010 12:54 pm

    Russell Fuhrman did not make the common mistake of confusing pederasty with homosexuality. The Episcopal priest that had to be removed from our parish because of his flagrant pursuit of my young brother was in a relationship with a Roman Catholic monsignor. Perhaps Father Reid makes the mistake of thinking that the two are mutually exclusive. Further, Father Reid seems to make the point that there is no gay underground or gay networks within the Episcopal Church, well, perhaps after he has been here a few years longer he will see what he is missing.

    • July 10, 2010 4:34 pm

      Your use of innuendo is quite troubling. The hurt your family experienced from this homosexual priest would have been no less wrong if he were having a tryst with one of the Altar Guild ladies. As no one is suggesting we open the episcopate to pederasts your concern is not immediately relevant to the topic at hand. Neither Dean John nor Canon Reid had anything to do with your brother’s harrassment and this is not the forum to work out your unresolved issues about this incident or homosexuals in general. It is not clear what you want from Fr Reid – an unequivocal condemnation of child abuse? I’m sure he wouldn’t hesitate to do so, but to bring it up in a discussion of a sexually abstinent episcopal candidate is mischievous and pot stirring.

      It’s interesting that you go immediately from disclaiming any confusion of homosexuality and pederasty in the first sentence to reinforcing that very confusion in the second. “I knew this priest once who was both gay and a predator, so they must be the same thing right?” As I recall the last bishop of S. Clement’s own diocese was caught up in allegations of his brother’s misconduct with young women. How do we know you are not yourself a danger to children given this “glaringly obvious” propensity of your fellow heterosexuals to exploitative behaviour?

  6. Brian Daniels permalink
    July 10, 2010 5:17 pm

    My angst about this post and opinions are different than Russell Fuhrman’s. I have long been a fan of St. Clement’s website for its music and videos. I have never been there, though I had long wanted to.

    My hope was that perhaps St. Clement’s was a ‘last bastion’ of Anglo-Catholic practice that was unscathed by homosexuality and its related issues (ordination, etc.). I had hoped that maybe St. Clement’s was truly Catholic in regards to marriage (one man-one woman for life). In the back of my mind I wanted St. Clement’s to be the real thing, a real Anglican Church without the erosive effects of the gay movement.

    And now this blog post.

    The inescapable truth is that the Bible must be contorted in very difficult and nuanced ways to avoid the fact that the Old Testament clearly puts homosexuality outside the Law. St. Paul (who we just commemorated last week) re-affirmed this for the Church.

    I am very disappointed in Father and in St. Clement’s. Just very disappointed.

    • July 10, 2010 8:42 pm

      I had hoped that maybe St. Clement’s was truly Catholic in regards to marriage (one man-one woman for life).

      I think that to reduce the Catholic doctrine of marriage to genitalia is very sad.

      The inescapable truth is that the Bible must be contorted in very difficult and nuanced ways to avoid the fact that the Old Testament clearly puts homosexuality outside the Law.

      Do you have auto insurance, or eat seafood? The Old Testament enumerates scads of “abominations,” which even an Orthodox Jew will tell you are not regarded as universal moral laws expected of goyim.

      St. Paul (who we just commemorated last week) re-affirmed this for the Church.

      And Christians, of course, have always regarded Pauline norms of marriage as binding, which is why we grant that it is “better … than to be consumed with desire” but certainly not “an honourable estate.” It’s funny how the Bible is so reliably straightforward when it’s talking about sin that isn’t mine, but when it’s in their own families, the hierarchy find ways to “contort”!

      • Brian Daniels permalink
        July 11, 2010 11:18 am

        Geoff wrote:
        “I think that to reduce the Catholic doctrine of marriage to genitalia is very sad.”

        Isn’t that really what the homosexual lobby has done in the Episcopal Church? Those who have disagreed with gay practice-marriage-ordination-etc. have been forced to accept it or get out of the way.

        Neither Rome nor the other patriarchs allow it. There is a wholeness of Catholic faith, doctrine, Scripture, and Holy Tradition. None of these allow it. It’s not merely a matter of ‘genitalia’. It’s the fact that to get to acceptance of gay issues, one has to eject all three, plus Rome and Orthodoxy.

        “The Old Testament enumerates scads of “abominations,” which even an Orthodox Jew will tell you are not regarded as universal moral laws expected of goyim.”

        I didn’t say that we are expected to keep the OT Law. I said that the OT demonstrates that homosexuality (and ‘scads’ of other things) are outside the Law. The Torah demonstrates the mind of God. The God of Leviticus is also the God of the Psalms and of the Prophets.

        St. Paul is regularly minimized by those who support non-traditional marriages, yet he is as completely and fully an apostle as St. Peter (who was commemorated with St. Paul just ten days ago).

        ” It’s funny how the Bible is so reliably straightforward when it’s talking about sin that isn’t mine…”

        The Truth is that the Bible speaks very straightforwardly to sins that are mine. Because I don’t happen to have to deal with homosexuality doesn’t mean that I dismiss my own sins at all (“there is no health in me”). At the same time, I don’t look to promote any of my sins as being “good for” anyone as Canon Reid promotes homosexuality as being “good” for the Church.

        And again, I express my deep sadness that St. Clement’s is this way. I never would have imagined it.

    • July 13, 2010 10:26 am

      A ‘real Anglican church’ is one whose bishop the Church of England says is Anglican; since 1867 that has taken the form of recognition by the Lambeth Conference. So S. Clement’s is one.

      • Brian Daniels permalink
        July 13, 2010 11:21 am

        There can be no doubt that St. Clement’s is Anglican, especially in the modern sense after 1976. There is great doubt as to whether or not it is Catholic.

  7. Patrick Cook permalink
    July 11, 2010 7:28 pm

    Dear Mr Daniels,

    How is a Catholic to react to homosexuality? It is a very valid question. Certainly, no Catholic can argue, as Mr Ahmadinejad and some evangelicals do, that homosexuality does not exist, for that would be a basic denial of facts, which is not a tenable position for a Catholic (or, indeed, for anyone else). And, since we must also accept, with Wittgenstein (a philosopher who has inspired many Catholic intellectuals of our age), that the world is everything that is the case, to argue that homosexuality is, in itself, evil is dangerously close to gnosticism.

    Catholic thought does recognize the concept of natural evil, but the only clear examples of natural evil are those in which a positive good is displaced, as health is displaced by illness or infirmity. For homosexuality to be conceived similarly, it is necessary not only to conceive reproductive sex as a positive good (something about which there must surely be near-universal agreement in as much as the majority of people are glad to have been born), but to conceive all abstinence from reproductive sex as evil, which makes little sense in a Church that requires, as the Roman Church does, clerical celibacy. The current position of the Church of Rome, which condemns all forms of non-procreative sex, is at least internally consistent, although again dangerously close to gnosticism in as much as it regards bodily pleasures as inherently base and sinful except when harnessed for utilitarian purposes; however, as most Anglicans accept the legitimacy of contraception, Anglican opposition to same-sex relationships lacks internal consistency. No system of thought that is internally contradictory can be justified by an appeal to authority, even scriptural authority. I mean, what would Aquinas say?

