Skip to comments.Former Bishop of Durham gives backing to clergy civil partnership
Posted on 12/07/2005 4:56:26 PM PST by sionnsar
ON THE first day homosexual couples will be able to marry legally, the former Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev David Jenkins, will publicly support a blessing given to a priest entering into a civil partnership. Speaking at a celebratory church service on December 21 he will praise up the couple whom he has known for many years. Bishop Jenkinss decision to formally support a blessing of a gay civil partnership is out of kilter with the instruction made by the House of Bishops that civil contracts should not be confused with a religious ceremony. Bishops have also ruled that gay couples cannot have their civil union blessed in church. Although Bishop Jenkins is only backing the blessing in his church sermon, many will still see this as crossing the boundaries of what is acceptable in the eyes of bishops. He did express his desire to give a full blessing when the right opportunity arose. While whipping up fresh debate over civil partnerships, the move is likely to enrage traditionalists.
All the parties are old friends. They have known each other for over 10 years, so the matter can be viewed as a deeply personal one for Bishop Jenkins. He refused to comment on who the couple were and where the service was taking place, although it is known to be happening in the north of England, near Darlington. Bishop Jenkins told us this week: I will not give a blessing, I am going to talk at it [the church service]. But I will of course be condoning anyone who gives a blessing. But he acknowledged his direct involvement with the ceremony might be seen as provocative by some in the Church. He continued: This is bound to be seen as some sort of protest but we should concentrate on being thankful to this couple for the way they have served one another. This is a very carefully worked out attempt to have a celebration and recognition of the long and fruitful shared ministry of the people who are central to it. As a retired bishop now for 11 years, Jenkins feels comfortable promoting civil partnerships from a backseat position in the church. Unsurprisingly he is broadly in favour of the new legislation but admits work is needed to woo disaffected members of the church who oppose the law. He said: I think this is a necessary step in moving towards the recognition of the morality of sexual relationships in a responsible way. But we want to try and preserve a cool and Anglican way where people dont unchurch other people.
Bishop Jenkins who is currently an Honorary Assistant Bishop of Ripon and Leeds is likely to come under close scrutiny for his actions.
It's like watching a train wreck in ultra-slow motion, with Technicolor.
The current incumbent of the County Palatine see is the great N.T. Wright. I was worried for a second this was he...
I had the same initial reaction.
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