Church of England to allow homosexual bishops in civil partnerships

There is a story at CNA/EWTN that made me chuckle a little.

What for what is wrong with this (including the terminology).

London, England, Jan 4, 2013 / 06:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Church of England has decided to permit gay male clergy in civil partnerships to become bishops, provided that they promise to be celibate.  [First, let’s work to get Catholic news services to stop playing into the hands of the homosexualists by using the word “gay”.  Next, do they mean “celibate” (unmarried) or “continent” (not sexually active)?]

“The House (of Bishops) believed it would be unjust to exclude from consideration for the episcopate anyone seeking to live fully in conformity with the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics or other areas of personal life and discipline,” Graham James, Anglican bishop of Norwich, stated Jan. 4.  [So, do they mean “continent”?]

“All candidates for the episcopate undergo a searching examination of personal and family circumstances, given the level of public scrutiny associated with being a bishop in the Church of England.”  [How much public scrutiny do they really get?]

The decision was published Dec. 20, and was made by the Church of England’s House of Bishops earlier that month.

Civil partnerships were introduced in the United Kingdom in 2005, at which time those in civil partnerships were allowed to become priests of the Church of England so long as they promised celibacy. [So… civil partnerships aren’t marriage (thus they are erzatz-marriages.  But are they continent?]


It think this is about not being sexually active.

Thus, will they now require marriage clergy, including married bishops, not to have relations with their wives?

Ah, the Church of England!   Still making irony redundant.

Well, they are the state “church”.  That means that they will, inexorably and inevitably, follow secular trends.  If the whole Western world seems these days to be lurching around in a sodomitic hallucination, the Church of England will have to follow because they are a state church, interwoven with the wisdom of this world.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. I used to be an Episcopalian (and therefore a member of the Anglican Communion). I’m going to offer my Mass this Sunday in thanksgiving for my deliverance.

  2. yatzer says:

    “If the whole Western world seems these days to be lurching around in a sodomitic hallucination…” how very well put, Father!

  3. Jeannie_C says:

    None of what comes out of the Church of England makes any sense to me. They ordain women as “priests” but these women can never become bishops? Then they allow gay clergy to become bishops so long as they refrain from sexual relations with their civil union partners.

    Perhaps some of the problem with this church has to do with its leader who is merely a figurehead. Look who is next in line for this position, an individual married to the woman who was his mistress before during and after his marriage to his first wife (by his own admission).

    Henry VIII was once the head of this church, founded upon disobedience to the Pope, plunder, theft, adultery and murder. History records what he got away with. I think their “church” is about to implode.

  4. Imrahil says:

    The word “celibate”, with (I guess) exception of the French language, has acquired the meaning “continent in unmarried state”. Semantic changes happen; an English speaker does not mean “servant” when he says “knight”.

  5. Gratias says:

    More will cross the Tiber then. Welcome.

  6. Simon_GNR says:

    Fr Z: “It think this is about not being sexually active.

    Thus, will they now require marriage [sic] clergy, including married bishops, not to have relations with their wives?”

    I think it’s about not being engaged in *immoral*, *sinful* sexual activity, rather than about not being sexually inactive per se. When a married member of the Anglican clergy has sexual relations with his/her lawfully wedded spouse he/she is engaged in perfectly legitimate and basically wholesome sexual activity. It’s nonsense to ask whether the Anglican church will forbid married clergy to have sexual relations with their wives [or husbands], as sexual union is of the essence of marriage and Anglican clerics are allowed to be married.

    In reporting on this story, the British media keep talking about a requirement for homosexual bishops to undertake to be “celibate”, which is quite the wrong word. What they mean to say is “chaste”, or “continent” (as Fr. Z has it), or just “sexually inactive”. I can’t explain why 99% of the British media don’t know the correct meaning of the word “celibate” – i.e. “unmarried” – and instead use it to mean “sexually inactive”.

  7. VexillaRegis says:

    And who is going to check what’s going on in the episcopal bedroom? Maybe GPS transmittors on the contrahents would work or hiring the worst gossip in the city as a live in surveillance camera? No, the homosexual “bishops in line” are of course laughing their jaws off and saying “Checkmate” to the rest of the CoE.

  8. Simon_GNR says:

    Jeannie_C: “Look who is next in line for this position, an individual married to the woman who was his mistress before during and after his marriage to his first wife (by his own admission).”

    The Duchess of Cornwall’s first marriage, to Brigadier Andrew Parker-Bowles, has been declared null and void by the Catholic Church, so with the Prince of Wales’s first wife being dead, there is *now* nothing to prevent Catholics regarding the current marriage of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as 100% legitimate. Not that I’m saying there is or was anything excusable about Prince Charles’s adulterous relations with Mrs P-B when he was married to Diana, but he is now in a legitimate marriage with his current wife. I can see nothing to prevent her using her title of HRH Princess of Wales and, in due course, HM Queen Camilla.

  9. Athelstan says:

    This shouldn’t hurt the recruitment efforts of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, I think.

    And we all know that the celibacy/continence requirement will be dispensed with before long. The ability of the CofE to resist secular trends is about nil. Their theological white count is approaching zero now.