    • Brian Daniels permalink
      July 12, 2010 1:31 am

      I guess a Catholic should react to homosexuality the way he or she would to any other sin. We are regenerate persons through our Baptism into Christ. The New Testament is fairly direct about how regenerate persons ought to live. All sexual relationships outside of marriage of a man to a woman are repeatedly declined by the Lord, the Apostles, and Holy Tradition.

      The temptations I have to deal with as a married man are no less real than the temptations that someone dealing homosexuality has to deal with. Would it somehow be acceptable for me to begin committing adultery because my sexual needs exceed the ability of my wife to fulfill them? Perhaps my sister has put a twinkle in my eye: why not? If it’s all OK and the New Testament, Apostles, and Tradition are moot on the subject, why not?

      St. Paul admonishes the Church in Galatians 5: “since you live by the Spirit, so also should you walk in the Spirit.” This is not an easy road. A thief must surrender his thievery. A killer must lay down his gun. A liar must start telling the truth. And the sexually active must learn to bring their own will into submission to the Will of God: marriage of a man to a woman or celibacy.

      This is what the Church has always taught, hence, it is “Catholic.” Departures from it then, are Protestant (by definition, I might add).

      Homosexuals are not evil, any more than anyone is who is loved by God. It is a cheap shot to assert that those who disagree with it find them to be evil. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” “We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws.”

      My supposition was that St. Clement’s was thoroughly and consistently Catholic, in doctrine, spirituality, ritual, and morality. I suppose there are pro-choicers sitting in the chancel next to the homosexuals. What appears to be the reality is that St. Clement’s is a Protestant Church with very Catholic liturgy.

      • william permalink
        July 12, 2010 2:11 am

        This is what the Church has always taught, hence, it is “Catholic.” Departures from it then, are Protestant (by definition, I might add).

        I just want to gently prod at this to make an academic point which is aside from this more general debate. I think it’s quite arguable there are more ‘large scale’ divisions in Christianity than Catholic and Protestant. I think we can speak of the historical ‘Apostolic’ Churches perhaps–the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Communions. I suppose it is a difficult question whether we include some of the Eastern, purportedly Nestorian Churches in this categorization. There are some major points of dispute between these Churches over issues like the contents of Holy Scripture, the conceptualization of the sacraments etc. (in Orthodoxy there are no vagantes because sacraments don’t exist outside the Church).

        I think Protestant only correctly applies to the ‘magisterial’ Lutheran and Calvinistic reformers, and the ‘radical’ Anabaptist families (Mennonites and Amish etc.).

        I have read frequently that Pentecostalism should be considered a new branch of Christianity, and at 500 million or so right now, I think there is something to this argument. Some Pentecostals believe in a type of Apostolic authority communicated through charismatic experiences. My understanding is that most traditional historical Protestants do not accept the continuation of spiritual gifts, and have a different scriptural hermeneutic. Seeing ‘Pentecostal’ or ‘Charismatic’ commentaries and systematic theologies start to show up suggests to me, again, there might be something to this argument that this is a new branch of Christianity.

        Jehovah’s Witnesses also have there own Biblical hermeneutic and are fractured among a number of related groups (though all but the main Watchtower Society group are very small). In time, this might also become a separate branch.

        I think there is also a very good argument that Restoration Churches (all the churches that historically relate themselves to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., of which there are about 300-400) are similarly a new branch of Christianity. Mormons have their own Biblical hermeneutic, sacred history, sacramental system, ordained priesthood etc., which establishes a worldview that does not entirely fit in with Catholicism or historical Protestantism but partakes of elements of both.

        When we speak of Catholicism of Protestantism, it seems to me in Anglican discussions we are mostly speaking of Roman Catholicism versus the Calvinistic Orthodoxy of Owen, Whitfield, Turretin, Edwards, Beza, Calvin etc., which was incredibly influential upon English religion through Cromwell and the Puritans (Owen was a sort of Chaplain to Cromwell).

      • July 15, 2010 8:44 pm

        …in Orthodoxy there are no vagantes because sacraments don’t exist outside the Church.

        There are true-believer and nationalist splinters, technically outside the church but obviously of the same family, but essentially yes, or rather whether sacraments outside the church are void (the strict view) or have the right forms, only needing to be filled in by the grace of joining the church (common in Orthodox practice) is a matter of opinion not doctrine. Doctrine is they know the church’s sacraments have grace.

        I have read frequently that Pentecostalism should be considered a new branch of Christianity

        No, they’re Protestants, eccentric Methodists if you will.

        Restoration Churches (all the churches that historically relate themselves to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.

        Not exactly. Someone Father and I know well was born and raised in one of the Restoration churches, the Churches of Christ, Campbell’s movement. They, Mormonism and smaller Smith-based groups were part of the same early-1800s trend but Campbell’s movement and Smith’s were nothing to do with each other directly. Some of the early Churches of Christ people left for the Mormons, which the Churches of Christ have never forgotten.

        Smith changed his theology a few times; the final version that’s Mormonism today is no longer Christian (they’re henotheists, believing in many gods but worshipping only one) but culturally blends in with the Protestantism it came from; JWs likewise arguably are cultural Protestants but non-Christians. As of course is true of the Unitarians.

    • Paul Emmons permalink
      September 18, 2010 9:44 pm

      Thank you, Mr. Cook!

      To continue along the lines suggested by Wittgenstein, the inherited demonization of homosexuality seems to have depended on homosexuals’ remaining hidden. When they no longer remain hidden, what some like to call a “basic teaching of the church” that it were evil becomes simply incredible: contradicted by facts that anyone can observe. Reasonable people have no choice but to consider a demand to believe it just as weird as young-earth creationism.

      Why is Harvey Milk, formally merely a member of the city council of San Francisco who was assassinated (one might say martyred) so celebrated in the gay community? The larger reason he deserves to be remembered is that he started this ball rolling as no one had done before. The State-level “Briggs Initiative” was threatening to pass. If it had done so, gay people would be officially persecuted on mere suspicion, excluded from various occupations by law, and copycat measures would probably be enacted in many other States. It was a horrible prospect. In a desperate campaign to prevent its passage, Mr. Milk called on gay people to “come out, come out wherever you are!” This act then required great courage on the part of many, but they did it, and it worked. The defeat of this referendum ensued and was greeted as a miracle. The idea caught on. Bruce Bawer (an Episcopalian) shares some credit with his book some years later, “A Place at the Table”, which encouraged even gay people with a generally conservative bent (which I think actually comes naturally to them for various reasons) to say enough with living a lie.

      The result? Today sexual orientation is barely an issue among most American and European young people. When confronted by evangelists who insist that following Christ means cultivating a peculiar animus against some of their own friends, so totally at odds with reason as well as charity, most of them refuse, as why shouldn’t they? This so-called “basic teaching” has become an obstacle to the Great Commission. A survey by The Barna Group (a Christian organization) has found that among non-Christian Americans aged 16-25, about three quarters have a negative image of Christians, and the percentage favorably disposed to Evangelicals in particular has fallen to the single digits! A perceived obsession with homosexuality is one reason why.

