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Monday, 20 February 2017

Why are so many of the clergy gay?

Openly gay new bishop Mary Glasspool (right)            Photo credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

'Puzzled' commentator posed the question in a comment under my previous entry, "Why are so many of the clergy gay??? It seems to be the norm these days. I cannot understand it." A little 'Googling' finds some interesting facts given the current protests by LGBT activists about exclusion.

Twenty-two years ago Andrew Brown wrote in Why gays are called to the church: "... There are still large areas of Christianity which remain no-go areas for gays. Most evangelical churches are passively hostile to homosexuality...On the other hand, there are areas, especially of the Church of England, in which gays are hugely over-represented. In the diocese of London, for example, one of the Bishop's advisers once estimated to me that about 200 of the 900 priests in the city are in homosexual relationships. The Bishop, incidentally, once ran St Stephen's House in Oxford, by common consent the campest of all theological colleges, where he was known to his ordinands as Ena the Cruel, since it was a college tradition to give everyone female nicknames..."

The fate of the US Episcopal Church should have provided sufficient warning of the likely fate of the Anglican Church in the UK if it adopted the same liberal agenda. Instead it has been used as justification for more liberalisation.

I blogged in 2011: "The slow death of the Anglican church looks set to continue. While the role of bishops and priests becomes ever further divorced from traditional religious reality congregations continue to haemorrhage. Despite earlier pleas for restraint from Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, after the Bishop Gene Robinson affair, Canon Mary Glasspool (pictured) was elected a bishop in Los Angeles while being in an openly long standing lesbian relationship. 'Restraint' is now turning to farce as synodical Christians seek additional ways of bending Christianity to their will rather than the will of the church Universal."

Church Militant reported: As much as half of priests and bishops are homosexual. From 'the Vortex' video presentation on the number of homosexual men in the Catholic priesthood:
"Numerous independent sources inside the Church began polling and interviewing and questioning and researching. Their results were jaw-dropping. One survey done by a New Jersey Franciscan priest and researcher revealed that 45 percent of 500 priests surveyed volunteered that they were gaym and that one in four of them had AIDS — proving a rampant promiscuity."

The admission of women to the priesthood and the episcopate has added a lesbian dimension through lesbian feminism links. Changing Attitude "campaigns for equality in the selection, training, ordination and appointment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy". They estimate that about 10% of clergy are LGBT compared with 1.7% of the UK population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual in 2015.

So why are so many of the clergy gay, around ten times more than are represented in the general population? The usual answer is that homosexuals are drawn to a caring profession. To an extent that probably remains true but a more sinister element has developed. One which goes beyond acceptance to control condemning as homophobic anyone who dares to hold orthodox opinions.

LGBT agitators complain of being oppressed but they have become the persecutors of the very people who helped them gain acceptance. Writing about LGBT rights in the Guardian Giles Fraser argues: "The clergy has moved on. It’s the bishops who are out of touch."

It is not about 'moving on'. It is about remaining faithful. Under Archbishop Justin Welby the Church of England appears destined to 'move on' from ‘good disagreement’ to ‘radical inclusion’. As former Queen's Chaplain, the  Reverend Canon Gavin Ashenden blogged, The Radical Call To Go The Wrong Way.

Clearly claims of exclusion are a nonsense. Archbishop Welby should think again. In the Church in Wales the bench sitters should hang their heads in shame, in particular the bishop of St Asaph, for being taken in by the Iris prize winner for fake news, Trawsnewid Agwedd Cymru.

If the bishops do not stand firm it will be an open sesame for LGBT activists and their fellow travellers - but the treasure will be gone.


  1. This is useful AB: I tried to explain in the last blog that there are many who ,in holding orthodox Christian opinion,cannot accept that gay relationships are following Christianity,and such belief provokes offensive accusations from one ot two responders. I might just close at this point and say 'I rest my case'.
    But as you say this is the current tactic -bullying.-the same tactic used for women's ordination.
    Neither women's ordination or the inclusive agenda is 'of God'.

  2. One observation from the U.S. is that many of the heterosexual priests in TEc are either effeminate men or masculinized women. Both of these are also turn-offs for family men looking for a church.

    1. The priest is called to bring Christ to the people .
      There seems a tendency for gay/homosexual priests to prominently present their own personality and agenda. Being easily identifiable ,they are clearly conscious of their sexuality. The danger of this lifestyle is that it comes over more prominently than bringing Christ to the people and subordinates Christianity.

