Reactions to the Sexuality Discernment statement

with 2 comments

The 9 June Sexuality Discernment statement was arrived at as the result of a process outlined and approved of by CoGS.  There will be a motion brought forth tomorrow (er, today) Thursday 10 to accept the Sexuality Discernment statement (as an appendix to the motion, so the statement itself is not susceptible to wordsmithing), or receive it and commend it to the church, or some other similarly anodyne wording.  Since it comes as a CoGS document, it will be an A-motion.  Other motions about sexuality have gone in(*), but as coming from GS members they will be C-motions and will be considered afterwards.

(*)the motions committee was sitting late into the night.  I wouldn’t have their job for all the tea in china)

I believe that the pending C motions are along the lines of a) commending greatest possible pastoral generosity (translation: allow blessings as “pastoral necessities” without writing out permissive theologically-based canons), b) urging that the three moratoria (on homo blessings, on consecration of partnered gay bishops, and on cross-border shopping, er, interventions by one primate into another national church) be observed rigorously, c) a motion deploring abuse of homos in Malawi, Uganda etc, and d) [I've forgotten what d was] – oh right (he typed later)  I think it’s calling on dioceses who haven’t done homework/ study on homos in the church in their diocese to get busy, those who have, to keep working at it.

the real fighting will come over

i) accepting the A-motion, commending the statement (or however it is phrased) to the church.

ii) C-motions a) and b) – do they come in sequence? which order?  would passage of one rule the other out of order?

Do we collectively want to leave the statement as bland as it is standing there?  If so, we’d be providing ++Fred with deniability (how plausible remains to be seen) with the international people.  “My synod hasn’t said anything definitive. What dioceses do, they do – but I don’t have any control [it's true, he doesn't] over individual dioceses”"

Do we want to push the statement a little further?  a) makes local option even more obvious than it is in the statement.  b) shuts local option down completely.  Moratoria were in the 2008 House of Bishops statement, though it was also pretty clear from that same statement that some dioceses were saying their commitment to moratoria was until the end of this synod only.  But the 9 June statement mentions moratoria not at all – so a b) motion calling for them would not be out-of-order if we accept the 9 June statement as-is.

motions c) and d) would probably pass with little opposition.

It’ll be interesting.  There is essentially 3hr Thursday morning allowed for sexuality motions.

there may be attrition and/or blood on the floor.  my spies tell me one or more conservative bishops are prepared to walk “and take my diocese with me” if moratoria are not nailed down.  The cynics would consider that like the death of Calvin Coolidge in the Dorothy Parker version:  if they went, “How could they tell?”

I was not pleased when I heard it at first, but I think there was enough emotional freight that I wasn’t listening clearly enough to get it all.  Ron, and Peter Elliott, convinced me (just reading the text) that it is essentially calling for status quo.  Those dioceses which bless now, can / will continue.  New West, moratoria gone (well, they’re not mentioned) could expand its network of blessing parishes (seven right now, five ready to come onstream as soon as the word is given).  Toronto, Huron, Niagara etc could continue to do as they wish.  Another diocese (say NS+PEI) who aren’t blessing now could move that way.  Those who really don’t want to do it, won’t; but they wouldn’t need to trump other dioceses moving to be able to stay conservative.

My initial response was that there are some areas which remain unaccepting;  that this statement is not everything I could want, and that lack-of-progress is directly attributable to intransigence and 21 years of holding-breath-until-they-turn-blue (or at least, threatening to) has manipulated the process.  I’m much less concerned about that on re-reading.  The urban dioceses get to keep making progress, and won’t have the naysayers trumping their progress.

This statement was clearly signalled by the Primatial address six days ago, and some cynics would say it was drafted several weeks back. I don’t think that’s actually true, but it is certainly the document that the Primate could have wished for.

Most Integrity-side people are moderately pleased.  Ron said before we came that the best outcome would be no change.  Somewhat radical clergy are less thrilled, it’s not going as far as they want with their own ministry; but it certainly doesn’t shut down what they have.

That stuff above is just talking about the statement and putative motions.  Tomorrow on the debating floor – well that, as my mama would say, is where you wave yer bonnet.  The fun, the arguments, the disputes, will come about Thursday morning.

Then in the afternoon, we get to vote on the Covenant, tra-la.  And after THAT, the Integrity eucharist, 5:45 Atlantic time.  Fasten your seatbelts, its gonna be a bumpy ride.

and I should also get to bed to recharge batteries; it’s 0145 Atlantic.


Written by Chris

June 9th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Posted in General Synod