      Some readers will mutter about how heinous it would be to compromise the truth for covenience. The truth? Well, the truth will out. By now, the truth is out. Many theologians have shown how the church’s teaching can be reconciled to it. An interesting precedent is loaning money at interest, which was condemned in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, and in tradition both east and west, for centuries and with just as much vehemence as some devote to homosexuality now. But, for better or worse, this has practically vanished as a Christian scruple. Those Roman Catholics invested in the belief that the church’s teaching has never changed, and must never change, have constructed elaborate arguments (constituting the very quintessence of “casuistry” in Blaise Pascal’s opinion) to the effect that her teaching on usury never changed, it was the nature of money that changed. Whatever. Compared to these, a similar distinction in homosexual practice between what S. Paul condemned and what we can see today should be elementary, given only a willingness to make the attempt.

      In the face of all this, one has to wonder what drives the dwindling die-hards. Freud described a phenomenon called “psychological projection” explaining various other things “that are the case”. With remarkable regularity, news reports reveal men who have built their entire careers on grandstanding against homosexuality caught with their pants down in that very department. What they refuse to admit in themselves they see rampant everywhee else. It must be a miserable existence.

  8. Tim Harwood permalink
    July 11, 2010 10:57 pm

    Fr. Reid has a way of putting up a provacative headline does he not? “Gay” Bishops are good for you? Why is this so? Doubtless there are and have been many bishops with homosexual tendencies. Being homosexual is not a sin- acting upon one’s homosexual desires is. Jeffrey John would be the next Gene Robinson, whether he is celibate as he claims or not. He would be the homosexual cause celebre in the COE because he has a civil partner and considers himself homosexual, though but OF COURSE he is celibate. Indeed he would shout from the rooftop about homosex to various and sundry. He would create scandal in the Church neverminding his unorothodox religious views.

    So why does Fr. Reid feel the need to put up blog headlines such as this? Remember what our Lord said about leading little ones astray Father.

  9. Jeff Ezell permalink
    July 12, 2010 12:00 am

    I’m dismayed that Fr Reid’s latest blog post has garnered such quick and frankly reactionary attacks. I must say that as a gay Anglican Christian for most of my life – and I’m presently aged 55 years – I have failed to stumble onto a particular gay subculture or gay network in the Episcopal Church. As someone who has a long history of providing psychological assessment services for clients referred by Child Protective Services, the courts and lawyers, the hundreds of perpetrators of child sexual abuse whom I have seen have almost all been heterosexual men abusing their daughters, step-daughters, grand-daughters, or other available female children. Of the relatively few paedophiles whom I have seen clinically who had male victims, these men were almost all also in adult heterosexual relationships. Likewise, same-sex adult on adult rape outside of prison settings – where it is typically an assertion of power and dominance committed largely by men who have a primary heterosexual object choice – is a real rarity. However, heterosexual rape perpetrated by adult males against adult females is an all too frequent occurence. Simply stated, some of the responses to Fr Reid’s blog post demonise gay people and slander the Episcopal Church.

  10. Jeff Ezell permalink
    July 12, 2010 12:10 am

    P.S. What is this attitude that Saint Clement’s is somehow less than real, less than truly catholic on account of the presence of gay persons amongst its membership who are respected and valued? The notion that this parish church is diminished by a stance that dignifies and values the gay Christians amongst its flock is both truly sad and patently offensive.

    • Brian Daniels permalink
      July 12, 2010 1:44 am

      The issue is not the presence of gays at St. Clement’s or any other congregation. The issue is not the dignity of gays or anyone else in Church. Every Church, from Anglican to Amish, has gays in it and has the Lord’s commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.”

      The issue is whether or not homosexuality is consistent with Christian living as defined by what is truly Catholic: Scripture, the Apostles, and Holy Tradition. It truly is sad if the course St. Clement’s is taking is not in the Catholic vein. It shouldn’t be offensive to discuss a very difficult issue the Church faces as adults.

  11. Terry Porter permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:03 am

    If you don’t like the views of Fr Reid or St Clements no one is twisting your arm to go there , so then you will not have a problem

    • Brian Daniels permalink
      July 12, 2010 1:27 pm

      I appreciate your welcoming spirit.

  12. Jeff Ezell, PhD permalink
    July 12, 2010 11:02 am

    I’m going to decline to recapitulate a debate with Mr Daniels that has already been played out countless times between those who hold different basic premises about the nature and proper status of the Christian scriptures, the understanding of human sexuality and its relation to theology, and the evolution of societal attitudes over time regarding numerous matters and how these changing attitudes in a larger human society are incorporated into the life and attitude of the Church. Here, as at other times in history and in respect to varying issues, we have an impasse that is, I think, grounded in basic principles and starting assumptions. However, I do want to point out that the rather provocative title of Fr Reid’s piece seems to be a send-up of the old advertising slogan, “Guiness is good for you”, for anyone who might not have appreciated this aspect. Further, I want to challenge the apparent notion that a relative concentration of gay Anglican membership in the Anglo-Catholic and ceremonially High Church wings constitutes a particular gay subculture. Really, does the presence of gay individuals and social interaction between them define a “subculture”? Does the presence of heterosexual persons who interact with one another necessarily define a particular “straight culture”? This is a notion as specious as that of the “homosexual agenda” (mine today, by the way, includes mowing the lawn, going to the gym, and dealing with the last bit of the installation of a backup electrical power generator at my house).

    • Brian Daniels permalink
      July 12, 2010 1:24 pm

      I agree that re-hashing this will accomplish nothing. The Episcopal Church has split over it, as have most of the major Protestant denominations.

      My only point was that I had thought that St. Clement’s held to traditional Catholic morality (like the Dioceses of Quincy, Fort Worth, and San Joaquin have). This is obviously not the case.

      • Ron permalink
        July 13, 2010 2:17 am

        For all your currently fashionable “love the sinner, hate the sin” cliches, you really need your homosexuals, or you wouldn’t have your vestments, your perfect liturgy, your music, proper incense and processions. You just want your homosexuals out of sight.

        The level of denial and studied blindness rivals that of Jim Crow-era America: “we need those people of color to do stuff needing doing; we just don’t want to have to see or live with them, so we find rationales to avoid them.”

        I love S. Clement’s: our welcoming and loving Rector, the Word of God, the music and worshipful liturgy, and our strange and wonderful mix of nearly-monastic orders, immigrants from across the world, seniors, young heterosexual couples, college kids, and, yes, gay people… like me.

        If I had wanted to go to Rome…oh wait, I DON’T. Thank you Father, and thank the Lord and his Holy Mother for S. Clement’s.

        PS – by the way, I’ve been to Ft. Worth. Let them GO!

