Tuesday, 9 February 2010

What the Archbishop did - and didn't - say

Ruth Gledhill reports that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, made a "profound apology" to gays and lesbians in his presidential address to the Anglican Church Synod today.

Here is the relevant part of ++Rowan's speech:
The debate over the status and vocational possibilities of LGBT people in the Church is not helped by ignoring the existing facts, which include many regular worshippers of gay or lesbian orientation and many sacrificial and exemplary priests who share this orientation. There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them; I have been criticised for doing just this, and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression.
I am not sure the apology, or the apparent acknowledgment of gay priests and parishioners, extended to all gays and lesbians. For ++Rowan glides over the fact that the "many sacrificial and exemplary priests who share this orientation" also share their lives - and their beds - with same-sex partners.

Did he not include them in his apology? Or did he hope that by not mentioning them, he could escape the fact that this debate is not primarily about "sexual orientation," but about the actual day-to-day lives of gay Christians and priests and the partners they love?

It is a telling omission. I suspect the man in the middle has once again tried to please both sides, expecting the conservatives to say, "He's quite right, as he was only talking about non-practicing (ie celibate) homosexuals," and the LGBTs and liberals to say, "Look, he's said we're okay and he's on our side."

Unfortunately, by dodging the real issue, ++Rowan has only succeeded in insulting those on both sides of the debate.

1 comment:

  1. In fact, as *profound* apologies go, it was pretty shallow, wasn't it?!

    What saddens me most of all is that the Church does not see the grace of God in the Holy loves and lives of LGBT people.