Home > Bp. Breidenthal, DSO Meetings, SSB's > [bumped] Questions for Bp. Breidenthal, by Pearls Before Swine

[bumped] Questions for Bp. Breidenthal, by Pearls Before Swine

21 October 2009

[Elder’s Note:  This concerns the DSO SSB focus group meetings.  These were comments directed earlier to Fr. David Bailey, a member of the DSO SSB focus group.  Fr. Bailey has indicated that there will be some more news for the follow-up focus group meeting.]

1. Since there are no Same-Sex Marriages in Ohio and Same-Sex Blessings have not been allowed; does that mean that all unmarried clergy have either remained celibate or been disciplined up until now?

2. Does the diocese view a couple that has had a “Blessing” any different than a couple that has been Married?

3. Can heterosexuals just have a “Blessing” and then shack-up or do they have to go through the legal marriage process? If Same-sex marriage is ever approved in Ohio, will the answer be the same for homosexuals?

4. Will the bishop now require all homosexual clergy to have their relationship blessed before they can live together and/or be sexually active?

5. If (I know, a big IF) the Anglican Communion Covenant clearly states no Same-Sex Blessings, what does the Bishop intend to do?

6. What positive effect will the token “conservative witness” have on this process?

7. Does being there just lend a false legitimacy so they can say they listened to the opposition before doing what they were going to do anyway?

8. Do they think this will somehow grow the diocese?

  1. David Bailey
    21 October 2009 at 2:36 PM

    Some quick answers on questions 5-8

    5. In my mind, the actions of yesterday render the Anglican Covenant dead in the water. The Archbishop of Canterbury does not speak authoritatively for any of the three major versions of Anglicanism that are developing in the 21st century. For more information on my perspective, see my comments at http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/26007/

    6. I get to be a “fly on the wall”. I’ve already had a moderate rector of a LARGE parish call me for my perspective.

    7. Probably.

    8. Grow the diocese? Stop talking nonsense!

  2. David Bailey
    21 October 2009 at 2:39 PM

    and to question #1: since we have had partnered gays and lesbians serving as rectors, vicars and deacons – openly – in the diocese for quite some time, the answer is NO.

  3. David Bailey
    21 October 2009 at 2:43 PM

    Finally, I was going to send an [edited] version of the other questions to Bishop Breidenthal and the rest of the SSB gang before tomorrow’s meeting, but my heart is not in it. I’ll just ask them tomorrow.

  4. Pearls Before Swine
    21 October 2009 at 6:22 PM

    I guess I should have added a “Why or why not?” to the end of question #1 since the answer has been a NO, but with no explanation whatsoever as to why this should have been allowed.

    OK, I know #8 was nonsense, but it is strange to me that they (and the national church alike) willingly make decisions that they have to know will drive people off, even if it’s just the “wrong kind” of people who leave. Should we change #8 to what are their future employment plans once they chase a whole lot more people from the diocese?

    Thank you for the responses! May God, through His Holy Spirit, grant you peace and the ability to speak with truth, clarity and authority tomorrow night.

  5. David Bailey
    22 October 2009 at 12:58 AM

    From an email I sent to the SSB Focus Group entitled “A question for tomorrow”:

    Well, maybe one question with many parts!

    The question is around the “parity of expectations” for heterosexual and homosexual clergy with respect to partnered relationships.

    Marriage has many components, but it seems that the core expectations for the marriage service are vows that:

    1) required lifelong monogamy between the two persons.
    2) were witnessed by others (in Christian marriage by a faith community).
    3) were documented by the person officiating at the marriage service.

    When we only had heterosexual clergy to be (openly) concerned about, the expectation was that such clergy would be chaste, either by being celibate or by being married. My “constituency” has asked if these expectations will apply to same sex blessings as well. In addition, for those partnered clergy whose unions do not fulfill these expectations, will there be some kind of “grace period” for them.

    I’m sure by now you get the general thread of thought. I’d like to explore this further tomorrow.

  6. David Bailey
    22 October 2009 at 6:24 PM

    from an email to me and other members of the Focus Group from Bishop Breidenthal:

    Dear David,

    It has been and remains my expectation that clergy in partnered gay or lesbian unions intend life-long fidelity to their partner. Thus any talk of a “grace period” is moot.

    Are you asking, though, whether clergy in faithful lifelong partnerships will be expected to seek the church’s blessing? It is hard for me to imagine such a couple seeking to avoid receiving the church’s blessing, since the very thing partnered gays and lesbians in the Episcopal Church have been asking for is the recognition of their mutual fidelity by their faith community, and the blessing of their union by a priest. That said, it seems to me that the crucial element here is accountability to the church’s expectation of fidelity and transparency (it cannot be a relationship that is not public). Which brings us back to what I require already.

    • Pearls Before Swine
      22 October 2009 at 7:17 PM

      Thanks for sending the letter David+, it was a nice try but the bish either doesn’t get it or is avoiding the answer because he knows it’s the wrong answer.

      If he wants to institute SSBs, then he needs very clearly defined guidelines and expectations. It seems to me though that he will offer neither. So the SSBs are for whoever wants them, but it doesn’t make any difference if you take advantage of them or not.

      – What will he do if partnered clergy don’t come forward for blessings?
      – Why does this not apply to heterosexuals as well?
      – Are partnered heterosexual clergy free to choose to not to get married?

      Will the bishop state clearly that partnered homosexual clergy have to remain celibate (and not cohabitate) until they have had a “Blessing” ceremony? I double-dog dare him! I’m assuming that’s why you even offered up the idea of some grace period before it goes into effect.

  7. David Bailey
    22 October 2009 at 6:25 PM

    and more on today’s meeting will be posted later . . . I am a parish priest who does have a few other duties!

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