Skip to comments.African Anglicans Say Gay Bishops Affirmation 'Shatters Hopes of Reconciliation'
Posted on 01/11/2013 2:21:02 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Anglican leaders in Africa have expressed their outrage over the Church of England's decision to approve gay bishops in its order, saying that the decision could put an end to hopes of healing broken relationships in the Communion.
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, one of the world's largest provinces of the Anglican Communion with 17 million members, said that the affirmation of gay bishops "could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion," Reuters reported.
Okoh added that the Church of England has given into "the contemporary idols of secularism and moral expediency," and that it is "one step removed from the moral precipice we have already witnessed in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada."
Last week, the House of Bishops of the Church of England announced that it had internally decided to allow gay clergy to serve as bishops if they promise a life of celibacy, even if they are in a same-sex civil partnership.
"All candidates for the episcopate undergo a searching examination of personal and family circumstances, given the level of public scrutiny associated with being a bishop in the Church of England. But these, along with the candidate's suitability for any particular role for which he is being considered, are for those responsible for the selection process to consider in each case," the Right Rev. Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said in a statement.
The Rev. James further explained that the presiding members deemed it would be "unjust" to ban gay clergy from serving as bishops if they lived their lives full in accordance with the Church's teachings on sexual ethics and personal discipline.
Conservative Anglicans protested the decision, however, saying that it broke from traditional stances and that it should have been voted on in the Church's General Synod, where all bishops would have had a chance to vote on the issue.
The Anglican Communion has been divided greatly over the issue of homosexuality. The Anglican Church of Canada began blessing same-sex couples in 2002, while the U.S. Episcopal Church ordained in 2003 the Rev. Gene Robinson as the first-ever gay bishop. The Church of England had remained moderate on the issue, allowing gay clergy to serve while defending the traditional definition of marriage but its recent turn to allow gays to move to the highest episcopate rank has been firmly opposed by African church leaders who remain conservative in their positions.
Other African Anglican leaders who have spoken out against gay bishops include the Rev. Stanley Ntagali, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, which has about 8 million Anglicans.
Ntagli said that the Church has taken "a significant step away from that very gospel that brought life, light, and hope to us."
"This decision violates our biblical faith and agreements within the Anglican Communion," the Ugandan church leader said. "This decision only makes the brokenness of the communion worse and is particularly disheartening coming from the mother Church."
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya and the leader of the influential Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, added that the Church of England had compromised "with the secular preoccupations of the West,"the Independent noted.
All this means that the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rev. Justin Welby, has a lot of work in order to bridge the growing divide in the Anglican Communion. Welby has stood behind the Church in its opposition to the U.K. government's plans to legalize same-sex marriage, but he has also promised to "listen very attentively to the LGBT communities."
"I am always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us. Above all in the church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed honestly and in love," Welby has said.
Praise God for the African church! They’re keeping all denominations’ feet to the scriptural fire, not the least my own United Methodist Church. I love to read these stories.
>>Praise God for the African church! Theyre keeping all denominations feet to the scriptural fire, not the least my own United Methodist Church. I love to read these stories.
I was about the say the same thing. I watched General Conference last summer with dread, but the Africans stepped up and held their ground.
When I went to France for a 3 week assignment from my company, I was quite surprised to see several churches in the UK pastored by AFRICAN pastors.
One of them, a Ghanian seminary graduate, told me that they are simply bringing the gospel BACK to England and reminded me that the gospel was brought to them by the English hundreds of years ago, whose descendants have forgotten all about it.
Africans don’t like freaks.
LOL - me too! They shamed the “civilized”, arrogant, condescending Nashville/New York City contingent. There’s hope yet.
Equal parts tragic and uplifting. I’ve been praying through “Operation: World” this last year and it’s stunning to see how many African, latin and Asian countries have become sending countries.
It’s strange that the would-be bishops would identify themselves as homosexual, but then pledge to live a life of celibacy. If they are going to be celibate anyway, what difference does it make?
If on the other hand they are taking a political stand by proclaiming their sexual nature and then not acting on it, I can see why the African Church would feel like they were being overrun with radicals.
“Praise God for the African church! Theyre keeping all denominations feet to the scriptural fire, not the least my own United Methodist Church”
I posted much the same in the thread about the possibility of an African pope. Our UM pastor told us the Africans saved us from the gay lobby.
Don't be naive. The homosexuals have no intention of remaining celibate. As we have seen in the US with similar fiascoes in the Lutheran church, "pledges" and the like are of no meaning whatsoever to people such as these. They simply flout and defy the church's authority, mock their own oath, and most importantly, do it all with impunity. And that is how the Leftwing perverts get a church to die.
Episcopal priests are not celebrate, they can marry.
But in reading the article, the powers that be are saying they have no problem with priests wanting to be bishops who claim they are gay—as long as they are also celibate, regardless of whether they are “married” or not.
After Vatican II, and in conformity with the broader cultural changes of the Sixties, the U.S. Catholic Church allowed homosexuals to enter the priesthood in increasing numbers. The homosexual orientation itself, it was stressed, was not sinful. So as long as a homosexual adhered to the very same vow of celibacy taken by his heterosexual counterpart, there was no reason to deprive him of a priestly vocation. This was a compassionate stance, and one that promised to incorporate a heretofore stigmatized minority into a venerable institution, thereby strengthening the institution itself.
Yet imagine that an opponent of this new openness to homosexuals in the priesthood had uttered a warning cry. Imagine that someone had said, back in the 1970s, when homosexuals were flooding into Catholic seminaries all over the U.S., that substantial numbers of gay priests, far from accepting the rule of celibacy, would deliberately flout that rule, both in theory and in practice. Suppose that someone had argued that homosexual priests would gain control of many seminaries, that many would openly “date,” that many would actively cultivate an ethos of gay solidarity and promote a homosexual culture that would drive away heterosexuals especially theologically orthodox heterosexuals from the priesthood. Suppose this person went on to argue that, at its extreme, the growing gay subculture of the priesthood would tolerate and protect not only flagrant violations of celibacy, but even the abuse of minors. Then suppose that this person predicted eventual public exposure of the whole sordid mess, an exposure that would precipitate a crisis within the Church itself.
Naturally, anyone prescient and foolish enough to say all of these things in the wake of the Sixties would have been excoriated and ostracized as a hysterical gay-hater. It is simply bigoted, he would have been lectured, to claim that large numbers of homosexuals would take the vow of celibacy without making a good-faith effort to adhere to it; and even more so to claim that gay priests would embark on a campaign to deliberately subvert the Church’s sexual teachings. And surely our foolish (and hysterically homophobic) friend would have been assured that an institution like the Catholic priesthood would attract only the most conservative homosexuals, not a bunch of “queer” radicals. Besides, even if a very few homosexuals did go so far as to actually abuse the children who had been given into their care, surely the number of such cases could never rise to the point where the stature and credibility of the Church itself would be put into doubt.
Yet all of these things have happened. Consider Jason Berry’s extraordinary account in Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children (1992), all the more striking for coming from the pen of a liberal Catholic who would himself like to see a liberalization of the Church’s sexual teachings. According to Berry, as the proportion of homosexuals in the priesthood increased dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s, many gay priests were visiting the seminary “on the make,” frequenting gay bars, and “befriending” high-school students.
Berry reports a study of 50 gay Catholic priests, only two of whom said that they were abstaining from sexual activity: “Sixty percent said they felt no guilt about breaking their vows. Ninety percent strongly rejected mandatory celibacy . . . and slightly less than half reported that they engaged in sex in public toilets or parks.”
According to Berry, Richard Wagner, author of the original study of these gay priests, found that 34 percent of his interviewees called their sexual partners “distinctly younger.” (Wagner did not say how young.) What’s clear from Berry’s account is that sexual abuse of boys by homosexual priests (the typical form of abuse in the current scandal) was part and parcel of a larger gay subculture within the priesthood, a subculture that effectively enabled the abuse of minors by encouraging flagrant homosexuality, and openly flouting the rule of celibacy itself.