Blessing S/S Unions – a Conservative View

Andrew Goddard writes about Pastoral Accommodation

The indefatigable Andrew Goddard has just published at Fulcrum a long paper explaining why it is not possible to engage in pastoral accommodation over blessing same-sex unions: Blessing Same-Sex Unions – A Legitimate Pastoral Accommodation?

In addition to the main article, he has also published a large number of supplementary papers which are linked to it, either in the text, or in footnotes.

What is the church’s current official teaching and discipline?
What is the current ecclesial reality in relation to this teaching and discipline?
How did we get here and where might we go next?
Can we both uphold current teaching and offer greater “pastoral accommodation”?
Divorce and Remarriage
Prayer after abortion

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Andrew Goddard is, indeed, a doughty warrior for what he sees as moral righteousness. What he seems to close his eyes to is the fact that the modern world does not see other-than-heterosexual relationships as wicked and against God’s provision for the exercise (or not) of one’s innate sexual orientation.

Dogmatic mediaeval understanding of human sexuality is no longer acceptable in a world that has a more mature outlook on the nature of sexual differentiation than that of the Bible.

Even Jesus recognised that heterosexual procreation and marriage was not the norm for everybody. In fact, Jesus Himself never married but had at least one ‘special friendship’ – a phenomenon forbidden in mediaeval monastic communities – with John, the ‘Beloved Disciple’.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 19: 3-12, Jesus first speaks about the need for faithfulness in heterosexual marriage. He then, in the same conversation, explained that there was another, distinctive, class of people – eunuchs – (looked down on in that culture, too) whom he recognised as not to be expected, able or willing, to marry in the ‘normal way’ to enable procreation. (Not all human beings expected to ‘go out and multiply’).

Delineating 3 possibilities, Jesus spoke of eunuchs, firstly; as “born that way from their mother’s womb”. Secondly, there were eunuchs “made so by men”. Thirdly; “eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”.

The third category, of their own volition, offer their virginity for Christ.

The second category, through the determination of others (papal castrati or Nubian slaves), who become so by force of circumstance; voluntarily or not.

The first category, however, may just be people incapable of, or disinclined by their given nature, to procreate.

These were categories of procreative and non-procreative humans recognised by Jesus. Why do we have a problem in identifying such today?

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand


About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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2 Responses to Blessing S/S Unions – a Conservative View

  1. Brian Ralph says:

    While only slightly relevant to this post, I would like to draw your attention to an article on the ABC website

    I note particularly the signatures of Rev Andrew Semple, Rector of St James, King Street in Sydney and Fr David Smith, Rector of Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill. These men are licensed in the Diocese of Sydney yet willing to “stick their necks out”. Also Rev Dr Sue Emeleus, a deacon within the diocese who has long desired to enter the priesthood. Her teaching helped my Mother accept her son’s sexuality. Sue anointed my mother with holy oil from Jerusalem a few days before Mum’s death, we had to ask a comparitively unknown male priest to give her communion. Sue also officiated at Mum’s funeral service.
    Finally Anglicans in Australia are standing up to the bullying tactics of the leaders of the Diocese of Sydney.

  2. kiwianglo says:

    Thank you, Brian, for sharing this ABC News item. With your permission, I would like to share it on my blog, tomorrow – to follow on today’s item concerning a broadcast by Archbishop Justin Welby.

    Also, thanks for sharing your own experience of the ministry of a Sydney woman Deacon to your mother – both as friend and counsellor and as minister of the Sacrament of Anointing and, later, of her Funeral rite.

    The fact that the diocese of Sydney has clergy who are willing to stand up to the misogyny and homophobia of the Leadership is now an established fact. We both know licenced clergy in the diocese whose views on women and the LGBTI community are more Gospel-oriented than those of the diocesan management, so this evidence of the beginnings of a principled opposition to the Sydney Archbishop – whose presence was noted at the recent G.S./Gafcon meeting in Cairo while the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican Bishops were meeting with Pope Francis in Rome – is more than welcomed, I am sure, by the vast majority of Australian Anglicans.

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