Australian bishop rejects church ban on gay clergy: The Church of England Newspaper, May 27, 2012 p 7. June 4, 2012Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
Tags: Diocese of Gippsland, John McIntyre
An Australian bishop has told his diocesan synod that as a matter of conscience he cannot abide by the church’s policy forbidding the ordination or deployment of non-celibate gay clergy.
In his presidential address to the 36th meeting of the Synod of the Diocese of Gippsland, Bishop John McIntyre said that as a matter of conscience he could not conform to the House of Bishops protocol on gay clergy. At their March meeting the bishops agreed that they accepted “the weight” of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on Human Sexuality as well as resolutions adopted by the Australian General Synod as “expressing the mind of this church on issues of human sexuality.”
The bishops stated they would “uphold the position of our Church in regard to human sexuality as we ordain, license, authorise or appoint to ministries within our dioceses.”
In a statement given to Eternity magazine, a spokesman for the primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall said “In effect it is an undertaking not to ordain, license, authorise or appoint persons whom the bishop knows to be in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.”
In his 19 May 2012 address, Bishop McIntyre said that he would not conform with this protocol.
“I will appoint to office in our diocese those whom I believe God is calling to minister among us,” he said adding that this as “my commitment to God and to you, and I am willing to live with any consequences that may arise from remaining true to that commitment.”
The bishop explained that his defiance was based upon his reading of Scripture.
“Only in light of reflection on God’s Word did I finally come to understand. Despite what I or others may believe is their worthiness, the fruit of the works of many gay and lesbian people has brought God’s blessing to me and to many other people, both in and beyond the church. That is the measure of their worthiness to minister in the name of Jesus Christ in the life of the church, and in the community in the name of the church. That indicates their place in the life of God’s people.”
“Put simply, I think God has been saying to me for many years now ‘If it is good enough for me, John, why is it not good enough for you?’” the bishop said.
Science and new ways of reading Scripture had led the bishop to this conclusion.
“The world is round, not flat, despite what those who first penned the words of the Bible thought and assumed. It took the church a long time to acknowledge this, and in the name of orthodoxy, it treated Galileo rather shabbily along the way.”
The medieval church’s rejection of Galileo was an “exegetical parallel” for the church as it wrestled with homosexuality.
“Because of recent new understanding, we now all know that same-sex attracted people are not heterosexual people who have made a perverse choice about how they express their sexuality. They simply are what they are. We might like to argue about whether this is how life should or should not be, but that will not change the way it is. And we have to respond to what is,” Bishop McIntyre said.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.