Did you notice any howls of outrage from the Global South after the Episcopal Church embraced gay bishops and same-sex blessings? Neither did I. Apparently, they kept their powder dry, and allowed the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak first. And now Rowan Williams has spoken. And his message is going to infuriate supporters of full inclusion for gays and lesbians.
In his statement, released today, Williams does more than question the propriety of electing non-celibate bishops. He questions whether anyone who is sexually active outside the bonds of heterosexual, monogamous marriage should have a “representative function” in the church.
Thus a blessing for a same-sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic, or even of the Communion as a whole. And if this is the case, a person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church’s teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires.
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.
To read his comments, click here.