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Actually, Anglican Dog Devours Man

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, left, and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, right (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

“Anglican Man Bites Dog” I titled the post the other day. Its subject: a guidance from Church of England bishops saying that sex should be reserved to one man and one woman, who are married. Will wonders never cease?! one thought. The Church of England bishops restating orthodox Christian doctrine!

Alas, wonders cease. It was too good to be true. From The Guardian:

The archbishops of Canterbury and York have apologised over a statement issued by Church of England bishops last week which declared that only married heterosexuals should have sex.

Justin Welby and John Sentamu said they took responsibility for releasing the statement which “jeopardised trust”. They added: “We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused.”

The archbishops’ statement did not retract the substance of the “pastoral guidance” issued by the bishops, but implied it should not have been issued while the C of E is in the midst of a review of its teaching on sexuality and marriage.

The guidance said “sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purpose for human beings”, and that people in gay or straight civil partnerships should be sexually abstinent.

This is an apology that will satisfy no one. They apologized for the timing of the statement, but everybody knows that the statement’s opponent objected to the substance of it. And traditionalists surely understand that this is a white flag. If basic Christian doctrine weren’t at risk, there would have been no need to apologize for the statement at all.

A British reader writes:

It truly beggars belief. They’d have known before releasing the guidance the storm it would kick up, so they were surely prepared for the response. And yet such is the pressure on them that they still feel the need to apologise for releasing a document which simply reaffirmed what is already the church’s official teaching. Nothing is ever enough.
The C of E is constantly “in dialogue” with different LGBT groups within the church about this, but it all just proves a point you’ve made elsewhere: “entering into dialogue” is simply code from liberals for “discussing the terms on which conservatives will surrender”.
Welby and Sentamu say they’ve jeopardised trust – but whose trust are they really jeopardising here? It’s that of the faithful, conservative parishioners and ministers who, if they’re to have any future in the C of E, will need the protection of the Archbishops to continue holding to traditional Christian teaching on sexuality. The LGBT wing of the C of E doesn’t need trust, they just need patience — because the leadership will crack eventually. It might not come in Welby’s time, but it will come.
Of course it will. How confident are you Catholic readers that the Roman Catholic Church’s bishops will hold the line? I would have said, “Fairly confident” — until Pope Francis. Remember, Francis appointed the pro-LGBT Blase Cupich to be cardinal archbishop of Chicago, and pro-gay Cardinal Joseph “Nighty-Night, Baby” Tobin to run the Archdiocese of Newark.
The late historian Robert Conquest’s Second (of three) Law of Politics is:

Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

It is said that he gave the Church of England as an example of this law. All churches that are not explicitly committed to upholding Biblical tradition on sexuality (of all kinds) will eventually cave. A lack of explicit commitment to Christian orthodoxy now signals surrender just around the corner. Whatever churchmen tell you, whatever churchmen tell themselves, this is an iron law.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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