      • Young Anglo-Catholic permalink
        July 15, 2010 8:06 am

        There are gays in Dioceses of Quincy, Fort Worth, and San Joaquin. I guess you’ve never been there. As long as you don’t question the bishops views publicly in those dioceses there is no problem. Isn’t the Bishop of San Joaquin gay?

      • July 15, 2010 1:17 pm

        Brian’s right here.

        Young Angl0-Catholic, there are gays in the Roman Catholic Church too including lots of successful and respected clergy. That’s not the point. Orientation is a non-issue, just like a born predisposition to alcoholism is not a sin. Practice is the issue: teaching that gay marriage is possible, which is where the Episcopal Church is headed (why not, now that most of their relative conservatives have left?) and which is impossible in the Catholicism whose style S. Clement’s follows.

        One thing Anglo-Catholicism taught me is to be understanding about people tempted by this sin, as lots of ACs are. Which happens to agree with the magisterium.

        As long as you don’t question the bishops’ views publicly in those dioceses there is no problem.

        All faiths have the rights to govern themselves and to their property. So why can’t these bishops enforce their new denomination’s doctrine in their dioceses? I defend the Episcopalians’ right to do the same.

        Isn’t the Bishop of San Joaquin gay?

        I have no idea and it doesn’t matter. Teaching is teaching; again the orientation of the teacher doesn’t matter.

  13. Tim Harwood permalink
    July 13, 2010 3:59 am

    “Catholics with taste” I believe is how Fr Reid put it in an earlier post. I appreciate a beautiful liturgy as well, and believe we should offer our best to the Lord. How is winking at and blessing sin offering our best to the Lord? If you are comfortable all the time at your parish, something is amiss.

  14. Stephen permalink
    July 14, 2010 6:25 am

    I’m not sure which sin Mister Harwood thinks is being “winked at and Blessed” much less who he thinks is doing the winking and blessing, so I’ll leave that alone, but I would like to address his closing comment in the post above “If you are comfortable all the time at your parish, something is amiss”. I couldn’t agree more, so isn’t Father Reid doing his job when he points out anti-Gay bigotry within the Church? Isn’t any good pastor supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable? Or was it mere coincidence that our Lord chose prostitutes and Samaritans to illustrate His points as he preached?

  15. Gary C permalink
    July 14, 2010 5:56 pm

    I am currently reading a new book called Paul Among the People by Sarah Ruden which sheds new insights onto issues such as homosexuality and the place of women in church and society. Unless the pauline letters are read in the context of the time *and culture* in which they were written, modern readers will and definately have misunderstood them. Paul was not the grumpy hater of women, gay people, and pleasure that he is made out to be. I highly recommend it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Among-People-Reinterpreted-Reimagined/dp/0375425012/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1279129736&sr=1-1

    • July 15, 2010 1:05 pm

      Sounds like typical mainline sophistry, well-meant as political correctness is essentially Christian charity knocked off course from Christian theology. (But the Episcopalians are still a Christian denomination for now.)

      But… have the churches that have adopted this rebounded from their decline? Did Roman Catholic women and gays flock to the Episcopal Church? I know some do convert. I mean a wave of conversions and lots of second- etc. generation members as the happy convert women beget new Episcopalians.

  16. Gary C permalink
    July 15, 2010 8:08 pm

    Fogey, being Gay is NOT a sin and I RESENT being compared to the disease of alcoholism. God made us the way we are and our love and relationships are just as good and ‘holy’ as anyone else’s. It might help if religious bigots would crack open a science book occasionally and discover homosexuality AND long term homosexual pair-bonding are quite prevalent in the animal kingdom, a part of the natural order of things and obviously not a ‘sin’. The only sin is the toxically shaming rhetoric that people in the Church like you have dumped on us for centuries and are still driving more than a few young gay and lesbian people to suicide. You and the Church will have to answer to the Almighty some day, for that is the only real sin here. I left the RC church back in the late 60s and recently found my way back to St. Mark’s, which opens its arms to all God’s children and has just started a Gay and Lesbian Fellowship. If it weren’t for Fathers Mullen and Ashcroft (who is, unfortunately, leaving us soon), I wouldn’t be there, nor at any other church.
    And as my final thought, before I leave this thread, with the ever widening, shocking and disgusting revelations of the child abuse, both sexual and physical, and especially the *cover-up* in the Roman Church, they have absolutely lost any shread of moral authority that they may have had left! The Vatican pointing the judgemental finger at LGBT people, while at the same time drumming up that old canard that homosexual=pedophilia and blaming gay priests for their own crimes is the ultimate in Chutzpah!

    • william permalink
      July 15, 2010 8:48 pm

      But… have the churches that have adopted this rebounded from their decline? Did Roman Catholic women and gays flock to the Episcopal Church? I know some do convert. I mean a wave of conversions and lots of second- etc. generation members as the happy convert women beget new Episcopalians.

      I may be wrong, but I think this is more a sociological than a doctrinal issue to a large degree. It wouldn’t matter if the Episcopalians became more or less conservative in regards to most issues–the real issue has to do with upper and upper middle class anglo-saxons, like the upper classes of most societies, not reproducing at a maintenance level, which is a phenomena one can witness today throughout the developed world, most especially in wealthy western-European democracies. I think part of the problem on both sides of the aisle is a misunderstanding about how religious growth and conversion work, and also what the possibilities are–and these are errors you can see in lots of different religions as well. There is not an infinite number of potential converts for any given religion. Sociological literature such as that of Rodney Stark has shown for missionary groups like the Mormons and JWs that, entering into a new country, there is a specific number of people that will potentially be interested in that movement, and not more than that. Once those people have been found and converted, the missionary push is pretty much over, and no large scale growth continues. This is the same issue the Southern Baptists are facing now–there is a specific population that would consider being Souther Baptist, and that population is not growing, and they are not a group that is going to appeal to every American. Episcopalians of all stripes have the same issue–the entirety of America is not a mission field. All gays are not a mission field, or minorities, or women, or anything else–there is a specific demographic of any of these groups that is interested in being an Episcopalian, and not a lot more, just like all other religious groups. What might make a difference is if the members of these demographics started having more children, or adopting, and those children remained in the Church, but huge conversions should not be expected, as that would be hugely exceptional for any religious group, even ones with gigantic missionary forces actively seeking converts. I saw a chart recently that compared Episcopal dioceses declining in population, which I will grant is extreme, with that of RC dioceses, and there were a lot of parallels in the percentages if not numbers, since clearly all the RC areas were much bigger. All of the fastest growing religions–particularly the Amish, Orthodox Jews, and some Muslim populations, have really high birth rates, and that is mainly what accounts for their growth. You can chart birth rates fairly closely with denominational expansion or decline–Mormons have stopped having so many children recently, and have accordingly stopped expanding so quickly. I think TEC faces the same issue as many modern Jewish denominations of appealing to its base better and maintaining enough ‘cultural tension’ to seem attractive, interesting, and distinctive enough to be meaningful an maintain enthusiasm.