    2. "St Stephen's House in Oxford, by common consent the campest of all theological colleges, where it was a college tradition to give everyone female nicknames..."

      Ah yes, St Stephen's, attended by a young ordinand from the Diocese of Liverpool who would go on to great things in the Church in Wales. One wonders what his nickname was.

      Here's a recollection of the antics at St Stephen's from a letter to the Spectator:


      Some theological colleges have been traditionally more noted for sodomy than others, though it is probably not too much to say that it is normal in all of them, with the possible exception of some evangelical establishments. The most famous of all used to be St Stephen's House, Oxford (known to its alumni as 'Staggers), where 20 years ago I was in training for the Anglican priesthood, and where (despite a much publicised purge carried out by the then principal, Father David Hope, now Arch- bishop of York) I estimated that fully two-thirds were openly homosexual, many without doubt actively so.

      Nevertheless, the atmosphere at Staggers in my day was certainly more discreet than the overt queening about of the pre-Hope regime, which had been exacerbated by huge quantities of gin — the Reverend Kenneth Leech, a former St Stephen's House student (or 'Staggers bag') of this period, described the ethos of Anglo-Catholicism as 'gin, lace and backbiting'. A hardly exaggerated portrait of Staggers at this time is to be found in A.N. Wilson's novel Unguarded Hours (Mr Wilson is a former Staggers bag).

      … the underlying culture of the place was still overwhelmingly homoerotic. There were recognised couples who were undoubtedly at it, and the only question was whether Father Hope knew and was turning a blind eye, or whether he was genuinely unaware of what was going on.

      Certainly, one of the old customs was still practised — the use of female 'names in religion'. One of the staff was known as 'Clarissa' and the principal himself was sometimes referred to by the name of 'Ena', after Ena Sharpies of Coronation Street. This had been his name as a Staggers bag some years before; it was a reference to his Northern accent and to his blunt personal rejection of all the camping around.

      This all happened a long time ago. Things in the Church of England are much worse now and it would be almost impossible to threaten a theological college with closure on the grounds that it permitted sodomy.

    3. I understand that St Stephen's House used to be like that, but when a new chief was appointed the Augean Stables were swept clean. I attend an Anglo-Catholic church; we have 3 priests (we have several churches in a large parish), and all are married men, with children. All are very orthodox. I know of several other similar churches, where the clergy (to my mind) do rather too much ceremonial, but again they are married (to women!). I think some of their practices are overdone, but that is their style of worship - nothing wrong in it. Ceremonies can greatly enhance worship if done for the sake of the worship - provided it is a means, not merely an end in itself. Different people need different kinds of worship, provided the Gospel is preached. All such churches that I know of (I may just be lucky) preach the Gospel very clearly, usually based on the lectionary readings. Worship is (for many) not just a matter of sitting and listening and then standing and singing.

  3. Is it also about the selection process, more likely to accept people who are gay? I know over the years people have been weeded out for being conservative. The BBC also has a very high proportion of gay people working for them as it actively recruits gay people.
    I think sadly too, the Anglo catholic side of thing can attract people who want to dress up in robes and lace. I recall a priest telling me that at Mirfield he was told that he could not wear trousers under his cassock, as they showed??!?

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    3. What would Jesus say?22 February 2017 at 14:04

      I never imagined you were so precious Enforcer.

    4. Subversive Friend22 February 2017 at 15:41

      I must admit my drinking chums and I enjoyed a chuckle over our lunch-time rum pansies yesterday evening.
      Bravo "Laughing Gas".

    5. Now don't take the Michael out of the diddy chuckel bench sitters 'What would Jesus say'. Or else you might get Andrea as bishop of Llandaf. Ve hav vays ov maken u svuirm on c ozer zide of c, faze Count niker bonkerz.

  4. As Christians, I think we need to apply wisdom on this topic. It is very easy to pontificate and take the moral high ground. The truth is that ALL of us are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. Yes, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the union of one man and one woman for life. Nevertheless, some people are attracted to people of the same sex, through no fault of their own, and I am glad that civil partnerships are there for those who want to commit themselves to each other. Some people are called to a life of celibacy and chastity. We are all called to a life of holiness and to keep away from fornication and from all the sins that threaten to enslave and destroy us. The key to all this is to stay close to God and to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. I think we all struggle with certain aspects of our lives and all of us need to experience God's love which should be demonstrated through His Church. I know from experience that the Church falls short on this one. I certainly don't believe this bitching culture does anyone any favours. The Anglican Catholic Church believes in traditional marriage but is not anti-gay, believe me.

