Anglican Samizdat

April 29, 2009

A homosexual priest appeals to Rowan Williams for justification

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 4:14 pm
Tags: ,

A homosexual Anglican priest and his catamite draw comfort from Rowan Williams:

Interview with Greg Lisby, Rector at Church of the Ascension, Cranston

Kiersten Marek: My first question is: I recently read this article in The Atlantic called “The Velvet Reformation,” about Bishop Rowan Williams and the question of whether the Anglican church can become open to gay marriage. The article referenced an essay by Rowan Williams called “The Body’s Grace” in which Williams talked about how intimate relationships are about experiencing grace and that this grace should be accepted as part of both gay and straight relationships. He wrote:

“Grace, for the Christian believer, is a transformation that depends in large part on knowing yourself to be seen in a certain way: as significant, as wanted.”

I wonder if you can comment on how this idea strikes you, both as a church leader and as a partner in a gay relationship.

Fr. Greg Lisby: To know you are significant and wanted -isn’t that what we all desire? In the lore of creation, found in the book of Genesis, God said it is good for a human to have a partner (it isn’t until the second creation story that it specifically says male and female). God desires for us to be in relationship with another. It is in relationship, whether intimate or not, that we can glimpse the reality of God’s presence. So, whether it is an opposite-sex or same-sex relationship, all possess the potential for manifesting God’s presence. When that presence is realized, acknowledged, then the sense of worth and vulnerability that opens us to God’s grace is made possible. This, I believe, is what Archbishop Williams is getting at.

The whole interview is worth reading, if only to reinforce why the Anglican Church in North America has become an international laughing stock. Of particular interest in the section above is the fact that, no matter what public face Rowan Williams puts on the crisis tearing his church apart, his private views on homosexuality are being used by gay priest activists to justify their behaviour.

Going hand in hand with this is the trivialising of the meaning of Christian grace. Rather than its true meaning of God’s unmerited favour, it has been turned into the nugatory, “to know you are significant and wanted”, and is used in this context as a justification for homosexual activity; a ghastly perversion of a central truth of the Gospel for no other reason than self-indulgent antinomianism.



  1. “it isn’t until the second creation story that it specifically says male and female”.

    Er . . . just for the sake of argument, the first story also says “be fruitful and multiply”. Lisby seems to have missed that bit . . .

    Comment by Ellie M. — April 29, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  2. “catamite” is an offensive word to use: it’s like a Roman Catholic referring to a vicar’s wife as his concubine.

    Comment by Mark — April 30, 2009 @ 8:29 am

  3. I am not sure why it would be offensive. Admittedly, “catamite” has a modern connotation of a boy having a relationship with an older man, but not necessarily: see Here.

    Also, it has the distinction of appearing in one of the most imaginative opening sentences in a novel: Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess:

    “It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me”

    Comment by David — April 30, 2009 @ 8:39 am

  4. “it’s like a Roman Catholic referring to a vicar’s wife as his concubine.”

    Or to a vicar’s mistress as his . . . mistress.

    Comment by Ellie M. — April 30, 2009 @ 8:58 am

  5. Ah the joys of living in Canada’s bible belt! NO ONE I have talked to has any sympathy for the SSB issue. As is common a lot of pew-potatoes have no idea what is going on beyond their parish doors but when informed the eyebrows go straight up.

    Comment by Steve L. — April 30, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  6. The word ‘catamite’ is sometimes used by literary-minded gays today, but I thought it was only in the sense of a passive partner; as a general term for lover or sexual partner it seems inaccurate.

    Comment by Joe — October 21, 2009 @ 4:50 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: