Archbishop gets behind gay bishops… sort of

25 Sep

Dr Rowan Williams, realising that nobody’s pointed a camera at him for nearly ten minutes, has decided to throw himself onto the Ratzinger bandwagon. His latest mumblings, which can be read at the website of The Times if you fancy making Rupert Murdoch slightly richer, were presumably intended to illustrate how broadminded, modern and down wit de yoof the modern Church is.

However, as with many of the verbal owl pellets he emits, Williams demonstrates instead his inability to fully think his arguments through. His attempts to address what is regarded as the biggest hot potato for the Catholic Church (no, not kiddy-raping priests) have hilariously succeeded in offending and alienating the very people he claims to support.

Epic fail, as the kids say these days. Total self-pwnage.

He says that he has “no problem” with gay bishops. Well, isn’t he the picture of Enlightened Man? Actually no, he isn’t. What he actually says is that he has no problem with gay bishops as long as they’re celibate.

You read that right. He believes that gay and lesbian priests need to follow an extra layer of arbitrary rules in order to have the same acceptability within the clergy as everyone else. He will not ‘endorse’ same-sex relationships for his staff (as though they actually need his endorsement – what an ego) because:

the cost to the Church overall was too great to be borne at that point.

Perhaps he has some kind of sociological or psychosexual data on which to base his opinion – after all, he is a respected church elder and generally regarded as a figure of authority. He’s not just going to blindly spout doctrine as if it were fact, is he?

To put it very simply, there’s no problem about a gay person who’s a bishop. It’s about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe. So there’s always a question about the personal life of the clergy.

Oh. He is.

Presumably these are the same ‘traditions’ that also give us these little pearls condemning, outright, homosexuals and women priests alike:

  • Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22
  • If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13
  • Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  • Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1 Timothy 2:11-12

I don’t care at this juncture whether any of those verses are ‘out of context’ (the most common whiny excuse) or not. The point I’m illustrating is that if Williams or any other apologist chooses to cite tradition as a reason for continuing the status quo of an organisation that sorely needs its applecarts upsetting, then they have to accept that there are parts of that tradition that are much harder to justify. Or they could scrap the lot and start again from scratch, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Needless to say, his words have upset a lot of people; even on his own side.

Little wonder he doesn’t see himself in the job at seventy.


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