OXFORD CRISIS: The time to act has surely come

Jan 13, 2019 by

by Will Jones, Virtueonline:

The response of the four Oxford bishops to the ‘letter of concern’ from over 100 of their serving clergy, placed in the public domain this week, did not make for happy reading. Perhaps its clearest message was that none of the bishops in Oxford diocese subscribe any longer to the teaching of the Church of England in sexual matters. Neither do they have any intention of upholding that teaching in their diocese or encouraging others to do the same.

Challenged by the clergy that ‘the situation is serious’ and ‘if not addressed, we would all struggle to support the leadership of our bishops in this matter and a number of our churches may want to seek alternative means of receiving episcopal ministry,’ the bishops simply responded that they needed to be ‘honest’. Pointing out that they had each of them been considering these matters for over 30 years, the implication presumably being that they had come to a considered view that was not likely to change, they concluded: ‘We want to offer our own views therefore but not impose them.’

A curious person might wonder why, if all the bishops wanted to do was ‘offer’ their views, they didn’t just write an article in the diocesan newsletter. That might have felt considerably less imposing than issuing divisive pastoral guidance and setting up a new advisory group of LGBT people which specifically excluded those committed to the church’s current and historic teaching.

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