A question thrown up by English events of the past few days,* is represented in the contents of a tweet which I copy here:
"Bishop of Oxford says he no longer believes in the Church of England teaching which he took an oath to uphold and protect.
If he had any integrity he would therefore resign his position."
That is, the question this post is concerned with is: How might the teaching of the church change?
Current English turmoil
Following immediately on the heels of the departure of CofE bishops from a meeting about their response to the CofE process called Living in Faith and Love, the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft last week wrote a response to recent deliberations within the CofE. (The actual book he has written is purchaseable etc rather than available for free view or download). See also these articles in Church Times: an extract from the book here and a report here.
I wonder if the key question in this new phase of debate in the CofE is this (in the extract linked to above):
"The more the Church commends the goods of permanent, stable, and faithful relationships for heterosexual people in marriage, the more difficult it becomes to justify denying those goods and blessings to people who happen to be homosexual."
Do the rejoinders actually tackle this question? That could be a question for the CofE and its debates!
Speaking of rejoinders, there is:
A prompt rejoinder by Ian Paul at Psephizo.
And another by Vaughan Roberts, a vicar in the city of Oxford (download his pdf from this link).
CEEC statement here.
Perhaps most helpful of all, Angela Tilby, inspired by John Milbank, on a needed third way.
Except, in response to Tilby-Milbank's "third way", a friend on Twitter has tweeted that "second class" is not for him.
If on Twitter, you may see various back and forth, some very supportive tweets, and some disagreeing strongly. Unfortunately, social media responses not seen by me include, according to a tweet I have seen, abusive, hateful responses to +Steven.
Any how, this post is not intended to be a further foray into argument, but a note that the mother church of our Communion is moving into a new phase in its own journey on these matters.
Having waited for Lambeth 2022 to be concluded, the relatively united front of their bishops (i.e. to refrain from much comment, one way or another), has now moved to a phase in which bishops such as +Steven (and a few others who have signalled public agreeement) are voicing their views.
The CofE bishops are meeting again before Christmas, and there is a next session of their General Synod in February 2023. What change might be proposed? What might be agreed to?
Nothing less than the unity of the CofE is at stake, even as nothing less than a "better deal" for the gay members of the CofE is also at stake.
Watch this space. It is critical to the way in which the future of the Communion itself will be shaped.
please comment on the question at the beginning of this post and not on That Topic ... and please take great care about any ad hominen comments. They will not be published, even if they are 1% of an otherwise 99% fine comment. Am too busy to moderate otherwise.