The Times reports on its front page today ” that the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared that he has “no problem” with homosexuals being bishops, in his first explicit statement on the subject since taking office. In an exclusive interview with The Times, Dr Rowan Williams goes farther than ever before by indicating his personal support for the consecration of gay bishops in the Church of England. But he makes clear that he will never endorse gay clergy in active relationships because tradition and historical “standards” dictate that gay clergy must remain celibate.”
Canon Vinay Samuel responds
Since the House of Bishops statement on Human Sexuality much research has been done to clarify what is meant by sexual orientation. There is still no incontrovertible evidence to suggest that orientation is not a choice but an inherited characteristic. When the House of Bishops used it that debate was going on, although many liberal proponents used orientation to mean an inherited trait. Orthodox Anglicans insisted that it was a feeling, a choice or even possibly an outcome of certain psycho-social pressures and upbringing. More than two decades of research in many fields has failed to confirm that gays are born that way.
So if someone believes strongly that they are gay, the church is not rejecting that self understanding out of hand. It may challenge it but it is willing to accept as way that individual understands his/her sexuality. However; in such a situation the Church necessarily clearly, firmly and consistently has to witness to the teaching on sexuality which it has received and which it is called to uphold. Also, it must require that its clergy uphold that teaching whatever their self understanding.
Recent study in the UK confirms what the orthodox have said for decades that gays and bisexuals constitute less than 2% of the population and are predominantly from the professional classes. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1314720/Only-1-100-Britons-gay-despite-myth-71-say-Christian.html?ito=feeds-newsxmlThe need of these classes for acceptance by the church pushes this issue to the centre. The vast majority of the church does not wish to do that and yet it appears that the church in the west is obsessed by it.
The Church’s mission in God’s world cannot be handicapped by the need to keep responding to the incessant demands of this particular segment of the professional class whose long term commitment to the church has never been demonstrated .