      Basically, I am not sure opinions about gays or women make the difference we imagine all the time, and that most, or a very large percentage, of the women and gays who were interested have already been converted. I think teachings about birth control and family size, if they are actually observed, are some of the few teachings that make any difference in denominational health, at least from my perusal of the literature on the subject.

      • william permalink
        July 15, 2010 9:01 pm

        Not exactly. Someone Father and I know well was born and raised in one of the Restoration churches, the Churches of Christ, Campbell’s movement. They, Mormonism and smaller Smith-based groups were part of the same early-1800s trend but Campbell’s movement and Smith’s were nothing to do with each other directly. Some of the early Churches of Christ people left for the Mormons, which the Churches of Christ have never forgotten.
        Smith changed his theology a few times; the final version that’s Mormonism today is no longer Christian (they’re henotheists, believing in many gods but worshipping only one) but culturally blends in with the Protestantism it came from; JWs likewise arguably are cultural Protestants but non-Christians. As of course is true of the Unitarians.

        Unless I misunderstand, I don’t think that’s entirely correct. Joseph Smith made one of his first big conversions after his initial family and relatives in Sidney Rigdon’s Campbellite congregation. So there is an historical relationship in terms of where his converts came from. Pre-Nauvoo Mormonism, particularly the Kirtland Temple ritual have strong organic influences from Rigdon’s Campellite theology. Smith’s later interaction with Freemasonry and the effloresence of Nauvoo period theology obscure the earlier forms of Mormonism, which were much more clearly Protestant. The reason Smith got so many converts quickly is he appealed to a sense of longing for authority in those groups. Campbell also interacted with Smith in an early publication, and felt threatened by his claims.

        Mormon theology per Brigham young is henotheistic. God means both an office and a person. ‘God’ is the communal office of all exalted persons who act with one will, authority, and power. It is monothestic in the way Heber describes Shintoism as being monotheistic. Also, Orson Pratt–the Seer–, and Brigham Henry Robert’s–doctrine of the godhead–do try to preserve a form of pantheistic monotheism which parallels Smartist Hindu conceptions. I see a lot of this sort of idea in the modern Boggernacle. You have to remember that there is no such thing as creedal theology in the same way you have it in most forms of Apostolic Christianity. Also look at Ostler’s Exploring Mormon Thought series to get a different, more traditional concept of the Trinity.

  17. william permalink
    July 15, 2010 9:04 pm

    also, the confusion may be the term Restorationist–it is used in academic literature to refer to either Campbell’s group, or the Mormon family of Churches. Mormon’s use it to mean the RESTORATION–capital R–which Smith is held to have begun. Mormons definitely use it of themselves and describe other Mormon groups like the Cutterlites, Strangites, RDLS etc. with this adjective.

  18. July 15, 2010 9:19 pm

    Joseph Smith made one of his first big conversions after his initial family and relatives in Sidney Rigdon’s Campbellite congregation. So there is an historical relationship in terms of where his converts came from.

    Thanks for the detailed history. That’s what I meant by:

    Some of the early Churches of Christ people left for the Mormons.

    You wrote:

    Mormon theology per Brigham Young is henotheistic.

    Right AFAIK, which is Mormonism by definition as Roman Catholic means under Rome (one’s bishop is listed in the Annuario Pontificio).

    Like Rome has the sedevacantists (‘there has been no true Pope since Pius XII’) and Orthodoxy its true-believer splinters (‘the Gregorian calendar is evil so anybody in communion with people who use it is outside the true church’), the Mormons have splinters like Warren Jeffs’s that made the news a while back.

    (Polygyny is Mormon doctrine; the US government interfered in religion by coercing the official Mormons to give up the practice as a condition for Utah to be admitted as a US state. Groups like Jeffs’s still practise it. Except for the abuse, fine with me. If that’s what your faith teaches and you can support more than one wife, go for it.)

    And of course there’s the Reorganized Church, recently renamed the Community of Christ, in which Smith’s own family didn’t go along with his later non-Christian phase. Smith’s family ran it until they died out in the 20th century IIRC. Essentially these are mainlinish Protestants who happen to believe in the Book of Mormon and have a few Mormonish titles in their ranks but, unlike the Jeffs-like groups, they don’t call themselves Mormons.

    • william permalink
      July 16, 2010 2:46 am

      Mormon theology per Brigham Young is henotheistic.
      Right AFAIK, which is Mormonism by definition as Roman Catholic means under Rome (one’s bishop is listed in the Annuario Pontificio).
      Like Rome has the sedevacantists (‘there has been no true Pope since Pius XII’) and Orthodoxy its true-believer splinters (‘the Gregorian calendar is evil so anybody in communion with people who use it is outside the true church’), the Mormons have splinters like Warren Jeffs’s that made the news a while back.

      I’m talking about the Brighamite Church–Brigham Young and Orson Pratt had a debate in the early 19th century about who was an appropriate object of worship. Smith’s statements in the King Follett Discourse, the Sermon in the Grove, and the Book of Abraham are vague enough to leave several interpretations. Pratt believed, following I suppose Joseph Smith in the lectures on faith, that there was a god essence composed of semi-aware spirit particles called intelligences, which united all exalted persons, and that what we worship is actually the eternal virtues of that nascent, eternally-existent god membrane. That is as monotheistic as traditional Vaishnava monotheism, or modern Smartist conceptions of monotheism. I was just reading a discussion on this the other day–many would agree with the Henotheistic conception, and some would not, but there is not one ‘Mormon’ position on this. That’s not how LDS theology works. There are no catechisms like Aquinas.

      Nevertheless, there are definitely Mormon academics like Blake Ostler that do not accept the idea that there are endless gods–in his books, Ostler identifies the social trinity of the godhead as the only god which has ever existed, and sees exalted men as removed in degree from the Trinitarian godhead. This is also an acceptable opinion, if not as common. Mormonism has no catechism besides the Four Standard Works and the Articles of Faith, the latter of which speak only very generally of believing in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

      (Polygyny is Mormon doctrine; the US government interfered in religion by coercing the official Mormons to give up the practice as a condition for Utah to be admitted as a US state. Groups like Jeffs’s still practise it. Except for the abuse, fine with me. If that’s what your faith teaches and you can support more than one wife, go for it.)

      Polygyny is only Mormon ‘doctrine’ in the temple, in the sense that men can be sealed to multiple lives, it was suspended as an earthly dispensation in 1890 by the manifesto of Woodruff Wilson, and then more firmly implemented in the early 20th century. I have the sense it is a popular belief that polygamy will be instituted in the Millennium. The Book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon and Doctrines and Covenants 132 allow for it as a practice under God’s command, but the soteriological theorizing on this belongs to the early Utah period. There is currently no official position about whether it was an eternal or temporary, priesthood or only church law. It is as much ‘doctrine’ as Adam-god, the limited knowledge of God, the mark of Cain priesthood band, hemispheric geography of the Book of Mormon, blood atonement, second anointings and other ideas are doctrine. Mormon theology is very similar to Orthodox theology–there is a lot of folk practice and little defined dogma. Mormons also believe in continuing revelation, and that God has an indeterminate knowledge of the future, so more can be revealed, and God can change His mind.

