Saturday, 1 August 2009

Archbishops letter

Following the American General Convention the Archbishop of Caterbury has written that:

    9. In other words, the question is not a simple one of human rights or human dignity. It is that a certain choice of lifestyle has certain consequences. So long as the Church Catholic, or even the Communion as a whole does not bless same-sex unions, a person living in such a union cannot without serious incongruity have a representative function in a Church whose public teaching is at odds with their lifestyle. ...

My concern about this statement is that it seems to imply that only those who fully live the Gospel are allowed to have a representative function in the Church. Now call me picky, but I don't think any of us achieve that. I know of one priest who says that churches should have a big banner over the door - sinners only - and I believe that that applies to the priests too. I also liked the story of the priest who was asked whether he was a Christian and he said "I'm trying to be". Having googled this I know that there are a large body of people who will say that being a Christian is about grace - fine - so what makes people ineligible for a representative role?

Or is this something to do with hypocrisy? Many of our other sins are hidden and known only to us. If someone is living in such a union, but hides the fact, does that make them fit for a representative function? I would argue not and that the action of the Americans is at least honest about where they stand in a way that the CofE isn't.

For me a large part of being a priest is about an openness and honesty about who I am - hiding away parts of myself for fear of what others might think or say is to me denying God - and yet I find myself doing it. But at least I confess it and don't make a policy out of it.

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