This comes from Ekklesia.
As the first civil partnerships are about to be registered in England on 21 December, the progressive Anglican organisation Affirming Catholicism has announced the publication of a booklet calling on the Church to welcome the development as a pastoral opportunity and a means of listening to the experience of lesbian and gay Christians.
Translation: We ask the Church to accede to a reinterpretation of the Christian faith, with homosexual unions being accepted, a priori, and then pastoral care can proceed on the basis of our agenda.
The booklet, written by an Anglican priest, argues that civil partnerships will provide a way out of the ‘catch 22’ which faces many homosexual Christians whose relationships are criticised for being unstable while - at the same time - the Church fails to offer any support which might help couples stay together.
I won't even begin to try to decipher that one ... On second thought, I will. It flows on well from the previous paragraph. Homosexual relationships, which we now have acknowledged as being acceptable, are criticised for being unstable. (I think the evidence shows that they are). So we provide the support to keep them stable.
Canon Nerissa Jones, MBE, the Chair of Trustees for Affirming Catholicism said: "The period of listening and reception to which Anglicans are committed can’t happen on a purely theoretical level. It must also be about the lived experience of lesbian and gay Christians who need to feel safe enough to tell their stories. We believe that civil partnership can help give that security and that local clergy should offer prayer and support for couples."
The Church of England Bishops have stated that, while there could be no authorised liturgy to bless same-sex couples until there was consensus on Church teaching, parish priests should nonetheless respond sensitively and pastorally to gay couples seeking blessings.
The publication, which opens with a foreword by The Very Rev’d Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, calls for an end to the double standard at the heart of current Church teaching which accepts gay relationships between lay people but bans sexually active homosexual women and men from the priesthood.
I agree entirely with the Dean of St Albans. The double standard should be ended. The Church should teach clearly, forcefully and unashamedly that all sexual relationships outside of marriage are sinful.
The booklet will be published on Friday 27 January 2006.
Get your orders in early.