      And of course there’s the Reorganized Church, recently renamed the Community of Christ, in which Smith’s own family didn’t go along with his later non-Christian phase. Smith’s family ran it until they died out in the 20th century IIRC. Essentially these are mainlinish Protestants who happen to believe in the Book of Mormon and have a few Mormonish titles in their ranks but, unlike the Jeffs-like groups, they don’t call themselves Mormons.

      That’s correct, but that doesn’t mean the Mormons are a sort of Protestant or not Christian, though you may not consider them Orthodox. The Marcionites, Ebionites, Socinians, and other non-Trinitarian groups were considered heterodox Christianities, just as Alevi/Yezidi and Druze are considered heterodox Muslims despite introducing new prophets, holy books, and religious practices onto some form of Shi’ite or Sunni Islam. There has been a massive push in the LDS heirarchy in recent years to emphasize similarities with Evangelicalism. I have a very high regard for the LDS individuals I have known in my life and have experienced their commitment to Christ. I don’t think the complicated issues with henotheism and social Trinitarianism make any difference in this regard.

  19. Bromartin permalink
    July 18, 2010 12:06 am

    la'[ksjf

  20. Bromartin permalink
    July 18, 2010 12:10 am

    Pls excuse the hicough. Testing

    • Bromartin permalink
      July 18, 2010 1:51 am

      Gay clergy are a “blessing” to their flock, presumably because, if one is understood to be gay, it follows that, of course, he is celibate (especially if he says so).
      Well anyway…one of the early responses to this posting was from a fellow who innocently questioned the character and direction of the moderator’s parish. It seems that he found unbelievable the thought that a devotional shrine parish with magnificent and careful ongoing liturgy would have any insurgency of special interests infecting its orthodox and catholic appearance of practice. I don’t think the moderator ever intended to create a scrap; however, what followed was a series of presumtive, condescending, defensive and even belittling cultural and sociological mumbo-jumbo. With each lofty and demeaning statement from all around, our friend simply stated the truth of the Catholic faith, as he understood it, based upon Holy Scripture and two thousand years of Tradition. He soon found that he was alone, a “still, small voice,” as a multitude went on to explain characterizations of stratified sexuality within the various quarters of Christian expression, and especially that of “Anglo-Catholics.”
      I could only think of the “Episcopal Church” parishes, including that of my youth, where, in recent years Clergy have been called (or sent), only to arrive with a “partner,” to live together in the rectory, and to model for and lead the flock !? What of the children, who are deposited into the Sunday School for at least 45 minutes to and hour each week? Do these children have any understanding of the “faith of our fathers?” Do the parents know or care what is being taught? Do the teachers know what to teach? Do the clergy know what is being taught? My wife and I completed twenty-four years as catechists. We went through many of the basics, and beyond (God’s Grace and sanctification, Baptism, Eucharist and the liturgy, Penance and Reconciliation in some detail, as well as discussions of the other Sacraments, the Creeds, and various sacramental and devotional material). In the final year, there was a disconnect between the candidates, their family matters, and our terms of instruction. No longer was there a core of curious, participating kids – but only one or two to a class, and overall indifference shown through poor attendance. In the end, only a wordsearch or other game would hold any attention. “Anglicanism,” as modeled in the “Episcopal Church” sect, is reeling from the interests of modernism, and has become a breeding ground for “whatever.” It has entertaining or fun liturgy, and plays with Christian Church history, depending, of course, upon particular local custom (or persuasion?).
      Who will guard the faith? Isn’t it interesting how Bishop Keith Ackerman was recently retired from his position as Secretary General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament? It seems that, in the final words of the constitution of the CBS, members must be “Catholics” in the Episcopal Church. How wonderful it is that Mrs. Schori, herself, was so guided and governed by the Holy Spirit, that she informed the bishop in a letter that he should leave. We are indeed fortunate to have her on watch to protect against the likes of Keith Ackerman. Her concern with these devotional societies is refreshing, no?

      Well, I guess there goes my life membership too !

      • July 18, 2010 6:32 pm

        Gay clergy are a “blessing” to their flock, presumably because, if one is understood to be gay, it follows that, of course, he is celibate (especially if he says so).

        Celibate means not married. Which of course is better than being dishonest with a wife.

        But I agree with your point. While most of the time orientation shouldn’t even be an issue, if it comes up, an openly gay (as in honest with himself and whoever else’s business it is) priest can be a good witness to ‘deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me’, trying to lead the same life of celibacy and abstinence/continence (commonly miscalled celibacy) as the laity who have this problem are called to do by the Catholic faith.

        (To the angry mainliners shouting, ‘It’s not a problem! How dare you!’ I say I’m a libertarian and thus defend your right to have your own church that teaches it’s something good with same-sex weddings etc. But like Mr Daniels here I don’t buy the disconnect, to put it nicely, between teaching that, like many other Episcopalians do, and affecting the fine trappings of pre-conciliar Roman Catholicism. But I appreciate Anglo-Catholicism’s way of being understanding about that sin. Part of the patrimony that in its charity agrees entirely with the magisterium and thus should have a place in the ordinariates soon.)

        What of the children, who are deposited into the Sunday School for at least 45 minutes to and hour each week?

        Often not a problem as such churches tend not to have many children in them, in part because homosex doesn’t beget them. Some such churches no longer have Sunday schools.

        “Anglicanism,” as modeled in the “Episcopal Church” sect, is reeling from the interests of modernism, and has become a breeding ground for “whatever.”

        Yes but that’s not news. Don’t blame the gays, the girl clergy, the Spongs or the Pikes. As a friend commented in my blog: ‘PECUSA’s house-theology was, from the beginning, far more eclectic and “diverse” and “liberal” than the continuers understand or appreciate, but never quite as liberal and apostate as it is now.’ Widespread personal unbelief has been common in Anglicanism since the ‘Enlightenment’ shattered many English people’s Calvinist faith. But then, as now, it’s still a Christian denomination for the time being. But, as everything there is up for a vote, that can always change.

        It has entertaining or fun liturgy, and plays with Christian Church history, depending, of course, upon particular local custom (or persuasion?).

        That’s long been the Episcopal Church’s brand appeal in mainline Protestantism: just like the others but with taste/class/snob appeal and putting on some of the airs of antiquity that are the apostolic churches’ (Rome and the East) birthright.

        Regarding Bishop Ackerman, fair enough. You reminded me that yes, the CBS’s membership rules say ‘practising Catholics who are members of or in communion with the Episcopal Church’. I defend all churches’ rights to govern themselves and to their property.

        BTW at least in American etiquette anybody with an earned doctorate has the right to the title so it’s Dr Schori (or Bishop Schori or the Presiding Bishop if she prefers – like with Methodist etc. bishops, no need to get into a fight about that; the denominational adjective is the only explanation you need) not Mrs Schori (that’s become kind of a conservative Anglican shibboleth but it’s still wrong as well as rude).

