Saturday, May 3, 2008

 

20 of 114 Church of England Bishops Homosexual

I've come across a variety of items which point to the Church of England being heavily infiltrated by homosexual clergy. I became interested after reading a good book, Last Rites, by a homosexual ex-vicar who is perceptive in some ways and blind in others. It makes a good read, as he talks about the virtues of tolerance while also talking about how in the past evangelical clergy were quiet because they were afraid to talk and about how he called the police in to harass another pastor who wrote him criticizing his homosexual ways.

What surprises me most, though, is what a large fraction of the clergy and bishops are known homosexuals. Perhaps I shouldn't be; for Anglo-Catholics, it is a chance to dress up in fancy garb and pretend to be a priest. One can be an actor, organist, or singer and get paid for it.

Damian Thompson writes:

A leading Anglican source has told me how many Church of England bishops are easily identifiable as gay. The answer is 20, he says, out of 114 diocesan and suffragan bishops....

I wanted to find out because an extraordinary article has appeared in this week's Church of England Newspaper claiming - quite correctly - that the C of E is the most gay-friendly Church in the world, easily outstripping any other province of the Anglican Communion.

That is because its bishops routinely ignore their own official guidelines on homosexuality - and especially civil partnerships.

The article is by Christopher Morgan, a well-connected religious commentator who, many years ago, was best man at Rowan Williams's wedding. It's a good piece - he has done his homework - but it will shock some of the Church of England Newspaper's evangelical readers.

It is not available free online, so let me quote the relevant passage. The background is that, according to a House of Bishops' "pastoral statement", a bishop is supposed to inquire into the nature of a priest's gay relationship, to ensure that it is non-sexual, before giving a civil partnership his approval.

Morgan writes: "I do not think even one bishop has enquired into the bedroom arrangements of clergy in civil partnerships, ...

Morgan goes on to talk about gay bishops in the Church, and says that George Carey told him on tape that he had ordained at least two. In fact, Dr Carey actually named the two bishops. One of the names came as no surprise, since (if my memory serves me) the bishop had, as a priest, once served as a judge for Mr Gay UK.

From My time at homo-erotic college, The Spectator Dec 7, 1996 by Oddie, William:

Some theological colleges have been traditionally more noted for sodomy than others, though it is probably not too much to say that it is normal in all of them, with the possible exception of some evangelical establishments. The most famous of all used to be St Stephen's House, Oxford (known to its alumni as 'Staggers'), where 20 years ago I was in training for the Anglican priesthood, and where (despite a much publicised purge carried out by the then principal, Father David Hope, now Archbishop of York) I estimated that fully two thirds were openly homosexual, many without doubt actively so.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere at Staggers in my day was certainly more discreet than the overt queening about of the pre-Hope regime, which had been exacerbated by huge quantities of gin - the Reverend Kenneth Leech, a former St Stephen's House student (or `Staggers bag') of this period, described the ethos of AngloCatholicism as `gin, lace and backbiting'. A hardly exaggerated portrait of Staggers at this time is to be found in A.N. Wilson's novel Unguarded Hours (Mr Wilson is a former Staggers bag).

Father Hope had forbidden drinking (except for a pusillanimous glass of bad sherry after Sunday mass) and had thrown out the lace together with all the beautiful old Latin vestments. He had made a connection between elaborate liturgy and queening about, and there was now in force a regime of unrelieved liturgical austerity.

But the centrepiece of Father Hope's reforms had been the supposed purge of the rampant homosexuality of previous years, which had caused such a scandal that Staggers had nearly been closed down. Things had been just as bad at Cuddesdon, the prestigious theological college known for its `old-school mitre' -just outside Oxford, where Robert Runcie had once been principal. There was some resentment at Staggers that they and not Cuddesdon had attracted notoriety; it was rumoured that Cuddesdon had escaped public obloquy because its own scandals had been hushed up by the then Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Reverend Kenneth Woollcombe, who lived nearby.

At any rate, Father Hope's widely bruited blitz on the queens had the desired effect, and Staggers survived ( to become a hotbed of radical feminism following women's ordination)....

This all happened a long time ago. Things in the Church of England are much worse now and it would be almost impossible to threaten a theological college with closure on the grounds that it permitted sodomy. One college (not Anglo-Catholic) even encourages prospective students to bring their 'partner', male or female, to spend the weekend as part of the selection process.

The New Statesman says

...tabloid revelations in September 1994 that the then newly enthroned bishop of Durham, Michael Turnbull, who had condemned gay clergy in loving relationships, had a conviction for cottaging. An ex-monk called Sebastian Sandys outed three more bishops, including the then bishop of Edmonton, Brian Masters, at a debate at Durham University. Meanwhile, Peter Tatchell's OutRage! issued a list of ten gay bishops who had endorsed anti-gay discrimination within the Church. They included the high-profile bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood (who has since died).

The climax of the campaign came in March 1995 when the then bishop of London, David Hope, was named Archbishop of York - the number two post in the Church of England. Under pressure from Tatchell, Hope - who had endorsed the sacking of gay clergy and backed a Children's Society ban on gay foster parents - acknowledged that his own sexuality was a "grey area".

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