Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Scottish Episcopal Church backs gay priests

The BBC, among many other places, is reporting on a statement by the Scottish College of Bishops that the church
"had never regarded the fact that someone was in a close relationship with a member of the same sex as in itself constituting a bar to the exercise of an ordained ministry".

The church says this is not new policy, but simply the first written statement of what until now had been an informal agreement.

Good reaction:
Gay rights group Stonewall welcomed the Scottish church's announcement, a response to a February meeting of 35 world Anglican leaders.

Spokesman Alan Wardle said: "We are not theologians but we welcome the sensible approach taken by the Scottish Episcopal Church.

"It strikes us as a real pity that the Anglican Church has been tearing itself to pieces over what seems a relatively trivial issue when they could be tackling more pressing matters like world poverty or the Aids epidemic."


"The Scottish Episcopal Church offers a far greater degree of support to lesbian and gay people and does so more transparently than any other branch of the Anglican communion in the British Isles," said Richard Kirker, spokesman for the charity Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.

"It should be commended for its progressive and Christian response," he told AFP.

Asked about the English church's position on the issue, Kirker said that it would eventually be forced to follow Scotland's "even if sadly the Church of England becomes more isolated before it catches up with its sisters and brothers across the border."

More: a statement of the traditional Anglican via media:
The Scottish bishops expressed regret at the decision to request the withdrawal of U.S. and Canadian Churches from the ACC.

"We are conscious that as a church we are much indebted in our life both to a significant presence of persons of homosexual orientation, and also those whose theology and stance would be critical of attitudes to sexuality other than abstinence outside marriage."

"We rejoice in both," the bishops' response said.

This complicates things somewhat. The CoE is harder put to portray the churches of the British Isles as peacebrokers between North America, Africa and Asia. It'll be interesting to see if this accelerates calls for schism in the World Communion.


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