From the Revd James Mustard
Sir, — The House of Bishops’ “check-list” regarding the appointment of homosexual bishops rightly demands high standards of personal and private conduct from episcopal candidates (News, 27 May).
In response to this commendable desire for transparency and integrity in its episcopal leadership, surely all serving and future married bishops should be interrogated about their pre-marital sexual histories? Thereby, the Church can be reassured that only men who were celibate until their marriages exercise episcopal authority, allowing them, too, to be “a focus for unity”.
Of course, those who did not lead celibate lives before marriage could be invited publicly to repent of any pre-marital sexual activity. In this way, the House of Bishops would reassure the Church that it is not writing one set of rules for heterosexuals and another for homosexuals.
119 Eaton Square
London SW1W 9AL
From Canon Michael Stagg
Sir, — As someone in favour of both women and homosexual bishops, I was left confused by your report on the recent meeting of the the House of Bishops.
First, why are conditions proposed for homosexual candidates not applied to heterosexuals? Surely this is discriminatory. Second, since it is already acknowledged that women bishops could in some cases “cause division and disunity within the diocese, the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion” (to quote the proposed criteria), and it certainly looks as if General Synod will vote in favour of such a move, why is this an excluding factor for homosexual candidates?
Am I missing something?
31 Ash Grove, Norwich NR3 4BE
From the Revd Chris Hollingshurst
Sir, — Reports on recent meetings concerning episcopal appointments leave me with some questions. These may not be original or profound, but I suspect they reflect the exasperation that many feel.
In particular, how much longer does the Church have to put up with damaging leaks and personal smears after supposedly confidential meetings? Why can the process not be more transparent, but without public discussion of the personal lives of potential candidates and their loved ones?
And can press reporting after the event perhaps allow for the possibility that the right person may, actually, have been appointed in particular cases — rather than assume that controversy always indicates foul play?
The Vicarage, 278 Hook Road
Surrey KT9 1PF