  10. Athelstan says:

    Speaking of:

    Gay advocates within in the Church of England greeted the announcement with mixed reviews. Colin Coward, a Church of England priest and director of the group, Changing Attitude, stated that the celibacy requirement was a poor one.

    When you’re marching to the tune of progress, you can never march fast enough.

  11. backtothefuture says:

    More anglicans coming to the barque of Peter. . King henrys chickens are coming home to roost.

  12. If the bishop engages in sexual activity, does he become incontinent? It depends.
    “Sodomitic hallucination” sounds like the name of a West Coast rock band.
    “Be of good cheer!” (John 16:33)

  13. Jeannie_C says:

    Simon_GNR – I read that a Catholic may not marry the woman he committed adultery with during his marriage even if his wife has died. It is an impediment. That said, Charles is C of E, and they make their own rules, contrary to those spelled out by Christ.
    Camilla, no matter what title is bestowed upon her, will not be the head of the Church of England, it will be Charles, and that was my point – they are all on a slippery slope.

  14. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Jeannie_C,

    it may have been an impediment, and I guess for a just reason – this certainly is within the legitimate spectrum of positive legislation. But it is only positive human law; it does not hold now (at least I did not find it in the CIC on short looking); and I actually wonder if it ever did hold: it sounds like just the kind of thing countries decreed in secular law when first introducing divorce.

    In the absence of positive law to the countrary, marriage to a previously adulterous partner is just as legitimate as marriage to a previously fornicative partner (even though adultery is worse than mere fornication).

  15. Jeannie_C says:

    One thing to keep in mind regarding the Church of England is that they do not regard either ordination or marriage as sacraments. They believe in only two sacraments – Baptism and Holy Communion, and even with the Eucharist they do not believe in transubstantiation. So, in their corruption they have discounted the other five Sacraments of the Catholic Church according to their original 39 articles of faith, they have given themselves permission to follow their whims.

  16. The Cobbler says:

    “Next, do they mean “celibate” (unmarried) or “continent” (not sexually active)?”
    Well, I learned something today; I have heard both terms, but never before heard anyone declare the former to refer specifically to marriage.

  17. Aquinas says:

    Father Z, I have always wanted to ask if a priest is absolved of his sodomic activities when he says at the altar, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins?

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Aquinas, read the illuminations, the revelations of Christ to St. Catherine of Siena.

  19. Simon_GNR says:

    With regard to my earlier comment about the media using the word “celibate” wrongly, when what they mean is “continent” or “chaste”, I have found one British newspaper report that managed to cover this story without using “celibate” wrongly, the Daily Mail. Regrettably, the on-line version 0f this story has been spoilt by having the wrongly-used word “celibate” in the headline, here: The word did not appear in the print edition, only in the headline above the on-line version.

    By the way, I’ve noticed several instances recently of inaccuracies, or poor/incorrect use of language, in headlines above items on newspaper websites, where there is nothing wrong in the article itself, but the sub-editor responsible for the on-line version has displayed ignorance of the facts or of the correct use of the English language when composing the headline he/she has added to the on-line version.

  20. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A sense of ‘celibate’ that has been around for a good while (if you compare editions of the Concise Oxford Dictionary) is: “unmarried (of life, habits)”. Is there not a sense in the acquired meaning Imrahil describes that being ‘chaste’ is properly characteristic “of life, habits” in the unmarried state? That ‘celebate’ has not, historically, been (mainly) characterized by some sort of ‘morally neutral’ technical sense of “not married”, but by a sense full of ‘natural law’ – that an essential feature of being ‘unmarried’ is to be ‘chaste’? That in fact this natural moral heart of ‘celibate’ has given rise to the “acquired meaning”?

  21. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The most detailed discussion of the statement I have encountered is:

  22. jesusthroughmary says:

    An essential feature of being unmarried is to be celibate. An essential feature of being human is to be chaste according to one’s state in life. Chastity, which the Catholic Encyclopedia defines as “the virtue which excludes or moderates the indulgence of the sexual appetite” and which therefore is subordinate to the cardinal virtue of temperance, is also demanded of married couples, even if neither celibacy nor continence is required of them.

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    When people talk about this sort of thing, they’re generally so imprecise you can’t tell what they mean. So none of this is informative at all. But maybe that’s how they want it. Who knows?

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    jesusthroughmary: thanks! I was using ‘chaste’ as defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary: “Abstaining from unlawful or immoral (also from any) sexual intercourse, pure, virgin”, taking ‘celibate’ in the the etymological (< 'caelibatus'<'caelibs') and historical sense to assume "abstaining from any sexual intercourse, virgin", and the currently common "acquired meaning" to depend upon it.

    As to the House of Bishops statement, part of the 6 January statement issued by " The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council" is worth noting: "The provisions of the UK’s Civil Partnership legislation mimic marriage for same sex couples and are clearly designed on the assumption that such couples are sexually active. While it is true that the House of Bishops require bishops with Civil Partners to be celibate, this proviso is clearly unworkable. It is common knowledge that active homosexuality on the part of Church of England clergy is invariably overlooked and in such circumstances it is very difficult to imagine anyone being brought to book."

    Also well worth reading is William Oddie's commentary today:

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