Getting married in the Church in Wales
Compare the above introduction taken from the Church in Wales web site under the heading Marriage with the same-sex marriage Press Release in which the bishops of the Church in Wales draw attention to a joint pastoral letter issued in response to consultations and debates on same-sex marriage across the Church in Wales last year, as well as to a statement from the Primates of the Anglican Communion in January. It contains this grovelling apology for alleged mistreatment:
We recognise that you have often been persecuted and ostracized by the Church for your sexuality, that you have been mistreated by the Church, and forced into secrecy and dissimulation by the attitudes of prejudice which you have faced. We deplore such hostility, and welcome and affirm the words of the Primates that condemn homophobic prejudice and violence. We too commit ourselves to offering you the same loving service and pastoral care to which all humanity is entitled, and we commit ourselves to acting to provide a safe space within the Church and within our communities in which you can be honest and open, respected and affirmed.
While as a Church we remain unable to bless the committed partnerships you form in marriage or in civil partnership, yet we commit ourselves as bishops to work for a Church in which you can be fully affirmed as equal disciples of Jesus Christ or seekers after truth. We will pray with you and for you, that together we may seek God’s blessing on our lives, and for faithful discipleship.”
This has Llandaff written all over it. If we consider two former bishops of Llandaff, both were loved by many but received entirely different treatment. One resigned after being accused of indecency. He was not "persecuted and ostracized". I recall numerous diocesan occasions when the bishop was present. He later returned to pastoral and episcopal work. The other bishop was not in favour of the ordination of women. His life was made hell.
The Press Statement continues - In the letter, the bishops acknowledge that while the consultations showed that the Church is not yet ready to allow or bless same-sex marriage, the debate is not over. They commit to working for a Church in which gay and lesbian people are “fully affirmed as equal disciples” and to praying with and for them. They also apologise to gay and lesbian people for the persecution and mistreatment they have endured at the hands of the Church and they commit themselves to providing a safe place within the Church for all gay and lesbian people. [My emphasis - Ed.]
The bishops "apologise to gay and lesbian people for the persecution and mistreatment they have endured at the hands of the Church" but where is the evidence? If gay people want to wear their sexuality on their sleeves we are entitled to ask for some facts. What persecution and mistreatment and directed at whom, clergy and/or laity? What proportions of the clergy are gay, lesbian or transgender? And what about heterosexual couples "living in sin"? Are they not worthy of an apology?
In my previous entry I drew attention to the claim that bullying played a part in persuading women to leave the Church and that many victims "vote with their feet, and leave the organisation.
The bishops are encouraging the same strategy as was highlighted in the ordination of women campaign. Exploit the "victim" status, slander and stereotype (substitute homophobic for misogynist) and intimidation.
Before they go any further the bishops should consider who the real victims are of their secularisation of the Church in Wales.