LETTER TO IRISH TIMES


www.ireland.com

1st MARCH 2005

ANGLICANS, GAY CLERGY AND SAME-SEX UNIONS

Madam, - I want to make it clear, both as an individual human being, and as an Anglican priest, albeit, at present, without episcopal permission to officiate, that I recognise the potential for good in both same - sex as well as heterosexual relationships. I also recognise the potential for exploitation and harm in all these relationships. I do not accept that adult same - sex relationships are inherently evil or that, from a theological perspective, those who engage in them are necessarily committing sin.

I well understand the frustration of Dr Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a former University don, who holds similar views to mine, and to those of many other people. I am glad he has made public these personal views. He has an unenviable role at present.

Female ordination is still not accepted in many Anglican provinces and the gay issue is divisive in them all. Theological education can make a difference, though the influence of culture must be taken seriously too. I note from the report of the Primates' meeting, 'It is planned to hold a Consultation for theological educators later this year in Canterbury, and it is anticipated that this work will be a significant item of consideration at the Lambeth Conference in 2008.' (Section 21).

I wish the ex - University don well and the educators too!

- Yours, etc.,

Rev Andrew Furlong,

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