Dishonesty amongst closeted conservative Anglican catholics

Colin Coward finds his tolerance running low for hypocrisy in the Church of England:

Many congregations in the Diocese of Chichester this morning will be attending mass at which their presiding priest is a gay man who may or may not be in the closet, may or may not be sexually active or celibate, may or may not have a partner. Eric Kemp, the previous diocesan bishop provided a refuge in Chichester for priests opposed to the ordination of women, many of whom, inevitably, were and are gay. I’m told that Eric Kemp was naive and failed to realize how many gay men he brought into the diocese.

The present bishop, John Hind, is not naïve and presumably knows better than his predecessor that he pastors many gay priests and until recently, an area bishop who is gay. The Church of England nationally and at diocesan level plays a game of ‘let’s pretend’ about its LGBT clergy (and there are many bisexual priests). Let’s pretend they don’t exist, let’s pretend they’re all celibate, let’s pretend there are no partnered lesbian and gay members of conservative evangelical congregations let’s pretend the catholic ones are all celibate.

Many priests in the dioceses of Chichester and London who are members of Forward in Faith are gay and closeted. Bishop Gene Robinson would say they are “bearing false witness”, denying and condemning their own sexuality and their own core self, the self God created and gifted to them, a self they suppress. There is a sickness of the self and the soul in these people, the risk of acting out in inappropriate ways and they want to join a church slowly recovering from the scandal of child abuse. (For a vivid description of what happens in a church where gay men are encouraged to deny their identity, read Michael Arditti’s Easter, based on his knowledge of the diocese of London).

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