Thursday, 28 November 2013

Pilling- initial thoughts

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?


  1. Having just read the completely predictable press releases from both ends of the spectrum, the opposition is already up and running and almost foaming at the mouth. Sigh....

  2. Personally, as one half of a same-sex couple, I groaned when I heard this news. Surely, at a time of division and factions the best bet was to just leave this issue alone? Government policy is that the Established Church will not carry out SSM ‘weddings’ – then it should be left at that. Anything else – blessings or what you will – is just going to cause more division. An apostolic church is not a democracy – get over it.

    The ‘same-sex blessing’ pronouncement is a big mistake. Perhaps it is time to just call it a day and disestablish? Let the market decide – conservative Christians of both Evangelical or Catholic sentiment can go off in one direction and liberals can do their own thing. It is the only way forward really, now, the CofE can no longer be called a National Church – trying to be overly inclusive is like adding water to wine – eventually you just end up with weak vinegar… The more you dilute it, the more indistinct its identity becomes, until one day you realise that it is something else entirely…

  3. There is no doubt that no matter what the C of E does, it won't please everyone (or anyone?) Since last November's vote on women bishops (at which point I realised that it was unlikely I would ever feel I could really be a fully paid up member of the Cof E again) I've really not much cared whether they have women bishops or gay blessings. I feel the Church has to do whatever it is going to do, whatever it is, it won't go far enough for me and will be too late anyway- so why would I really care anyway?