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Pilling report was the best that a working group could achieve

20 December 2013


From the Revd Martin Jewitt
Sir, - In your leader comment (6 December), you describe the Pilling report as unconvincing, and as reflecting the ambivalence of the Church at large. While I agree that "undue haste . . . with a sense of urgency" is an unfortunate turn of phrase, which sounds ambiguous, I cannot see how the working group could have come up with anything better than the principal text that it has produced.

As you say, the rising generation and "a significant proportion of churchpeople" regard the Church's teaching as flawed. But that teaching is based on a biblical theme that is very strongly arguable as consistent: namely, that sexual relations are prohibited in same-sex relationships.

The current climate does not represent the first time in history when whole generations have departed from God's teaching. It can be noted, however, that the Bible does not commend asking personal questions. Neither does it take any view on whom people prefer to share a home with or enter a contract with.

The basic problem underlying the current climate is the blindness to the truth of Original Sin, in which we are all caught up. The Church is broken because it is caught up in a broken world. If those who take a conservative line in this matter are accused of being obsessed with sex, it is an issue because we live in a world that is obsessed with sex.

I hope that the Church is not saying, as you suggest, "We agree with what you are doing, but are too weak to prevail against those who disapprove of you." We can never agree with much that any of us are doing, because that is our human problem, for which God sent us a Saviour. But I hope we are saying that we not only approve of all who come through our doors, but welcome and affirm each other as potential or actual children of God.

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