  21. Jeff Ezell, PhD permalink
    July 18, 2010 5:25 pm

    As far as I know, Bishop Ackerman has, albeit post-retirement, abandoned the Episcopal Church for whatever ecclesial community the secessionist Diocese of Quincy has now affiliated itself with. It thus makes no sense for him to serve as the superior general of the TEC branch of the CBS. Maybe the right reverend gentleman would like to organise a chapter of the CBS for his particular group of former Episcopalians.

    • July 18, 2010 6:38 pm

      Again regarding Bishop Ackerman, fair enough (he left!), but this remark on Quincy and its new church is only condescending. I think everybody here knows which church that is, the so-called Anglican Church in North America under Archbishop Duncan in Pittsburgh. (Unless Lambeth lets them in, they’re not Anglicans.) And Roman Catholics appreciate the irony of Anglicans getting snippy about secession. (Rowan, the nuncio’s on Line 1; he wants the keys to your cathedral back.)

      • Bromartin permalink
        July 18, 2010 9:09 pm

        Fogey,
        I really appreciate your very open interpretation of much of my text. My opening remark was a rather facetious and over simplified once-over of whatever the hazy point of this conversation is!

  22. Brian Daniels permalink
    July 18, 2010 9:17 pm

    This has been an interesting thread as it has progressed, but it has wandered far from my original concerns. I have come to the following conclusions from these replies:

    1) As a Christian with a Catholic and Orthodox understanding of the Faith, I would disagree with St. Clement’s Church (and the rest of the Episcopal Church) on many issues of sexuality, the status of Apostolic teaching and the merits of Holy Tradition.

    2) According to Terry Porter, as such, I would not be welcome at St. Clement’s.

    3) Apparently, no dissent is acceptable from the “gay-is-okay” line at St. Clement’s or the Episcopal Church, even when that dissent is rooted in Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the Apostles’ teachings.

    4) St. Clement’s has elevated modern philosophy and psychiatry to a status equal to the Apostles, Scripture, and Holy Tradition.

    These statementes being true, and verifiable by remarks by others in this blog, I should probably not interfere with this dialogue (or St. Clement’s Church) any longer. God forgive me for offending anyone.

    • July 18, 2010 9:43 pm

      Mr Daniels:

      3. ‘Same-sex sex is not a sin but objectively a good thing’ is all but doctrine in the Episcopal Church now (pretty much old hat in mainline seminaries); now that most of their relative conservatives have left I imagine the Episcopalians’ next General Convention will make it doctrine by majority vote as is their way. (Imagine if Congress had power unlimited by a Constitution.) They have every right to, and to enforce their new teaching among themselves, and I wish them well: just like Catholics have the right to be and enforce their doctrine among themselves, without interference.

      4. S. Clement’s has people with different opinions but it belongs to a mainline denomination that does just that.

  23. July 18, 2010 9:35 pm

    You’re welcome. I think the original point is underneath S. Clement’s conservative trappings, Canon Reid is fine with partnered gay clergy etc., just like many/most other Episcopalians, and he believes, as I do, that Dean John was treated badly by his former friends in the hierarchy for church politics’ sake.

  24. Paul Goings permalink
    July 19, 2010 12:12 am

    I would offer a reminder to Mr Daniels and the other commenters that “The Rev’d W. Gordon Canon Reid” != “S. Clement’s, Philadelphia,” although his opinions are certainly shared by some members of the parish.

    • July 19, 2010 4:10 am

      Paul is quite right: my views on this or any other subject are my own, and not those of every member of my parish. And that is true of every parish I have known. Imagine a Roman Catholic priest writing in his blog against contraception – 95% of his parishioners would just smile and shrug. Imagine a Scottish Presbyterian minister saying that Bishops would be a good thing for a united Church of Scotland. A good number of his parishioners would be scandalized.

      St Clement’s has many gay members, as comments to this blog have demonstrated. But it also has young heterosexual married couples and single people who may or may not be celibate. Every one of them is a child of God and destined for eternal life with him. The heterosexual (presumably!)
      prostitute will enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the Pharisees, said Jesus (and she couldn’t go to Confession). So I expect the promiscuous homosexual will enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the pharisaical Bishop who exposed children to pedophile priests.

      Fundamentalist Protestants are welcome to their interpretation of the Christian religion, sad though I find it. Roman Catholics are welcome to their interpretation of the Christian religion, alarming though I find it, and (so Young Fogey doesn’t feel left out!) Eastern Orthodox are welcome to their interpretation of the Christian religion (seductively authentic and ancient though I find it). But I am content with the Anglican Via Media which welcomes Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox, as well as some of the wilder new varieties of Christian worship, into a loving fellowship.

      I grew up in the highest wing of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and my allegiance still lies there. But I have not been confined to Anglo-Catholic parishes, especially as Vicar General of the Anglican Diocese of Europe and Archdeacon of Italy & Malta (not to mention Dean of Gibraltar!).
      And this wider experience of the Anglican Church has convinced me that our gifts and charisms are the kind of Christianity closest to the Gospel ideal.

      • Bromartin permalink
        July 19, 2010 3:58 pm

        This has been quite a conversation! Thank-you, Mr. Daniels, for standing up, under fire, for the Catholic and Orthodox faith. It seems that his initial thoughts have taken a 180 degree turn in the last two week. Thanks to JB, the Young Fogey, whose articulations are solid and resolved. (His blog is comprehensive and fascinating.)
        …and thanks to Canon Reid, who laid these questions on the line for us. He is the “real thing.” FWIW, I would say that his rather anti RC asides are a bit unbecoming, but he’s a true Anglican, somehow reconciled in its “genius,” or is it a fog.
        I had a dream for years about how, one day, the larger part of Anglicanism would reunify with the greater catholic church. What ever happened to the “three-legged stool, let alone any firm dedication to catechesis? My wife and I have moved on, in our journey, as we’ve seen the “dream” fall into the hands of CEO and COO types, professionals who hold power in what has become little more than a social club. Sadly, we must understand how our friend, the YF, sees the “Episcopal Church,” and Anglicanism in genersl, and how it must be, at least recognized and honored for what it is and how its “doctrine” has evolved.

      • August 5, 2010 12:07 pm

        Paul and this blog’s title bring up a good point, something that all clergy who go online deal with: which role is one assuming at the moment when writing? I think somewhere here Father’s made that distinction so I’ve always read this blog as his own views and not the parish’s.

        But it’s ‘Saintclementsblog’ not ‘W. Gordon Reid’ for example.

        I should think ‘Saintclementsblog’ would be a bulletin board/diary of parish events and essays on things in the church year and of course on what makes S. Clement’s now almost unique among Episcopal churches: using the 1954 Roman Rite (partly in English). (I think the only other one that does something like that is Resurrection, NYC.) Which you’ll find here of course.

        But, Father, if your views online aren’t necessarily the views of the church groups you also represent – SC’s, the Diocese of PA and the Episcopal Church (but they seem the same as TEC’s, perfectly meet and right for an Episcopal priest in good standing) – then a second blog not under the parish’s name might be better for that.

