While the Scottish Catholic Church is in uproar trying to impose a church block vote against something that isn’t imposing anything on them, as so succinctly put by Willie Rennie at the weekend in his speech, the Church of Ireland is taking a more “reasoned and rational” approach to marriage equality.
The Church of Ireland was of course drawn into a position of having to make some sort of statement after the civil partnership of the Dean of Leighlin (Carlow) the Rev Tom Gordon and his male partner. Fortunately the Archbishop of Armagh is not jumping to some knee jerk reaction. He is not saying that you cannot possible be gay and a christian as some in Northern Ireland seem to imply. But he saying that a reasoned and rational dialogue needs to be entered into over the issue of same sex relationships. He doesn’t go into it blindly he is fully aware that these is a “very, very intense period” for the church.
He was asked in an interview whether sam-sex relationships were sinful or normal and came up with a very reasoned response:
“Sinful and normal are not alternatives. And so obviously, as you perfectly well know, there are different views within the Church as to whether or not a committed same-sex relationship is sinful.
“There has been a traditional view which has in effect not accepted the appropriateness of sexual relations between same-gender people. That is the traditional view.
“That view had come under question and that is where we find ourselves now and that’s why there’s a debate across the communion and that’s why we’ve got the present situation as it affects the Church of Ireland.
“The Church itself hasn’t thoroughly debated these new developments and the implications of these new developments.
“That’s why it is necessary, it seems to me and to my fellow bishops, to put in train a way for the Church to address those matters.”
I only wish that leaders of other churches whether in Scotland or here in Northern Ireland or elsewhere were so prepared to look at the issue not just from the eyes of their own faith’s eye sees it but looks