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
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.
12 Abbott Road
Folkestone CT20 1NG