Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The next Synod: Clergy with wives
I don't think I can live through another Synod, let alone one on celibacy. Synods are such a blunt instrument and not much prone to subtlety, they scare me. Like the last two they tend to tear the Church apart.
In my diocese about 12% of our priests are former Anglican clergy and a large proportion of those are married, I suspect this is similar to most English diocese. In effect we already have a married clergy, which was introduced and accepted without a great deal of fuss or rancour. A few of us old celibates might have an occassional half hearted grumble about the fact that married clergy get, or have to have, the wealthier parishes that can support a married man and his family but we welcome their contribution and realise that without them dioceses would have to contract and parishes merge. I welcome them because they have fought the battle against liberalism in the CofE and continue that battle now. Frankly, the Church has been enriched by their presence.
Most parts of the world do not have the CofE for the local Church to gather its exiles, so appointing viri probati in these parts of the world seems entirely reasonable.
Similarly, if we are to believe Michael Vorris celibacy seems to be an important contributory factor in the mess and scandals of the American Church and the rise in power of the gay lobby.
The thing is of course celibacy is of Dominical origin
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matt 19:12
Very early on the Church demanded celibacy for Bishops and expected sexual abstinence from celebrating clergy, in conformity with OT practice. In the West in the 11th Century, as a cure for the ills, both sexual and financial, of the clergy and their families.
Fr Hunwicke, and I agree with him, believes this is move towards the ordination of women priests, and the furtherance of the liberal or relativist agenda.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake