Anglican Samizdat

January 31, 2009

Weasel Words from Colin Johnson, Bishop of Toronto

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada,bishops gone wild — David Jenkins @ 11:11 am

From here

The bishops of the Diocese of Toronto are proposing to respond pastorally in the matter of committed same-sex Add an Imagerelationships.

In making their proposal, the bishops made it clear they are attempting to work within the national House of Bishops’ 2007 statement on sexuality. In that document, the Canadian bishops said they are committed to “develop the most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church.”

At its monthly meeting of the Diocesan Council, held on January 29, 2009, the bishops outlined their proposal. The bishops plan to engage in a consultation process in order for the pastoral care of all Anglicans to be strengthened. They will implement their response when the bishops discern that it is appropriate.

The bishops’ proposal in offering a pastoral response is as follows:

  • Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms.
  • Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized.
  • Episcopal permission for blessings will be required.
  • Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year.
  • No parish or clergy will be required to participate.
  • A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review.

Colin Johnson has realised that he is trailing in the contest for the title of the most heretical bishop in Canada. The lead was taken some time ago by Michael Ingham, followed closely by the bishops of Niagara, Ottawa and Montreal.

Not wishing to be left completely in the dust, but not having the guts to take the lead over arch-apostate Ingham, he has unequivocally – well, provisionally decided – ambivalently – on:

Blessing same-sex couples – well, long term same-sex couples.

Allowing parishes to bless same sex-couples – well, some parishes.

Praying for same-sex couples – well, not using an authorised rite.

Blessing same-sex relationships – well, not nuptial ones.

Agreeing with same-sex blessings – well, contingent on Episcopal discernment.

Getting on with same sex-blessings – well, make sure you ask him first.

Committing to following recommendations of General Synod and Lambeth – well, except the ones he disagrees with.

This message is brought to you with heartfelt conviction from Colin – the spineless wimp who is afraid to take a stand on anything, but wants to run with the pack – Johnson.



  1. Something about this doesn’t ring true to me. Surely diocesan synod would have voted for SSBs in May, given the opportunity. Why is it so important to pre-empt that? And how does an episcopal “pastoral” introduction of blessings honour the moratorium better than a synodical legislation thereof? I would tend to think that with the moratorium, as with the 39 Articles, honesty is the best policy: “Just say no!”

    Comment by Geoff — January 31, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  2. I think the moratorium is being viewed as optional; the liberal agenda is clearly one of pushing ahead with SSBs come what may.

    As to why now, rather than May, perhaps Toronto feels it needs to stand in solidarity with the other dioceses that are already moving on this?

    Comment by David — January 31, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

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