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Guide to the Conversation on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief – General Synod of the Church of Ireland

February 19, 2016

TGThis report details the journey from the House of Bishops’ first pastoral letter on the issue of Human Sexuality, in September 2003, to the commencement of the ‘listening process’ and the Select Committee’s engagement with representatives of the two contrasting sides in this argument, including individual members of the LGBT community who made contributions in their own right to the Committee.

It suggests that an “an idyllic vision of modern family life” might have been imposed. (?)

The report suggests that “the moral logic underpinning the negative portrayal of same-sex eroticism in Scripture does not directly address committed, loving, consecrated same-sex relationships today.”

The report also quotes St Paul in Galatians 3: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

It says: “As the Church has changed its views on slavery, women’s ministry, remarriage of divorced persons in Church, contraception etc, can we welcome members of the LGBT community as full members of our Christian community?”

It is odd that they defined ‘homosexual’ as one exclusively attracted to the same sex. What happened to the spectrum?

They spend many pages talking about the various ways in which scripture may be seen as authoritative.

I am glad that they involved Malcolm McCourt  be cause he has much experience and wisdom on this subject.

They look over their shoulders to the statement by Irish Methodists.

Then there’s some dodgy science from Prof.  Patrick  Morrison.

Then along comes the obsessive Robert Gagnon.

It’s not until 2/3rds of the way through that we get a brief, and liberal, presentation of the clobber texts. And this is the only report that accepts the ambiguity of Leviticus which is usually wrongly translated as referring to a ‘man lying with a man as with a woman.’ They’re less liberal when it comes to Romans 1. Oddly, they then go on to review the same texts a second time and with slightly different conclusions.

 Quotations:

Oliver  O’Donovan  has  observed:  Traditional  communion  does  not  imply  that  there  can  be  no  radical  correction  of  the  tradition  as  received,  such  as  was  undertaken  in  the  Reformation. Tradition  is  founded  upon  the  authority  of  the

prophets’  and  apostles’  testimony  to  Christ, and  so  has  a  principle  of  self-­‐correction  built  into  it  with  the  authority  of  Scripture. It  does  imply,  however,  that  when  there  is  a  question  about  authentic  terms  of  communion,  tradition  has  a  significant  role  in  helping  us  answer  it.     Anglicans  have  un

derstood  the  authority  of  tradition  as  running  much  wider  and  deeper  than  what  has  been thought  and  done  by  Anglicans. They  have  aimed  to  interpret  and  regulate  Anglican  practices  in  the  light  of  an  ecumenical  tradition  running  back  to  the  apostolic  age

The  Roman  Catholic  scholar  Francis  Martin  captures  the  meaning  of  tradition  well  when  he  explains  that  someone  ‘is  “traditional”  when  he  or  she  is  capable  of  locating  the  meaning  of  personal  and  collective  contemporaneous  existence  within  an  inherited  horizon  of  interpretation’. He  continues: ‘Traditional  is  not  the  same  as  “repetitive”. Meaning  is  not  found  by  dwelling  on  the  past  but  by  transposing  it  creatively  to  the  present  while,  at  the  same  time,  transposing  oneself  to  the  past.’

The report is online here

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