  25. July 23, 2010 10:34 pm

    I note that the original post describes Fr. John as in a “celibate” same-sex relationship, and I have seen the same in many articles about the Dean of Saint Albans. But I’m wondering if that might be a misleading description.

    While it is technically true that he is celibate (“unmarried”), I understand he did have a civil union with his partner which is the closest thing to a same-sex marriage in England at the moment. I haven’t heard if they would want to be “married” to each other if that was available or not.

    I’ve always taken this reference to his celibacy as a misnamed assertion that he wants to remain chaste in this relationship. But then there are things that are confusing to me about that as well. If he wants more than a friendship (a sexual relationship but without the sex), is that really a pursuit of chastity? And of course, if he counsels and teaches others that there is no need to remain chaste, then what difference does it make anyway?

    Anyone know if he has written about these questions?

    • Bromartin permalink
      July 25, 2010 12:18 am

      So…we have questions of a sexual relationship “without the sex,” or a sexual relationship with the sex. We have two distinct categories (or options) here, right? How very “Anglican.” It seems that discussions in “Anglicanism” always break down finally to what, which, and how much is appropriate before any further discussion goes on. A twenty question follow-up might be issued, and each item may be answered (by everyone in the committee or convention) according to one’s position, politics, churchmanship, social conscience, etc. etc.) simply answering RARELY or SOMETIMES or OFTEN (Never & Always having been eliminated based upon the third leg of the Anglican “stool” and the ultimate reaction against any hint of authoritarianism.

  26. ambly permalink
    July 24, 2010 2:22 pm

    “a sexual relationship but without the sex” How interesting. How does that work exactly?

    I see no needed contradiction between having a civil union with the physical aspects being set aside in the interest of celibacy. I have no reason to doubt his sincerity.

    • Bromartin permalink
      July 25, 2010 12:24 am

      …So these are sort of like beloved roommates?

      • July 27, 2010 10:18 pm

        That would be my guess, but I haven’t heard any explanation–just that they have a civil union and are “celibate.” Again, anyone know if Fr. John has written about it?

  27. Laura permalink
    August 4, 2010 3:26 am

    mr. Daniels,

    with all charity, and with all my prayers, i have two words for you: Anglicanorum Coetibus. From your posts, it seems that what you seek is consistency, unity, a fulness of faith which recognizes the need for offering our best to the Lord through Liturgy and worship but which does not compromise the faith as handed down to us through the Scriptures, the early Fathers, and tradition. Yes, i know. they will tell you Rome is full of hypocrites, sexual deviants. We don’t have a “shred of credibility” to our name. and all that. Considering the founder of our Church abandoned our Lord in the garden, blatantly denied Him repeatedly, and abandoned Him at the cross, all I have to say is thank God the good Lord promised the Devil would never prevail.

    I will be praying for you and, if you are in the Philadelphia area, I pray that you would remain open to attending St. Paul’s in South Philly, Our Lady of Lourdes in west Philly, or the Carmelite Monastery in north Philly.

    May Mary keep you in her arms and guide you to her Son.

    To Gary c:

    I have seen this argument made many times, and I must confess I do not quite follow. Animals do all sorts of things that we, as humans, hold ourselves above, or strive to. They eat their young. Eat themselves to death. Euthanize themselves… the list goes on and on. I just don’t see your analogy as holding any water to prove a point one way or the other. just because “animals do it too” certainly does not mean it’s part of the “natural order”, nor does it mean that we, as humans, should join in. Hopefully, though, if you were heterosexual you would not use contraception since, last time i checked in my science textbook, I did not see any studies showing animals engaging in contracepted sexual behavior.

    To the rector of the Church: you mentioned in your post that the church used to bless same sex relationships. I’m interested in knowing more about that, if you wouldn’t mind giving some more information. Thanks.

  28. Denys permalink
    August 4, 2010 8:50 pm

    Well done, Father! It is a bit rum to object to JJ for a diocese that had Mervyn Stockwood. There is an un-Anglican nastyness in sections of Anglicanism today. As a member of a certain Episcopal church in Tollcross, Edinburgh which is also open to all, has the best possible Catholic liturgy and teaches the faith, I hope St Clement’s continues to flourish.

    • August 5, 2010 11:49 am

      As a member of a certain Episcopal church in Tollcross, Edinburgh which is also open to all…

      As somebody born closer to 45 years ago than yesterday of course I know that’s code but I’ll play literal: St Peter’s Basilica’s open to all.

  29. Denys permalink
    August 5, 2010 5:48 pm

    O.K. Y.F., it is indeed code, and 45 is truly an excellent vintage. In the sensus litteralis I did indeed mean that the church is open to all like St Peter’s, but also that Christians are not excluded from the altar (which symbolises Christ) because of their sexuality, relationship status, or denomination, nor from service at the same altar because of their sexuality or gender. Now of course this is not to say that people might be excluded for a time, according to the canons, because of public and obstinate sin…… And I have never seen dogs and cats at the altar rails.

  30. Clint permalink
    August 5, 2010 6:12 pm

    What is so hilarious to me is how sex-obsessed those who “hold the Apostolic faith” really are. What is the Apostolic Faith, after all? Who can really know this, why do 21st Cent. Americans even trust the narrative of 3rd Cent. Romans and others who managed to burn and run underground and who worked very hard to erase every voice and writing of those who couldn’t come to the same conclusions about the Invisible as they did? What’s so great about these folks that we want to accept their conclusions and legacy wholesale and without question?

    Someone keeps bringing up the kids. Well, the kids don’t care if you don’t. The problem is that our culture is so sexualized now that you perverts can’t stop thinking about what goes on behind doors when two gay men live together, and are afraid your kids do too, will ask questions, then you’ll have to be in the position of answering them. Actually, most straight people think they know, but have no idea, not really. It’s not some perverted version of what straight people do, it is something altogether different. A gay men DOES NOT lie with a man as a straight man would with a woman, for that truly would be an abomination!

    Animals kill other animals violently and mercilessly every day. Little parasites eat other animals from the inside out in a slow death every day. Children die from bone cancer every day. Be alarmed at having to explain a good God to your kids at these hard truths, rather than the fact that a small minority of us need sexual fulfillment from consenting adults of the same gender as we. Does the blanket statement “Fallen Creation” really sum it up for y’all? Really? Well let me tell you something, that don’t cut it. Not at all. I care way too much to be an atheist, but your conventional “Apostolic Faith” explanations of reality and conventional concerns with morality seem less and less catholic and more and more irrelevant, unnecessary and life-taking. The Jesus I still by some true, undeserved Grace meet in the Eucharist, I cannot reconcile with the official explanations about what he means and what he wants.

    • Bromartin permalink
      August 6, 2010 8:06 pm

      Maybe it’s time to split off from the heading of this blog, but it continues to reach out for explanation from so many.
      Clint: Is your point such as to say that an individual’s faith and practice is an exercise in experiental evolution?

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