Friday, 9 March 2007

Porvoo Churches consultation on Same-sex blessings

Ed: apologies for not picking this up earlier! It means the Church of England is currently in Communion with a national church which authorizes and performs same-sex blessings, despite the sanctions hanging over TEC if they do the same. Paradoxical, I think.

Kyrkans Tidning
reports that thirty representatives of churches in the Porvoo (BorgÄ) Agreement will meet Monday [December 18th 2006] in Sigtuna for three days of consultation about the order for blessing homosexual partnerships recently adopted by the Church of Sweden.

There will be no public declarations or decisions emanating from the meeting.

Read the original post here.


Blair said...

Hello John,

just to add to your editorial comment: the C of E is itself a national church which performs same-sex blessings, albeit of course not authorised. (See for example a news story on from 22 Nov 2004). This reminds me of a comment (can't remember where from) about the problem for the church(es) with the gay issue being honesty, not sex. It appears to be OK for the C of E to carry on covertly, but not for TEC to carry on at all... is this too cynical?

Maybe I should say that I'm not trying to demand integrity - it would be rank hypocrisy if I did - guess I'm partly building on your point that it looks somewhat inconsistent. Yet maybe, given how fractious and polarised the 'debate' has become, such inconsistency is part of working through the mess... though I can imagine it won't make things any easier. It's imaginable that some in TEC might want to know why the C of E is keeping so quiet.

I think I'm meandering a bit but want to say that talk of honesty / integrity in relation to the gay issue gives rise to some hard questions. Hard questions to myself, given how falteringly I'm moving toward being able to be honest. Hard questions to those who turn a blind eye to same-sex blessings in English dioceses (if this is indeed what is happening) but are involved in 'disciplining' TEC for doing something very similar. Hard questions for the church, in discerning together what is true about being gay (you know where I'm coming from on that one...).

I'm wondering if it's possible that such questions could be raised mercifully, not as ammunition. But somehow, at some time, questions about integrity / truth will have to be asked, surely?

in friendship, Blair

Revd John P Richardson said...

I understand that the current Rector of St Luke's Charlton, where 'gay blessings' were pioneered in the 1970s, was told by the Bishop of Southwark that he could go on holding prayers for gay couples, but could not use the word "bless" in these.

Casuistry? Or a genuine attempt to offer 'pastoral prayer' according to the conscience of the minister but within the guidelines laid down by the Church?

Clearly, there are many clergy - including many within the Diocese of Southwark - who are ready and able to thumb their noses at their bishops with regard to their manner of life.

On the other hand, it is clear that the CofE is formally committed against authorising blessings for Civil Partnerships.

As to discipline and honesty, the CofE has had a poor track record in many departments in this regard for at least a century and a half. It is an institutional problem.