    1. Congratulations on a toe curling attempt to bat both ways. Remember club motto "If you stand for nothing you'll fall for anything".

  5. Thank you Carla, for your compliment. I'm sorry your toes have curled. Believe me, I am not batting in both directions. I have already said quite clearly what I believe on holy matrimony. Perhaps you expect me, in view of that to go on a wild gay-bashing spree. As I said, the whole situation needs God's wisdom. Some people are gay and have a faith. That 's life. I also said that we are all sinners and are in need of salvation. No, I do
    not agree with the way the gay agenda has totally taken over every aspect of life in the Church in Wales/Church of England. There is an obsession with victimhood and with self, rather than with the Lord Jesus
    Christ, who said that we should take up our cross and follow Him. Nevertheless, most of life's pastoral
    situations are not easy. I am not trying to pander to both sides. I'm just saying that there needs to be wisdom. Maybe you are just fortunate, Carla. I hope, in the meantime, that your toes uncurl. It makes walking easier!

  6. I think this is unfair Carla. The reverend gentleman's comments are sound and welcome. The essential part of his contribution is that the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the union of one man and one woman for life. The problem besetting the church at the present time is that the bishops have forgotten this and have allowed themselves to be carried along on a secular tide which, if they are not careful, will sooner or later sweep them all away. Their abject failure to stand by established christian teaching in a misguided attempt to follow changes in contemporary society has resulted in a loss of church membership of considerable proportions. The church should be a leader of society not a follower. Unless these bishops can put their house in order they might as well pack away their mitres and close the doors because within a few years there will be nobody left to listen to them - except perhaps a few silly self-promoting ladies waving their tambourines and playing with sparklers. On this basis we are heading for a candy-floss church which is all froth and no substance and which lets people believe whatever they want as long as they are happy. Come on bishops, sort yourselves out, set aside the manifest errors of recent years and redirect the church to its rightful path. Time isn't on your side and people are ready to vote with their feet if the present direction of travel is maintained.

    Just about hopeful

    1. The Rev Fr gentleman has made the right choice yet appears to be batting both ways. So are you, unless you are both the same person? It is too late to change the CofW - "the women have it". It no longer stands within Catholic tradition neither can they "Put their house in order" as you suggest.

    2. Carla is right : The C in W is now the liberal Protestant church of Wales which was Barry's dream.
      All things are laissez-faire . There seems to be no authority and any common purpose reveals itself as being socially acceptable to the secular world.
      True -"the whole situation needs God's wisdom" ( Rev'd J.Gareth Parry)

  7. I assume from this Carla that you have already departed form the C in W and I wish you well. You will see that I am "just about hopeful" and prepared to give the bishops a final chance. If they read this (as I'm sure they do) and refuse to mend their ways, then they, like the C in W will clearly have no future. Incidentally, I am not the Reverend gentleman but a reader who understands his viewpoint.
    Still just about hopeful!

    1. "Mend their ways" - "final chance". Dear me, that sounds like my old headmaster. Bless him.

  8. The Church may be compared to Noah's Ark, a ship of safety in a perishing world (the sea). If the ship is in the sea, then she's safe, if the sea is in the ship, then she's doomed. In the same way, if the Church is in the world, that is where she should be (not of the world), but if the world is in the Church, there is deep trouble. The big problem we have is that the world is most definitely in the Church in Wales, not only in matters of marriage and sexuality, but in all aspects. If there is compromise with the world, there is no going forward with God. Even so, there needs to be pastoral sensitivity if there is to be effective evangelism and mission, as well as orthodox theology.

  9. You see what has happened now at the Electoral College!
    The Bishops of the C in W had their backbone removed many years ago and became total robotic minds of retired Barry. I can make no sense of the statement that the 'wider Church' will now be consulted in the lead up to an eventual appointment.

    Ah! got it now -the 'wider church' means retired Barry!

  10. The consultation will be similar to the gay marriage one, bypassing the majority. Without this forum Church people would not have a clue of what is going on. I used to believe in the Episcopal system but it was never meant to be bullying and top down, the biblical image is very different.