It's been a long day today and I've had about 20 minutes to skim read the Pilling report and form some thoughts. So the following may turn out to be completely wrong! For what it is worth:
- Overall, Pilling's recommendations, if adopted, would be a positive step for any LGBT people in same sex relationships who remain in the Church (and why, oh why anyone in that position is still there sometimes puzzles me...)
-Thank God, and I mean that fervently, that it recommends there should be no "intrusive questioning" about the sex lives of clergy in same sex relationships. THANK YOU- let's hope this sensible recommendation is adopted. Questioning clergy in civil partnerships about the exact nature of that relationship is clearly cruel and bullying, not to mention surely being a toe-curlingly embarrassing task for any bishop with half a grain of decency.
-If I've read rightly, Pilling recommends that the blessing of same sex relationships (something which does already happen in parts of the Church) is now acknowledged and permitted. However, it steers clear of anything that would smack of an official sanctioning (such as a formal liturgy of blessing) for same sex relationships.It seems to recommend that stable, permanent, committed same sex relationships should only be half-recognised (if that) by the Church - that positive pastoral support should be tolerated and allowed. To me this is rather half hearted, but I can't imagine anything more than this given the situation and context of the Church and the bitter divisions.
-The word "bitter" brings me to my last reflection, which is a fear that this report, which at the moment is just that, a report, an analysis of the different thinking and tensions and a set of recommendations for a way forward, will provoke strong opposition from some conservative elements, more in-fighting between different factions, and the type of language and behaviour which is far from Christ like. Let's hope it doesn't!
Finally the Pilling report is very long and once again you find yourself wondering if we really need to expend so many words and so much energy on this issue.
Perhaps we should just go back to Wordless Wednesday?